Need Project Planning and Task Tracking Software

I develop software and consult on projects for a single client which is totally under resourced and where priorties change from day to day.

I need software, either in Excel or a complete package that can aid me in planning and managing my work with all of the following criteria.

1 Plan Multiple Projects preferable in a Gantt chart fashion.
2 I am the only resource that will be performing the work.
3 The planning will link all the Projects and sub tasks to give an estimated end date for each project or task.

Now for the difficult part:
4 New tasks continiously gets thrown in with a higher priority and needs to be pushed in, resulting in all the tasks after the new task added being moved on in completion date.
5 Task or even project priorities continiously change in priorty and need to be resceduled.
6 The software at the same time need to keep track of time spent on every  task.  Any task may be interrupted at any time after a number of hours in relation with the estimate  has been done on it and resceduled to accomodate another more urgent task.
Tasks often exceed the estimated hours due to scope change and the software must be able to show the original estimate with the additional hours.

Keeping track and giving feedback on what has been done, what has been re-scheduled and new expected completion dated is a nightmare, is there any software on the market that can help with this?

I looked at many of the open source and paid project management packages on the net but I am unable to find something that can do everything I need, pleeese help.
HenryM2Asked:
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Mark WillsTopic AdvisorCommented:
Well, I have used MS Project in similar environments - mainly software houses where the next most important thing is sometimes not on any schedule.

It does work, but will require some time and probably a bit of training to use it properly. Fairly easy to get a gant chart and even sub projects / multi projects with shared resources, but then to really "master" to then plug in some variant and have the various projects auto adjust means that you really do need to set up each and every project very carefully otherwise you find yourself fighting with the system to do what you think is needed.

For small projects it was pretty easy to manage without using all the imbedded tools and knowledge of MS - simply make the changes manually. For complex projects then really do need to start with resources and set them up (along with calendars) before you start allocating resources and have a very real understanding of their efficiencies in being involved in any one project (as opposed to being moved around, or prone to be brought in at critical stages).

Any way, MS Project can do pretty much everything you want, just the cost of software and then the time / cost of training.
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Boyd (HiTechCoach) Trimmell, Microsoft Access MVPCommented:
Are you looking for a turnkey solution of one you can extent, like with VBA to meet your needs?

What is your budget range for this software?

Do you have an MSDN Subscription?
Have you looked at Microsoft's Team Foundation Server (TFS)?








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HenryM2Author Commented:
I would prefer a turnkey solution due to the time it will take to write something.  My main development environment is Delphi and I know a little about C#, and have no experience in VBA.

Budget wise, I don't mind paying, but MS Project is a bit steep although I will considder even that if it can do exactly what I want.  I am however not too sure that it can firstly handle multiple projects and I don't think it can hndle the dynamic environment that I need.  I used MS Project about 10 year ago, so I am not sure if they built in new features that will meet my needs.

I am not familiar with TFS but will take a look.
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Boyd (HiTechCoach) Trimmell, Microsoft Access MVPCommented:
AFAIK, TFS is designed to work with MS Visual Studio (C#). I do not know if it supports Delphi.

MS Project has changed a lot ion 10 years.   If you think MS Project might work and want a cheaper, like free, solution then you might want to check out OpenProj (click here)

I sure would like a system like you have described . Hopefully someone else might know if one exists.
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HenryM2Author Commented:
I still need a solution as I described. The TFS route won't be suitable for me.  Someone else is there such a solution out there?
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Boyd (HiTechCoach) Trimmell, Microsoft Access MVPCommented:
I agree that MS Project would be a viable solution. I was only suggesting TFS since you seams are already  familiar with MS Project but did not want to use it.

Something else to consider is some of the Version Control systems. Some like TFS provide lots of other feature for project management.

Do you follow Agile software development methodology?
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HenryM2Author Commented:
I was hoping for an easyer solution than MS Project, but thanks I may be forced to go that route.
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Boyd (HiTechCoach) Trimmell, Microsoft Access MVPCommented:
<<I looked at many of the open source and paid project management packages on the net but I am unable to find something that can do everything I need, pleeese help.>>

That should be a big red flag indicating that what you required is at the top end of project management. It requires very powerful software. MS Project and TFS will do everything you require.  MS Project and TFS as used by many Microsoft Visual Studio development shops because it's so good.  

Since I do not develop with Delphi I don't know what Delphi shops use. Might want to ask in the Delphi Developer communities.

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