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Choice of a control system of projects “under key” for the companies performing design works
Often enough in the organisations which are carrying out projects “turnkey” within the limits of design works, before heads there is a question on a choice of the software in the field of management of projects.

Today nobody calls in question necessity for the complex approach to management of the design activity, considering positive experience of world business. And heads often agree that introduction of full-function decisions for management of projects can raise an overall performance of their companies considerably. Thus the large organisations come to necessity to automate design work much earlier, without speaking about that, as available assets at them, as a rule, it is more. And what to do to the average and small companies? For them the requirement of decrease in expenses and management efficiency increase is not less actual, but to make the decision on transformation of business processes and on their automation it appears uneasy. Also has put here not only in assignment for acquisition of a corresponding product, after all still it is required to spend enormous volume of the work reorganisation of processes and their transfer into essentially new level becomes which ultimate goal. Are not still ready to such serious step though many already understand its inevitability.

It is very important, that the chosen software met requirements of a command of the project and provided full both qualitative support and increase of efficiency of managerial processes by projects in the company.

As a rule, the most important requirements which are considered at a system choice, it:
- the user interface;
- a data control;
- the planning mechanism;
- teamwork maintenance.

If all these requirements satisfy to our requirements the given software product (software) can be used effectively as an element of an information control system of projects. We will consider each requirement separately:

1. The user interface.

The first, on what the user pays attention at work with the program it is the user interface.

At a choice of the program interface it is possible to note those features which help to enter and look through the information:
- flexibility of the organisation of screen forms;
- availability of system of the help;
- convenience of editing tools;
- presence of masters and templates.

The user interface can be considered from the point of view of simplicity of development by a software and be estimated on following parametres:
- ease of studying;
- ease of use;
- presence of system of macroes (formulas);
- flexible system of contextual search;
- training programs.

2. The data control

With perfection of the software developers began to do more accent on simplification of process of input of the information and navigation in software product.

The data control should give the developed possibilities on access and information transfers, to grouping, association, administration and adaptation of the data of the project.

Access and data transmission

- At use of multidesign management in the organisation and management of a portfolio of projects, the information volume considerably increases. There is a necessity for access to the data of various sources. For example, at use of various appendices and systems (ERP, etc.) it can be demanded to combine this data with the information on projects.

- Access differentiation to the information on projects also is a data storage indispensable condition. In difficult IS it should be used industrial DBMS, providing users by fast and reliable access to the data.

- In cases when the data is stored in several places or in several databases, use of the distributed systems of storage of the information and means of replication can seem necessary.

Information grouping

- Depending on a role in a design command, access to the various information is required to participants of the project. The general databases often support an operating mode when for one user well more quantity of the information, than it can use in unit of time. For optimum and effective work it is important to construct reliable system of manipulation with the data to give the chance to the user to group the information according to the knowledge and experience.

- For reception of various kinds of analytical reports in large-scale systems of a data storage an effective utilisation of mechanisms OLAP (On-Line Analytical Processing). In OLAP systems the information will be organised in groups of a certain format for increase in speed of access to the necessary data.

Administration and adaptation

- Separate users should not start procedure of the OLAP-analysis or form inquiries at work with the data. The software should include system of administration which would promote formation of system of the data, including function of the centralised updating of the data and safety of their storage.

- The manager should define information needs of separate users and organise a conclusion of the data, formation of inquiries, drawing up of spreadsheets, templates of representations and reports according to their requirements.

- The data should be presented in the form of the time segments defined by the user organised in system hierarchies. Graphic data presentation is very convenient.

Summation of given

- Many software allow to unite the data to various signs. Such function is supported by a variety of fields (text, numerical the data, fields for record of dates etc.). The data in this field can be sorted, filtered, grouped. Possibility of association of the data is the speed of work most valuable to increase with the data and drawing up of reports.

3. Planning methods.

In the course of planning there is a number of requirements where discrepancies and non-observance of all conditions of planning can lead to inefficient work of the appendix for management of projects.

The list of the basic possibilities of systems at planning realisation:
- creation of working area of the project;
- description of structure of WBS;
- description of various calendars of performance of works;
- input and a data storage on resources;
-  description of time schedules and working estimates, schedules of distribution of resources and cost indexes;
- input and storage of the important design dates and marks;
- drawing up of the schedule of works of the project;
- resource planning;
- calculation of budgets of projects;
- calculation of time spent for work (time schedules);
- qathering of the information on the status of works and revision of planned schedules;
- input of actual expenses;
- calculation of cost of performance of works.

In addition, many users can show desire in use in the product or in appendices of following possibilities:
- definition of areas of risk;
- calculation of indicators of risk
- calculation of possibilities on risk softening;
- planning of a critical chain of risk;
- change of action of the control.

For an optimum choice of the software, it is necessary to think of a question what data it is necessary to enter, consider or deduce with use of the given possibilities? Whether the software which you consider can, to cope with this data, meeting business requirements?

Besides it, whether it is necessary to estimate sufficient possibilities program algorithms possess correctly and effectively to make planned schedules? Whether you can repeat calculation and receive thus true result? Whether you can be beyond certain restrictions? Whether there corresponds the schedule of planning of resources to the schedule of performance of works? Whether calculation of cost of the project taking into account amount of works is correct? These to a question are very essential.

On the one hand, almost in all popular products the traditional method of a critical way and consecutive algorithm of distribution of resources is used. However each manufacturer has developed own possibilities for these two basic models of calculation which can serve as favourable addition to the basic possibilities or, on the contrary, to worsen software product.

4. Teamwork maintenance.

Use multilevel the client of server architecture has allowed to raise an overall performance of the computer equipment, simultaneously expanding a circle of the users having access to the data, and raising safety of system. Use of such systems has laid down in a basis of occurrence of workings out of the multiuser control system of projects.

Web-technologies have made revolution in the information world, have changed possibilities of their computers. And, if there is any applied area which this new technology can be favourable entirely so it is area of management of projects. Provided with Web-technologies the improved access to the data and cooperation between users, have reversed a method of use of the software for management of projects. Presence of a Web-browser and work possibility through Internet also is important advantage for a control system of projects.

For many people who are engaged in a software choice, support by system of Web-technologies has passed to the first place in the list of the basic criteria of a choice of software. Support Web should take of an in the lead position in the list of the most important possibilities in the field of planning. But this criterion does not need to attach too powerful significance not to allow it to dictate process of a choice and to neglect essential functions of planning or settlement possibilities.

As the future user, you should consider all advantages and lacks in the long term and to weigh all deviations from your requirements. In balance should also there are following aspects: the estimation of software is how much high and technologies used in it are how much new. You should compare appeal of use of modern technologies against advantages of already checked up and reliable software. There is one more caution – often novelties can seem more impressing, than substantial. It is necessary for tracing carefully.

Sources:
1. Pesotsky E., Ryabov V., Vasilev V. Choosing a project management system: the basic requirements to systems [http://www.mashportal.ru/solutions_business_support-214.aspx]
2. Fuzeeva M. Can I do without automation control//PCWeek. – 2007. – #33

The author: Челябэнергопроект
Date: 03/23/2010

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