Published: 1 Aug 2011
What is Open Workbench?
Open Workbench is a free Windows-based desktop application that provides robust project scheduling and management functionality. Open Workbench is free to distribute throughout the enterprise. When users need to move beyond desktop scheduling to a workgroup, division or enterprise-wide solution, they can upgrade to CA Clarity PPM, a project and portfolio management system that offers bidirectional integration with Open Workbench.
Comprehensive Project Management Capabilities
Open Workbench is a robust, mature tool for project scheduling and management. It conforms to and supports the underlying ideals of project management while presenting information in a way that is intuitive and easy to learn. Tens of thousands of project managers around the world use Open Workbench to plan and execute complex projects.
All projects proceed through a series of tasks (or stages) during their lifecycle. By using Open Workbench, these critical tasks or stages become more manageable, making projects more likely to succeed. Open Workbench enables project managers to create work breakdown structures (WBS) with tasks and milestones, set baselines, schedule project plans with dependencies, assign resources to tasks, schedule work on tasks over a period of time, adjust the schedule as actual work is recorded, link master and subprojects and schedule resources across them, and conduct earned value analysis.
Advanced Scheduling Functionality
Once the project plan is created, project managers can schedule tasks with assigned resources for completion. For large projects, scheduling can be an intricate process that balances task relationships, resource availability, and task duration. The powerful Auto Schedule feature in Open Workbench is designed to handle just this type of complexity. With the click of a button, the Auto Schedule feature uses an internal set of rules to create a schedule that takes into account task constraints, dependencies, priorities and resource constraints—automatically generating the best method for project completion. When the plan is approved, the project manager can create a baseline, which gives a snapshot of the project and allows revisions to be compared against the original plan.
Flexible Information Views
Project managers have access to a library of project views in Open Workbench, allowing them to customize the information display to their needs. Multiple views are supported, including Gantt and Phase Level Gantt charts, as well as logical, PERT-style displays. Organizations can also define and distribute custom views as corporate standards.
Scope Change Management
Modifications are required when a project’s scope changes, whether due to new requirements, lack of resources or time and budget constraints. Open Workbench identifies these potential problems and trends before they affect a project by performing the following analyses:
- Critical Path: analyzes isolated dependency networks and tasks with negative float.
- Estimated Time to Complete: calculates the estimated usage required to complete a task and ascertains if deadlines will be met.
- Earned Value: analyzes the true progress of a project, taking into account the effort expended as well as what has been achieved.
Managers can refine the project schedule based on these analyses and, using the project baseline, compare scope changes with the original plan for detailed analysis. Having the right information to quickly mitigate potential problems is crucial to the successful delivery of work.
Beyond Desktop Scheduling
Desktop scheduling applications work well for individual users and small workgroups where it’s possible to manually assess how people and plans affect the work to be done. In larger and more complex organizations, project managers need insight into the organization’s resource availability, project expenditures, standardized methodologies and shared knowledge.
To achieve this level of integration, users of Open Workbench can upgrade to CA Clarity PPM, a fully integrated project and portfolio management system that seamlessly connects day-to-day project management activities with strategic portfolio planning and execution.
Contact CA to learn more about the powerful combination of Open Workbench and CA Clarity PPM.
There is no support available from CA for the version of Open Workbench downloadable from this site. CA offers Open Workbench as a free download to non-CA customers, but does not offer technical support for this free version. Full support from CA is available for versions of Open Workbench included with CA Clarity PPM.
These files will install on Windows 2000, XP, or 2003 Server edition. For Open Workbench 1.1.6 you'll need version 1.5 or later of Sun's Java Runtime Engine which can be downloaded from http://www.java.com.