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Replicon Project and Program Management (PPM) by Replicon

A complete solution to manage your entire portfolio of projects ― from kick-off to completion.

Gain the visibility you need for efficient, successful Project Management and Costing with central access to real-time project information throughout the project lifecycle.

Easy project set up and administration

  • Create projects with multi-level hierarchies in seconds
  • Easily define project milestones
  • Assign approved expenses by project
  • Set budgets for time and costs per project

Robust project tracking

  • Get real-time visibility into project costs and hours worked
  • Track budget to actuals to ensure projects are on-time and on-budget
  • Get a bird’s eye view of all projects across all stages

 

Buyer’s Guide for Project Management Software

Introduction to Project Management

Project Management (PM) itself is a wide topic to cover as it is a body of knowledge that applies to almost all types of industries. It can take a student several years in order to master the craft of project management. Project Management Professional (PMP), Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) are well-defined terms in the world of Project Management. Organizations with profound interest in project management more or less have these people, processes, and methodologies in their Project Management Office (PMO). And while the PM discipline continues to evolve over the years, the technology that binds people, processes, and methodologies is also innovating.

Project Management Software (PMS) has been helping thousands of project managers all over the world in the past several decades. Today, the PPM software industry alone is worth $10B. The entire PM industry; on the other hand, is worth more than $100B to date. These figures remind us that in whatever sector or industry our business might be in right now, having a system that will put every project into a higher level of organization can definitely give that business a competitive advantage.

Through this Buyer’s Guide, we will introduce to you the latest topics and trends in Project Management software technology. Our goal in mind is to guide every project manager in choosing the right tool that could help him manage his projects well – small, big, local, international, physical, or virtual. Here is the outline of topics that you are about to learn from this Buyer’s Guide.

  • What is Project Management Software (PMS)?
  • History of Project Management
  • Types of Project Management Applications
  • What Common Problems does Project Management Software Solve?
  • Key Project Management Software Features
  • Selecting the Right Project Management Tool
  • Benefits of Project Management Software
  • Pricing
  • PMS Market Trends

What is Project Management Software (PMS)?

Project management is the response of organizations to the modern society. It is the process of planning, organizing, motivating, and controlling resources, procedures, and protocols in order to achieve the firm’s specific goals. Every project has a life cycle: conception, definition, execution, and operation. Project, at any point of its life cycle, can be measured in terms of time, cost, and performance. Many project management tools today are designed and developed for the purpose of providing the system on every project’s life cycle. PMS core functions include planning projects, managing tasks, sharing and collaborating documents, sharing calendars and contact lists, tracking time, and managing issues. Projects with technical complexity and those that require a diversity of skills are where PMS solutions are also intended for.

History of Project Management

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is one of the largest organizations that promote the modern project managements’ best practices and provides certifications to people and organizations involved in the PM profession. It was formed in 1969 in the USA.

The famous Gannt chart was devised by Henry Gannt in the latter years of the 1800’s. During the 1900’s, the concept of project management was first applied to civil engineering projects. It was during the 1950’s when project management tools and techniques were used to handle complex engineering projects. The Critical Path Method (CPM) and the Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT) were also formulated and widely used during this period.

The American Association of Cost Engineering (AACE), which was founded in 1956, and the International Project Management Association (IPMA), which was formed in Europe in 1967 are still actively participating today in the practice of project management discipline. Together with PMI, these PM bodies were all contributors to the realization of the now modern Project Management software technology.

Types of Project Management Applications

There are different types of PMS applications that many organizations are using today. They are categorized based on the type of technology, model of deployment, and level of functionality.

Desktop

This is the traditional type of PMS. A software program will be installed in the desktop PC and it is then ready for utilization by the project manager. Because it usually runs in a single workstation, desktop PMS is also considered to be a single-user type. Many desktop applications today have synchronization features that enable one user to connect into a central database where other users also have access into.

Client Server

This type of PMS is hosted on the client or buyer’s server network. Upon purchase of the software license, it will be installed onto the server network where multiple users will also have access to it. Also known as the on-premises model, this software solution offers robust features and functionality. Many large companies prefer using the client server type since it offers a higher level of customization, data security, and integration features.

Web-based

Such solutions can be accessed via the internet. This solution is also known under the names of cloud-based, Software-as-a-Service, and Application Service Provider (ASP). In this model, project managers no longer need to install any software program into their computer device. For as long as they are connected online, they can instantly access the application and start working on their projects.

Integrated

Many modern PMS applications today are found integrated in larger management information systems such ERP and Business Intelligence. It is just that many organizations today are getting significant benefits from using the integrated suite PMS. One of those benefits is that it prevents users from repeatedly entering the same data or information on different systems that have no interdependencies.

Personal/Single User

This type of PMS is usually for home or small project use only. It can be a web-based or desktop type, but with limited features and functionality. Freelancers working with online projects are mostly the main users of personal/single-user PMS.

Collaborative

In order to address the requirements of a project that is being managed by several project managers, many software companies are now upgrading their solutions by adding sophisticated collaboration tools. The difficulty that managers are experiencing in sharing activity calendars, contact lists, and documents has been resolved by combining the features of web-based and client-server solutions within a single system; hence, a central database that can be accessed online or offline through multiple devices makes project management a lot easier.

Office-Productivity

The traditional spreadsheet for Gannt charts, Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), and simple reports is still helping many project managers on their daily tasks, but since most spreadsheet applications usually run on Windows-based systems, several software companies decided to create simple apps that can be accessed on smart phones, tablets, and laptops. It only takes a few minutes to download and install these types of PM apps. These simple apps are now helping project managers in improving their overall productivity both on-site, and off-site.

What Common Problems does Project Management Software Solve?

Project Management software solution not only helps project managers on their projects, it also helps the entire organization that uses it by reducing its operating expenses, reducing its inventory, and eliminating the delays on its projects. Because PMS solutions cover the areas of time, integration, scope, cost, quality, human resource, communications, risks, and procurement management, it is really worth it for many organizations to invest in this kind of software technology. Moreover, by selecting the right PMS solution for your organization, you,… as a project manager, can help yourself in easily and systematically defining and delegating work responsibilities, establishing deadlines, reviewing work in progress, evaluating job queues, scheduling meetings, and keeping stake holders up to date.

You, as a business owner, can help yourself in always staying on top of every project in your business, seeing the big picture in every project that you manage, and getting updated with the happenings in all of the projects that you are working on.

Key Project Management Software Features

Modern PMS solutions are richer in features and functionality. While many vendors offer various solution plans and packages, listing the advanced features that are required versus desired by your organization will help you save time in benchmarking and short-listing the various PMS vendor products.  Here are features that will serve as your guide when you are ready to begin the buying process for the right PMS solution.

Project Planning Features

  • Project Creation
  • Project Scope
  • Work Breakdown Structure
  • Project Team Rosters
  • Project Budgeting
  • Change Management

 Scheduling Features

  • Task Management
  • Issue Management
  • Expense Management
  • Gantt Chart
  • Progress Tracking
  • Time Tracking
  • Resource Allocation

 Collaboration Features

  • Email Integration
  • Learning Management
  • Document Management
  • Meeting Coordination
  • Social Collaboration
  • Resource Load and Calendar
  • Team Views

 Technology Features

  • Application Program Interface (API) Access
  • Reports and Dashboards
  • Unlimited Number of Projects
  • Mobile Application
  • Customization
  • Business Rules Setting
  • Help and Support

Selecting the Right Project Management Tool

In addition to documenting features and functionality that is required, you can also filter your short-list of PMS solutions based on products that are sized for your business today and the expected growth of tomorrow.  Let’s review these types of solutions based on the size of your business.

Individual/Freelancers

These are the single user or personal types of Project Management tools. If you manage small or simple projects online, a solution that contains task management, time tracking, mobile application, and social collaboration would be sufficient enough.  Some relevant tools that fit this criteria are LiquidPlanner, Projecturf, and Solo.

Small and Medium Business

SMB’s will need solutions with features that cover basic functionality. If your company has 5 to 10 project managers working together on a single team, it is advisable that you select a PMS with task management, team collaboration, document management, email integration, and meeting coordination features.  Some relevant tools that fit this criteria are ZohoProjects, ViewPath, and Basecamp.

Large Enterprises

Large companies looking for solutions that offer accurate estimates, better control on dependencies, and real-time progress tracking should evaluate the integrated solutions. Although it will require a higher amount of investment, features like task management, expense management, and project budgeting will help in the long run.  Some relevant enterprise suites fitting this criteria are Primavera, Microsoft Project, JIRA, and Deltek.

 

When evaluating and selecting an on-premises PMS solution, it is highly recommended that line of business owners seek the assistance and support of their IT teams. For cloud-based solutions, SMB’s must closely discuss with their preferred solution provider their technical concerns right from the very beginning. For integrated suite solutions, companies that are looking to implement this type must coordinate as much as possible with software experts or management consultants. Getting their services will help the company in dealing with technical and complex management aspects of the PMS implementation. 

Benefits of Project Management Software

The major benefits that PMS solutions offer every organization include:

  • Via project planning functionality, organizations can easily position their people and resources and accurately measure and justify the level of effort required to complete any project.
  • With project tracking features, organizations can manage task assignments efficiently and schedule human resources effectively.
  • Via the aid of communication and document management tools, organizations can promote collaboration among project team members as well as with their partners, suppliers, and customers.

Overall, the proper selection of features, smart choice of deployment model, and systematic software implementation can help an organization lower the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of a certain type of PMS solution while supporting the overall business in operating efficiently and effectively.

Pricing

PMS solutions can be purchased either as a one-time software cost option or as a subscription-based package.

Cloud-based solutions are priced per user per month. Most vendors offer their solution under three or four types of service plans in which the pricing is dependent on the number of projects that it can handle, the amount of storage space, and the number of features included. The price of Basic plans ranges from free, up to $30. The price of Professional plans ranges from $30 to $60. The price of Enterprise plans ranges from $60 to $120 per user per month.

The software licensing fee for on-premises solutions ranges from $30 to $300 per user. This wide price range is due to the different types of licenses that the buyer can select. Collaboration licenses are usually priced from free, up to $30 per user. Work and plan licenses range from $30 to $100. Enterprise licenses are priced from $100 to $300 per user. In addition, on-premises solutions are also associated with other implementation costs including cost of training, maintenance, upgrades, services, and support.

PMS Market Trends

The Project Management industry is not showing any sign of slowing down. Improvements in PM methodologies and best practices have been the focus of organizations like the PMBOK and PMI over the past several years.

While the debate between the agile and waterfall approach is still hot among PMPs, what’s clear right now is that the tools and techniques developed over the past years that constitute these two PM methodologies are helping thousands of project managers in a variety of ways.

When it comes to Project Management software solutions, the trends are all going in favour of the project managers. PMS solutions keep on moving into the cloud. It was reported that many firms have already decided to move to cloud-based project management tools this year. Many organizations are also starting to evaluate the benefits of cloud solutions in order to maximize their investment and achieve greater value.

The need for online collaboration tools continues to increase. Many companies are seeing integrated collaboration suites to remove the obstacles of communication; thus, enabling them to access efficiently and effectively their talents across the country and overseas.

While project management is rapidly growing in the IT industry, many business organizations are also beginning to mirror the IT project management role in the implementation of their PMS solutions.

PMS solution providers are continuously developing and providing new tools to the PM world. The markets of PM consulting services, PM training, and PM educational products and services are also growing.

It is then safe to say that these trends are clear signs that by investing in PMS solutions today, it will surely favour the success of many firms in the management of their project portfolios.