Project Management solutions that are based on client-located systems are a thing of the past. Now that cloud computing has taken off significantly, it is also imperative that tasks such as project management and maintenance should also utilize this technology. After all, using the cloud would definitely help in reducing a company’s capital expense with less maintenance of both hardware and software components. On that note, we have reviewed several cloud-based project management tools here in TechGeeze. And here’s the latest in that portfolio. KeyedIn Projects, a company primarily focusing on SaaS or Software as a Service kind of business is offering their own implementation of a cloud-based management package. How does their offering compared to the rest? Head on to the review for more.
Now we have to say, of all the web-based project-management software that we’ve seen so far, KeyedIn Projects has probably the most optimized use of screen real estate. Other similar tools use a similar tabbed interface on the top then the sub level items are found on a navigation pane on one side. This automatically limits the space for the actual tools seen in the screen. This tool, while using a similar approach again uses a tab style navigation pane on the sub items. This then allows for more area that can be used for reports, graphs and other stuff.
As for the interface of the tools themselves, though knowing how to navigate the different panes and items would help, the general feel of the layout is still intuitive. One thing to note though is that the interface can sometimes load slow while it generates the graphical environment for the specific task requested, accompanied by the data it is presenting. But overall, the good use of screen real estate really helps.
- Standardize Task Management
- Improve Project Delivery
- Facilitate Project & Team Collaboration
- Deliver Projects on Time and On Budget
- Optimize Resource Deployment
- Analyze Project Progress
- Control Project Expenditure
- Reduce Project Risk
- Resolve Project Issues
- Reduce Billing Cycles
- Standardize Project Status Reporting
One of the integral tasks in these kinds of software is… adding tasks (no pun intended). Often, this will involve creating a new task, then map it to the overall schedule of the project and assign a specific resource to do the job. The good thing that the KeyedIn Projects does here is that they integrate the task creation with a Gantt chart. Now this may sound simple, but this presentation allows the easier manipulation of a task, in relation to tasks before or after and in relation to the overall schedule of the project. Just drag the slider on the chart and it can be easily edited. Adding personnel to each task is also simple enough, just a few popups here and there and the assignment is done.
Once tasks are assigned to a user, just click on the “My Work” tab on the main navigation pane and everything will be laid out for you. Again, it helps a lot that these items are presented in a graphical way to make things less convoluted as compared to other similar solutions.
For the allocated resources, the tool shows them in two ways, first in a tabular form where details about assignments, and resource demand percentage are given on a monthly basis. Then there is the graphical view where the total utilization per project is graphed against the supply. Now while they are doing a good approach in showing the resource data. The only problem that we have at the moment is that we can’t seem to locate a resource management pane where each member of the team with pertinent information is shown. This is important for easier connections to members of the project and/or task. But then again, it’s more of a management solution and not a collaborative one.
Risks, Issues & Change Requests
A project management tool set isn’t complete without a way to handle and mitigate risks/issues, as well as handle change requests as these are basic processes that projects go through. For risks, the tool allows the manager to create definite risks and categorize them according to the impact that it will have to the project in terms of costs, timescales and quality of work. The information provided here can then be used in forecasting as each risk also can be set for an impact date. The same template also works with issues except that these concern more on the resolution of the problem. Finally, the change requests tab keeps track of any updates that are needed to be implemented in the system. Users can easily create a change request and assign it to the responsible person. Its progress can also be tracked accordingly.
Status & Reports
The software also features a number of report types that the user can display, with data coming from existing records in the tool. Though for this version of the tool, the reports that can be created are predefined templates seen above. Here’s a sample of the said report:
Executive, Time & Expense Utilities
Finally, there are also certain tool sets that are available outside of the project use and can be utilized by top level management. These contain overview information that might be utter relevance to the said persons. Examples of which include the projects onboarded to the tool and details regarding them. It also has time booking and expense claiming features. For time booking, users are allowed to enter projects to which time used is recorded onto. Then users with approval capabilities will see another functionality to approve the time booking claims of the other users. On the other hand, users are also allowed to enter and claim expenses that are chargeable to the project. This gives the managers using the tool a better view of what costs go to the project and whether they are deemed valid.
Overall, the tool is helpful especially with project management tasks. The only problems we had is that the interface can be confusing at times. It also adds that there are few instances that the web UI loads inconsistently. Other than those, the functionality is enough. Though then again, we were initially comparing this to a previous tool which was focused on collaboration. Going though the tool makes it more evident that this is geared towards management, and not much on collaboration. Still, it does what it needs to do. For more information on the tools and the packages it includes, you can visit KeyedIn Solutions at keyedin.com.