RationalPlan Multi Project Software Review: HPS Maintenance & Restoration

By | November 10th, 2010|Microsoft Project, Project Management Software, RationalPlan, Reviews|Comments Off on RationalPlan Multi Project Software Review: HPS Maintenance & Restoration

Tony Kramer, a senior contract manager at HPS Maintenance & Restoration, faced challenges trying to communicate complicated project details using Excel spreadsheets. At the same time, he did not have the budget to invest in a full-blown construction project management tool like Microsoft Project or Primavera P3. So Kramer scoured the Internet until he stumbled upon RationalPlan. At a cost of only £60, it was cheap enough that he could just dive in.

RationalPlan does not have all the bells and whistles of some of its more expensive competitors, but it does have all the basic features Kramer requires. For example, Kramer appreciates the ability to be able to pass detailed planning information on to his contract manager. In addition, the application makes it easy for multiple people to keep track of the status of projects without a lot of back and forth phone calls.

Kramer rates RationalPlan an 8 out of 10 and recommends the software to anyone planning medium sized jobs or who needs to send a schedule to an outside body via a PDF file.

Here is the full review for RationalPlan Multi Project.

RationalPlan Review

By | July 19th, 2010|Microsoft Project, Project Management Software, RationalPlan, Reviews|Comments Off on RationalPlan Review

While browsing the Internet and reading articles related to project management I reached Ian Burgess blog. And after reading some of his posts I just felt the need to get his opinion on RationalPlan products so I contacted him. That was an interesting point of view and I would like to share it with you:

Some time ago I was asked to try and review RationalPlan by Tiberiu Ghioca. There are two versions of the application Single Project and Multi Project. The version I used was the Multi Project Version which retails for around $98 per user (compare this to MS Project more about that later).

The one obvious advantage along with the price is the fact the application works on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. This is appealing as I am among the few Windows users (by the way I am happy with this) in most of the projects I work on. So finally a Project Management application that is not online (I travel a lot and do not always have easy access to the Internet) that can be shared among all the users on a project.

What is the best environment for RationalPlan?

From using the application over the last few months it holds its own in the SME and Micro Company market against any of its competitors. Where the project management is maybe only a full time job for one or two individuals or where a small team are delivering projects to multiple clients at the same time.

How did it road test?

Well I used this on a group of small projects using the same delivery team and was really pleased with the ease of use and simple interface. This screen shot was taken on a EEE with a 10.1 inch screen and this is a suitable screen resolution to make the application easily usable when I was on the move. Its lighter functionality in comparison with MS Project on was never really an issue when I was mobile.

What can it do?

From a functionality level it is more than capable of managing projects, baselines, risks, cost and resources which is really all you need to manage a project. If you are an MS Office applications user you may miss the import and export functionality the MS Project has with Visio and Excel. Although I have to say what I love about this application and has set it above all the other competitors that I have looked at is the project set up wizard. I have shown this to a few project managers who are starting out and everyone has been impressed with this tool.

Project Management is not Business Management

By | March 24th, 2010|Business Management, Project Management Software|Comments Off on Project Management is not Business Management

One of the most prominent characteristic of a project as a concept, is its sharp delimitation in time. It has clear start and end dates and is designed to achieve a unique scope, unlike the ongoing operations specific for business management.

Sometimes, the end date of a project is the most important characteristic of the project. It is the starting point when designing the project deployment, any other characteristic being subordinated to this. In fact using a project management software allows a project manager to add a higher level of transparency regarding the interaction between various factors that interact when developing a project. Keeping some of this variables constant (like the end date of a project), allows to the project managers to determine and control the others (like cost or scope of the project).

Because of it’s very limited nature, a project duration can be clearly divided into five main phases. In the following observations we will presume that the client has clear expectations regarding the project and knows decently well what results he needs. The five main phases of a project are the following:

  • defining
  • planning
  • execution
  • controlling
  • closure

In the defining stage an important aspect is to speak with the people who are affected or exert influence over the project evolution. These people are referred to as the stakeholders. Getting their feedback will help you outline the project activities. This is commonly known as the scope (the work that should be done). It is equally important to write down both what will and will not be achieved. You want to make sure you know what the stakeholders are expecting. In this phase the aims and objectives are set, including the development of project deliverables and the desired outcomes of a specific set of activities.

The planning stage presumes breaking the deliverables into subdeliverables down to a level where activities can be outlined. Subsequently can be defined  the relations between tasks and their timeline for completion. An important aspect of this stage is defining the requirements for completion of the project, stipulating the needed resources as well as any other requirements deemed necessary. The risks and project constraints are identified and contingency plans originated to address any of these potential issues.

The execution phase takes the major part of the project. Here is most likely that surprises and conflicts to occur and sometimes corrective actions should be taken in order to bring the expected performance in accordance with the project plan. Project manager is responsible for coordinating individuals and make them acting like members of the same team.

As the work begins, the next stage of controlling the project defines the success or failure of a project manager, as the constant surveillance and adaption of project plan are required to reflect the progression of  involved activities. A project manager should take advantage of the methodologies and software available on the market. A large number of them are available online.

In the project closure stage, the team will be pulled together to analyze project performance and outline the learned lessons.

Stand By Soft is the provider of RationalPlan, a powerful project management software capable of handling multiple interrelated projects and covering project management areas starting with WBS construction, project planning and scheduling to progress tracking etc.