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As the old saying goes, you have to spend money to make money. This is particularly true when it comes to investing in project management software.

However, hefty licence fees often shock organisations into trying to find other solutions when really there’s only one – buying the software so your project doesn’t end up costing you more than it should!

Apart from cost, another deterrent from using these packages is the excessive effort they demand to maintain data and yet the resulting outputs are vitally important for decision making.

So, what’s the solution? How can we either increase industry awareness of software’s value or come up with a program that is more affordable and less time consuming but still just as effective as what’s currently out there?

These are the questions one of our graduates is currently asking himself as he embarks on a research project under our supervision.

Here at GBA Projects, we’re most reliant on Microsoft Project or Primavera P6, which are the two most commonly used scheduling packages in the market, to assist clients with projects of varying sizes, scales and complexities.

Through the development of small utilities and programs over the years, we’ve gained an acute understanding of the data structures and requirements for integrating these packages with other Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and cost management systems.

In some portfolios, clients have opted to use one of the following software packages for managing and reporting on cost data:

  • Deltek Cobra
  • Ares Prism G2
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Oracle BI Publisher
  • EcoSys

With the exception of Excel, all of the above come with the expensive price tag I mentioned earlier.

Licencing can cost anywhere between $10,000 for one named user to more than $40,000 for a server installation, and that may not even include the additional concurrent licences.

What worries me is that project managers, especially those working for smaller organisations or on smaller jobs, may end up ignoring this software altogether and their performance suffers for it.

This research project emerged after identifying the need for a simpler, cost effective and standards-compliant solution that can be quickly implemented with minimal upfront effort.

By lowering the cost of project performance management solutions, it is hoped that projects and organisations may see the benefits of the software on an introductory level and could end up pursuing more powerful integrated platforms down the track.


That way, as the organisation matures and can spare the time and cost to take on bigger software, they’re able to move on from this initial program to something more complex.

This all fits within what we call project controls – the data gathering, management and analytical processes used to predict, understand and constructively influence the time and cost outcomes of a project.

Project controls enable a team to understand how its project is performing by identifying issues and providing decision making outputs that allow proactive and successful project management.

Ultimately what the research project aims to achieve is an increased industry awareness of the benefits of project control systems.

Through this project, we will develop a simplified project control solution that can entice smaller organisations into adopting these systems at earlier stages in their development.

The project will also provide a user guide for project teams so they can get up and running quickly and share the knowledge gained.

Our senior management team is driving the project, and our graduate will have our full support from start to finish.

We’ve set a completion deadline of August 2019, and I for one can’t wait to see how it all turns out. Watch this space!

 

By Matt Betros