I’d like to focus your attention on the choice of software for those who don’t manage projects themselves but are heads of project departments. Generally speaking, this is a person who doesn’t manage projects directly but has to assist others in this. What does such head want to know?
• What are his employees doing at the moment?
• Which projects are they working on?
• When are the deadlines of these projects?
• Who will perform new projects?
• Who can be appointed to solve a sudden problem (detect and fix a critical mistake, visit a client to bring back to life a fallen system; etc.).
Having search the Internet, I have discovered two types of such software:
• Fully functional project management systems;
• Multi project management systems.
Fully functional project management systems
Such programs are intended for assisting in choosing projects for execution and in monitoring project execution. They assume that there are more than enough projects and it’s necessary to choose the optimal way of their execution; or abandon some of them at all.
The main advantage of these systems is their functionality which allows solving all the above mentioned tasks and even much more if needed. Unfortunately, such systems require implementation, which is their main disadvantage. The systems have powerful functionality and for adjusting it according to your company’s needs you may need an additional project on its implementation. Moreover, you may need to change the existing project execution methods or replace the existing tools. By the way, the cost of a license and implementation are likely to be high.
Multi Project Management Systems
I’m speaking about special project management solutions that let us track the execution of projects and their mutual influence on each other in the course of execution.
Let’s take, for example, Multi Project Planner. This program is designed for planning the simultaneous execution of several projects under conditions of limited resources. The main tool of this program is a general board, which is, in fact, a simple Gantt chart where the tasks of each project are presented in different colors. First of all, in a new window we create a Gantt chart for the new project paying no attention to other projects. Then the created diagram is moved to the general board for planning. All the problems connected with the limited resources become visible at once. The program has an option of leveling resources which will let fix the problems.
The program has an intuitive interface which is suitable for planning several simultaneous projects. However, the program doesn’t solve all the set tasks since this is a planning tool not a task tracking tool.
Comindware Tracker software is another program of the same type that allows managing several projects at a time. With the help of this software, you can track time, provide communication and collaboration between employees, draw project plans, group projects in portfolios and analyze these portfolios, track task execution and employees’ workload, create reports. It is also ideal for distributed teams.
This program doesn’t require any special training and has an intuitive interface. It can be integrated with Microsoft Outlook and perform the functions of a GTD program. Moreover, this program is absolutely free.
Premium Project Viewer allows viewing several files in the Microsoft Project format as one project. It lets you see the problems of cross project interaction in a convenient form. Moreover, the program provides several tools for analyzing projects and project portfolios.
The program is easy to implement and use and doesn’t require changing the existing order of business processes in the company. But some users claim that Premium Project Viewer has a rather complicated and confusing interface.
Of course, the above mentioned programs are not the only programs at the market. The choice is big and you have many ones to choose from. If you are a big company that wants and, which is more important, has powers and resources for optimizing business processes in the sphere of project management, you need fully functional systems for managing project portfolios. You just have to hire consultants, launch an implementation project and go ahead! But don’t forget that in this case you will have to throw away the existing project management programs which you have grown out of and start from the beginning. After implementing the system, your company will be one project environment.
If you don’t want to change anything in the company and just need to bring together the data from the already used project management system, you can pay attention to such software solutions as Project Viewer and Comindware task management program.
Hi, my name’s Steward Copper and I am the owner of Project Management Insights. While working as a project coordinator and BA, I have tried almost all possible PM tools, BA instruments, collaboration programs, including tracker and human resource management software solutions. I use Comindware Tracker for my project management processes. Follow me on Linkedin.