Software Classification

For purposes of easy classification, project management software products have been divided into three categories based on the type of functions and features they provide.13

Level I software. Designed for single-project planning, these software packages are simple, easy to use, and their outputs are easy to understand. They do provide, however, only a limited analysis of the data. They do not provide automatic rescheduling based on specific changes. Therefore, deviations from the original project plan require complete replanning of the project and a complete new data input to the computer.

LevelIIsoftware. Designed for single project management, these software packages aid project leaders in the planning, tracking, and reporting of projects. They provide a comprehensive analysis of the project, progress reports, and plan revisions, based on actual performance. This type of software is designed for managing projects beyond the planning stage, and for providing semiautomatic project control.

Level III software. These packages feature multiproject planning, monitoring, and control by utilizing a common database and sophisticated cross-project monitoring and reporting software.

Most software packages at levels II and III have the following extensive capabilities for project monitoring and control:

1. System capacity. The number of activities and/or number of subnetworks that may be used.

2. Network schemes. The network schemes are activity diagram (AD) and/or precedence relationship (PRE).

3. Calendar dates. An internal calendar is available to schedule the project's activities. The variations and options of the different calendar algorithms are numerous.

4. Gantt or bar charts. A graphic display of the output on a time scale is available if desired.

5. Flexible report generator. The user can specify within defined guidelines the format of the output.

6. Updating. The program will accept revised time estimates and completion dates and recompute the revised schedule.

7. Cost control. The program accepts budgeted cost figures for each activity and then the actual cost incurred, and summarizes the budgeted and actual figures on each updating run. The primary objective is to help management produce a realistic cost plan before the project is started and to assist in the control of the project expenditures as the work progresses.

13 Some standards were initially set by PC Magazine, "Project Management with the PC," Vol. 3, No. 24, December 11, 1984.

8. Scheduled dates. A date is specified for the completion of any of the activities for purposes of planning and control. The calculations are performed with these dates as constraints.

9. Sorting. The program lists the activities in a sequence specified by the user.

10. Resource allocation. The program attempts to allocate resources optimally using one of many heuristic algorithms.

11. Plotter availability. A plotter is available to plot the network diagram.

12. Machine requirements. This is the minimum hardware memory requirement for the program (in units of bytes).

13. Cost. Indicates whether the program is sold and/or leased and the purchase price and/or lease price (where available).

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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