One year at a holiday silent auction I purchased two hours of consulting from a professional organizer. She taught me the key to organization in one simple statement: “Everything has a home.” Once you’ve decided where everything lives, it simplifies greatly the effort that typically requires the most time – deciding what to do with it. I found that statement very true for my personal situation – in every case where I had difficultly organizing a particular category of items, I had never given them a definite home.
In my role in office operations, I’m managing the status of several hundred small projects at all times, which can result in drowning in detail. I’ve looked for years for an application that gives a “home” to voluminous random notes in a useful manner to be able to access them later, and I keep coming back to the same system.
ManagePro, by Performance Solutions Technology, is project management software for the small-but-numerous project manager. Built on the philosophy of Management By Objectives, the software integrates project, task, and people management under a system of managing to the accomplishment of goals.
Features I sought and couldn’t find in combination elsewhere include:
- Managing projects and tasks required to meet both organizational strategic plan and individual performance review objectives
- Nesting and linking goals in a hierarchy
- Creating relationships between goals, individuals, workgroups, projects and tasks and being able to view the status of all projects by person, goal or project
- Entering free-form notes after meetings regarding project status or new action items (deliverables and tasks) agreed to in a meeting
- Scannable reporting on project status, highlighting areas in “trouble”
- Achieving benefits in organization greater than the cost of time maintaining the system
On the last point in particular, the system is intuitive and easy to maintain without the level of granularity of most project management software. Yet it provides much richer relating of data and nesting of objectives not permitted by flat note-taking software such as Microsoft Office OneNote.
Since I’ve configured my database with the highest level of hierarchy as OSCPA’s mission then the strategic plan objectives, even if I’m not able to restructure the database regularly, I can continue to add new updates and have relevant “homes” for them for retrieval. And when I do reorganize goals, the data moves with it. Yes, the system has some fuzzy personnel management features such as reminding you when you haven’t given someone feedback in a while (I don’t plan on entering data every time I have a conversation with my staff,) but even those reminders serve as an alert that you haven’t updated that person’s projects recently.
As a single-user installation, I’ve been wowed by the customer service I’ve received from the ManagePro team. From personal assistance in setting up my initial database structure to upgrades, I’ve been able to reach knowledgeable support immediately. In a recent case, I mistakenly downloaded the Web version of a software upgrade rather than the local version, and they were able to connect me to a technician familiar with Vista to assist me via LiveMeeting on my first phone call.
ManagePro is not the best project management software for large projects requiring scheduling of numerous resources or management of the critical path to project success. But for quick, intuitive updates of project status and scannable reporting that can be sorted by the attribute you wish to measure, ManagePro is the only software I’ve found that allows me to integrate people, project, and goal management in an easy to use manner.