Merlin (software)

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Merlin
Developer(s) ProjectWizards
Stable release 2.9.2 / October 15th, 2013
Operating system Mac OS X
Type Project management software
License EULA
Website Merlin's Homepage

Merlin is a commercial project management software application for Mac OS X, developed by ProjectWizards GmbH in Germany. It focusses on project plans creation, tracking the status of activities, assignment of resources, and managing budgets. Merlin contains a reporting system that includes visualization of activity timelines (Gantt), net maps (Project network), and resource workload in bar diagrams. It allows collaborative work among project stakeholders using the Merlin Mac OS X application and multi-user-mode-editing over the local network or internet.

Additional sharing options for Web and iPhone project sharing are also possible. By optional sharing licenses, published projects can get accessed over a web browser by project stakeholders working on other operating systems like Windows, Linux or the iPhone (in Merlin iPhone app). For larger teams a server solution is provided in form of a Mac OS X System Preference Pane handling a watched projects folder and the necessary sharing options.

Version history and awards[edit]

ProjectWizards originally created Merlin 1.0 for its own internal project management. It contained a very basic set of features. Merlin 1.0 was officially released in November 2004. Public betas[1] of Merlin 2 were available in June 2006 and Merlin 2.0 was released in November 2006. It included several new features including an extended calculation function, Entourage support, multiple project linking, an improved interface, and more. It also supports importing from MS Project, NovaMind, OmniOutliner, and MindManager, and synchronizes with iCal. Version 2.0.3 was reviewed and scored 4 ½ mice by MacWorld (April 2007):[2]

"Merlin 2.0.3, from Project Wizards, is project management software that is not only as good as its Windows competition, Microsoft Project, but much better. Merlin 2 takes the excellent foundation provided by the initial version of the software ( ) and evolves it into the kind of intuitive program that leverages the best features the Mac has to offer."[3]

On December 2007 it received a MacWorld 2007 Editor's Choice Award.[4]

Merlin 2.5 was released in January 2008 and added project publishing functionality: Merlin users could now work simultaneously with others on the same project over the network. - Reviews by Mac User [1] in February 2008 (5 mice) and TechRadar May 2008 (4 ½ stars).[5]

"Merlin's best feature is housed in its Elements window. Here you can build or collate information and attach it to an activity or the whole project. An element can be as simple as a checklist or an attached file, but a risk management element enables you set details of the probability and potential impact of a threat to the project in financial and time terms. You can allocate a reserve for this risk and when the risk element is applied, this is reflected in the costs of the activity or resource."[6]



"There are many aspects to setting up and using any project management system, so total simplicity isn't really possible, but Merlin does an excellent job of keeping things as clear and logical as it possibly can."[7]


Merlin 2.6 was released in July 2008 and added publishing for the web. Merlin users could now publish projects that they and their team members could view and edit over the network through a supported web browser.
On Oct 2008 it received a MacUser 2008 editorial award.[8]

ProjectWizards released Merlin 2.7 in April 2009, along with a new Merlin iPhone app. - In its review by the German Website 'Heise online' Merlin 2.7 scored 5 out of 6 stars.[9] Customer reviews of the App Store criticize configuration difficulties and syncing concept of the iPhone app.[10]
Merlin Server was first released in May 2009.
2.7.4 was the first version supporting Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.
2.7.9 supported better collaboration to Things and MS Project.[11]
2.8 was the first version supporting Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.[12]
It was reviewed by Macworld and received 5 out of 5 mice.

"Merlin 2 is a best-of-breed project management application that is capable, versatile, and powerful. It offers a compelling set of project management tools that give project managers who want to use a Mac an excellent reason to forgo Windows virtualization, drop MS Project, and manage everything they do using a Mac."[13]

Merlin 2.9 and Merlin Server 2.9.1 supported Mac OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion).[14]

Merlin and Merlin Server version 2.9.2 support Mac OS X 10.9 (Mavericks)

Current versions[edit]

  • Merlin and Merlin Server 2.9.2 [15]
  • Merlin iPhone 1.4 and Merlin iPad 1.4 [16]

This iOS app supports the Retina Display of the iPhone 4 and the bigger iPad display, but also 3GS iPhone or iPod Touch devices. Note: fully supporting iOS 7

Merlin products[edit]

Merlin Mac OS X[edit]

Merlin features project activities management, resource and assignment management,[17] and budget management.[18] It supports import[19] of and export[20] to various project management file formats including .mpp, .mpx and .xml (MS Project), NovaMind, MindManager, and Freemind (mind mapping software). Merlin also integrates with Apple (Apple Inc) Mac OS X: It can synchronize project and resource calendars to iCal, access the Address Book (application) for resource (staff) management,[21] and create email messages to project stakeholders with Merlin reports attached (in HTML or PDF). It also supports automation via AppleScript.

Merlin can link activities by the typical project management dependency FS, FF, SS, SF kinds, and visualize activities, dependencies, and assignments in various ways. Merlin can also display the critical path in Gantt charts or the net plan.

Merlin's internationalization supports English, German, and French.

Elements
Merlin elements include risk, issue, information, event, and document management. These elements can be inserted into projects, and attached to the complete project, on single activities, activity groups or resources. Merlin recognizes the following 6 element types:

  • Checklist — A to do list. Can be used to keep track of lists.
  • File — Linking or embedding documents of any file format. Version control for embedded files is implemented.
  • Risk — Risk information for risk mitigation and later evaluation.
  • Event — For organizing project relevant events.
  • Information — Additional information for the project as a mini CRM (Customer relationship management).
  • Issue — Issues arising during project realization.

Publishing and collaboration
Merlin's multi-user mode allows users to open and edit published projects remotely. Saved changes are distributed and displayed automatically to all users. A rights management defines authenticated users' scope of access.

Optional features by additional licenses
Web sharing: sharing and access to Merlin projects by a supported web browser.
iPhone sharing: sharing and access by Merlin iPhone app over an iPhone or iPod touch.

Merlin iPhone app[edit]

The Merlin iPhone app provides users the ability to remotely access and edit Merlin projects, and supports all core features of the Merlin native application except sharing. An online connection to the Merlin sharing system is needed when saving changes. It runs on iPhone, iPad or iPod and supports the latest iOS versions on those devices.

Merlin Server[edit]

Merlin Server provides additional features useful for larger projects and teams, including centralized project storage and project publication for remote access to Merlin projects using the Merlin desktop application, or a supported web browser, or the Merlin iPhone app. It is implemented as a preference pane for the Mac OS X and can be installed for the current user or all users on a Mac. A Merlin desktop application is required for initial project creation. Supported web browsers for Merlin Server are Safari 3 or later (Mac and Windows), Firefox 3 or later (Mac and Windows), Internet Explorer 7 (IE 8 in compatibility mode) or later (Windows) and Chrome 24 or later (Mac and Windows).[22]

Additions for Merlin[edit]

  • MerlinDaylite-Link is a tool connecting Merlin and the CRM system Daylite. It is sold separately and created by a third party company, called Lgo Consulting Ltd
  • Various Applescripts provided for free in the internet, allow Merlin to integrate to more applications that it would normally connect to over standard exporting procedures. Some of these apps are Billings [2], GrandTotal [3], Mon(K)ey Office ([4] page in German), Starface (phone system)

Further reading[edit]

  • Blome, Frank and Cherif, Antoni Nadir (2009): Project Management mit Merlin — Das offizielle Handbuch. Hanser Verlag, ISBN 978-3446419278

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ "Merlin 2 Beta Available". The Mac Observer. 15 June 2010. 
  2. ^ "Merlin 2.0.3". MacWorld. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  3. ^ Teague, J.C. (April 23, 2007). "Merlin 2.0.3", Macworld.com
  4. ^ "MACWORLD UNVEILS THE 2007 EDDY AWARD WINNERS". MacWorld. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  5. ^ "ProjectWizards Merlin 2.5.2 review". TechRadar. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  6. ^ Gorham, T. (Feb 2008) "Merlin 2.5", MacUser.co.uk
  7. ^ Editorial team (May 13th, 2008) "ProjectWizards Merlin 2.5.2 review", techradar.com
  8. ^ "MacUser names 2008 Awards winners". MacUser. Retrieved 15 June 2010. 
  9. ^ "Merlin 2.7". Heise Online. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  10. ^ "Merlin — Project Management". AppStore. Retrieved 9 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "MERLIN 2.7.9: CONNECTING TO THINGS, BETTER COLLABORATION TO MS PROJECT". ProjectWizards. 19 April 2011. 
  12. ^ "MERLIN 2.8 is released". ProjectWizards. 19 August 2011. 
  13. ^ Battersby, J. (March 22, 2012) "Merlin 2.8 is a top-tier project management application", http://www.macworld.com/article/1165834/merlin_2_8_is_a_top_tier_project_management_application.html
  14. ^ "MERLIN 2.9 UPDATE WITH SUPPORT FOR OS X 10.8". 12 July 2012. 
  15. ^ "Merlin 2.9.2 update with support for OS X 10.9". 16 October 2013. 
  16. ^ "Merlin iOS app – enter actuals to record progress and update your Merlin projects". 
  17. ^ "Comparison of Projectmanagement-Software". Johannes Kepler Universität Linz — Thomas Klambauer. 5 December 2007. 
  18. ^ Merlin product page
  19. ^ Import topic in Merlin Help system
  20. ^ Export topic in Merlin Help system
  21. ^ Integration section on Merlin product page
  22. ^ Merlin Server product page

Further external links / Reference[edit]