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Evaluating Software - Mechanics, NOT Content

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Hello PPers,

This post is made in order to explore the mechanics of our planned software survey and is to supplement the following discussion topic Evaluate Software which discusses the content of such a software survey.

Here at PP headquarters We have invested a couple of hours and drafted some rough scripts that could serve to collect and display the results of such a survey. The scripts are very preliminary and we would appreciate you comments, ideas and constructive critisim etc.

The software names, questions and results that you will encounter are purely used for TESTING and no malace or critisism is intended towards the respective software owners / packages etc.

We have collectively given considerable though to the content of the survey, we should therefore give some though as to how the results are best shown. We plan to collect information such as the reviewers country, industry, years of experience etc etc. These parameters can be used in order to compare and contrast the results we will generate.

Please follow this Survey Page Link to see our proposals and reurn here to post your ideas, suggestions and requirements as a reply to this post.

Thanks team!

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Hi Guys, We did some coding improvements a few hours ago and it appears that the software survey has indavertaintly gone live. The wrong link page must have been uploaded. Does anyone have a summary of what needs to be changed to the survey? We can get those made before too many responses are input. Happy Planning.
Bernard Ertl
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Mary JoAnn
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Hello Moderators,

This is a little off the topic, but How do you post that cross-reference Link (blue coloured) in your messages ?
I don’t believe in such surveys.
You will include only those functions that are standard, nothing new will be evaluated. Most people who estimates have an experience of working with only one tool. The same task may be solved differently - this difference will not be seen, etc. The function that may formally exist may not work properly (like resource leveling in MS Project). So yes, it is mechanics that may be interpreted in a wrong way.
Mark Lomas
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Indeed, great work.

Q1: I am on it (honestly)
Q2: User input is valuable. I would leave it until after the body of the results and then include ALL comments at the end (anonymously, of course).
Q3: Yes, we should have a list. I suggest we should finish the survey and the scripting and then invite the listed vendors to comment / make suggestions. Again give a deadline. Once complete, we can implement.

Given that you will have collected all the "personal" info. Would it be possible to give a series of histograms up front to indentify the range of Exp. / Industry / Role etc. This would help in the vendors evaluation, knowing the survey respondents demographics.

Finally, and it may have been covered before, I presume the results will be grouped: one set for each software reviewed ?

Mark
Bernard Ertl
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Nice work Team!

Where the software specific questions all contain the same possible answers, perhaps the Q&A could be formatted in a grid to save space and allow participants to see all the questions easily? Ie.:

................Poor...Good....Great....N/A
Ease of Use......O.......O.......O.......O
Documentation....O.......O.......O.......O

etc.

Q1: Mark?
Q2: I would say that a user input box would be beneficial. If the reporting is put in a grid as I suggested earlier, then a simple link could be added for each software title (in the grid) which opens a page that lists all comments for that title.
Q3: Last I knew, that ball was in the PP teams court. I would like to reiterate that any software listed in the survey should include version info as software does change over time and major version changes should be treated as separate titles.

Bernard Ertl
InterPlan Systems Inc. - Project Management Software, Project Planning Software
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Hi PPers,

I think we have made some progress in regard to the mechanics of the software survey. Please see the following page.

Software Survey Page

Progress:
We have now included all questions and software package names in a database and changed the Q&A such that it appears on a single page with a "submit" button.

Action:
We will now go to work on the reports and add some filters to select from the various "personal data" questions (like experience, sector etc) and will also work on the results matrix / graphs.

Questions:
1. Do we now have a draft list of our proposed questions that can be put into the database for testing etc?
2. Do we need to include a user input box to allow a participant to pass-on some additional information, and if we do, where do we place that information (reporting)?
3. Do we have a list of proposed planning packages that could potentially be included. I can begin to load these into a data table. Assuming we contact (or re-contact) each vendor to get permission?

Regards.
Bernard Ertl
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Variables in Database - The changes I forsee are to the list of systems and planner criteria (industries, roles, etc.) - not to the system questions. Else, I agree, older survey results would be incongruent and form a poor basis for comparison.

I am in 100% agreement on limiting participation to logged-in PP members. Its the only way to limit those who would skew the results.

Bernard Ertl
InterPlan Systems Inc. - Project Management Software, Project Planning Software
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Hi Bernard,

Thanks for pushing the ball further.

Ok,

Variables in Database - all questions are kept in a database so editing and ammendments will be simple. The only issue here is that if we add or remove an item consideration may need to be given to whether or not it might bias the results in some way. As some of the older survey votes will not have answers to the new question and as a result any comparrison to never survey votes will be flawed?

All Questions On One Page - an excellent idea.

Requesting Survey Results - the filter suggestion is geat. The matrix grid looks like an interesting solution. I will have to find my brain and work on that one!

I am for now assuming that we restrict the survey to logged-in PPers in order to stop duplicate entries. I am sure we can open to joe-public provided we think of a clever means of preventing "Mr disgruntled from continually voting". IP logging does not do it (IMHO).

Thanks loads for the feedback.
Bernard Ertl
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Thanks for getting the ball rolling guys!

My $.02:
  • Wouldnt it be preferable to set the list(s) of
    • software
    • industries
    • experience ranges
    • roles
    • etc
    in a database field that populates a drop down pick list? That would allow easy maintenance should the options ever need to be edited / expanded. Also, the questions could then all be presented on one page with a "Next" or "Submit" button.
  • I would prefer to see all of the software questions on one page with a set of radio buttons to capture the answers (with the default answer being N/A).
  • When requesting the results of the survey, I would prefer the option to set some filtering criteria:
    • selecting software to include
    • select industries to include
    • select experience ranges to include
    • select roles to include
    where the default for all filters would be all answers. The results could then be displayed in a matrix/grid with software title on one axis, survey questions on the other axis, and either a number or icon representing the average of all the answers inside the grid cells.


Bernard Ertl
InterPlan Systems Inc. - Project Management Software, Project Planning Software