In 2003, I got my first glance at web-based project management tools and loved the features including the top-down management view with the bottom up details that drive project delivery. The ease of integration seemed like a PMBOK-infused nirvanah where people, data and projects all come together. Fast forward ten years later and the technology enabling schedule management, document management, risk management and collaboration have significantly improved.
I recently got the chance to review ProjectManager.com’s project management software tool and was impressed with how easy it was to get started managing a project in the cloud. A good sign of well designed software is being able to use it without needing any training. ProjectManager.com was intuitive and easy to use and I was pleased I could get started by creating my first project with a few clicks. Ofcourse, ProjectManager.com provides an entire library of video training but I was happy to dive right into using the tool.
Below are 5 reasons to apply ProjectManager.com to your next project.
Reason #1 Easily build an a fully functional project schedule in the browser
Scheduling in the cloud is still a tricky feature to implement. Tools like Microsoft Project Online provide limited scheduling in the browser and other web-based tools lack key features including predecessors, baselines and resource management. Fortunately, ProjectManager.com has built an easy to use scheduling tool with useful scheduling features. The tool fully supports predecessors, dependencies, baselines and resource management in an easy to use Gantt chart entry screen.
Task detail can be displayed or hidden and the Gantt chart can be easily customized. The tool allows you to add customers to the project so they can easily view project status and the detailed project schedule. The is no additional software required and adding customers to the project doesn’t increase your operating costs.
The Gantt chart can also be customized to display the project baseline, actual progress to date and the planned tasks. This level of Gantt chart reporting is typically only found in 3rd party client software. It is refreshing to see this functionality appear in the web browser.
Reason #2 Easy Time Tracking
Whenever an organization introduces time tracking, there is always a debate about the “right” level of time tracking. Many organizations will bill time against a project or against a set of defined buckets that don’t reflect the project schedule detail. Other timekeeping implementations will integrate project schedules with the timekeeping function. I’m a fan of integrating the timekeeping function with the project schedule since it helps identify planned versus actual time and helps reduce the project manager’s task tracking burden.
ProjectManager.com easily integrates time tracking with the project schedule and allows project teams to track progress. Instead of requiring the project manager to ask for task updates, project teams can update their task progress centrally. Over time, the organization can use the data to build a better estimation matrix using planned vs actual effort estimates.
One featutre to note is ProjectManager.com separates the time tracking function from the task percent complete calculation. The actual hours spent is independent of the task’s percent complete so team members will need to remember to enter a percent complete. There are pro and cons to this approach so team members needs to be aware of this feature when updating task status and submitting their time.
Reason #3 Integrated issue, risk and change management
All projects has issues, risks and change requests. Typically, the issues, risks and changes are managed in a Excel spreadsheet or a separate document. ProjectManager.com intelligently links an issue, risk or change request with the specific task or deliverable in the project schedule. I really like this feature because I can track the risk, issue or change request with the tasks in the project schedule.
I can also extract the issue, risk or change request log using the ProjectManager.com reporting tool. By associating the risks and issues with specific tasks and reporting across the project, every team member can work the issues in the project log and even add supporting tasks.
Reason #4 Manage the Resource Pool
Understanding the organization’s current workload and capacity to take on new work is a critical to effectively managing the project portfolio. Once an organization centralizes project schedules and time keeping, the organization can intelligently manage their resource pool. ProjectManager.com provides a resource view for all the projects in the portfolio as well as individual project resource availability.
I like ProjectManager.com’s resource management function that easily identifies over allocations and enables project managers to assign a new resource all within the same window. During the resource assignment step, project managers assign resources understanding their individual resource capacity. Since the schedules and resources are integrated into one system, the resource management view makes it easy to understand resource commitments and availability.
Reason #5 Project and Portfolio Dashboards
Organizations often seek to reach this “holy grail” level of reporting but fall short because the data often resides on file servers, individual scheduling programs and Excel spreadsheets. When projects, resources, time, budget and expense data are integrated within one solution, the organization can create meaningful project and portfolio dashboards. Since all the data is integrated within ProjectManager.com, executive dashboarding at the project or portfolio level is easy.
The dashboard can review all the projects in the portfolio and assess overall health, timelines, costs, resource allocation and project log health. Instead of preparing a comprehensive status presentation, project managers can simply login to the ProjectManager.com account and review the project dashboard. If there are questions about aspects of the project, the project manager can drill into the details.
Overall I was impressed with ProjectManager.com and how well it supported project management life cycle processes. There are a lot of scheduling options available to project managers ranging from Microsoft Project to web-based scheduling tools. The integration with project schedules and the project log ensures ProjectManager.com can be used to support the entire project management lifecycle. The portfolio management and dashboard reporting views also make ProjectManger.com a useful project portfolio management tool without a lot of administrative overhead.
How much does ProjectManager.com cost?
Considering all the functionality, ProjectManager.com costs are inexpensive. A single user license is only $25 per month and discounted rates are available for 6 member teams or greater. With ProjectManager.com in an online project management tool there is no additional configuration costs and teams can be up and running in hours not months. You can also test drive all their features for free for 30 days.
Additional Project Management Resources
ProjectManager.com also supports a complete project management community including a great YouTube Channel, LinkedIn discussion group and free project management books. Even if you’re not actively looking for an online project management tool, you’ll find a variety of helpful project management resources! I encourage you to give ProjectManager.com a try!