RationalPlan – Retina Ready Project Management Software for Mac OS X

By | January 22nd, 2016|News, RationalPlan|0 Comments

Retina readyStarting with version 4.12 RationalPlan offers support for Retina displays on Mac OS X platform. The interface is now sharper and uses high definition icons as per the specifications required by Apple. No more blurry fonts or images.

RationalPlan is a project management software developed to assist project managers in handling their projects and to keep resources and costs under control. The product can be used not only on Mac OS X devices but also on other operating systems like Windows and Linux.

For those users that are working with products like Microsoft Project on Windows or with Merlin Project on Mac OS X, RationalPlan might be a simpler and easier to use solution but with a similar set of features. It was developed primarily to assist novice or accidental project managers but to also offer powerful functions for the more advanced ones.

RationalPlan suite includes:

RationalPlan Single Project – an alternative to Microsoft Project and the perfect solution for novice or accidental project managers
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 place to manage the company’s projects while offering concurrent access to different users – solution offered either as a Cloud service or as On-Premise

RationalPlan is designed as an affordable alternative to Microsoft Project with some extra-features like multiproject management and it is covering project management area from WBS construction, project planning and scheduling to critical path management, over allocated resources detection, progress tracking, cost estimation, etc. Gantt chart support as well as various time line reports are also provided. (more…)

RationalPlan 4.6 – Project Reschedule, Invoice Generation and SkyDrive Storage Integration

By | September 27th, 2013|Cloud Project Management, Microsoft Project, News, Project Management Software, RationalPlan|Comments Off on RationalPlan 4.6 – Project Reschedule, Invoice Generation and SkyDrive Storage Integration

Stand By Soft is pleased to announce the release of RationalPlan version 4.6. RationalPlan is a project management software that puts the accent on productivity, ease of use and fast learning. Current version comes to support this ideology by offering the possibility to easily reschedule the project. More than that the integration with SkyDrive storage service offers increased collaboration and productivity.

RationalPlan is a project management software that was designed to help different types of users starting with newbie project managers, continuing with users that need an environment to handle multiple projects and up to companies that need a distributed solution with concurrent access.

Important changes for this version:

  • Added the possibility to generate project invoices
  • Automatically reschedule uncompleted tasks
  • SkyDrive storage service integration
  • Added the possibility to roll up tasks
  • Documents management module
  • Added the option to remember usernames and passwords when working with RationalPlan Server product
  • Better integration with Microsoft Project
  • Improved administration area within the RationalPlan Cloud solution

At users request it was added the possibility to generate project invoices. Hence it became a must to have the possibility to manage company’s financial details like tax ID and tax rate. And since RationalPlan customers come from different locations on the globe with world-wide clients it was also added the possibility to apply the tax rate only for certain clients.

Sometimes a project can be put on hold for various reasons. But when it resumes the initial plan is not valid anymore except for the already executed tasks. In this situation a reschedule is required starting from a new reference date. This is now possible in RationalPlan. Already completed tasks will remain at the initial location, while partially completed tasks will get splitted and rescheduled along with the uncompleted ones.

After Google Drive and Dropbox storage integration in version 4.4, RationalPlan continued with SkyDrive storage integration. Users can now manage 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 three storage hosting solutions. (more…)

Dynamic Project Planning For Increased Productivity and Flexibility

By | August 15th, 2013|Project Management, Project Management Software|Comments Off on Dynamic Project Planning For Increased Productivity and Flexibility

Every project starts with a well-defined plan and schedule. But the reality offers a lot of uncertainty so the project may very well not evolve according to the initial plan. The result is that measures are required to adjust the state of the project to reflect the new reality.

Planning a project is not an easy job. It requires some knowledge and an amount of experience. The steps are simple… Create the list of activities that need to be performed, structure them accordingly in phases and sub-phases and establish durations (or amount of work depending on the types of tasks). Next create the project flow by adding dependencies between tasks. This way it is established the order in which tasks are executed.

Up to this point there is nothing related to time and this is the biggest hint to keep in mind: avoid hard constraints. As long as tasks are scheduled to start as soon as possible then every task will depend only on its predecessors and on the project estimated start. This is the perfect project template that can be easily shifted in time by just changing the project estimated start.

It is unlikely that a novice project manager will be able to produce such a scalable project plan… There are situations when it is just impossible to keep a project flexible even for a senior project managers. But this is due to the nature, the requirements and the constrains of the project.

How To Adjust The Schedule

So the schedule is done and the project is ready to go. But it may take no more than one week for the project plan to stop corresponding to the reality: some tasks take longer than estimated, others are executed faster or even worse the project is put on hold for various reasons (lack of funds or personnel, a financial crisis period, bad weather conditions and the list can continue). What now? Synchronizing the old plan with the reality takes some effort and attention.

It is obvious that the already completed or started tasks will remain at their location. The only discussion is about moving the uncompleted ones and/or splitting the tasks that are partially completed. This adjusting process is similar to planning the project but done on a smaller scale. If the initial plan was not time flexible then each particular conflict needs to be manually solved.

As mentioned above the best case is the one when the plan was created with as few as possible hard constraints. This allows an increased flexibility when it comes to shifting the activities in time. (more…)

Is There a Project Management Methodology for One-Person Projects?

By | June 13th, 2013|Project Management Methodology, Project Management Software|Comments Off on Is There a Project Management Methodology for One-Person Projects?

If you are an employee of a small organization or of a research institution, or just a freelancer, you are likely dealing with one-person projects. You are the team, you are the project manager, so you are responsible for all project documentation, communication, and, of course, project work.

Before you start looking for the right project management software and methodology, make sure you were assigned a project and not just a task or a set of interrelated tasks to accomplish a goal. A project has a definite beginning and end, and its aim is to create a unique product or service. It also has definite resources and usually its timeframe is defined by the organization. If indeed you were assigned a project, it is useful to approach it from a project management perspective in order to complete the work in an efficient manner, taking advantage of the knowledge, tools, and techniques of project management.

All projects have scope, deliverables, resources, and budget. For one-person projects, you are in charge of planning, executing, and monitoring your work, and you are accountable for the project’s outcome. Almost any project management methodology can be applied to one-person projects, with some exceptions. For example, applying Scrum is arguably not possible because there is no Scrum Master or Product Owner. But if you have volatile project requirements, an agile management approach is likely to fit your project, so you can use Scrum or other agile process as a basis to create your own version of the methodology and tailor it for your specific project. (more…)

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…)

Managing Projects Using Project Baselines

By | September 24th, 2012|Project Management Software, Project Tracking|1 Comment

Baselines in RationalPlan Project Management SoftwareA baseline as the name suggests is a line that is being used as a base for future measurement. It is a reference. In Project Management, the term baseline refers to an accepted and approved project plan. Usually known as project baseline, it is a must for a project manager that wish to monitor and evaluate the success of the project. Without it there is no possibility to compare the current status of the project with the initial estimated one.

Once established what the baseline is, the next important step is to store it for future use. If it is not stored, then it cannot be used to compare against it and it is meaningless. For a project there can be saved multiple baselines depending on the project size and how often the project plan changes.

To obtain the best efficiency a project manager should best use a project management software to create the detailed project plan. After it gets approved the manager should save it as a baseline project plan. During the project execution, comparisons can be done between the initial baseline estimates and the current status to compute variances. This comparison can be done either manually or automatically by software tools. Of course the second approach is preferred.

Types of project baselines

Since a project baseline includes many data from a project it is difficult to manage it as a whole and usually it is broken into several parts. This makes the complexity of baseline management easier to deal with. Project baselines generally include:

  • Scope baseline – the technical, physical and functional requirements for deliverable products
  • Schedule baseline – the project schedule and all of the elements supporting the schedule
  • Cost/Budget baseline – an approved budget usually in a time distribution format used to estimate, monitor, and control overall cost performance on the project
  • Quality/Risk baseline – the set of known possible changes (uncertainties) that could impact the performance of the project (more…)

Project Management – The Light On The Critical Path

By | February 21st, 2012|Project Management Software, Project Tracking|2 Comments

The mysterious critical path notion seems to put project managers in difficulty and especially the novice ones. However if anyone would take just a few minutes from his precious time to pay a closer attention to it things would be a lot more clear.

The origin

In order to clear things up we need to have a background knowledge. On short it all started with the Critical Path Method (CPM) an algorithm for scheduling activities within a project. This method is best used within the project scheduling phase and basically it requires to construct a model of the project that includes:

  • the list of activities needed to complete the project (aka Work Breakdown Structure defined in the project planning phase)
  • the duration estimates for these activities
  • the dependencies between the tasks

Graphical representation


There are two possibilities to render the structure created according to CPM: activity on arrow and activity on node. The most used representation nowadays is the activity on node. The activities are rendered as nodes and each node contains the duration of that activity while the dependencies are rendered as arrows where the arrowhead points to the successor while the tail to the predecessor.

To some extent a Gantt chart can also be considered as a CPM presentation although a more complex one. (more…)

Time Management In Project Management

By | February 15th, 2012|Project Management Software, Time Management|Comments Off on Time Management In Project Management

Time management is the act of planning, controlling and finally executing specific activities, especially to increase efficiency or productivity. It applies to a wide usage area starting from personal time organization and up to business related time management. For the best results and the biggest efficiency dedicated time management software should be used.

A time management system is a combination of processes, tools, techniques, and methods. There are many books and case studies focusing on these notions.

Personal Time Management

The notion of time management was initially used in business related area but in time the term started to also be used for personal activities. People started to be interested on it when they felt the need to be more organized and more productive. It all happens when you start working all day long and at the end you wonder why you haven’t accomplished much.

Time management methodologies consist of a series of habits and good practices which help you to get more organized. The most used and well known time management methodologies are GTD and ZTD. Getting Things Done (GTD) was created by David Allen and it is based on the following principles:

  • do not use your memory to collect your ideas, tasks and arrangements
  • do not delay decisions on what to do next
  • if you can complete a certain task in less than 2 minutes, do it now

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Tips And Common Practices For Project Managers

By | November 28th, 2011|Project Management Software|Comments Off on Tips And Common Practices For Project Managers

Nowadays almost any manager uses some kind of project planning software and the reason for this is simple: software can help and ease a lot the work of any person.

Many experienced project managers have created over time a knowledge base of tips and tricks that they can use. However novices are not that lucky. They need to gain all these in time. In this article we shall try to present some of the most encountered ones.

Keep your project as dynamic as possible

Projects tend to move and change in time and for this reason there must be an easy way to update it. If it is created using hard constraints a simple shift in time might actually be a very hard to do operation. Here are some things that you should take into consideration:

Use of constraints. Constraints on tasks impose certain restrictions in the scheduling algorithm because it relates to certain dates. Fixed dates should be avoided as much as possible since this links the project to a certain time period. Instead of using dates to specify the sequence of tasks you should rather think at adding dependencies between them.

Creating dependencies. If certain gaps must be created in the sequence of tasks within a project then these should always be represented using dependencies with “leads” or “lags”. This is very useful in case of shifting the project in time. Do not simulate them using false tasks or hard constraints. Using false tasks will result in an increased total work and constraints will make the project to be connected to certain dates. Furthermore dependencies should be avoided to be used to resolve resource overallocations.

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How To Best Manage Resources In Project Management

The general features of a project management software include scheduling, costing, budgeting, controlling, management and communication. However an important function of any project management solution is resource management. This covers all types of resources including human, equipment, materials and costs.

Nowadays businesses can work efficiently only by managing resources. With materials and costs things are pretty easy: you buy a stock and it is yours. Human resource management is not the same. You can not just own a human resource, but need to retain one. With the help of a resource management software, project managers can make sure that the right human resources are working on the right tasks and following a real-time project timeline. This is achieved based on several factors like employee’s skills, experience, and availability.

Resource planning software – must have features

In today’s global economy, when projects are spread across multiple regions or even countries it only makes sense that the right resources should make up a project team, regardless of their physical location. Even more project managers need to have powerful project planning tools capable of managing multiple projects with shared resources. At any moment in time they need to view resource availability and utilization even across multiple projects.

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