Scheduling software reviewed

Scheduling software - Time management software - Task management software - Mind map software - Project software

Schedules seem to be most suited to be managed by dedicated software. Schedules – tasks with time information see task management software must be arranged in a chronological order and often should carry a reminder feature.

Any change in the timeline need dates to be rearranged. With a paper solution, this can end in hopeless scribbling and loss of the overview.

Tasks, however, may be collected within a simple task list without an initial order or categorizing system and remain still manageable, to a certain extent, if a proper method is used.

Many schedules in typical office work have to be shared with colleagues or at least should be an information for others, that closely cooperate with you.

The basic chronological order within scheduler or calendar software screens often is crowded with countless additional features.

With this sort of software the same applies as with other software solutions for time management - general and task management and others: Carefully consider, what is really needed in your special working environment and what is superfluous.

Any useless feature wastes your time. However, don’t take it too serious. A rough check is normally enough.

A good approach is, to look, if, for example, the Google calendar fulfills your needs and note, what you miss at practical work over some weeks. This can be a perfect starting point for a further research for scheduling software.

Some selection criteria for scheduling software:

  • Webbased / online solution
  • Preferably usable with a Blackberry, iPhone, Windows Mobile PDA
  • A powerful and user friendly sync function
  • Reminder Function
  • And – it should be a part of you as more as you are forced to meet a lot of schedules. Part of you means it should be accessible immediately in case of time shifting.
  • Daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly overview
  • Timeline view
  • Create single or recurring dates
  • Drag and drop feature for quick rearrangement of dates
  • Filter functions for different kinds of schedules and categories
  • An overview of holidays of other countries if you are working internationally.
  • Should there be any interfaces included to other software programs like email, web browser, databases, time tracking logs and so on?
  • Must it be implemented with projects, should it be dedicated to specific working areas – event management, school scheduling or studying?
  • Adaptability, customizable according to your needs?
  • Should it be as simple as possible – you may use your cell phone with built in calendar.
  • How much learning time can you afford? Powerful software means sometimes to get sufficiently familiar with, so you don’t waste time with searching when applying certain features.
  • How important and severe are security issues. Online scheduler software can be hacked, if not sufficiently protected.

It is difficult to list all possible features. However, I hope this will give some impression on what to observe, and that this list is according to 80% of the Pareto rule.

Any other technical features and possibilities are either useless or very specific solutions for special working situations. (for example, example solutions for sales people, physicians, architects, teachers).

Features that you need rarely, however, disturb you in your daily work. You should avoid them. I think there is no software on the market, that doesn’t even miss one of the features above. Therefore, carefully look at the individual requirements, if you really need outstanding attributes and avoid any ballast.

Doing this review prepares the way to your individual solution, that is both economical and comfortable.

Other, non technical criteria are:

  • Is the scheduling software user-friendly?
  • Is it affordable?
  • Is a trial version available?
  • Are you a visual person? So you prefer symbols and images on the scheduler software screens.
  • Do you want a special style or color to feel good? Are you a “list” type, and want to see undecorated screens?

There often is no clear dividing line between scheduler software and todo list software or other time related programs. Depending on your requirements a software combining different solutions can be an ideal package for you.


Some links to schedule software examples

Google Apps
Reliable, secure online applications wherever you work. Google Apps reduces IT costs and empowers today's employees. Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sites, and more.

Multicalendar
MultiCalendar Personal/Professional/Enterprise Edition is a set of intuitive scheduling tools for managing your time, appointments, contacts and more. This powerful scheduler software is built for standalone use, and can manage resources ranging from three to unlimited.

Madrigalsoft
Sophisticated, but easy-to-use resource and employee scheduling software for rooms, equipment, staff (technicians, professionals, health care workers, others), vehicles, rooms, or other resources.

Wikipedia, Scheduling Software
A rich source of scheduling software solutions.

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