Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review of Project Centeral 2.0

Recently I had a chance to check out Project Central 2.0, a SharePoint plug-in From Bamboo Solutions.  Bamboo offers many project management related plug-ins for SharePoint. 

When you log in there is a nice dashboard of information of all the projects in your portfolio.  My only issue with this first screen is that you have to scroll to the right to see all the information.  Within this view you will find all the common tabs you would need to quickly jump to.

Setting up a project

When setting up a project there is a great summary screen for the project, where you can define your team, see upcoming tasks, announcements, recently updated documents, and so on.  These are typical things you would expect to see when developing a dashboard within SharePoint.  I do like the idea of an icon that you click that will send out an email to all on the project (no need to bother IS admin to set up a universal mailing list within Outlook).

Updating the GANTT chart

You can enter the items into your project timeline.  Each new item has a ton of information that you can enter that will feed the other parts of the application.  I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t see a button to import a Microsoft Project document into the system (you have to purchase an additional add-on for this). 
They do offer different views, and an option to baseline the project, but I didn’t see anything for viewing the critical path.

Resource management

There is a section on resource management, it is nice to have this option so you can easily see if a person is over allocated and when you add a person to a project you can put in what percentage of time they will have on the project.


There is a full section on risks, and each risk you enter has all the key pieces of information you would normally collect, which is used to determine its spot on the impact and probability chart.

Easy to use if you are familiar with SharePoint
Excellent dashboard views
Easy to input data, add more data views, and easy to get data out if you want to build offline reports
Easy to lock down using SharePoint’s built in security rules
Easy to track risks, issues, resources and costs
The ability to add a percentage of time a person will be assigned to the project
Standardized way to seeing a project site (stops PMs from making up their own sites)
One time fee

Have to purchase an additional plug-in to import Microsoft Project documents
Discussion board is just a plain old discussion board with no tie into a task within the project
No project news feed type of feature (i.e.: task was completed, new discussion added, new document added)
No place for a team member that are assigned a task can give an update on the task that is tied back into the task
No templates, it would be nice if they had a section on Agile management with burn down item logger and a burn down chart.
Possible issue if you have outside team members, possible security concerns

Overall I think it is a great application at a fair price.  Could you ask your companies programmers to build an application like this?  Sure.  But it is much more cost effective to purchase this one so you have all the key items you need to help capture the needs and the plan of the project.

Monday, November 01, 2010

iPad in the Enterprise

Several weeks ago I attended a presentation titled: iPad in the Enterprise presented by Jake Scherrer of CentareLink to his presentation.

In the presentation Jake went over Apple’s mobile devices and where the future may lead too. 
Apple’s 3 main mobile devices are the iPhone, iPod touch and the iPad.  Currently there are many new companies that are popping up to help you create apps that work with mobile technology to help you access your data basically anywhere.  There are many professions today that this will be huge help to speed up workflows and getting data to the masses quicker.

One of the first hurdles will be the enterprise concerns with security (if I lose my iPhone will the finder now have access to my email and custom built apps?).  Apple seems to have this locked down pretty well with the ability to lock and format and push new updates to the iPhone remotely).

Another hurdle is, how the heck do you get Apple to okay your custom made application for your client.  Apple is getting much less restrictive of this and their review process.

What is the future?

Any type of data you have access to on your PC you should be able to have access to on your mobile device.
 An example they gave was an app for collecting names of interested clients at a trade show (you know, you have a booth and folks drop off their business cards in a fish bowl which is replaced with an iPad app).

Rewards for service.  Remember the days when you were with an organization for 5 years you received a tie tack, and 20 years you received a watch?  How about after 2 years you receive an iPad with some custom apps for your company to help you keep track of what is going on in the office from the road or at home.
Some others I’ve thought about recently are:

  • 1.       Realtor app so they can look things up and take notes.
  • 2.       Project app so you can see project details or look at shared documents (like has).
  • 3.       Trade show booth, to show videos about your organization, or give the user hands on access.
  • 4.       Doctors, who can re-view images from anywhere to give input on diagnoses.
  • 5.       Police reports, with dictation ability.

This could be so much more than just email!  Think about the data you capture and how you could use it to help your organization work more efficiently!