Wednesday, December 13, 2006

PM Tool Wish List

(taken from

Wish List - or - Wouldn't it be nice

Project Management is more then tracking tasks - the main focus of Project Management should be building and maintaining relationships and then managing risks. However, many project management tools don't go far beyond task management - and providing pretty gant charts. Here is my wish list of features that a PM Tool would have:


Projects are about People and People should be the PM's main project. People include resources working on the project, project sponsors, internal/external influencers, peers, users, resource recruiters, environment support groups, legal, etc. Wouldn't it be nice if the PM tool could:

  • Track all people with any relationship to any project and their role to the specific project
  • Maintain org charts
  • provide personal/public notes about people
  • salary/cost (where appropiate)
  • basic contact information
  • current work load
  • associated short/long term tasks
  • reviews
  • schedule (holidays, class schedule, etc.)


As Tom DeMarco states - 'Risk Management is Project Management for adults'. Wouldn't it be nice if the PM tool could:

  • Track risks, potential occurence, impact, owner, mitigation plan, period when occurence is most likely, etc. (the basics)
  • Track est. cost and actual costs to project
  • Risk DB that contains risks that are common from project to project (along with mitigation plans, etc.) - in other words patterns.
  • Area/Functions/etc. of project that will be impacted

Project Management Basics

All projects have scope, assumptions, constraints, cost/benefit analysis, sponsors, impacted groups, etc. In many cases these are not stated anywhere, or some subset of these are stated and then forgotten. Wouldn't it be nice if the PM tool could:

  • Manage Scope, Assumptions, Constraints, etc. - allow and track updates - this becomes a living document (yes 'living document' - nice buzz word)
  • Track and manage costs and benefits - adjusting based on project changes and new information is entered
  • Perform a comparison between initial and final results, costs, etc. and be able to compare to other projects
  • Post Mortem area for project wrap up, things done good, things done not so good, etc.
  • Automated process to gain sign-offs for initial project and any updates (routing required docs to the right people for sign-off/approvals)


What's a project without something being delivered? Most often requirements are created in MS Word and forgotten about, stories and functioanlity requests are then developed and aged, code is created and bugs are reported. Wouldn't be nice if the PM tool could:

  • Track each project deliverable/feature/function from requirements to development to QA and then implementation and maintenance. So a person can look at a specific feature, see where it is in the development life cycle, see all related requirements, see the code, and review any bugs/issues/enhancements reported against it (and their status, etc.).
  • Sign-off/Approval processing
  • Ability to assoicate prototypes/mock-ups/etc. with each specific requirement
  • discussion chain about each feature
  • reality indicator - how close the requirements are to what was requested and what was delivered (this would be nice....not even sure how one would start putting this feature together)


Meetings, meetings, meetings - what more needs to be said. No one wants them, but we all need them. Wouldn't be nice if the PM tool could:

  • Create meeting templates and deliver the meetings notices to the people invited. The templates would contain the standard info such as facilitor, topics, time assoc. with each topic, prior meeting minutes and take away items, outstanding and completed items, etc.
  • Ability to take meeting minutes during the meeting.
  • Ability to allow feedback to the meeting
  • Allow attendees the accept to attend or not and provide them with enough info regarding the meeting to allow them to make the decision
  • Video/Audio (IPod?) capture of the meeting - this could be a good or bad thing


Software Development Life Cycle - many project managers focus on the project life cycle and do not take into consideration the software development life cycle - the SDLC often lies in wait in the Execution phase of the project life cycle. There are probably more variations to the SDLC then to the PLC....Wouldn't be nice if the PM tool could:

  • Track which SDLC is being utilized and populate the required steps, associated risks, etc. based on it - allowing of course for specific variations of the group.
  • Provide a status report based on progress, est. work effort, current work effort, est. cost, current costs, etc.
  • Provide a dash board to all regarding progress, road blocks, etc.


Provide an integrated bug/enhancement management system - Wouldn't be nice if the PM tool could:

  • Allow modification to the Bug/Enhancement Life Cycle (BELC) as needed by the group
  • Use the b/e information as input to the status of the feature, function, project, etc.
  • Allow users to 'vote' on the priorty of the b/e
  • Integrate the b/e with the requirements/story


Change is everywhere you look. Change could be to the requirements, the environment, resources, etc. Wouldn't be nice if the PM tool could:

  • Track all changes and track the impacts to the project
  • Allow what-if scernerios - what if we reduce resources, what if we change scope or delivery dates, etc.
  • Feeding changes into the risk plans/mitigation plans

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