Most organisations rely on a set of project templates to help the PM get off on the right foot. These templates provide consistency and also help with compliance against method or quality needs. Because MS Office is in such common use these project templates are most often in Word, Excel or Powerpoint formats. We have also used these file formats for the project templates we provide in our methods. However over time we have begun to introduce more specialist formats e.g. using .spn instead of excel for plans and registers. Word has always been the workhorse of project templates though, both for us and other providers.
Even though most templates are in word it still has a number of issues when used in a PPM application:
- you need to use word or another app to edit the file;
- the read only flag only alerts you not to edit when you try to save your viewed file;
- with complex word templates such as PIDs can be difficult to find your way to a particular section;
- you can only inject content blocks up to 140chars;
- you cannot export content blocks for use elsewhere.
When you want slick and efficient operation in a structured environment these issues can hold you back.
.piabx setting a new standard in project templates
We have developed the new .piabx file format to raise the bar in terms of what can be done with project templates.
Firstly you can set up your .piabx templates to match the information you want to collect for your project. You can use sections of text or a more intricate layout of items, dates, numbers etc and also even tables. Your templates can also have style control, headers, footers and logos for IP and QA compliance. These templates can also receive and display blocks of content sent from the system. The sent content can be of any size and therefore support meaningful project descriptions etc. You are also able to identify content that you want to save from your templates into the system to show in reports etc or to inject into other templates.
Your users can view, print and even edit these project templates from our browser interface. Your content is therefore much more likely to be kept up to date. And of course with the system permissions settings and retaining audit trail and versions you continue to have great control. Your .piabx files are always provided read-only, unless actually checked out. This prevents a real problem that word files have, when users edit viewed files. It happens because word only advises the file is read-only when you try to save it.
So you can share your .piabx files with anyone you want we have also provided a .piabx viewer application. Using this people with no access to the main application can be sent .piabx files and can view or even edit them. This enables you to mirror the way you often work with existing word project templates.
Want to know more about these new project templates?
The launch of our new version 5.1 includes two versions of our nStep project management methods. One set with traditional word templates and one with .piabx templates so you can compare and see what you think. Our Beta test customers loved the live edit and navigation aspects of .piabx and we are sure you will feel the same.
You can see this in action on our release video here on YouTube. If you are an existing LiveEdition, Enterprise Edition or Small Team Edition customer you can upgrade at your convenience. If you want to know more just get in contact and we would be delighted to show you via web meeting.