In this series of blogs ( 3 parts) I will introduce to 9 Project Management tools that can be relevant to your business. I used a broad brush approach to evaluate the tools based on the publicly available information in the web site. Consider these 9 tools as candidate tools that give you an idea about the features that are relevant to you. You can find more exhaustive list of PM tools here.
In the previous blog on Project Management in cloud, I talked about the changing Project Management tools landscape and the risks. I classified the tools in 5 categories. The categories are:
In this article, I give overview of the categories, salient features of each tool and pricing info, if available. If you want just a summary table comparison, visit the final blog in this series.
Few years back, I was part of the team that set up a Portfolio Management practice for a South Australian Government agency. It was a new concept for the agency. We all understand how share/investment portfolio works. We “hold” “buy” “sell” depending upon the share performance. In Project Portfolio Management we extend this concept to projects. The organisation needs to choose the project based on the value it provides to the stakeholders. We need to have a business case evaluation process that not only looks at the individual business case, but how the new initiative fits within the existing portfolio.
In this Agency, we used Excel spreadsheet to manage the portfolio. It was clumsy, time consuming and painful. The commercial Portfolio Tools were not within our reach.
If you are interested in knowing more about Portfolio Management, you can read the chapter I have authored. It includes a case study.
Let us come back to our tool evaluation.
Tool 1: Psoda:
I am pleasantly surprised to see the portfolio management tool, Psoda. Psoda is available as SaaS offering with “Pay As you Go” pricing.
Psoda has features that will suit any organisation that is aligned with a Project Management methodology like Prince2 or PMBOK. For example, the “Plan budget” module gives the features that are expected deliverables of formal project management methodologies.
- Benefits realisation – development of a benefits maps
- Risks register
- Issues register
- Lessons Learned log
In my view, the main “killer” feature is providing a Portfolio dashboard view which is not available in the standard project management tools. The portfolio view visually presents the projects that are in the pipeline and different stages of development.
You can check out the features of Psoda here.
This product includes Free trial.
The subscription starts at AUD 20/month/user/module.
Collaboration is the common theme among most of the Project Management products I reviewed. These SaaS solutions allows you to
- Store the documents in a simple “drag and drop”
- Familiar file and folder structure
- Version control
- Communication through on-line portal – not cluttering email inbox
- Search facility
- Other add ons include video conferencing
- “invite” people outside the network
- Most of the tools allow access through mobile devices
Tool 2: Glasscubes:
Glasscubes provides the following features for collaboration:
- Realtime Dashboard overviews
- Work estimates
- Time tracking
- Time and task reporting
- SMS/Text/Email reminders
- Multiple calendar overlays
- iCal support / Outlook meetings
- Google calendar synchronization
- Group management
- Deep Google-like search
- Workspace Customization
( Full features can be obtained from: http://www.glasscubes.com/online-collaboration-2/)
Basic features available for FREE. (it is not limited trial).
The standard package with support starts at $49/month.
Scheduling and tracking:
In my career I have used MS Project and Primavera. I had used the desktop version of MS Project which did not allow ease of collaboration among team members. Primavera did allow collaboration. However, the target market of Primavera was large enterprises.
I am impressed with the features and ease of use provided by SaaS providers. The scheduling solutions offer:
- Easy creation of Gantt chart by familiar spread sheet structure
- Allows the team members the view and update
- The user interface is very intuitive
- The presentation of Gantt chart is visually pleasing
- Built for collaboration
I have included two examples. Both include free trials.
Tool 3: Tom’s planner
Tom’s planner promises that the Gantt chart development is intuitive than MS Project and Primavera. Good! They need to benchmark against other cloud project management providers who offer similar “cool features”.
The planner allows exporting MS Project and Excel files. This is a very handy feature as it protects the investment and effort spent by organisations.
Tom’s planner includes some standard templates, for wedding, conference, web design etc. This gives the impression that the solution is targeted to attract SME market.
Things I like: Free for 1 user, templates,
Things I do not like: User interface is not as intuitive as other contemporary tools
Tool 4: Smart sheet:
Smartsheet is another tool that boasts similar, “cooler” features for Gantt chart development and sharing. The entire planning is based on “smarter spreadsheet”. The smart sheet lets you attach files, set alerts, send rows, use as Gantt charts.
Yes, it is more intuitive than the previous tools I have used!
Standard templates for event planning, marketing launch, new hire checklist, System Development Life Cycle.
You can check the full features of smart sheet here:
Things I like: Intuitive interface, templates
Things I don’t like: No free registration, license starts $15/month
I will continue the rest of the categories in the next blog. Stay tuned.
Kloudax is a portal that provides an overview of the cloud market that enables the business to see “what is out there”. Kloudax provides a categorized service directory and additional tools that empowers to take informed decisions. It also includes an introductory e-learning course complete with audio and self-assessment.
The portal is still evolving. Please do provide feedback. If you think some cloud providers are missing, please let us know. If you wish to add any features that will be useful to you, please provide feedback.
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