You might have noticed that there are quite a few project planning and project managing tools to choose from. Different tools matches different needs for different projects and organizations at different levels. To help you save time in your search for the ultimate tool for you, here are a few points to see if The PlanMinder is for you.
You obviously have a need to plan, otherwise you would not be reading this. If your project also is multi disciplinary, so that different people (or teams) with different skills need to work on the project at different times, then you need to coordinate and make plans at a detailed level. That is one thing The PlanMinder excels at.
If you have a rigid specification and a hard deadline, then you need to plan and monitor to make sure you will reach your deadline on time. This is something The PlanMinder is designed for.
Or maybe your specification is prone to change, and you can select your deadlines more freely, but you do need to coordinate to avoid bottlenecks, waste of time and some degree of chaos. This is even more reason to use the automatic scheduling and uncertainty calculations of The PlanMinder.
If you have adopted something like Scrum and is happy with that, with a homogeneous team were every team member can work on any task, and where the goals and specification is supposed to change after every sprint, then The PlanMinder will be a bad fit. (Unless your scrum software team is just a part of a bigger project that does need coordination ...)
The PlanMinder is most useful when you need to plan at least a few month ahead. The PlanMinder can handle tasks of any size, but is design for tasks that takes days to complete. Also The PlanMinder is unique in its ability to handle risks and uncertainty in task estimation.
If you are working on something like a PR-bureau with a constant flow of small similar customer projects, and the main purpose of the planning tool is to assign tasks to people and track their progress, then a collaboration app like Trello or Monday may be more suited. (Until you get a multi million dollar contract for the ad campaign re-branding after the merger of to major international companies …)
Making plans is an effort. Keeping plans up to date is a tedious effort. If you do not keep your plan up to date as the project progresses, it will soon be quite useless.
The PlanMinder will save you time by automating much of work associated with keeping the plan up to date. Scheduling of tasks is automated, so the plan will be adjusted as things are changed. Project participants will report work they do, and update their time estimates, directly in the tool. As a manager you only need to monitor the progress. And can focus on solving problems as they occur, or before they occur. As a bonus you will always have a plan that is up to date.
All time estimates are associated with some uncertainty. The PlanMinder take the accumulated uncertainties into account, and let you see them.
When you estimate time in The PlanMinder you also estimate the uncertainty. When you define a deadline, The PlanMinder calculates the probability that it will be reached in time. Besides the uncertainty in time estimates, you can provide The PlanMinder with information about other risks that could affect the project plan.
In an organization where projects succeed each other and run concurrently sharing resources, The PlanMinder takes into account the accumulated uncertainties of all the projects it handles. Your project may be running flawlessly. But if Greg from IT does not do his little part in time, your project will grind to a halt. The PlanMinder will know about the risk that he will be busy solving problems in this other high priority project.
As the project progresses and encounters problems the calculated probability of reaching a deadline will drop. You can plan countermeasures before it gets too late. Countermeasures like finding someone else than Greg to do the crucial work.
The automatic scheduling in The PlanMinder together with the visualization tools will help you optimize your plans. That is regarding resource utilization, time to market, cost, or a sensible combination of these.
You may be able to share resources between projects more easily, as you can see who does what when, and quickly test the effect of a change. Experiment and see what will happen to the timeline if you change things. You can add or remove people from projects, change priorities, add or remove tasks, or even add or remove projects.
Things will always change. With The PlanMinder you can embrace change and with little effort see what the consequences may be.
A traditional way to plan projects is to estimate time, add some buffer based on experience, and sprinkle deadlines along the timeline. When asking people if they will be done in time, human nature tends to make people say yes, until it is too late and the answer is obviously no. This results in an exhausting and expensive crunch time to reach a random deadline.
With The PlanMinder, who only asks how much work and uncertainty is left on a specific task, the probability of missing a deadline will gradually change. Countermeasures can be planned much earlier and be more effective. A missed deadline not part of a critical path, not affecting the ultimate important deadline, may safely be ignored. And if it is not actually important, it does not need to be a deadline in the first place.
As The PlanMinder relies on all participants reporting work done, and updating time estimates, you will get a good record of how the project progressed. You can track when problems where discovered, and how they were handled. This will give you good data for your lessons learned conclusions when the project is evaluated. Written records beats subjective memory every time.
With time you will build a bank of information from past projects. You can compare tasks you are planning with similar tasks you have already done, making your time estimates better, and improve your ability to foresee risks.
As a fifth reason to use The PlanMinder is that it is easy to start. The PlanMinder is a tool for project planning. It does not require or encourage you to change your existing routines for document handling, communication, reporting, requirements handling, or any other things regarding your projects. You can start using it for a single project to see the benefits.
In time you may find that some routines may be streamlined by utilizing The PlanMinder functionality. But that is something that you will discover organically later. You can experience and show the benefits in small scale first. Before you gain even bigger benefits by using The PlanMinder for all projects.