Project management software appraisal

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INTRODUCTION

I am a student of International Advanced Diploma in Computer Studies NCC (UK). And I have to do the assignment of Managing Business Project. Our assignment title is Software Appraisal. This assignment has 6 Tasks. Task 1 is about the lifecycle of the project management. Task 2 is to create a selection criteria checklist that describes the essential functions for the system. Task 3 is to search the four project management software tools suppliers. Task 4 is to produce a report about the software tools' strength and weakness and make a recommendation. Task 5 is to write a commentary on the research process. Task 6 is to combine the deliverables and outputs from Task 1 to Task 5.

Task-1

The cycle of life of the project management is composed of the four phases. They are project initiation, project planning, project execution and project closure. The cycle of life of the project management is comprised to start a new project. It starts a new project by defining its objectives, range and objective to be the produced deliverables. It can also rent the team of project, installed the office of the project and the reviews the project. To get the better project, we should know the process of the project management lifecycle step by step exactly.

The initiation phase of project is the first phase of the lifecycle, it can define the range of project and rent the project team for the project. This phase clearly defined the range and a suitably skilful team, can ensure success. In this phase, which functions are necessary and which are needed for the system can clearly be seen because the analysis of detail will be made in this phase. By making the analysis with the system and then their needs are defined. So, after the project initiation phase is carried out, we can exactly know the scope of project, what functions should be included, etc.

The project planning is the second phase of the cycle of life comprising to create a whole plans. The plans created during this phase will control the time, the cost, the quality, the change, the risk and the issue. They can also help in the management of staff and the external supplier ensuring the project in time and in the schedule. It is the phase more challenging for a project manager because project manager is responsible for the personnel, resources and equipment necessary to achieve the project goals and to also have to project communications and procurement activities as well as the contract with all the third party suppliers.

Project Execution phase provides the system that can be used as the complete system for the project. Design of the system can also be produced in this phase by using the data from the previous phase (project planning). Appropriate code for the system can be done according to the design. After writing the code, testing for this code will be done for correctness of the code. When each unit code is valid, there will be a test known as integration test to ensure whether the codes are function together as a complete system. This phase is the most important phase among other phases of the life cycle.

Project closure phase is the fourth and last phase in the lifecycle. Within this phase, close the project formally and then its overall level of success is reported to the supplier. Closure includes handing over the deliverables to the customer, paying the documentation to business, cancelling the supplier contracts, releasing the staff and equipment, and give information to stakeholders of closure of the project. When the project has been completed, post implementation review is completed to determine the project success and identify the lessons learned. This phase includes the testing called acceptance testing also known as the system testing. For this acceptance test, the most responsible person is the user and also consists of signing off the project to the user.

To become an on time and on budget complete project, beneficial project change control is necessary which can maintain the proper focus. Changes to a project are inevitable and the trick is to exercise good judgment and handle change in a streamlined, non-bureaucratic way. To control the changes on the project, the recovery plan should be included. Change management should need to be prepared.

Change management is the most important part of the project that should be considered in the phases. Change Control is the process used to properly integrate or postpone requests for changes to the project's scope into the project budget and completion schedule. This plan is designed to help you implement an efficient and effective method of change control within your project management framework.

Scope change control is concerned with the influencing factors that create scope change ensuring that the changes are effective and efficient, determining that a scope change has occurred and managing the actual changes for that case.

Scope changes are mostly occurred because of the following reasons. They are as follow:

  • An external event which change in government regulation
  • An error which occurred when the scope of the product is defined
  • An error which occurred when the scope of the project is defined
  • A value adding change which enabling technology for design might change the design outcomes

The effective scope change control should consist of some important factors. They are as follows:

  • Will be discussed during communications management
  • What is causing the variance and if it requires corrective action
  • Scope change may require modifications to work breakdown structure(WBS) and alternative approaches

Scope changes modified any modification to the agreed project scope and frequently require some adjustments to the project objectives and plan. The corrective actions are the activities to bring the expected future performance in line with the project plan. The root of causes, reasoning for the corrective action should be documented for the short term and long term use.

Moreover, the configuration changes and general changes (non scope, non configuration) should be considered. So that if these kinds of changes occurs, some recovery plan will apply to resume the process. Steps to recover the change are as follows:

Introduction

In order to become the project management effective, the features that need for the project should be included in the management software. So, the features we want for our project should be listed in the selection criteria checklist. The checklist for our project is listed as follows:

  • Is the software a generalized system or specific to a given application?
  • What types of features does the support?
  • Does the software contain change management?
  • Does the software contain risk management?
  • Are there quality management exists?
  • Are there resource management contains?

Conclusion

According to the selection criteria checklist I mentioned above, the software we chosen must include the features in the checklist because these features are necessary for our project. We will have to choose the project management software that includes the features mentioned above.

Task-3

There are four project management software tools those are searched for our project. They are the following:

  1. Tenstep
  2. BlueAnt
  3. InLoox
  4. @task
  5. Tenstep project management software

Tenstep software has the following features:

  • Metrics management
  • Quality management
  • Human resource management
  • Risk management
  • Change management
  • Issue management
  • Schedule and budget management
  • Training management
  • Consulting management
  • License

Metrics management

By using Tenstep software, collecting metrics is focused to determine how project and project deliverables are well satisfied with the exception of the client and how the internal project delivery process are operating efficiently. Corrective action or process improvement activities undertaking for the more efficient and effective process are depend on the results.

Quality management

Quality management focuses firstly on knowing the customers' needs by using the terms quality and then placing proactive plan to place where can get those expectations. As client defined quality, it may be completely subjective. But, quality can be made objective. It will require decompose the generic term of quality into exact parts of quality that is needed for customer. Then, specify each of the individual aspects and make decision which metrics can be collected to measure the characteristic.

Human resource management

Managing a project is totally responsible for the project manager. However people management responsibilities are shared with other functional manager of the team members, the project manager should also have people management responsibilities. So, human resource management includes as important role.

Risk management

Risk management checks the risk case of a project and then makes a risk management plan to manage risk event and lessen harm to the project. However all of the risks cannot be removed entirely but it can be made to get less risk conditions and can be managed.

Change management

To make a project, it will take some amount of project to finish a project. The longer the project the more likely dealing with changes. TenStep process understands that initial definition and planning process do not have to be perfect. The team needs to do the best job the team can given what the team know at the time. After that the team needs to manage the changes.

Issue management

The issues they are more hardly common problems. They are problems that answer to the specific tests of verification. An issue is a conventional-defined problem that it will prevent the progress of the plan and cannot completely be resolved from the project manager and project team without external help.

Schedule and budget management

It contains schedule and budget are managed to become that the project will finish totally in a given time and in limited budget. The schedule management includes knowing that which work must be completed, who is responsible for which work and which time is due time for the work, etc.

Training management

Tenstep process gives a full curriculum of training classes that can be taught to company on site. This training includes how to make project management preparation for success.

Consulting management

The customization of methodology, the deployment and the services relative are not competences of core for the majority of the organizations. The software of TenStep stages can do it. It can help you to obtain by the curve of study and to save to you to make principal errors.

License

The prices of license of TenStep are very reasonable and change according to the size of the organization.

Blue Ant

Blue Ant can give various functions for the planning, managing, evaluating, and project controlling and resources, creating knowledge maps for the target profiles' overview and employees' actual abilities. The features that the blue ant can offer are

  • Project planning and controlling
  • Resource management
  • Knowledge, skill management
  • Document management
  • Work time recording
  • Ticket system, task management
  • Travel costs

InLoox

InLoox provides the following features:

  • Project planning and controlling
  • Resource management
  • Knowledge, skill management
  • Document management
  • Work time recording
  • Ticket system, task management
  • Travel costs

@task

@task has the following features:

  • Collaborative software or groupware or workgroup supportsystems
  • Issue tracking system or trouble ticket system or incident ticket system
  • Project Portfolio Management
  • resource management
  • Human Resource Management
  • A document management system

The Tenstep's software have the features described in the checklist for our project but the other cannot have.

Task-4

Tenstep Project Management Software

TenStep is a dynamic company which offers the complete, profitable, total products and the services to help you successfully to achieve your projects and to improve your lower result. On a competitive market more and more, the weak project management cannot be tolerated simply more. With TenStep, you can control what followings:

Training Management

TenStep offers a complete program of the studies of training classes which can be taught with the company on the site. The preparation of the project management for success is formed. It is the most popular class and a great way of beginning the initiative of the project management.

Consulting Management

The methodology customization, the deployment and the services relative are not competences of core for the majority of the organizations. The Tenstep can solve it. It can help to obtain by the curve of study and to save to make principal errors. TenStep, Inc. offers consulting services to help the organization unlock full potential. Ten step's services can be customized for the organization.

License

TenStep license prices are very reasonable and vary depending on the size of the organization.

Individual License

This license only covers the projects that personally manage.

Company License

Organization pay a very competitive up-front License for your entire organization (monthly subscription fees).

Metrics Management

The collection of metric on a project is more complex project management process and cannot be easily done. Since it can be difficult to define and gather metric, they are usually ignored.

All the projects should collect the basic information of metric concerning the cost and the duration. This stage of TenStep on gathering the metric is to determine at which point the project and the deliverables of project satisfy the hopes of the customer and at which point the internal processes of the delivery of project function. According to results, recovery activities improvement of process can be undertaken to ensure that it will become the more effective and efficient processes.

The metric one is employed to give a certain indication of the starting state of quality and indicates quality increases or decreases.

Metrics management can be used effectively on medium and large projects.

Quality Management

Quality of the project is defined by the customer and it can show how the project is nearly complete and the outputs have suddenly met the requirements and the hopes of the customer. The project team should know requirements and hopes of customer.

The management of quality is a critical concept about quality. If there are some bumps in the project or some defects in the deliverable one, the customer can still say that the solution was provided with a high level of quality. A solution flawlessly conceived and without defect which does not satisfy the customer requirements is not considered high quality.

Human Resource Management

The functional managers of the team members and project manager are responsible for a project. In my opinion, the PM who is not an expert in processes management but he or she is good at managing people can get success. A qualified PM can do better project management processes, better job acquiring, development and managing project team.

Risk Management

Risk means that the future conditions or circumstances that are not situated under the project team's control and it can give harmful case to the project's result if they happen. Issue is the current case that can affect the project, whereas risks are the potential problem that will expect to occur in future but not now.

As issue occur, a good project manager tries to solve it whereas a better project manager tries to solve the risks before they happen. Many of the risks can be foreseen, so project manager should be managed using a proactive risk management process.

The project manager should take the risk assessment process with project team and customer by identifying the risks in to some categories such as high, medium and low. The project that have high degree of risks need better risk management and need more attention on it.

The goal of the risk management is to define the events of risk for a project and then to establish a plan of risk management to control the event of risk and to the minimum to reduce the risk to the project. In TenStep, the first time that you carry out an evaluation to risk. Identify the stages of work. The additional identification of risk should occur in all the project on a schedule basis or with the achievement of a significant milestone stage.

Change Management

You can make perfect plans, but they cannot explain each potential change which can occur. The longest your project, you will more probably meet changes. It is a reason for which the process of TenStep understands that the initial processes of definition and planning should not be perfect. There are a certain number of aspects of change which can occur on a project.

  • Scope changes
  • Configuration changes
  • General changes (non-scope, non-configuration)

Scope Change

The scope is the term employed to describe the totality of the work and the total borders of the project. The scope is employed to define what the project will provide and what it will not provide. For greater projects, it can include the principal deliverables which are created, the affected organizations, the transactions carried out, the types of data included, etc...

The goal of the management of scope change is to protect the viability of the charter approved from project and the approved requirements of business. The team of project made with a deadline and a budget based on this definition of high-level and detailed of scope. If the deliverables change during the project (and usually this means that the customer wants the articles additional), the evaluations at the cost, effort and the duration can be invalid more.

The changes which must be presented during the project can also exist. These changes can be necessary for the solution and there can be valid reasons of business for which they should be contained. The project manager and the team of project must identify when these changes are occured. Then they must follow a preset process of scope change. This process brings final information appropriate to the sponsor of project and makes it possible to the sponsor to decide if the modification is approved based on the commercial value and the impact with the project in terms of cost and schedule.

Configuration Change

Configuration management being limits it to give the identification, to detect and control all the capital of project or metadata of the capital. In some organizations this step is more narrowly defined to mean only the management of the tangible assets.

General Change

Your project can test the changes which necessarily do not fall under management of scope change or configuration management. These changes can be categorized in a general category of change management. One of the principal differences between general change management and scope change management is that scope change can be approved as you will change your budget and schedule to adapt to the change.

Issue Management

The issue is not simply the common problems and is more significant than these common problems. The issues are the problems which answer specific criteria. An issue is a formal-definite problem which can prevent the project's improvement and cannot be completely solved the project manager and project team without assistance of outside.

A problem formally definite.

  • To prevent the progress of the project. There are many problems which exist in the organization but an impact does not have on your project. There are also problems which emerge all the hour on your project which is not enough significant to carry out your improvement. The issues have this feature. They must be solved since they prevent the improvement of your project.
  • Cannot be completely solved... without assistance of outside.If the project team can solve a problem it does not increase on the issue level. The project team can have a certain influence on solving a problem, but the resolution is not completely in their control.

Schedule and budget management

You can define work and projected how you will complete the work and will manage schedule and budget to ensure you that the project complete in your date of deadline and the budget.

The schedule is a deliverable. It described the work which must occur, the order of the activities, the effort which is required, assigned resources, etc.

The schedule should provide your good-guess it at any point particular to time on the way in which to complete the remaining work. The project manager must evaluate the program on a continuous basis (weekly) and determine the current state of the project. Based on the current project, and your current comprehension in work remaining, you must recall a course which will allow work to be finished the original budget and deadline. For the majority of the projects, the program must have reviewed on a weekly basis.

@task Project Management Software

@task has the following features:

  • Collaborative software is software designed to help people involved in a common task achieve their goals. Collaborative software is the basis for computer supported cooperative work.
  • An issue tracking system is a software package of computer which controls and maintains issues lists, like necessary by an organization. Issue tracking system are generally employed in the call center by of the customers of an organization support to create, to update, and to resolve reported customer issues, or even the issue paid by other employees of this organization. An issue tracking system also consists of a knowledge base including the on each customer's information, the resolutions to the common problems, and others such data.
  • The Project Portfolio Management is a term employed by heads of project and project management organization to present ways to analyze and manage collectively a current group or proposed projects based on many principal characteristics. The fundamental objective of the project portfolio management is to determine the optimal mixture and the sequencing of the projects proposed to carry out the better combination of the organization.
  • The Resource Management is the effective and efficient deployment for the resources of an organization when they are necessary. Such resources may contain the financial resources, the inventory, the human qualifications, the resources of production, or the information technology (IT).
  • HR (Human Resource) Management

It is science to allocate human resources among various projects or units of businesses, maximizing the use of the personal resources available to achieve goals of business; and carrying out the activities which are necessary in the maintenance of this workforce by the identification to staff needs, planning and inadvertency payroll and advantages, education and development of professional, and managing their needs for the work-life. The effective and efficient deployment of the personnel resources where and when they are necessary, and in possession of the tools, the training and the qualifications required by work.

· A document management system is a computer system employed to detect and store the electronic documents and/or images of the paper documents. The term has a certain overlapping with the concepts of the content management systems. It is often looked like component of the enterprise content management system and related on the digital asset management, document imaging, the workflow systems and the management systems of the record.

InLoox Project Management software

InLoox is a software for the planning of project, management of resource, management of document of project and the accountancy of project for Microsoft OutlookInLoox is combined into the collaboration software Microsoft Outlook, increasing characteristics for the project management and collaboration. The functionality of planning of Gantt is integrated with CRM and funcationality accountancy. The principal focus of I nLoox are the small and medium-sized projects. InLoox has the following features:

  • Collaborative software
  • Issue tracking system
  • Resource management
  • Document management

Blue Ant Project Management software

The Blue Ant is a web-based tool for the process-oriented project management which was developed by proventis. It provides many functions for planning, management, the evaluation, and controls of projects and resources, created with maps of knowledge for an overall target profiles and real capacities of the employees. Moreover, it provides services of web for integration in the existing systems.

The blue ant was released initially in 2001. The blue ant 6.2 of the latest version was available since March 2009. The blue ant is multilingual and now available in English, Dutch, Polish and the German.

Operating system: Windows NT, 2000, 2003 Server, Linux, Unix, AIX, Sun Solaris

Features

  • Project planning and controlling
  • Resource management
  • Knowledge, skill management
  • Document management
  • Work time recording
  • Ticket system, task management
  • Travel costs

Recommendation

Among the software described above, Ten step software is the most suitable one for our project. It consists most of the features we need described on the checklist including the management features we want to emphasize such as risk management and issue management, etc. Other software mentioned above do not contain these features. So, I want to recommend using TenStep software.

Task-5

To evaluate potential replacement software, I have to search different number of software and their strength and weakness and compare them. The first important thing is the software should include the features needed for our project. In considering software, the features that must be included are human resource management, risk management, change management, resource management and quality management.

In my opinion, these features are vital for the project management software. So, I search the software that include that risk, change, resource and quality management features in the internet. But, most of the software many other features and include some the features I want, not all features. I searched a number of software and then filter four of them which are more suitable. After that, compare their strong points and iak points.

For task-1, I used internet and some books to know precisely which steps are necessary for the typical lifecycle of a project.

Task-2 is to make the checklist for the project. In the checklist, the things which required are the features that need for our project. When considering the checklist, the checklist should contain the features that are necessary and support our project and should include the features that can improve our project's efficiency. And then the features that I want to have in our project are put in the checklist.

Task-3 is to study about four project management software tools supplier. So, I search the project management software in the internet. And then study each of the software to know the features they can provide to us. In this task i have to study exactly that which software's features are more flexible and which software can fulfill our project requirement. Although I found a lot of project management software from the internet, I choice the four most suitable software and compare those with checklist to know which software can provide more features in the checklist for our project. It takes long time to study different kinds of project management software and check their features and it is not easy to get the software that can totally fulfill the features needed in our project.

For task-4, i have to search more precise information of four project management software. I have to study precise nature of software tools including the strength and weakness of each software. Of all these four software, I have to decide which one is the most suitable need to be considered against the comparison table constructed above task-3. Depending on this decision, I have to recommend which software is the most suitable and should buy for our project.

When preparing task-1 through task-4, information I need cannot easily get from the internet so I have to search related books and study from these.

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