As promised, here is my second review of a particularly slick (and free) App in Google's new Google Apps Marketplace. Manymoon is a "Free Social Productivity, Project Management & Task Management" application. First and foremost, this is a lot of tool for the low, low price of free. It's not going to displace Microsoft Project in the enterprise, but for schools and SMBs, it's the perfect way to manage projects, whether solo or within a workgroup.
Many of us have used Microsoft Project at one point or another. It's incredibly powerful and in a former life with a big biotech firm, I couldn't have imagined coordinating drug development and FDA submission efforts with anything less. Of course, most people in the biotech and pharmaceutical industries say that for every day a drug waits for approval or sits in the pipeline waiting to get to the FDA, the respective company is losing on the order of a million dollars. With those kinds of numbers, licensing Project and learning its functionality intimately are no-brainers.
Most folks, though, aren't working for billion-dollar companies managing (or even participating in) multi-million dollar projects. They just need to keep track of what they are doing when and with whom. They need to know dates of events, due dates for deliverables, and who in their group is responsible for a given set of tasks. Enter Manymoon.
Manymoon lets you create as many projects as you want with as many tasks as you want, leveraging the Google Calendar API within Apps. Additional storage for project documents, extra email integration, and other interesting (though probably not necessary for many small businesses and organizations) features can be had for a monthly subscription fee.
The first project I've been tracking has been my Apps Roulette series. Interview notes, blog post drafts, timelines, interview schedules, etc., have all been easy to document. Especially useful for me (since my organizational skills leave something to be desired) has been the ability to attach Google Docs to a specific task. For example, if I create a task for an interview with the Expensify founder, then right within the task interface, I can create a Google Doc for my notes and the draft post. When I access the task via a reminder, the Manymoon website, or my Google Apps account, the documents are right there, along with the Webex information for which I'm invariably hunting 30 seconds before the interview is supposed to start.
Even the free version can scale quite well beyond me, myself, and I. I've installed it in our school district's educational domain, as well, and users are just beginning to explore its capabilities. Project management is not the sort of thing educators often discuss, by the way. However, as we look at moving to a new scheduling model at our high school, building major curriculum documents, and rolling out new SaaS tools for our elementary schools, we're managing projects, whether the teachers and administrators know it or not.
That's where Manymoon really shines. It isn't in-your-face project management; it's a tool built right into an existing groupware product that lets you and your users keep track of the essentials without needing PMP certification to get it done.