Project Management: Current Requirements To A New Project Management Software Tool
A study has been conducted to ascertain the current requirements of PMO to buy a new project management software tool. The report developed in this regard has been panned out in a methodical way. At first, a gap analysis is performed within the organization to identify the current needs and expectations of project teams and the gaps that have not been filled by currently employed software tool. Based on that, a literature survey was conducted to see what the expectations of project management fraternity are, when it comes to PM tools across different industries. Some data is also presented to show the level of comfort for different tools across whole spectrum of industries, involved in project management. In the third step, a list of criteria is developed which fulfils our organizational needs, followed by the features presented by selected PM tools, in a tabular form.
Gap Analysis and Requirements
A gap analysis was conducted to identify the areas that can act as potential pitfalls and therefore to be addressed, in order to make sure that potential PMO tool turns out to be the best fit as per our organizational requirements.
The tool should help in overseeing a holistic progress of different projects at enterprise level from cost, scheduling, resource planning, risk and issue analysis perspective. There are three major stakeholders having different expectations from the PMO tool. The following table identifies the needs of these stakeholders(AL; HRAKI; BENNY, 2015):
- Stakeholder Project Control Office Enterprise Level PMO Corporate PMO
- PMO Tool Feature Single Project:
- Simple Planning/Tracking Multi-project:
- Resource Management
Risk/Issue Management Portfolio Management:
Corporate wide milestones tracking.
- The tool should provide a collaborative environment where multiple stakeholders and virtual project teams can interact, communicate and update on projects at the same time, making the tool a dynamic, resilient and a live PMO system(GARTNER, 2014,October 15).
- The tool should be flexible and resilient, to adapt to changes in project timelines and priorities, schedules, resource constraints, and other unforeseen external factors.
- The analysis of current PMO processes need to be done in order to make sure that new PMO tool, maps and tracks the current established processes within the organization seamlessly , making sure that the current systems become more efficient and automated with least amount of reorientation and hiccups.
- The PMO tool should ensure consistency across different projects, and with other processes companywide, to ensure standardization.
- The tool should have enough repository of information to help the project teams to learn and refer to information related to the tool, during different phases of project lifecycle.
- The current skill set of users need to be assessed, to identify the technical support required to learn the new PMO tool, and after sale services, to help the IT and PMO teams to run and troubleshoot the tool efficiently.
- The PMO tool should help in reducing the administrative burden by making the reporting and analysis easy, with less paper work involved.
- The tool should provide high level dashboard for portfolio management at corporate level, to track the progress of different projects, resource management, risk and issue analysis, and major milestones, in line with corporate targets.
- The PMO tool should fit in with the current technological set ups/ platforms of the organization, as well as with future technology upgrade plans and integration with social networks.
The literature survey reveals that most Project Managers prefer different tools for tracking, scheduling, resource planning and costing of different sized projects, both for longer and shorter durations. Following table shows three software tools that have been used extensively across different industries(FOX; SPENCE, 1998).
- Industry Type – Microsoft Project – Primavera Project – Workbench
- Software – 54.5 % – 6.1% -16.7%
- Hardware – 57.9% – 15.8%
- Engineering – 52% – 22% – 1.0%
- Retail – 9% – 2% – 6%
- Wholesale – 8% – 1% – 2%
The next table shows the type of features that these tools have been offering to help managers in different phases of project life cycles across the industry (DOLL; TORKZADEH, 1988).
PM Tool Primary Uses/ Available Features
Microsoft Project – Small, medium and large projects; control and tracking; detailed scheduling; early project planning , communication; high level planning; Gantt; CPM and PERT
Primavera – Large complex multi project environment, planning, scheduling , resource allocation; control, build overall detailed project plan; critical path analysis;
Project Workbench – Small, medium and large projects; planning, estimating, scheduling, analyzing, tracking, reporting WBS, Gantt, Resource utilization.
Tools Selected and Analysis:
Based on the study and requirements of our team , three tools have been identified that fulfil needs of our teams at different levels, also referred as PM Hierrachy of Needs(GIPP). It is pertinent to mention over here that we have three different sets of stakeholders within the PMO, that have completely different expectations from the tool, as already shown in tabular form before(AL; HRAKI; BENNY, 2015). Further, we also need to explore the features in our current PM tool that have not been utilised yet, and can fulfil some of our needs(MENTRUP, 2001).
The following table shows the matrix of our requirements and the features available in three selected Project Management Software Tools(CICIBAS; UNAL; DEMIR, 2010), (DUSTIN MOSKOVITZ 2008):
Software Collaborative Software Issue/Risk Tracking Scheduling Portfolio Project Management Resource Management Document Control Workflow System Reporting and Analysis
- Microsoft Project ✘ ✘ ✓ ✘ ✓ ✘ ✘ ✓
- Primavera P6 ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓ ✓
- Workbench ✘ ✘ ✓ ✘ ✓ ✓ ✘ ✘
Software Budget Management Time Tracking Invoicing
- Microsoft Project ✓ ✓ ✘
- Primavera P6 ✓ ✓ ✘
- Workbench ✓ ✘ ✘
Software Open Source/Licensed Web Based Future Tech Integration
- Microsoft Project L ✓ ✓
- Primavera P6 L ✓ ✓
- Workbench OS ✘ ✓
The study entails a detailed anaylsis of our present requirements, along with current expectations from a PM tool, across whole spectrum of different industries. The review also points to the fact that currently employed software tool needs to be explored further, to identify the available unexplored features that can still be used. The tools that have been selected range from high end PM software to a basic level platform. It is pertinent to mention that all three of them fulfil our organizational requirements both for short and long term project durations.