Recently in Project Management Category

AtTask Project Management Software Demo

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Christopher Stordalen from the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance hosted a demo or AtTask project management software on Friday, September 9th.  @tTask is a cloud-based Project Management solution.  

Project Management Software Features List - this is a Wikipedia page that lists project management software and main project tracking areas each solution supports.

REASON:  I have found that, while we have an in-house, "home-grown" project management solution that is focused on IT projects, I still use multiple tools and environments to accomplish project management  - Google Sites, Google Documents, Google Calendar, Google Tasks, UThink, OmniPlan, MS Excel, MS Word, etc.  The separation may be by project, but more often by task across projects.  I hear regularly from colleagues that they have the same issue and it "sure would be nice to have a common good project management solution at the University".  

HISTORY: When searching for software that included a full set of tools to support project management processes and tasks, I had a short list of software.  I was really impressed with AtTask because in addition to a full project management feature set, one feature was for connectivity via mobile devices.  I had viewed a demo of this software two years ago when in search of a project management solution.  My desire was to find something for both work within GPS Alliance IT, but that could be used for all project management and that would hopefully allow for use by teams that are comprised of members from both inside and outside GPS Alliance.  

ATTENDEES:  The timeframe was quite short for the scheduling the demo - On the Tuesday prior, I scheduled it thinking it would be just me.  On Wednesday, I had the idea of inviting some others, and "some others" turned into inviting all PCMC members.  We ended up with 6 PCMC members attending the ~45 minute presentation.

DREAM:  I revealed my dream to the attendees of the demo that a solution, @tTask or another appropriate solution, could be implemented at the University of Minnesota and that we would be come an "@tTask Enterprise".  It could be implemented centrally as a common good service to handle the gamut of projects, allow different access levels across the institution to utilize the system - from upper-level administration viewing reporting across colleges and units, to team members communicating and engaging each other on project tasks and tracking their progress, to project managers being able to see all their staff and all projects that are in the system for which they are responsible.  The University could leverage it in any courses focuses on, or that have a component of, project management.

QUESTIONS:  A number of questions could not be answered during the demo.  The questions and answers are below.

- Are there other Universities using AtTask?
Yes, there are several. A few I was able to come up with right away was Julliard, CUNY, and MacQuarie University. There are more if you want to know.

- Are we able to sync documents from other sources?
No, we don't sync with other sources. But, you mentioned Google Docs, within AtTask you can link to an external site such as Google Docs.

- Can you view a list of projects? Not just the projects assigned to myself?
Yes you would just create a custom report/dashboard to view it this way.

How much time to become acquainted with the tool?
System Admin - 
Project Manager - 3 day training course is a must but results in 
Project Member -
Reporting - 

DEMO NOTES:  A demo attendee submitted these notes.

Includes tasks, issues, docs, notes, (sync with data storage), email notification 

Gantt chart looks very clear/easy; can look at who assigned to each task, milestones etc. Can do resource assignments from within Gantt - person gets email and also has their own view. Based on how many hours you have available to each person. Can match who has time to skills and time for a task. Drag and drop.

Exec Reports - they can log in and look a reports. About 90 dashoards available. Can easily see where you're behind... Can schedule a report to be emailed to certain people. Lots of management options for levels of access.

Has status updates at individual level. Can move what you're working on to different priorities. Can log time. 

Seems to really work for someone on one project at a time. Doesn't seem to be a way for an individual to keep up with their multiple projects separately.  ANSWER - Every user can see an overview of all of their projects.

No academic pricing model. Pricing by User (PM, Team, View Only). 

Training sold separately. Plus subscription model.  

How work with Google Docs/Netfiles?  ANSWER - setup external link.  

PRICING:  I have asked about educational pricing, but haven't received specifics on that as of yet.  Prices below are retail and are per user per year.

Project Manager Enterprise - $650
Project Manager Professional - $395
Team Members - $250
View Only - $150

The difference between the Enterprise and Professional is the Portfolio Management. This would provide you with the ability to see upcoming projects, approval process for projects, and see whether you will have the bandwidth for upcoming projects.

TEST ACCOUNT:  AtTask provided us with a test account that will be available until 9/30/2011.  If we need a little more time, I can make that request.  Please let me know if you are interested and how much time you might need.

Location and Credentials:

Project Management View
username: christopher.mscott
password: user

You can also find some helpful training tips at

CARLA - LCTL Project Closeout

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1.  More time than expected to kick-off the project -
- RESPONSE - we had a charge to do development for CARLA and they would pay for a portion of Soni's time to have an agreed amount of work done by August 15th, because of grant funding deadline.  Because for the LCTL project we were beginning to use new functionality, technologies, and development processes, for new projects across all OIP, we decided with CARLA that we would use this time for that setup and learning work.  Actually kick-off came November 20th.

2.  All deliverables met?  Yes.  (no reports yet, but data is accessible and reports can be created as needed.  Report requirements not specified for pre-formatted report(s) )

3.  Marlene experienced issues with some tools programmed made available by new FileMaker functionality.  

4.  Time slippage - Changes in scope, multiple development owners (handoff specifics), FileMaker 10 functionality.  CARLA felt they didn't have seriously specific timeline - just worked on project until done.

5.  Constraints -  not really a problem

6.  Communication - appropriate, CARLA approved of communication amount and level. Methods - Louis doesn't use/like blogs).

7.  Blog PHP tutorial - Marlene felt she didn't have a starting place, or how a piece fits into the whole.  Better solution for archival/tutorial would be wiki with Table of Contents.  She couldn't find the Table of Contents page.  She likes a paper manual to write notes on.  

8.  Some additional requests.
- date and time for records/requests
- search bot blocking on FileMaker Server? No, but should have bot.txt file to eliminate searches after "?"
- Do we track IPs?
- Do logs track search results pages access?  Ask Patrick to look.
- Would like a no search results help message that includes a link to help page
- Search page - always starts at the very top.  Can I get rid of the list of the test records?

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