32-bit project-management software package for Windows Nt and Windows 95

Milestones, Etc. 5.0 from KIDASA Software is a 32-bit project-management software package for Windows NT and Windows 95 that lets you organize projects. With this software, you can track your work and better organize your time.

Enterprise Features, Etc.
Milestones includes numerous features that advanced users will find helpful. For instance, the software can import and export data in MPX format, letting you interchange data with Microsoft Project. You can export data as HTML and embed universal resource locators (URLs) in your project's milestones for reference. In addition, the software acts as an Object Linking and Embedding (OLE) object, so you can embed your project schedules into other documents, such as Microsoft Word files. With OLE Automation, you can automatically generate schedules from other company data sources.

The software includes several features to make new users comfortable. Milestones contains a dictionary that lets you spell check the text in project descriptions and schedule notes, and contains a wizard to help you set up new schedules quickly. A calendar button gives you access to a pop-up calendar that lets you graphically select the date when you want to set a schedule point. The software lets you change the time increments your schedule uses; that way, you can expand or shrink your schedule on a daily or monthly basis for different perspectives.

Installing Milestones is painless. The software comes on CD-ROM and floppy; I recommend using the CD-ROM if you have a choice.

When installing from CD-ROM, a script launches an installation screen where you can choose to install the software, view movies on how to use the software, or view online manuals using Adobe Acrobat. When you install the software, you provide basic information about yourself (your name and your company's name), a program key, and a serial number. You can choose a typical, compact, or custom install. I recommend that you select the default values and let the install program do the rest.

When you launch Milestones, you open a blank workspace. Across the top of the workspace you have a Windows menu bar and toolbar. Below the toolbar, you'll find a column area, schedule area, and ToolBox, as Screen 1 shows. The column area is where you enter the steps of your project, such as Buy Cable Conduit shown in Screen 1. The schedule area provides a graphical representation of each step's beginning and ending dates. The ToolBox contains a series of tools, symbols, and horizontal/vertical connectors that you can use to create your schedules. Unfortunately, the ToolBox doesn't provide tool tips for its symbols, forcing you to learn about them from the documentation.

Adding entries to a project is not complicated. Using the Text tool, enter a description of the task in the column area. Then select a symbol and horizontal/vertical connector from the ToolBox, and mark a starting and ending date in the schedule area. Once the entry is in place, you can double-click any symbol to pull up the properties associated with either date. You can add more text, which appears near the symbol.

Milestones claims to make three lines available for text. However, when I tried using more than two lines, lines two and three appeared on top of one another. You can change the symbol characteristics, such as size and color, and prevent a task from starting until a prerequisite task is complete.

A Bargain Compared with the Competition
Considering the product's numerous features and its flexibility, Milestones is a bargain compared with other competitive project-management products. For example, Microsoft Project and Computer Associates' SuperProject cost several hundred dollars more. However, I found the product had some rough edges, such as not redrawing the screen after critical operations.

The company's Web site offers a demonstration version of the software (without the ability to save your projects). If you need some affordable project-management software, give Milestones a closer look.