Recently I attended a webinar presented by Corasworks on their updated Project Portfolio manager that integrates with SharePoint (PPM v.2.0). This past winter I reviewed their application and they have many new useful updates.
They have included several new templates for managing projects using PMI or Agile methodologies and a custom template to make your own.
Microsoft Project documents still have the ability to push and pull from the product.
New edition to the timeline view includes the ability to see the critical path (many portfolio software apps do not have this).
The ability to take snapshot of the timeline (so you can look back to see where you were at, at a certain point of time, much like baselineing).
GANNT chart view with the ability to move items by dragging and the ability to link items via this view too.
A community board for project team members to share updates (which includes a rating system, and the ability to tag items so they are easier to find). I really like this because it could take some of the email discussions out of email into your project site (great place to have all that key communication in one spot).
Section to submit project proposals that will move through an approval workflow.
Updated Risk tracker to easily move a risk to the issues log.
A mobile app so you can see some project metrics, or see all of your tasks.
Link to the video on the mobile app: http://www.screencast.com/users/CorasWorks/folders/CorasWorks%20Mobile%20Adapter/media/f48ecb71-3e91-443d-b58f-12fad3f9660c
The mobile app is cool but the ability to update from it is very limited. In the video it gives examples of clicking on an open task which automatically moves it to 5% (what if I’m at 50%?). Also you can move KPI to green, yellow or red. Typically these move based on project metrics you set up, if not and you do it manually that is fine too. If you move an item to Red I would like the ability to write why it is red.
The mobile app needs more functions like box.net (the ability to view documents) to really be useful and needs a project newsfeed (more below).
Other things I would like to see…
eSignatures for sign-off on sections within the project and on any documents that have signature lines (we currently have a 3rd party app that does this for us).
They talk about web 2.0 social media parts (community part), but I think they need to expand this. @task is coming out with a new update soon that will include a newsfeed for your project.
I would imagine the project newsfeed would include things like.
“New document, project requirements, has been added” 20Sep2010
“Task, sign off document, has been completed” 20Sep210
“Question titled, help with code for jump uploader, has been added to the community board” 20Sep2010
“New photo titled, here is where we are 20sep, has been added” 20Sep2010
“New video titled, software in use, has been added” 20sep2010
Then you can control this by turning updates off that you are not interested in (say you don’t care when documents are added or updated).
You would see the updates for your project and there would be a view for updates for all projects flowing into one newsfeed.
Also how about a section for what a person is working on for the day? Nice way for managers to check up on staff (and a great check-up of Agile projects).
Overall Corasworks is doing an excellent job of listening to their customers and bringing in the standard items we need to manage projects. The key to making this work is having experts in your organization that use the application and training, re-training and offering plenty of training on the application. Without this you could buy something that no one uses… Have a plan in place before you implement it …