The Project Management tools in PD-Trak are designed to support both an initial, broad-brush definition of a project and later a more detailed plan and supporting documents as the project proceeds through the phases of the stage/phase-gate process. The project management tools can be scaled down for simpler projects (e.g. line extensions) or scaled up for more complex projects.
To support portfolio management, the software facilitates quickly creating high-level project plans and project budgets. Once a project is approved, more detailed, bottom up plans can be created. During project execution, the system helps the project manager assign tasks, track status, and measure performance to budget, schedule, and overall accomplishment.
Key project management features include:
An important part of project management is to plan and manage the project budget and schedule. PD-Trak enables a top-down approach to easily developing a project budget and project schedule in the early stages of a project for project proposals and initial planning. As the project progresses past initial stage / phase-gate reviews, more detailed, bottom-up project planning is supported.
When the project is first created, preliminary schedule estimates provide initial the basis for gate dates and phase durations.
As the project progresses, detailed schedules can be developed with a Gantt chart scheduling capability or by using Microsoft Project®. These detailed schedules can then be used to update the top level project schedule by phase.
Similar preliminary estimates are made for resources and project costs. These estimates are refined and updated as the project proceeds through its early phases. Once the “baseline gate” is passed the project team is committed to the targets established for the project and their performance is measured against those targets.
Project resource requirements can be entered in terms of full time equivalent personnel by phase or by week or they can be planned at the task level using Microsoft Project® which is tightly integrated with PD-Trak. Initially, higher level planning by phase is most appropriate, and as the project evolves, more detailed planning by weekly time period of by task may be required.
Once resources are entered, these resources can be costed in a project budget based on a table of resource costs. Other capital and non-capital costs can be budgeted to develop a total time-phased project budget.
Formal risk management is often overlooked or not done well. PD-Trak’s approach to simplifying risk management is to pre-define common risks for new product development and technology development projects to facilitate a project team risk review. Best practices-based Project Process Templates in the project management tool include pre-populated risk management tables with typical risk factors that may apply to the project. You can edit these tables to adapt them to your projects, products and markets or you may choose to build your own pre-populated risk management tables. The team can add more risk items as needed for their project.
The worksheet uses a simple Probability and Impact scoring system as the basis for the Risk Priority Number (RPN) which can be used to sort the risk factors so that the risks that pose the greatest threat to the project are at the top of the list. The risk factors with high probability and impact are then assigned to team members to develop and implement prevention or mitigation plans.
An action item list is used to capture low level tasks and actions that typically result from team meetings, customer meetings, design reviews, gate reviews, etc. These tasks are difficult to plan, are often difficult to foresee in advance, and are at too low a level to include in a formal project plan. This tool can track open action items as well as maintain a list of closed action items with their resolution.
For further information or a demo, contact Kenneth Crow at DRM Associates
Phone +1 310-377-5569