RationalPlan 4.4 – Integration With Google Drive and Dropbox Storage Services

By | May 28th, 2013|Cloud Project Management, Microsoft Project, News, RationalPlan|Comments Off on RationalPlan 4.4 – Integration With Google Drive and Dropbox Storage Services

RationalPlan Project Management Software version 4.4 is ready for the public. Current version offers support for opening and saving files from/to Google Drive and Dropbox platforms. Plus it was added the possibility to handle Microsoft Project 2013 files along with a new look for the web-based module.

Important changes for this version:

  • Dropbox integration
  • Google Drive integration
  • added recurrent tasks
  • support for Microsoft Project 2013 files
  • new web based interface for Server
  • export projects to .xls format files
  • automatic email notifications on Server

On users increased need to have access to their projects from multiple places, version 4.4 added the possibility to open and save files automatically on external locations like those provided by Google Drive and Dropbox storage services. This is a huge advantage because users can now manager their projects without worrying if their data is safe on their local hard-drives. All they need to do is to keep their files stored on any of the above two hosting solutions. Opening and saving is done as easy as working on local computers but with the advantage of data backup and availability, as long as you have an Internet connection. In case of concurrent access from multiple users on the same data, the Server products should be used. (more…)

Project Team Productivity – Problems and Solutions

By | May 23rd, 2013|Resource Management, Risk Management, Team Management, Time Management|Comments Off on Project Team Productivity – Problems and Solutions

Team productivity isTeam Productivity a source of risk in any project. Low team productivity can trigger other issues, including schedule delays, unsatisfactory quality of the deliverables, low team morale, which, in turn, can all lead to the project’s failure. The project management approach, the project manager’s skills, the changes in project scope are some of the risk factors for a team’s productivity. But often the issues and conflicts that arise from the team itself are the causes of low productivity. The productivity can suffer when the teams are distributed rather than collocated, and when there are cultural differences among team members, since both situations can generate conflict and miscommunication.

Collocated vs. Distributed Project Teams

Since creating a cohesive team depends on how the team members communicate and bond with each other, there can be significant differences in productivity between collocated and distributed teams. In collocated teams, communication is facilitated because all team members are physically in the same environment. However, with the modern communication technologies, including videoconferencing, e-mail, and VoIP, distributed teams can also communicate effectively. As a technical report from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, demonstrates, one of the problems in distributed teams is that members do not bond as easily as the members of collocated teams do, so it can be difficult for collaborators to trust each other. As a result, the teams do not work effectively together, which is likely to decrease productivity and even generate conflicts. There is obviously no quick fix for this problem.

Risks to Productivity in Agile Projects

Having a cohesive team that works well together is crucial especially in agile projects, where the teams are self-organizing and even cross-functional at times. On the one hand, having distributed teams is becoming necessary for many organizations in order to keep their costs low, find the best talent, and keep up with the their competitors. On the other hand, having distributed teams in agile projects adds a new layer of complexity to the project, not only because the teams are self-organizing, but also because daily meetings can be difficult with local time differences. The productivity can suffer. The role of the project manager, if any, is crucial. This person needs to be a leader and be able to motivate the team to work effectively, solve issues when they arise, and prevent conflicts. In large agile projects, organizing the distributed team in smaller teams, and having a project manager to facilitate communication between teams can be a partial solution. (more…)

MOOS Project Viewer 3.0 – Support for Microsoft Project 2013 Files

By | May 21st, 2013|Microsoft Project, MOOS Project Viewer|Comments Off on MOOS Project Viewer 3.0 – Support for Microsoft Project 2013 Files

Stand By Soft is pleased to announce the release of MOOS Project Viewer 3.0. Current version adds support for opening Microsoft Project 2013 files. At the same time the application now offers native integration with Ubuntu operating system.

After several months of development a major version was released that added support for reading Microsoft Project 2013 files. Project managers can now also open .mpp files generated with the latest version of  MS Project.

It is well known that Microsoft did not develop a viewer for its Microsoft Project product as it did for the rest of Microsoft Office suite. However certain companies have employees that only need to view files. In this case a logical and practical approach would be to reduce the costs by using an appropriate product. This is the case when MOOS Project Viewer becomes a helpful tool: it gives companies a real solution to reduce costs. (more…)

Project Management Software for Traditional vs. Agile Environments

By | May 7th, 2013|Project Management Methodology, Project Management Software|Comments Off on Project Management Software for Traditional vs. Agile Environments

Agile vs. Traditional project managementHow much does an agile project management software differ from a traditional project management software? On short: pretty much. But on the other side both types of products have many things in common.

Many say that agile is not a project management methodology but rather a product development methodology. But in many cases the companies prefer to treat the development as a project and hence the notion of agile project management. Now the agile and traditional approaches are totally different so the first thought would be that the software used to manage each type of projects to be different. The idea is that agile PM is not a method per se, but rather an umbrella term for different processes. In turn, agile processes are very different among them.

In Scrum there are small teams, usually collocated, no project manager, and very often there is no need for a software for the managing the project. The team is self organizing, team members are doing daily meetings, and the project is split in iterations that take maximum one month. At the end of each iteration it is decided the next one and so on… No one wants to loose time by updating a plan that keeps changing or to monitor the daily progress of the team with a project scheduling tool.

In other agile processes the iterations take longer but the main idea is that the project plan, the requirements and the product specifications are subject to change. So a traditional project management software does not solve these needs. Indeed it is necessary to have a monitoring process for the project and the team, a system for client communication etc. but due to the dynamic nature of the processes there is no needs to have fancy or complicated features. An agile product should be light in functionality, easy to use, easy to access and highly portable. (more…)