Quick Pitch: Tom’s Planner allows you to create and share Gantt Charts online with drag-and-drop simplicity.
Genius Idea: Project management software is useful for everyone — from the giant software development company trying to make a launch date to a bride planning her wedding. Still, it’s often expensive and complicated. Desktop software Microsoft Project is deep and feature-rich, but it’s mired in abstraction and user-unfriendliness. That’s what Tom of Tom’s Planner would argue, anyway, and that’s why he put together an easy-to-use web app for making Gantt charts.
Tom’s Planner is attractive because it actually makes a multi-colored, horizontal time chart the primary interface for project management rather than an extra something you can print or look at on the side. You can make modifications on the fly; right-click to create a new period in your project plan, then select a color, and you’ve already gotten started. You can drag and drop periods around the chart easily — impressive for a web app. Compare that to Microsoft Project’s daunting vertical tree view and you can see the appeal.
You don’t have to forsake Project completely, though; Tom’s Planner can export Project files. You can also share your chart with other people by publishing it to http://www.tomsplanner.com/shared/name-of-your-schedule. If your project is of the sensitive variety, you can password-lock it.
Tom claims that the app has grown from 240 users to just shy of 14,000 in two months. It’s used by businesses managing their teams and resources, but it’s also used by “individuals planning their weddings, thanksgiving dinners, vegetable gardens or home construction projects,” Tom says. These users are enjoying a free beta testing period, but the product will cost money after the beta period ends.
Tom’s Planner has had a promising start thanks to its user-friendliness, and we’re eager to see how it does in the future, especially once it begins to monetize.