Software Project Management Tools


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Software Project Management Tools

  1. 1. Written by: John Rouda Software Project Management T ools
  2. 2. There are many tools and techniques available to help project mangers and project teams do their job more successfully. The number of tools and programs available to help project mangers is overwhelming. There are tools available for every aspect of project management. This paper will go into an in- depth overview of some available tools for planning, estimation, risk management, resource management, change management, and quality control/assurance. PLANNING TOOLS There are several very popular planning tools available for project management planning. Microsoft offers a popular product called Microsoft P c h isl ra v b hse fr I N’ r t es i r g al t ifd f.ik o . r a i o m a l a o e ret i j T e m pr e a ie t f oe s u a r s Open Workbench. Primavera offers Primavera Project Planner and InterPlan systems offers ATC Professional for use in project planning. Microsoft Project is a popular tool that allows project managers to define projects, create associations between tasks, activities and milestones. It also allows you to manage dependencies and create PERT and Gantt charts. Microsoft Project allows you to setup a critical path and create calendars and schedules for your project team. It also allows you to assign resources to each task and to track your current progress. Microsoft Project also has a distinct advantage over other tools in the fact that you can export and import to other Microsoft Office tools, such as Word, Excel, Access, or Visio. 1
  3. 3. N’ e oe has many of the same features of Microsoft i On rn k pWk c u s bh Project. The biggest difference between these 2 products are the price. Microsoft project sells for anywhere between $599 and $999, depending on whether you get the standard edition or the professional edition. Open Workbench is free. It is a free open source program that can be downloaded at It offers many of the same features of Microsoft Project, but since it is open source, it can be modified and made specifically for software project management instead of general project management. P aa r tn , w s, rv’o Pn k n P i e P ca r o a3 m r j le n s e allows you to create project groups with complex links to individual projects and tasks. This program is made for managing large projects, and multiple projects. It allows users to specifically analyze resources among many projects and plan accordingly. One of the differences between P3 and the previously mentioned programs is that P3 offers a secure multi-user access option. This can allow project teams to view, update and report on their aspect of the project. Project managers can assign task to specific teams or individuals. P3 offers many of the same milestone, PERT and Gantt reporting tools. It also allows users to setup dependencies like Open Workbench and Microsoft Project. Another feature of P3 is its HTML reporting. All reports can be saved for the web and published so they can be viewed or accessed anywhere in the world. 2
  4. 4. ATC Professional by InterPlan Systems is a competitor with Primavera Project Planner. ATC Professional uses the Critical Path Method for setting up schedules. Like all of the other programs discussed, ATC uses Gantt charts and P ct nfC ic vai da alr A r E hs e A’s t ag iil gbi s. R a O oT dn d t s g i er s D T r. s t a n e t im i e i st a. Dannelly said in class p r w h 0w sA’g i e , ie o a0 o.T da a “c i r 1 At s t u 0r d” C il g s im t libraries allow users to store images to help the project team understand the nature of the project and to help them plan accordingly. Another feature is its Bid Package, which allows project planners to view a database to see bids of similar projects in their industry. It also stores historical data to help the project manager in planning. ESTIMATION TOOLS Estimation is an important aspect of project management. Like planning, there are numerous tools available to help with estimation. The most important tool for estimation is experience, which cannot be bought or installed. With that being said, some of the tools available to help with estimation are eTaskMaker by InterPlan Systems, SCEPlus by SchemeQuest, Tassc:Estimator by Tassc Limited, and SLIM-Estimate by QSM, Inc. eTaskMaker is a program by InterPlan Systems that works as a project planning tool specializing in estimating. It has database capabilities that allow you to store detailed task descriptions, durations, labor and resource information and more. A specific perk of eTaskMaker is that you can export its information 3
  5. 5. to spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel. eTaskMaker has several project templates that you can use to help with your planning and estimation. SCEPlus by SchemeQuest is an Excel add-in that allows you to easily use COCOMO II to estimate your software production cost. SECPlus uses function point modeling to help you develop estimates specifically for software project management. One of the benefits of SCEPlus, for users experienced with Excel, is that i t ’ to use. You start working on your project in Excel, perform your seasy estimation using SCEPlus in Excel, and make your reports using Excel. SCEPlus uses many of the ideals and concepts that are discussed in CSCI 621, including reuse, adapted code, lines of code (size) and function points. SCEPlus boasts i t ’ s ease and ability to find expected size, expected duration and expected effort all with standard deviations. SCEPlus also uses probability cost distribution, which tells us the minimum cost, most likely cost, and maximum cost. Another perk of SCEPlus is its cost. It is relatively inexpensive at $249. Tassc:Estimator by Tassc Limited is a software estimation application dg te r t n r ls d, n ,cnoo en ol o masa c uma t acr se h p ca e p, ee a ea dnl id p je g“ nh l grk t real-t s a eoe r t T cttse t r t i o r vpn o s a:m r st l j m f e emt j . s sa i d e o et dl w pce ” s io u ol e E pc managers how long a project will take, how much it will cost, and how large of a staff that you will need for each specific project. Tassc:Estimator is extremely configurable. It allows users to setup technology metrics specific to your project team, your organization, and the project risk and project management experience. Tassc:Estimator allows you to export your information and data to 4
  6. 6. Microsoft Project or Microsoft Excel. Like SCEPlus, Tassc:Estimator gives estimations about minimum, most likely and maximum cost and project duration. One downfall of Tassc:Estimator is its cost compared to SCEPlus. Tassc:Estimator cost approximately $4,995 per license. SLIM-Estimate is the estimation software tool by QSM, Inc. QSM, Inc. is very respected developer for project management tools. SLIM-Estimate is their estimation tool that offersu St “ctWizards,w t i spe Qk r i a ” a qk e t a y ul t h oc u y software for your specific project. A distinct advantage of SLIM-Estimate is its ability to store your history. It stores previous estimates on projects, and uses data to determine how close your estimates were and to determine the likelihood of your project team being over or under the estimate. When entering your project constraints, SLIM-E a f s rc ol a sh s t f eaa ”e t te t e e vln a n e i o s e“-d t i ol m r rv p you in your estimates. SLIM-Estimate also offers clients industry information and history to help them with their estimates and bids. It also comes with tools to help eliminate errors in data entry, including double entries. It also updates linked objects dynamically. SLIM-Estimate also comes with a database of “ t w- h a iui pa g s i r t d ueSLIM-Estimate f e nei t ec j aiss ” s sr i o c pe n dr qto tn pf o s n t. n i c i exports information to MS Office and makes reports available for web publishing. QSM, Inc. offers a complete suite of project management tools, in which SLIM- Estimate is only a small part. Other QSM, Inc. products include: SLIM- DataManager, SLIM-Control, SLIM-Metrics, and SLIM-MasterPlan. 5
  7. 7. RISK MANAGEMENT TOOLS Risk management is extremely important in software project management. Dr. Dannelly stated in class that it is easier and cheaper to detect and fix the errors at the beginning of the project, than to find them at the end of the project. Detecting risks and planning for them is extremely important in planning for costs. Some of the tools to help with this include Risk Radar by ICE, Inc., RiskTrak, and CORA (Cost-Of-Risk-Analysis) by International Security Technology, Inc. Risk Radar is an application build on Microsoft Access. It uses risk management terminology and processes set by the Software Engineering Institute a iM r o. Risk Radar boasts to be comprehensive ’ pl ai d s at ty e Cb i uM l y t and easy-to-use risk management tool. This product enables project managers to manage risk at all levels, industries and project types. Risk Radar offers the ability to categorize, track, prioritize and report risks to the project manager. This should help managers plan for risks in their software projects. Risk Radar comes with 22 standard reports that show the probability of occurrence, the impact of the risk and the projects exposure to the risks. One of the benefits of Risk Radar is its ease of use. If you are familiar with Microsoft Access, you should have no problem learning to use Risk Radar. Risk Radar is available in multi-user versions or in a single user version. RiskTrak is a risk management tool designed to help project managers report risk. RiskTrak allows users to import data from Microsoft Project and 6
  8. 8. export to .CSV files or to Microsoft Excel. RiskTrak allows users to track the risk in multiple projects. RiskTrak is built on an SQL database and is a network product allowing multiple users. One distinct advantage of RiskTrak is its ability to track audits and keep audit trails. This dynamically changes the risk reports as some potential risks are erased. CORA (Cost-Of-Risk-Analysis) by International Security Technology, Inc is a very popular risk analysis tool. CORA takes a lot of setup work that allows a project manager to setup their own risk rules. These include nominal risk parameter and local risk factors, like the risk of a hurricane in Florida that could delay a project. CORA also allows you to put in risks applied to specific project team members. This is setup to help more accurately assess the risk of a project. CORA comes with a built in financial simulator that can supply expected loss data, security costs, and income and expenses statements. It can also calculate the overall impact of the risk on the organization as a whole as well as on specific projects. CORA also comes with ROI calculators and all information can be exported to Microsoft Excel for further processing and reporting. . RESOURCE MANAGEMENT TOOLS Resource management is important to project management in many areas and tasks. Managing personal between several projects and tasks is vital in having a productive and profitable project plan. Some of the tools available that 7
  9. 9. help out with resource management are FrogPoint, Tracker Office and TimeScope. FrogPoint claims to reduce delivery time of projects by eliminating redundant work and providing workflow management. FrogPoint also offers real-time analysis of where the project is and how you can efficiently allocate resource to improve the project. FrogPoint is web deployed so it can easily install and used between project teams based all around the world. It allows project managers to work on many different projects at once. FrogPoint can easily import data from Microsoft Project and export information into Microsoft Excel, Word, or Adobe Acrobat. Another benefit of FrogPoint is its multi-lingual features. It allows project teams all over the world, speaking different languages, work together to manage resources in all types of projects. Tracker Office is a Microsoft Exchange Server Add-in and works very well with Microsoft Outlook. Tracker Office is a complete suite of project management tools, but has a specialty in resource management. The Office Tracker suite comes with Outlook Project Management, Outlook Time Reporting, Outlook Expense Reporting, Outlook Purchase Orders, Outlook Invoicing, and Outlook CRM. Tracker Office is built on its own database with its own data warehouse. This keeps historical data to help with decision making and reporting. Another feature of Tracker Office is that it is 100% server based, therefore there is zero impact to the desktop. It allows users to login and keep track of how much time is spent on specific tasks in a project or for the company 8
  10. 10. as a whole. Tracker Office also comes with 42 standard reports and allows users to easily create their own reports. TimeScope is a tool for tracking project team m b’ spent on the eetime mrs project. Its main purpose for resource management is in managing employees, which is quite possibly the most expensive resource in most companies. TimeScope as features that keep timesheets, track project activates and expenses, approve budgets, estimate project resource costs, and report project mangers resource planning effectiveness. TimeScope integrates with Microsoft Exchange Server just like Tracker Office. CHANGE MANAGEMENT TOOLS Change management tools are important in keeping track of versions and changes in projects relating to software development. Managers must keep track of components and milestone changes. Two change management tools that help keep track of these changes are Track-IT Pro Suite by DOVICO Inc., and Work2gether by KMTechnologies, Inc. Track-IT Pro by DOVICO Inc. is an award-winning software package that allows project managers to keep track of documents and changes to those documents. It provides audit trails and 135 different customizable reports and graphs for real-time analysis of the current project. Track-IT Pro includes a timesheet feature to help with resource management as well. The suite also comes with billing software, planning software and estimation software. Track- IT Pro can be installed on the PC or be purchased as a web-based tool. Being a 9
  11. 11. web based, it can be accessed anywhere in the world. Although it sounds risky, DOVICO ensures security of online projects. Work2gether by KMTechnologies, Inc. is a document management tool used for change management. It automatically versions new or updated documents. Work2gether is an online tool that allows coders to check-out documents, update them, then check them back in. Work2gether offers more than 300 different file formats. Work2gether stores all previous versions as well as the latest version so that you can easily access older version if necessary. It also comes with a search engine for finding the appropriate version or component that is desired. Users can also setup hyperlinks to link to other versions or components that can interact with their specific piece of code. Work2gether comes with its own custom reports. It is also multilingual and allows audit trails and statistics to keep track of changes. It also has a news and announcement feature that allows you to announce new version of important components. Work2gether also comes with group based security to allow access to documents to only those who need it. It also has a group calendar and has email notifications for new versions that are related to other components. QUALITY TOOLS Real World Traffic and SiteScope are two tools that focus on quality of project management and quality assurance. These two tools, Real World Traffic 10
  12. 12. and SiteScope, are quality assurance tools and both received awards from EWeek. Real World Traffic is a very cool device that combines hardware and software to emulate real-word conditions. This devices is a software stress tester. It can take some time to setup, but allows quality assurance analysis to test a variety conditions. Real World Traffic supports and emulates multiple operating systems, network connections, PC speeds and a range of users. Ixia, the company that d ld ao Tfat “ R Wl a eo R Wl a s h t e o Tf vp e r rcy ah a r rc ee l d f s te l d f i i s cc rt u y n . u ao ja t s a” i nv u b a c r t e e s o n eio SiteScope is developed by Freshwater Software Inc. and is a web monitoring tool. It claims to reduce ongoing web monitoring cost. SiteScope has real-time alerts to warn website administrators of potential problems. When a file or program is added to a domain name, it is processed and a warning is issued if any scripts or features for the file are not setup on the server. SiteScope has the ability to monitor multiple servers at once including Linux, Unix, and Windows platforms. In conclusion, there are many different types of software tools available on the market. In your research to find the right tools for you be sure to check out the cost. I have found that there are many free and inexpensive products that can function similar to that of the expensive ones. 11
  13. 13. REFERENCES Automation Centre Chicago Business Intelligence Group, Inc Dave W Farthing, University of Glamorgan DOVICO Software Inc. Integrated Computer Engineering, Inc International Security Technology, Inc InterPlan Systems Inc. Inxia Inc. KMtechnologies Inc. Mercury Inc. 12
  14. 14. Microsoft Office Project – Microsoft Coporation Niku – Open Workbench Primavera Systems, Inc. RiskTrak - Risk Services & Technology, SchemeQuest Inc. Tassc Limited Inc. TimeScope Inc. QSM Associates. 13