Great reviews for PROJECT in a box

We know you like to make up your own minds about how good we are.  That is why most of you are users of our free tools like Community Edition and Planner.  But you might also sometimes find it is good to hear about the experiences of others too. So we have pulled this post together to showcase the great reviews we have been getting.

Great reviews on Capterra and G2Cloud

Both of these sites are now showing us as 4.5 out of 5 as scored by existing customers.

great reviews from users at Capterra for our project management software

Our customers also left comments like this:

“Highly recommend PROJECT in a box”

“PROJECT in a box, extreme value for money”

“It has improved the way we work as a team”

It is great to hear such positive feedback and that they would be highly likely to recommend us to others.  In fact we have often picked up new customers via recommendation like that over the years.

more great reviews for our Project and programme management software at G2 Crowd

Users at G2 Crowd were equally positive about their experiences with PROJECT in a box, saying:

“Great platform to manage and optimize the development of your ideas”

“Exactly what it says on the box”

These users gave us a remarkable 10 out of 10 on support and 9.2 on ease of use.

But don’t take out word for it, you can read these independent reviews here:

PROJECT in a box at Capterra

PROJECT in a box at G2Crowd

We have also had great reviews in the trade press

You might also like the more in depth independent reviews from the trade press.  We have grouped these together here.

In particular the reviews of Enterprise/Live Edition and Planner in Project Manager Today.  Both of these were highly positive about the real project management capability being delivered and the price at which it was available.  “Worldclass with a global community of users” summed it up nicely.

Risk responses and Issues too

If you want to manage your risks you firstly have to identify them.  We agree and have written many posts on that subject but that is not enough.  Unless you only identify very low level risks you will certainly need to do something about them.  When project managers still use excel risk registers it is common to see a column with the risk notes or actions.  That is definitely better than nothing but it isn’t great.  Mainly because it lacks granularity.  You have heard “there are many ways to skin a cat“, well the same applies to addressing your risk. In the real world there will likely be many possible ways of handling each risk and one excel field makes this a challenge to document.  Luckily Planner has the ability to store multiple risk responses for each risk.

Risk responses make the risk

So for each risk you can document multiple responses.  As you can see below you don’t just list the response but who will deliver it.  Also you show when the risk should be delivered by, the status and notes on the progress.

risk responses

Of course this doesn’t actually address the risks for you but it lets you keep better focus on which responses there are and how they are progressing.  In particular identifying the owner and actionee is very helpful. In Planner you can filter and analyse your risks and responses across even very large registers.  However when you load your Planner register back into the main application this is even better.

This information becomes invaluable once the data is in the main system and links made to owner/actinee.  Now the risk and relevant responses will appear on peoples individual action lists.  You might also get notification reminders.

When risk responses become Issue responses

Unfortunately sometimes risks become issues.  When you move a risk to an issue in Planner it moves the responses with it.  So you can see how the risk was managed when you are addressing the issue, what worked and what didn’t.  You can add new responses to the issue too if needed. Of course when issues come out of the blue you can set up responses on these as well.  You manage your issue responses the same way as risk responses keeping it simple and easy to follow.

Finding out more about issue and risk responses

This is topic 9 in our Planner masterclass series on You tube see the video here.

Of course if you are a regular user of Planner the other videos in the series will be equally helpful, watch the full set here.

If you are new to Planner then what are you waiting for?  You can download it for free from here and use it forever.

Reviews – leave yours and you might get a reward!

You are of course a valued customer and user of PROJECT in a box.  So we would like to thank you for being part of our worldwide community of over 500,000 individuals and organisations.  Of course delivering better project outcomes everyday is already a great gift.  But we have something even better in mind. In return for your reviews we are offering you the chance to win a gift.

Reviews with Capterra

This holiday season we are teaming up with Capterra (a Gartner Company) to learn more about your experience with PROJECT in a box. Capterra is kindly offering each user a $20 Amazon or Visa gift card for a quick 2-3-minute review of our product.

With the holidays quickly approaching, you can use this gift card for travel expenses or gifts for loved ones! To participate, please write a review here:

reviews

Because this offer is limited to the first 100 valid entries we suggest you don’t leave it too long.

Reviews in the press

If you want to catch up with other reviews of PROJECT in a box have a look here.

 

If you haven’t already done so you might also like to contribute to our 2019 project management survey.

Free software for your projects

So many software providers say ‘free’ but really mean trial.  But not with PROJECT in a box, when we say free we mean free.  When we first started our business over 15 years ago, it was with the launch of Community Edition.  The first and proudly still the only free PRINCE2 software.  Of course over the years we have improved and extended CE and also added further free software to the stable.  So now our free software bundle is unrivaled providing three tools and covering many methodologies. And now in the closing days of the decade we have refreshed it all again.

Read on for more details or watch the video on YouTube here.

Free software – Community Edition, your methodology partner

Community Edition is your free methodology and process tool.  You simply choose the type of project you want to have from the pick list.  When you give it a name it all the process and templates are set up.  Then you simply follow the steps laid out to structure and control your project documentation.  The discipline and methodology structure this gives the project is outstanding.  You can version templates and collect any supporting documentation you need for the project.

When you are selecting your project, choose from twelve different methods including PRINCE2, Scrum and our ever popular nStep family of methods for pre-scaled projects.  So you now get the proven reliability and ease of use of CE and also all the latest content.

See more about Community Edition and the methodologies it supports.

Free software – Planner, project controls perfected

You know that good project controls are essential for a successful project but so many tools play this only lip service.  Planner is the project controls tool of choice for many organisations and project professionals and it is totally free.  Planner has three themes:

  • Plan – Gantt chart planning, dependencies, tasks, resources, milestones, costs (Budget, Actual and Progress).  You can even import and also export from MS Project and other data formats.
  • Risks – creating, assessing and responding to risks in your project.  Inherent and residual weightings, multiple responses, charts and analysis to put you in control.
  • Issues – create direct from your risks or new for those surprise issues. Score and rate them, manage responses and also collect change information.  Of course analysis and charts as well.

You can use Planner standalone or with the template plans and registers provided in Community Edition.  As Planner is free software you can share planner files with anyone you need to.

Find out more about Planner here.

Free Software – .piabx Viewer, improved project templates

We all use templates for our projects, great to help with consistency.  Most people, including us, will generally use Word as it is easy and quick.  However using Word for templates has all sorts of problems.  We cover that here if you don’t already know what we mean. We developed .piabx templates to fix these issues giving you templates for the 21st Century.  And now with the upgraded .piabx Viewer you can edit the templates too (if the template owner gives you permission).  We also extended the model so you can have images and web links collected.

Again of course because .piabx viewer is free software you can share your templates with anyone you want.  Find out more about the .piabx Viewer here.

Getting your free software Bundle

This really couldn’t be easier.  Simply register on our page here and we give your the link to download and a reminder email in case you need to install later.  The link runs the installer which adds/upgrades all three free software tools for you at the same time.

free software; free project management software

Remember this is free software, not a trial.  You could join the community of 500,000 users who use our free software tools to deliver their software better.

Advanced PM features in the new version 5.3

So today we can tell you all about the new version of PIAB.  Version 5.3 is for Live Edition, Small Team and Enterprise Editions.  It has been quite a while coming but good things are always worth the wait.  And in this case it is no exception.  The advanced PM capabilities are unrivaled in the market.

Dynamic navigation for advanced PM guidance

Users have always found our navigation diagrams great for following a process. Now you can do even more with the diagrams.  And these new facilities will keep your project teams even more focused on doing the right thing.  You can display real time project data from properties directly on the diagram.  This keeps team members in touch with the important info without them having to go searching for it.  Users can also more easily distinguish between different projects which use the same method.

advanced pm;project management methodology

In addition you can now also offer more targeted links to other features from the diagrams.  This really helps with keeping less experienced users focused on the important aspects of managing projects.

Advanced PM that goes beyond Word Templates

We are all familiar with word templates.  They have many benefits but also quite a few drawbacks.  Our .piabx alternatives to word templates have taken huge steps forward in this release.  Now you can collect new data types including images and links making your template files much more practically useful.  Probably the best new feature though is the ability to edit the form of template files live.  Of course this is password controlled so your templates can remain rigidly fixed if you want, so just content could be added.  But now you can allow users to extend or alter the sections of the template.  This means using blank templates and building new files live in the browser is easy to do.  Therefore users have many more ways they can use these templates in real world situations.

Other advanced PM features in version 5.3

Of course there are other new features including property changes, new reports and a whole set of new methods.

As usual we have prepared launch materials on all of these topics with videos on You Tube as follows:

Intro and overview with slides and commentary (11min).

Exploring Dynamic Navigation (12min).

Investigating .piabx templates (10min).

Property enhancements and new method templates (16min).

If you want a deeper dive into .piabx then check out the page focused just on that.  Where we have prepared a .piabx training programme of videos.

Custom Project Process – Four simple steps

The benefits of a personalized process can be huge, as we discussed in the last post.  So now we can move on from the generalities and look at the specifics.  In this post we show you the four steps to creating your own custom project process.

custom project process;personalised methodology;project management; high maturity

Custom Project Process – step 1 – Process

The first thing you will do is to define your process.  This will involve you deciding the steps, phases or processes in the methodology.  Of course usually you will be working from an agreed standard for your organisation.  Next comes choosing which documents you want to appear in each process step.  Your documents are each a complete set of files on a topic and can appear in multiple processes.  Some of your documents may have templates or others may be empty and you will collect files as you progress through the project.  You might for instance use a correspondence or approvals document like that.

Of course there is more to defining your process than this and you can find out all about that in the video here on our You Tube channel.

Custom Project Process – step 2 – Navigation

It is likely that your next step will be setting up the navigation for your process.  PROJECT in a box is unique here with the ability to use any diagram as the background to your navigation.  You then set up instruction boxes on top of the diagram.  Each of these click areas has a function associated with it.  You can use any mix or multiples of the following four types:

  • Process – link to one of the above processes for a set of documents and files
  • Image – link to a different image to drill down or provide further features
  • Hyperlink – to link to other functionality or web pages like guidance
  • Function – to open one of the menu item functions from the system navigation.

When you mix these together with your own diagram this becomes the heart of your custom project process.  You can find out more about how this innovative step works with our You Tube video here.

Custom Project Process – 3 – Info Panels

Just as you added navigation boxes to the diagram above, info panels can also be added.  So your info panels can display live property data from your project directly on the diagram.  You could use this to show the project name or status or values such as number of risks.  Customers can also set these up to display interpreted data in their custom project process.  So you can show coloured icons like traffic lights to reflect say the risk level or number of overdue tasks.

All our new methods for 2020 have these head up displays built into the project process.  So when you open the project you see these key metrics immediately.  You can find out more about how these work here in the 4th of our You Tube videos.

Custom Project Process – 4 – the finishing touches

With your process, navigation and info panels complete most people will think that is everything set for your custom project process.  But you can do so much more with your method if you want to. These are just some of the other things you can set in method manager for your method:

  • Property insertion to your templates
  • Blocks of data you want to have available for reporting
  • Look up lists
  • Customised permissions models
  • Aliasing of key terms

You really do have exceptional control over the structure of your projects from this method template approach.  See more about your finishing touches in the You Tube video here.

 

So now you are ready to go and create your custom project process?  You could be but if it would help to discuss it with us then feel free.  We are always happy to help customers with this as it is a complex area and there are so many possibilities to end up spoilt for choice.  Just contact us if it helps.

Personalized methodology gives your projects focus

So many project management systems don’t think about process.  And most of those that do have a single fixed idea of the process.  So imagine being able to use multiple different processes in the same system.  Then imagine you can use the ones provided or set up your own personalized methodology.  And these can include reporting, graphics and even permissions differences. Now you start to see how PROJECT in a box users feel.  We call this spec of how your project should be a ‘Method Template’.  Of course you can use our popular off the shelf method templates if you want.  But you can also personalize them or create your own bespoke methods to match the needs of your organisation.

personalized methodology

Personalized methodology – first steps

Many customers start by using our popular off the shelf methods to create their first projects.  You can take these and give them your own look and feel by following these simple steps:

  • Change our existing templates for your own.  So you can have your Business case or Work Package document containing the fields and language you prefer.
  • Add your own branding.  All you have to do is change the default navigation images.  So it is easy for you to use your logo or change colours to match your corporate standards.

We can do these things for you if required.  But you can also do them yourselves, that is the beauty on PROJECT in a box and Method Manager.

Personalized methodology – your own bespoke methods

But that isn’t all.  Perhaps you want a different language? or different processes? new content? less content? more or less functional prompts for the users? Gates in your process? or Managers to see different things to team members? Of course all of these are possible.  When you use Method Manager to create (or alter) a method template you can do all of these things.

Of course this doesn’t mean anyone can adjust the project process.  Only Admin permissioned users have access to method templates and you also decide who can install Method Manager.  With Method Manager you can truly own the process you want users to follow and even evolve it over time. So that personalized methodology you have been dreaming of is finally within reach.

We have started a new series of videos showing you around Method Manager.  You can see the first intro one here on YouTube with more to come soon working through the detail step by step.

If you have any other questions just ask.

Digital transformation that makes a difference

For many organisations project management has always been a black art.  Much has been done over recent years to try and address this.  In particular with the development of methodology and process best practice.  Sending project managers on training courses and the rise in PM qualifications has also helped.  However project management has still lagged behind other aspects in the organisation when it comes to digital transformation.  In this post we take a look at how you can buck the trend and gain major benefits.

Digital Transformation – what is it?

Simply put it is taking your manual activities and making them digital.  Most organisations have already done this with things like finances and stock control but relatively few with their PM.  So to be clear we are not talking about AI and robot project managers.  Too much of the PM’s role is about communications and conflict resolution to realistically expect that to be digital.  But there are many parts of a PMs role which can be.

digital transformation;project managment

Digital transformation – quick wins

Big benefits can be gained in the following two areas:

Governance – Define standards for your project processes and then manage these digitally.  When you do this it is then much easier to keep track of compliance.  You will have easier audit and better intervention into problem projects.  You will also be able to switch PMs mid flight if you need to, and that can be huge in a recovery situation.  Whats more your teams will love you for the change.  That single version of the truth cuts down on mistakes and rework.  Team members don’t waste their time trying to find latest versions of things.  Project managers don’t have to chase for status updates, saving their valuable time.

Reporting – Your system assembles reports for you in real time from its existing data.  Reporting is usually a major part of the PMO and PMs role, it takes up a lot of their time and energy.  Delays in issuing reports are common when the process is manual, as it takes a long time.  Your management are therefore always making decisions based on old data not current data. Also however careful people are mistakes also inevitably creep in to manual reports.  When people work with so much data and calcs it is almost impossible to avoid.  Of course when the system generates reports it removes error and gives real time results. And you will end up with much better looking reports, such as our Project Statement or Weekly review.  Giving you double the reporting with no extra effort.

Further benefits of digital transformation

Project management expertise is a precious resource in most organisations so having it spent doing menial tasks is a real waste.  When you digitise these tasks you also free that resource to tackle the more complex parts of their job.  So your PMs will have more time for communications and resolving conflict to give you more successful projects.  Or of course they can manage multiple projects where before they could only manage one at a time.

Your next steps towards the benefits of digital transformation

This is the first post in a series on digital transformation. We will be posting more videos and guides on how you can do this over the coming weeks.  Our team are also appearing in the upcoming Sky Business Digital transformation documentaries.  We will also be linking to copies of those in our You Tube channel.

Tips on how to kick start a project

Tips on how to kick start a project

Starting a project can be difficult sometimes. So to help get you started, here are some useful key tips. As a subscriber to the PROJECT magazine , we have taken in some useful tips from the article ‘How to kick off a brilliant project’ by Emma De Vita. Lets go through a few, that we find to be the most important.

 

starting a project

Build a cohesive project team

We find that this is one of the most important tips to starting a project. The reason for this is because it is essential that your team get along during risky and stressful times. In order to have a strong team there are certain qualities that are absolutely crucial; trust is one of the main key qualities that any team should have. This is massively beneficial because it can take time to build a strong team, and you have to have trust in team members. Your team has to be able to work sufficiently together. So having a strong and collaborative team, who have trust in each other, is vital.

Have one clear vision for everyone

In order to have a successful project you and your team should all have the same clear vision for where the project is going. Project managers should always be as clear as possible when explaining the project and events to the team. It is also very important that project managers keep these conversations and their reasons completely relevant and clear. All teams need to be able to have clear visions of achieving the projects aims.

Set a strong culture and pace

Maintaining a good pace throughout project tasks will be very beneficial to completing your project. This means keeping at a regular tempo and allowing enough time to complete each task. It is also very important that you and your team don’t spend too much time relaxing. Similarly, avoid slacking off and wasting time. Time is the most crucial factor for completing your project. To set the culture, as a manager, you need to show your team just how important the project is. Communication is key. Having anticipation for the end can also be beneficial as it prepares your team right from the beginning. By visualising the end goal and thinking ahead, can help your team understand the upcoming steps of the project.

Using PROJECT in a box enables you to complete these 3 tips to help start up your project. The method template for your project will help your structure your team, establish and communicate your vision and manage the pace of your project more easily. You can find out more about method templates here by reading more or watching the video

If you are new to projects then our Project Management Basics videos will be very helpful, here is starting a project.

Management basics you really need to know

Management Basics

Project management is just another form of management. Sometimes we spend too much time learning the more complex terms and techniques. So as a result it can be easy to forget about the basics. In this post we will revise a few of the key management basics. We have identified these key aims for you as its important for you to be aware of these topics.

management basics

Management basics 1 – Setting Targets

Setting yourself clear targets is one of 3 key management basics to keep a focus on what’s important. By setting targets you’re putting yourself in a motivational state of mind to ensure a solid outcome. When setting targets don’t hesitate to use the KISS principle. After all, simple targets are easier for you to keep up with as they focus on what’s really important in clear stages.

It can be very hard to manage without targets. This means that you’re throwing important tasks around like their outcome doesn’t mean anything. This is something you will want to stay clear of as it can take you out of that motivational state of mind. Your team, like everyone, loses their sense of direction when targets haven’t been set to a clear understanding.

Management basics 2 – Managing Time

Without proper time management, getting lost can be very easy but also hard to be aware of. When planning your project, start with the more broad objectives.  You should try to avoid getting into too much detail too soon. The reason for this is so that later on you can put more time into thinking about the details as they occur. Typically, work is organised by dates and deadlines. So starting with a detailed plan doesn’t make too much sense. Perhaps using a detailed list for upcoming tasks that need to be completed is a better option. Therefore managing your time wisely increases the reality of your targets.

Management basics 3 – Recognising Achievements

Achievement recognition is one of the most powerful tools for managers. As users complete tasks they drop off the to do list. Keeping the list focussed on remaining tasks can be a bit demotivational. So you could include a list of completed tasks and hit milestones in your reports. Why not also go a step further when a task is completed and say thanks? You can set up notifications to do this automatically.

When your team complete your tasks in PROJECT in a box they drop from their to do list.

It is no surprise that aspects of planning are important so look at how PROJECT in a box can help you do task management that bit better.