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Specifications for project management software

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Bernard Ertl
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What features would you build into a project management program if you were designing one and why?

What features (that existing systems have) would you leave out (because you never use)?

Bernard Ertl
InterPlan Systems - eTaskMaker Project Planning Software

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Kritika Pandey
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Specification is a contractually binding detailed description of one of the services to procure. It defines the way the contractor should fill out the requirements from the statement of work. The specification belongs to the contractor and is a written project structure plan that provides the necessary details about the specific requirements.

A specification should contain following structure items as objective determination, product use, product overview, product information, product data, product services, user interface and quality requirements. The other items are specified in each project. Some following benefits of the specification are described. All credits are defined and together with the delivery dates are also codified. Misunderstandings will thus be avoided because the supplier has precise guidelines about the delivery date. A specification illustrates the project objective that enables to process effectively a project. Software requirements specification establishes the basis for an agreement between customers and contractors or suppliers on how the software product should function (in a market-driven project, these roles may be played by the marketing and development divisions).

The Project Management Software requirements specification is a rigorous assessment of requirements before the more specific system design stages, and its goal is to reduce later redesign. It should also provide a realistic basis for estimating product costs, risks, and schedules. Used appropriately, software requirements specifications can help prevent software project failure.

Stephen Devaux
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Sorry, this was a duplicate of the previous post.

Stephen Devaux
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So, Lina and Ryan, I have to ask:

Do your software packages provide full-function critical path analysis? Do they compute how much time each critical path activity is adding to the project duration, i.e., their critical path drag?

Just asking...

Fraternally in project management, and Happy New Year to all,

Steve the Bajan

Ryan McKenna
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Lina Ostoukh
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How nice, that I've stumbled across this thread. I'm actualy one of people who design PM software called Easy Projects. Would like to know what you think about it, if ever used before.
Some points that were made before are applicable for certain industries or sizes of a company.
like Multi-Currency Management - don't need it if manging small business (for example)

Thanks everyone

Forum Guest
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Bernard,

My personal opinion is that a project management tool should firstly be backed up by a PM methodology. My preference would be a tool that was customizable to corporate requirements and is sold as a complete package rather than just a bit of software for the planners.
My reason for this is that I am passionate about the use of the project plan in the workplace and get totally frustrated when I am confronted by Project Managers who only see planning as a reporting tool. I feel this is becoming the norm rather than the exception. So I don’t really think you can get rid of features someone somewhere will use it as the norm. Pack it with features then remove them as required.
The mechanics of the planning tool would be back-to-basics stuff.
The emphasis should be on making the plans work for everybody so should be heirarchical throughout the corporate, but unlike P3E the heirarchy should be such that every employee can see the correct level of detail at there position in the organisation.
I’d like an ADM option as well as PDM but at the lowest level I would force the use of the PERT rather than Gantt.
My reasons for this is that people in the ’shop-floor’ want visibility of what they are doing and how it fits into the project - detailed Gantt’s don’t give you this IMO.
One argument against PERTs that is often levelled is that they aren’t against a timescale - maybe this one could be addressed if the timescale was not neccessarily linear? but I’m not sure if that would work.
The presentation of the PERTs/Gantt is critical too.

Reporting needs to be customized. The best I have seen for this is X-PERT although it has its limitations. P3e doesn’t seem to bad but I’ve not really had enough time using it.


MK TSE
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As a programmer/planner point of view, I don’t want a system which covered all.
- It is hard to define the scope, from top management to front line.
- It is difficult to manage since the system is too complex
- Rigid system means no flexibility
But in certain extend, this system like ERP. Do we need a ERP for a construction project?
Alex Wong
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Really! Do we want to have a system can do everything and expect it to be perfect!
Luca Basile
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What I saw in the oil industry the “Vendor Management” term is a huge one.
All the vendor are divided in classes for kind of products they are approved (glycol, Ko drums,) and maximum amount of purchase.
So When You win a contract You issue a vendor list in accordance with the class (kind of equipment you need in the project) and value of the purchase.
After this the phase of manage the bid phase for each equipment, call offers follow up, technical and commercial evaluation, until the purchase order.
Finalised the purchase order we must issue a test and inspection plan, different for each equipment and function also of the confidence in the vendor (has worked with your company for 1 year or 20).
In the case Your vendor is in America and the project in Asia, then You have to follow up the shipment, custom clearance, etc…
All these is done in Sap, in different modules, and normally in Oil company is called Vendor management.
MK TSE
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I try to answer the question.

- Budget Management
Do you propose that a project management software tool should duplicate or supercede the budgeting facilities of an ERP system like SAP?

Depend on which level of control, for whole organization, ERP system preferable but may not handle the breakdown, then need some other tools.

- Program Management
How do you define program management?

(No idea)

- Contract Management
By this, do you mean that the project management software tool should be a legal document repository?

Prefer.

- Change Management
What should the system actually do manage change?

At least, record all process of change and how to get the final decision.

- Billing Management
How would you propose implementing this?

(No idea)

- Tax Management
According to the tax code(s) of what country? All of them?

(No idea)

- Multi-Currency Management
Should the system include a facility for currency exchange with live updates on the market fluctuations?

Prefer.

- Design Management
I’m supposing by this you mean collaboration/issue tracking?

Yes.

- File Management
What features are needed for file/document management?

Same as normal document management system. Index, search, files storage, etc.

- View and Redline Management
I’m not sure what you mean by this. Can you elaborate?

Allow retrieve the upload file to view and mark up for colaboration.

- Correspondence Management
This is another collaboration based feature. Should it take the form of a forum, local e-mail, instant messaging, or other system?

(No comment)

- Vendor Management
What is your intention with this? Resource management?

(No idea)

- Project Management Planning
What features are required for planning?

(No idea)
MK TSE
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Sorry, the solution is new to me and I just attend the Product Launch two days ago. More information available on web http://www.mps.com/products/proliance/index.asp
Bernard Ertl
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Mark, I’ve been mulling something over for about a year now. But my question here was proposed to generate discussion.

In reviewing the software comparison discussions here at the PP, it occurs to me that most planners can find fault with any system. I hoped to generate a greater appreciation for all tools by highlighting the difficulties in designing a tool that pleases everyone.

mktse, Let’s explore these features with a little more depth:

- Budget Management
Do you propose that a project management software tool should duplicate or supercede the budgeting facilities of an ERP system like SAP?

- Program Management
How do you define program management?

- Contract Management
By this, do you mean that the project management software tool should be a legal document repository?

- Change Management
What should the system actually do manage change?

- Billing Management
How would you propose implementing this?

- Tax Management
According to the tax code(s) of what country? All of them?

- Multi-Currency Management
Should the system include a facility for currency exchange with live updates on the market fluctuations?

- Design Management
I’m supposing by this you mean collaboration/issue tracking?

- File Management
What features are needed for file/document management?

- View and Redline Management
I’m not sure what you mean by this. Can you elaborate?

- Correspondence Management
This is another collaboration based feature. Should it take the form of a forum, local e-mail, instant messaging, or other system?

- Vendor Management
What is your intention with this? Resource management?

- Project Management Planning
What features are required for planning?

Bernard Ertl
InterPlan Systems - eTaskMaker Project Planning Software
Mark Lomas
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Bernard,

are you designing a new suite ?
MK TSE
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Just quoted the idea/concept from Meridian, the system includes: -
- Budget Management
- Program Management
- Contract Management
- Change Management
- Billing Management
- Tax Management
- Multi-Currency Management
- Design Management
- File Management
- View and Redline Management
- Correspondence Management
- Vendor Management
- Project Management Planning