Best Gantt and WBS diagram software?
The best project cutting structure software (WBS)
In this analysis, we compare three advanced tools for creating project cutting structures (WBS) : WBS Schedule Pro, Microsoft Visio 2019 and MindView 7, to establish which of them is the most successful in creating a WBS structure. There are other drawing tools and other mind mapping software on the market that can help you create a WBS structure, such as SmartDraw, Lucidchart, MindManager, Visual Paradigm and so on. We selected MS Visio because it is a well-known tool of project managers, as well as the WBS Schedule Pro and MindView applications due to their capabilities in creating the WBS structure and the corresponding WBS dictionary, as well as their continuous planning functions.
Comparison table of software for the creation of WBS structures
|Absent functionality||Poor performance||Low performance||Average performance||Good performance||Excellent performance|
|Color customization, icons and images||2||5||4|
|Project time line||0||2||4|
|Price||$ 349||$ 280||$ 379|
Creation of the WBS structure
MS Visio 2019 integrates the Microsoft Office tape interface and its interface is very pleasant. MindView also adopts the classic Microsoft Office interface. In general, the Microsoft Office interface places the user in known terrain and makes the software very easy to approach. On the other hand, the interface of WBS Schedule Pro seemed to us old-fashioned, but we appreciated its lateral menu which allows to modify very quickly the format of the information displayed.
If you are used to drawing tools, creating the WBS structure with WBS Schedule Pro and Visio will not be a problem for you once you have become familiar with the initial configuration. Based on the mind mapping, MindView allows you to create the Elements and link them automatically by simply pressuring the Enter key. In addition, MindView gives you the opportunity to reorganize your WBS structure in complete ease by dragging the Elements from one location to another. Although the three tools considered support the numbering of the Elements, Visio requires you to do this operation manually. MindView allows you not only to include the 100% rule on the structure, but also to display all useful information, such as Work, Costs, Resources, Task Information, etc.
With Visio, the presentation of the WBS structure is very engaging because as a drawing tool, this software allows you to format the Levels, Elements and Work Units in a much more flexible way. WBS Schedule Pro offers different pre-screening views, but its formatting capabilities are limited.
MindView offers very advanced possibilities for capturing information and requirements for Elements by allowing you to include descriptions and comments, and to attach an unlimited number of attachments to it. To some extent, these operations are also possible with Visio and WBS Schedule Pro, but they are not intuitive. Being able to add additional information to the Elements plays a big role in the next step, the creation of the WBS Dictionary
In general, the creation of the WBS structure with MindView poses no difficulty, because this software is well suited to the life cycle of a traditional project: development of the WBS structure, creation of the WBS dictionary and creation of the project plan in the form of a Gantt diagram.
Creation of the WBS dictionary
For maximum efficiency, it is important to be able to export the WBS structure created in other document formats without being obliged to enter the data again. Traditionally, the photo leader takes a photo of the whiteboard, then recreates the data in another format (Word, Excel, Project etc.). Both WBS Schedule Pro and MindView give you the opportunity to export the WBS structure to Microsoft Word, Excel or Project, saving you considerable time. Visio offers export as a basic XML file which can then be opened in Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word, but it does not offer the customization and formatting capabilities present in the other two tools. In most cases, users use either Microsoft Excel or Microsoft Word to develop their WBS dictionary
In conclusion, the export in Microsoft Excel format proposed by WBS Schedule Pro pleased us with its robustness and its customization capacities, even more advanced with MindView. MindView’s export to Microsoft Word is distinguished by its professional nature and its numerous customization options for formatting the data and files attached.
Creation of a Gantt diagram
At some point in the project cycle, the WBS dictionary should be converted to another form capable of representing the reference schedule of a Gantt diagram. Visio does not have an integrated Gantt view capable of accommodating your WBS structure, and its export to Microsoft Project is not particularly useful.
On the other hand, the Gantt integrated view of MindView seemed very complete to us and the Gantt diagram included in WBS Schedule Pro is also convincing. However MindView includes functionalities such resource schedules, task management by effort, and so on which are not included in WBS Schedule Pro. MindView has an import / export module to complete Microsoft Project. WBS Schedule Pro provides synchronization with the 2010 and 2016 versions of Microsoft Project, but with the deactivation of certain functions.
Visio clearly demonstrates how the use of a drawing tool can help you create a WBS structure, but somehow leaves you on the way because it does not allow you to transform your data to exploit it further. More complete, the WBS Schedule Pro software is also a good solution for the creation of the WBS dictionary and the project plan. However MindView is the indisputable winner of this evaluation: creation of the very intuitive WBS structure, very careful exports to Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word. MindView also has its own high-level Gantt view, while being integrated with Microsoft Project.