Apple macos merlin project Project Management Software

Is Merlin Project a worthy replacement for your current project management solution?

Jack Wallen kicks the tires of the macOS model of Merlin Project to see if it lives as much as the price of the software program.

Scrum task board on dark wall in office
Image: Pixel-Shot/Adobe Stock

If you rely upon Gantt charts and kanban boards to maintain your initiatives on schedule, you would possibly assume your solely recourse is to enroll for one of many many providers accessible. There are a lot to select from, however when a project could be of a extra delicate nature, otherwise you desire a extra conventional desktop client-type resolution, what do you do?

One possibility is Merlin Project, which is a professional-grade project management system for macOS and iOS gadgets. With Merlin Project, you’ll be able to plan, management and monitor all of your initiatives. The characteristic set present in Merlin Project contains:

  • Gantt diagrams
  • Mind maps
  • Kanban boards
  • Net plans
  • Costs and budgets with each top-down and bottom-up planning
  • Resources with non-obligatory useful resource swimming pools
  • Project sync with iCloud, Dropbox and different cloud providers
  • Automated resource-leveling
  • Modular reporting
  • Import from MS Office and MindJet MindSupervisor
  • Export to PDF, HTML, MS Project and extra

SEE: Hiring equipment: Project supervisor (TechRepublic Premium)

One factor to bear in mind is that Merlin Project is just not free. There are two totally different takes on Merlin: Merlin Project and Merlin Project Express. Express is for non-public project management and Project is their flagship software that can be utilized by both a single particular person or groups of customers. You can attempt Merlin Project for free for 30 days. After that, you’ll be able to both pay an annual ($169.99) or month-to-month ($16.99) subscription charge. But is the software program value it, given what number of free choices can be found? Let’s take a look and discover out.

Initial impressions of Merlin Project

Upon the primary run of Merlin Project, my preliminary evaluation of what I noticed was a bit pessimistic upon seeing a UI that appeared a bit outdated (Figure A). Given the price of the software program, I might have assumed it to be a lovely UI that was each bit as fashionable because the current macOS.

Figure A

The preliminary Merlin Project window appears a bit outmoded by fashionable requirements.

Of course, I’ve realized over time to not choose a e-book by its cowl, so the true check will probably be how straightforward the software program is to make use of and the accessible options. To that finish, I opted to make use of the General Project Management Plan to see how a lot mileage I might get out of it.

After selecting the template, I used to be shocked to seek out it full of demo information (Figure B).

Figure B

The demo information for the General Project Management Plan.

Right out of the gate I spotted that Merlin Project means severe enterprise. This isn’t a piece of software program that may hand-hold you thru the onboarding course of. When you decide to make use of Merlin Project, you higher know your manner round Gantt charts, in any other case, you may be misplaced from the bounce.

Not being a large fan of Gantt charts, I instantly wished to know what Merlin Project needed to supply by the use of kanban boards. I’m not gonna lie, it took me a second to determine open the Kanban View (go to View | Net Plan | Kanban). My subsequent shock was, upon opening the Kanban View on the project, that Merlin Project was removed from a conventional board. One factor you must work with is the thought of groupings. With Merlin Project, groupings let you dynamically group the contents of the current view primarily based on sure guidelines, reminiscent of:

  • Complete
  • Expected Duration
  • Expected Work
  • Milestones
  • On Critical Path
  • Priority
  • Resources
  • Status
  • Tags

Those are simply the out-of-the-box groupings. You can create your personal customized grouping by opening the Groupings part and clicking + on the backside proper of the pane (Figure C).

Figure C

The Merlin Project kanban groupings window.

You have to pay shut consideration when creating your first kanban board in Merlin Project. When you open the view, you’ll be greeted by a window with a button labeled Group By Status Field. Click that button after which, within the ensuing popup (Figure D), choose By New Field From Template.

Figure D

Creating a new kanban board in Merlin Project.

Select the kind of project (reminiscent of Software Development) from the drop-down and click on OK. Your new kanban board will probably be created and also you’re able to go.

The factor about utilizing kanban with Merlin Project is that after you’ve created a board, you’ll be able to’t actually customise it. Because of that, you should do any customization after deciding on your template (and earlier than clicking OK). In that window, you’ll be able to add, take away and rename columns to suit your wants. If you don’t customise the template earlier than creating the board, you’re out of luck, as you can’t add or take away columns as soon as the board has been created.

If, nevertheless, you do take the time and customise the board to satisfy your wants, I’ve discovered the Merlin Project tackle kanban to be very highly effective and helpful.

Who is Merlin Project for?

This is a robust query to reply. Given the fee and complexity of the app, I might say Merlin Project is aimed toward those that are severe about Gantt charts and who’ve already mastered the artwork. If you come into Merlin Project not understanding what you’re doing, you may be instantly misplaced.

Merlin Project is among the most feature-rich desktop apps of this nature I’ve come throughout. It’s additionally one of the difficult. But should you’re wanting for severe Gantt chart energy, you’d be hard-pressed to seek out a worthier contender for your wants. If the worth isn’t too steep for you and also you already know your manner round Gantt charts and kanban boards, I extremely advocate you are taking Merlin Project out for the 30-day trial and see if it doesn’t meet (and, most probably, exceed) your wants.

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