by Rakesh Sharma
Published on 22 March 2012
PMOs are intensely focused on aligning company initiatives with business objectives. This means that PMOs make sure that company projects and resources are directed singly towards business goals. To do this, they require complex solutions to enable them to view several project vitals at a glance.
This week we will look at a possible solution that greatly simplifies project portfolio management. . Daptiv PPM is a web-based/SaaSproject portfolio management solution that combines a rich set of project, resource, and portfolio management features with built-in collaboration and document management.
We will look at its features, interface, and see how it can be of use to you.
An Acronym for You: Try PPM
Projects are complex beasts.
While reviewing Daptiv, I learned about a new concept to tame this beast: Project and Portfolio Management or PPM. "If you want to take project management to the next level, then PPM is for you," says Satish Kumar, senior product marketing manager at Daptiv.
According to the PPM framework, a good project management tool should enable project clarity. This means the tool should provide you with a 360-degree view of critical aspects of your project including overview, resource assignment, and project status.
Direct benefits of this approach include streamlined project functions, better collaboration, and the ability to change project direction at a moment's notice. What's more interesting is that PPM maturity can be measured. Research agency Gartner rates PPM levels between 1 and 5, with 1 and 5 being the lowest and highest respectively. "Daptiv gives you the flexibility to be anywhere between 2 and 5 on the maturity scale and progress to the next level, depending on your needs," says Kumar.
He adds that Daptiv scores over other, similar SaaS-based project management solutions in the market because it is flexible, easy to use, and scalable. "You get the visibility and intelligence to manage multiple projects within an easy-to-use configurable interface," he says. In addition, it comes with the works to manage your project as compared to other solutions, which scrimp on features because of low costs.
Managing Projects the Daptiv Way
As I mentioned earlier, Daptiv enables you to do more with less. Configurable tabs on the dashboard user interface enable users to perform all project management tasks from resource scheduling to task management. Each task or function within the solution can be configured to fit your project or company processes. "The aim is to provide you with an enterprise-class PPM solution that is configurable across functionality and views," says Kumar.
The capacity planner provides you with a top-down view of all projects and resources in your system. Within this planner, you can see color-coded resource allocations - a red color indicates that your resources are over-allocated. This feature also enables you to forecast and estimate projects in the pipeline.
The solution scores adequately in configuring multiple project views and resources. So, for example, you can set multiple view and access levels for project users. Similarly, you can manage project documents and discussions using Daptiv. The interesting thing about each feature in Daptiv is that it can be customized. "The idea is to give users certain core capabilities and let them build their process around it," says Kumar.
That idea finds its fullest expression in the Dynamic Applications (DA) feature. The solution already has several native applications; however, you can also create a DA that contains custom fields and functionality. For example, you can add an application to track expenses. The wonderful part about this feature is that it does not require programming experience. Instead, you can simply drag the fields you want between panes. Best of all, you can create reports and dashboards using the native and custom fields you create.
You can also import MS Project schedules into Daptiv. This allows for a worry free migration from MS Project to Daptiv.
The Basics: What Does It Look Like?
Because it contains multiple features, one would assume that the Daptiv interface must be cluttered and unwieldy. However, the solution's UI designers have done an excellent job with the interface. The interface is a drag-and-drop one, which condenses myriad features and views into simple, easy-to-use tabs. In keeping with the flexible mantra of the solution, you can configure dashboards to reflect your immediate project concerns and priorities. The application also contains a link for customizable views on each page. In addition, as I mentioned earlier, you can also create customized applications by simply dragging icons between panes.
Daptiv support is a mix of user manuals, online knowledge base and community forums, and help desk support. The good part about their support website is that it is categorized according to roles. So clicking on specific roles automatically takes you to that role's user guides. You can also perform a keyword search on their knowledge base and community forums. While their current support material is more than adequate, it might be a good idea to include training videos in the future.
Is It For You?
If you would like a project portfolio management solution that does more with less, then this solution is for you. Because it is highly configurable, Daptiv is a great value for organizations that want to start small and make changes as they evolve.