PMP Certification is not enough, project managers also need good tools and processes

It is widely recognized that good project management is a combination of three key area:

  1. Project management skills and competence
  2. Project management processes, procedures and methods
  3. Project management tools and information systems

In this post we will explain why all three are important for an effective project management. Without effective ways of developing each of them the organization will fail to deliver the best solutions.

Project Management Competence

Project management competence is a combination of knowledge, skills and experience. The first two can be developed by project management training, however the latter, experience, is the most important, but hardest to acquire. Any training and development scheme must provide plenty of opportunity to gather experience delivering projects of increasing complexity. Ideal for this is PMP certification which includes both training and experience requirements.

Project Management Procedures

A number of widely recognised standard methods for project management. The most highly developed is PRINCE2 which comes from the office of government commerce in the UK. This method describes the roles and responsibilities of key members of the project team such as the project executive, project manager, senior user and senior supplier, but it also provides templates and standard processes for the main functions of a project. Prince2 has become widely accepted as the de-facto standard for many projects. Unlike the APM and PMI bodies of knowledge PRINCE2 is quite prescriptive about how the project should be run. For this reason many see the PMBOK and PRINC2 as complementary.

The Need for Effective Planning and Control System

Event the most competent and capable project managers are unable to deliver successful projects if the tools provided are not up to the job. This is especially true if multiple projects are delivered as part of a programme or portfolio. In these cases single stand alone project plans are meaningless because they do not show the overall resource demand across multiple projects.

Today more and more people are turning to server or cloud based solutions to deliver these project management tools. The advantages of the server based solutions are clear in terms of flexibility and availability of data across a number of platforms and in various regions of the world. Often for virtual project teams web-based solutions can provide instant start up and the ability to add members from a number of organizations. RationalPlan Project Server is one of these web-based tools which is growing in popularity.

RationalPlan Project Management Software 3.22 Is Available With Stronger Server Privacy Options

By | June 17th, 2011|News, Project Management Software, RationalPlan|Comments Off on RationalPlan Project Management Software 3.22 Is Available With Stronger Server Privacy Options

RationalPlan project management suite version 3.22 added support for custom roles and rights for its Project Server module and the possibility for users to work from different timezone locations world wide. More reporting capabilities, easier to use and more intuitive interface, improved Microsoft Project integration and many more useful features were added. All these also available in German and French language.

RationalPlan is a project management software that follows the general recommended guidelines from project management domain. It has been developed to help project managers keep their projects on time and within budget. RationalPlan Project Server is a better solution for those companies that need a concurrent user project management system by adding a server module that gives project managers concurrent access to a central project data repository.

Important changes added to this version:

  • Added support for rights and permissions for users on RationalPlan Project Server
  • Possibility to create custom roles
  • Added the notion of TimeZone on server
  • Translated to German and French
  • Possibility to create task details reports
  • Render special working days in resource sheet
  • Added more filters to assignments page
  • Possibility to clear history on server side
  • Store graphical interface settings for resource sheets from all Gantt views
  • Allows users to select different positions for the labels on Gantt task bars
  • Possibility to move resources up and down in the list
  • Improved Microsoft Project integration
  • Possibility to fit horizontally to visible area on Gantt chart
  • Allow setting a fixed cost and accrual on phases

Some significant improvements regarding data privacy were added to RationalPlan Project Server. Business owners have now more powerful tools to keep their projects sensible data under control. “We decided to give our customers the possibility to create custom roles and rights and the ability to assign them for each created user. This is necessary to hide certain data like costs or other project details that should be kept private.” says Gabriel Toader, CEO of Stand By Soft. The list of rights usefulness expands further so that it can be used to also restrict access to certain functionality and features of the product. A resource or a stakeholder should always have less power over a software product than a project manager.

A sensible problem for companies that work over multiple locations is the timezone variable. Time related data like dates and working hours may be perceived differently by a user from Europe as compared with a user from Asia or America. This is why a solid project management tool should correctly manage time zone differences. Other improvements were also made to RationalPlan Project Server: the possibility to clear the history of changes, more filters for resources assignments and much more.

Current version also gets translated to German and French languages. “We would like to thank to all the users that helped us in translating RationalPlan products with special thanks to Mr. Jan Hefer from Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft research organization.” says Gabriel Toader, Stand By Soft CEO.

When resources in a project work according to a special calendar it is very useful to see those special working days while controlling the worksheets. All these are possible now in RationalPlan. Special working days are displayed with a different color while in Resource Sheet. It is easy to select the corresponding resource by just clicking on those special days.

All charts but especially the Gantt chart have been redesigned to offer more flexibility in presenting and handling data. A very useful “fit to page” action was added that will help users to easily scale the charts such that to fit horizontally to the visible area. This is neded when a project is spread over a large period of time and you want to easily see an overall presentation of it without too much details. Another useful feature is the possibility to present task details near the task bars in customizable locations (left, right, center). With this feature it is possible to generate better looking reports and printouts.

Other features: task details reports were added, the Microsoft Project integration was improved with a better support for MS Project 2010 files and more changes were made regarding the input of project’s data, allowing more flexibility in managing projects and resources.

RationalPlan suite includes:

RationalPlan Single Project – project management software for single projects
RationalPlan Multi Project – project management software for multiple projects, projects that are interconnected through dependencies and share common resource
RationalPlan Project Viewer – free project management software viewer, the solution for anyone (from project stakeholders to team workers) to view projects details
RationalPlan Project Server – a centralized management of company’s projects while offering concurrent/controlled access for different users

RationalPlan Project Management Software is available at http://www.rationalplan.com. It can be download from https://www.rationalplan.com/download.php.

About Stand By Soft

Stand By Soft was founded in 1997 as a software company specialized in building desktop applications and components. RationalPlan is a project planning software that follows the general recommended guidelines from project management domain. MOOS Project viewer is aMicrosoft Project viewer that allows you to open, view in a dynamic way and print any Microsoft Project file.

Contact name: Lucian Ioan
Address: Aleea Parului, Nr.4A, Craiova, Dolj, 200346, Romania
Email: marketing@rationalplan.com
Phone: +40771610710

###

Things To Check When Choosing A Work Management Software

By | June 14th, 2011|Project Management Software, Resource Management|Comments Off on Things To Check When Choosing A Work Management Software

There are certain things that a project management software must have in order to be sure you pick the best one available and to maximize your return of investment.

One of the key features that a project management software should have is the possibility to track the progress, for both the project manager supervisors and workers that participate in the project execution. This is related to creating tasks that can be easily and clearly quantified or on short to create deliverables – tasks that have measurable parameters.

Analyzing the workload is very important feature that a work management software must have. Managers must be sure that an optimal work force is assigned to various parts of a project and that no overallocation occurs. Assigning more work force than it is necessary to tasks would be a waste of resources. A good project planning software must have the workload analysis process in inter-dependency with the list of analysis features.

Estimating budget costs and managing budgets makes a great difference between a good profit and waste of investment. A project scheduling software without a detailed cash flow, at task level, can do more harm than help. Tracking project evolution, in each stage, with a good correlation between costs and progress is very important to be sure that the level of funding is adequate at any time.

Also do not forget to check if the selected work management software is capable of handling multiple projects, being able to track resource usage (workforce usage) over multiple projects. You don’t want to assign a worker to two projects at the same time. In the case that it still happens a resource leveling mechanism is always welcomed.

Avoid project management software that do not have a trial version. It is imperative to check all the aspects before deciding if that one is the management program that best suits your needs. (more…)