Monday, 29 August 2016 06:11

Project Management Related Tools and Services to Consider for 2016 and Beyond

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In more than 20 years of project management experience, I have seen a lot of growth in the field of project management tools.

It was extremely slow at first, of course. I started out using ABT's Project Workbench as a DOS application and then later as a WYSIWYG application. I then moved on to MS Project as a Windows app. Good times! Of course, Lotus 1-2-3 and Excel were often used project management tools – Excel still is, and I use it often...Lotus is gone and forgotten, may it rest in peace.

Slowly, more and more project management tools entered the marketplace, giving all project managers, PMO directors, and project team members some options we didn't have before. Many of these newer tools were created by organizations for their own use to fill a void that was not being handled by the regular players in the marketplace. And, once they felt strong enough about them as a productive tool that could likely satisfy the same voids for other organizations, they began offering them for free, or as open-source solutions or for a very affordable price to other organizations looking for PM solutions.

Which leads us to today. There are now well over 100 potential project management tool offerings available. These include much more than just project Gantt chart applications. Some are task management focused. Some are strong in risk management. Others focus on document storage and sharing. Some excel as CRM packages. Others are mind-mapping tools. Several are excellent at tracking issues and bugs. Some try to offer at least a little of everything. Most offer a way for us to collaborate with our team and manage our projects better than we did yesterday.

While I haven't necessarily used any of these software offerings myself, and I am not endorsing any one software application over another or over any that are not listed here, I am offering these to show you an array of what is available that you might not otherwise know about. Plus, I've had some interactions with many of the individuals behind these software tools and I can say that they are good people who are confident in their applications and want them to be something you can use and be confident in as well. Basically, they stand behind their products proudly.

inloox

InLoox is an enterprise-wide project management and work collaboration software fully integrated in Microsoft Outlook. What gives InLoox a unique standing among PM solutions it that you can either access it directly from Outlook or from the web, as InLoox comes as an Outlook client installation and browser version. The seamless Outlook integration makes InLoox extremely user-friendly and intuitive while simplifying workflows and project planning, monitoring, and tracking. Outlook emails, calendar events, notes or reminders can be directly converted into tasks, assigned to projects and people, or filed as documents. You can access your Outlook contacts and assign them tasks, invite them to your projects, or put together teams for resource and workload management.

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Project planning can be done traditionally with an interactive Gantt chart or agile with Kanban boards. For creative teams, the mind map is the ideal starting point for project planning as it can be directly converted into tasks for the Kanban board or project phases for a Gantt chart. InLoox notifies project team members about any updates and the InLoox chat lets you communicate quickly with your co-workers. Time tracking and budgeting are also directly done in InLoox and its API lets you integrate your existing programs e.g. for procurement or invoicing. For tracking project and team performance, InLoox offers customizable dashboards and reports to monitor progress, costs or workload in one overview or individually down to a very granular level. This makes InLoox a one-platform solution that provides everyone, from the team members to project managers to the CEO with the ideal tool set to better execute, manage, and analyze projects, improve collaboration, optimize workflows, and make better business decisions.

samepage

Samepage is an award-winning team messaging and collaboration solution that combines several tools into one powerful app. With Samepage you have chat, video chat, task management, and file sharing, all in one fully live and dynamic project management platform.

The core of Samepage is the Team – create a Team for any group of people to collaborate on projects. Bring together people inside and outside your organization, from distributed team members to contractors and consultants. Teams have privacy levels from open to private. Each Team has a dedicated workspace made up of team chat, and pages where you can organize everything you need to plan and execute your projects. Samepage also has a built-in messaging feature that lets you chat 1-to-1, with teams, via video with Google Hangouts, and page-level chat. This keeps your conversations alongside to your content, providing much needed context.

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Pages are dynamic work environments where the entire team can work together and see changes happening in real time. Pages can include meeting notes, actionable tasks, and calendar events to help team members manage project work. With cloud storage app integrations like Dropbox, Google Drive, Box, and OneDrive it doesn't matter where you keep your files, they're all accessible on Samepage. With native file support, team members can edit files and save them back to Samepage, so your team always works from the most recent file version. Samepage’s simple interface makes it easy to get started; invite your team members and start collaborating in minutes. Workers can create teams, share files, and message their coworkers without IT support. Samepage is designed for teams as little as two people to organizations with hundreds of users.

workspace logo

Workspace.com is a desktop and mobile cloud-based enterprise project management solution for technology projects. From Requirements to Defects, their 8 apps enable teams to put an end to information silos and combine all project data in one, secure space. With project data unified, teams are better informed, and can make project decisions using the most current information.

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Project teams are deriving a number of benefits from using Workspace.com. They are better managing schedules and budgets that are more compressed than ever. Teams are able to adjust quickly to project scope changes that seem to expand without limits. With Workspace's traceability and collaboration features, teams are better able to connect and share what matters most, amidst an endless sea of information and communications. By bringing project teams together in a shared, on-line workspace, their customers are discovering a more connected experience of teamwork than they've ever had before.

primavera

PrimaveraReader is a cost effective viewer for Oracle Primavera P6 schedules, saved as .xer or .xls file types. With intuitive user interface, PrimaveraReader users are able to start analyzing the project’s current health and gain complete visibility into the project’s progress.

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Companies implement PrimaveraReader with aim to achieve competitive advantage and save on Oracle Primavera P6 total ownership costs. From project contractors, to stakeholders and executives, PrimaveraReader ensures everyone involved is informed about the latest project developments.

seavus

Seavus Project Viewer is the leading viewer for Microsoft Project files, allowing team members and project executives to open, analyze & print project plans without Microsoft Project license. With support for 100% of the views available in Microsoft Project, Seavus Project Viewer promotes transparency throughout the project team, delivering accurate project information to everyone involved. Seavus Project Viewer comes with identical MS Project look and feel, eliminating learning curve and training costs.

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Available to companies from all sizes, from small project teams to large corporations, Seavus Project Viewer has helped more than 3000 companies save on Microsoft Project licensing costs. It is a product of choice for more than 50% of Fortune 500 companies.

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PREVU is a cloud-based platform uniquely designed to integrate with the software of small and medium sized companies. It is built on the practice of good portfolio management, focusing on the portfolio, rather than the project management execution piece. PREVU was developed by system development experts with knowledge of product management, as well as the ability to create software that solves a need agnostic to business type.

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PREVU aligns strategic decisions with repeatable results and provides a holistic view of project information, all through a user-friendly interface. Users can evaluate an unlimited number of portfolio alternatives with a virtual whiteboard for advanced “What if” modeling. With PREVU, we are able to evaluate planning against resource capacity in real-time, ensuring that every potential step is thoroughly considered.

redbooth logo color

Redbooth is an all-in-one group collaboration and project management platform that helps teams get more done via a seamless integration of advanced project and task management capabilities (Gantt charts, Kanban boards, advanced analytics, etc.) with real-time messaging, voice and video communications, centralized into an intuitive virtual workspace. Founded in 2008, Redbooth is a pioneer of team collaboration and work management solutions. More than half a million teams in more than 100 countries rely on Redbooth to plan, manage and complete their work. On average, a new task is created in Redbooth every 3.4 seconds — and more than 18,000 tasks are completed daily.

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Redbooth uniquely combines project and task management capabilities, with real-time communications, enabling teams to find easily and share content, collaboratively plan and manage work initiatives and seamlessly communicate, ultimately becoming more productive, efficient and accountable. Additionally, Redbooth solutions are pre-integrated with an extensive array of enterprise content and productivity solutions, including file share and sync (Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SharePoint), email (Microsoft Outlook, Gmail), communications (Slack, Cisco Spark) and productivity (Zendesk, Evernote), enabling Redbooth to centralize teamwork and collaboration, regardless of the enterprise system of record where content and business logic may ultimately reside. This ecosystem of integrations is further extended via a robust developer API and SDK, which can be leveraged to integrate Redbooth with customer-specific applications. Additionally, Redbooth enables teams to standardize and streamline their mission-critical workflows, via a library of pre-defined workflow process templates that automatically replicate a consistent process across every project.

Redbooth’s solutions can be accessed via mobile smartphone & tablet applications (iOS & Android), industry-standard browsers and desktop clients running on Windows, Mac OS and Linux operating systems, as well as Apple Watch and Apple TV. The core Redbooth platform can be accessed as a Cloud service, or can be hosted on-premise in a customer’s data center (known as Redbooth Private Cloud).

 Celoxis Vector

Celoxis is a sophisticated project portfolio management and collaboration platform for medium to large businesses. It is a fully-featured software that lets you keep everything in one place. It is not only a very powerful tool for project managers but is also easy and intuitive for teams and executives. Celoxis has everything you need to plan and manage complex and diverse project portfolios. You can prepare task schedules with cross-project dependencies, juggle resource workloads and manage portfolio risks. Resource managers can track utilization across projects and also balance demand with available capacity. With Celoxis, you can also estimate and keep track of all project costs and forecast profitability. Teams can easily collaborate on work items, share progress, log time spent and also enter their expenses, all in one tool. Celoxis creates real-time visibility for executives and business owners through a range of reports, dashboards, and drill-down charts.

Celoxis is one of the very few online tools that offer a SaaS (Cloud-based) and On-Premise model. It is a comprehensive system that can easily integrate with your other enterprise tools and help manage, track and report on projects, processes, and resources. The team at Celoxis seems to understand very well that each business is different and maintains customization at the very core of its product.

Workamajig Workamajig Pltnm Face

Workamajig is the original web-based project management software for creative agencies and is used by more than 3,000 firms every day. Workamajig was created by agency consultants and was designed exclusively around the unique workflows and processes of creative companies.

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Workamajig is pretty much a one-stop-shop for tracking and managing every single detail of an agency's operations. Features include:

  • Resource Management
  • Project Management
  • Project Collaboration
  • File Sharing & Proofing
  • Client Billing
  • Revenue Projections
  • Agency Metrics
  • Media Integration & Management

upland

Upland Software provides cloud solutions covering project & portfolio management and professional services automation that help organizations gain the highest returns from their projects. Through their platform, organizations are able to successfully manage projects and resources, project workforce, and IT costs all within one product family.

Upland provides award-winning products that align project selection with strategic business objectives, simplifies the management of project portfolios with constrained resources, improves service delivery, resource and project management, and demonstrates the value IT provides through complete visibility and service benchmarking.

 Fusioo Logo

Fusioo is a customizable CRM and project management tool that allows teams to work the way they want to. Unlike other project management tools, with Fusioo you can set up your custom workspace to track and manage the information you need.

Fusioo Customizable CRM and Project Management

Given its versatility, Fusioo can be used for a variety of use cases, such as issue tracking, applicant tracking, expense management, you name it. Together with your team, you can choose to either set up your team's workspace from scratch or get started by using an App Bundle from the Fusioo App Marketplace.

 TeamHeadquarters logo 3627

TeamHeadquarters is a simple, effective project management system with an integrated service desk. IT projects generate issues and the project members are often required to deliver the support required and solve the issues. With TeamHeadquarters, you can easily manage your projects and support activities with a single system for your entire company.

TeamHeadquarters Gantt

This unique integration of project management and service desk is what makes TeamHeadquarters a suitable choice for IT teams of all sizes. Project Managers can easily see an entire picture of resource availability across all work (not just projects) taking away the guess work when assigning project tasks. IT leaders can get an accurate picture of where resources are spending their time and produce the evidence they need to explain reasons for project delays and resource capacity staffing requirements.

The package includes comprehensive resource management, task scheduling, portfolio dashboards, status reporting, integrated reporting, and a customer self-service portal. This results in predictable project schedules, productive IT teams, and IT leadership control.

 viewpath logo

Viewpath is an online application which manages project activities and resource allocation in one complete picture. Its scheduling engine delivers fast performance, enterprise-class scalability, and built-in integration with popular apps such as Salesforce or Google Drive. The app additionally provides security settings for free Guests and free Observers so project teams can collaborate with anyone, in any organization.

Viewpath Computer with Logo on bottom

The unique flexibility of Viewpath lets teams easily plan and track project activities in either Waterfall or Agile views, while still providing unified status reporting and dashboards. It also has layered functionality which simplifies collaboration and workflow at all levels of the organization -- whether it's an individual contributor completing one assigned task or a seasoned team leader doing interactive scheduling across a portfolio of projects.

Priority Matrix brnd logo pm 01

Priority Matrix is a lightweight project management solution designed to make teams highly effective. Priority Matrix serves as an ideal replacement to heavyweight tools like Microsoft Project while meeting the needs of teams who have outgrown simple task managers. Teams who use Priority Matrix see an increase in visibility across their organizations, more effective collaboration, and streamlined communication.

Priority Matrix Screenshot

Priority Matrix stands out due to the fact that it serves as a true solution, rather than simply software. The app provides a variety of views, such as a Gantt chart, built-in calendar, and Priority Level, which allows each member of your team to work the way they want. Furthermore, Priority Matrix integrates with tools you already know and love, such as Evernote, Google Docs, Outlook, Gmail, and more. To top it off Priority Matrix provides Productivity Insight reports that allow you to measure the heartbeat across your organization, team, and projects. The app works natively on Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and web.

Summary / call for input

This is far from an end-all list. Literally, more than 100 other options are out there to try, but this list gives you a good start of some great solutions that are out there that some large organizations and heavy-duty users swear by and are currently using to effectively manage their teams and project needs.

What about our readers? What experiences do you have with any of these offerings? Are there others that you have found to be effective for your project needs? Please share and discuss.

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Brad Egeland

PMTopContributorBrad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Creative Design, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 11, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad's site at http://www.bradegeland.com/.

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