Written by: John Rouda
Management T ools
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
There are several very popular planning tools available for project
management planning. Microsoft offers a popular product called Microsoft
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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.
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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
http://www.openworkbench.com. 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
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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.
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
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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 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
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
’ to use. You start working on your project in Excel, perform your
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
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
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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
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
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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
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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
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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.
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
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
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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
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
help out with resource management are FrogPoint, Tracker Office and
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
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
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
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
Real World Traffic and SiteScope are two tools that focus on quality of
project management and quality assurance. These two tools, Real World Traffic
and SiteScope, are quality assurance tools and both received awards from
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,
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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.
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.
Microsoft Office Project –
Primavera Systems, Inc.
RiskTrak - Risk Services & Technology,
Tassc Limited Inc.