Project Tools Overview

PD-Trak™ offers a full range of tools to help project teams to plan and manage projects from idea to completion.  The Project File may be configured as a comprehensive collection of tools including Microsoft ProjectTM or a simple set of worksheets depending on the needs of your organization and the type of project being managed.  Different projects may use different stage / phase-gate process models with different tools and document deliverable requirements, each optimized for the particular type of project.

PD-Trak allows companies to configure a project template that is optimized for a given application.

The Project Home Page

All projects in PD-Trak will have a home page with a common format designed to provide intuitive navigation to project tools and information.

The standard layout of the project file home page is described below. Note that blue links indicate that data has been added; gray links point at tools that have not yet been used by the team. A detailed description of the various tools is provided below.

Project Summary
This section captures high level information about the project.  All fields shown are standard except the six fields in the bottom right corner.  These fields can be customized and are used to filter management reports based on the selections made for each project (e.g., show data for all projects targeting the USA market).

Project Management
This column contains links to project management-related tools.  Many of these tools are structured according to the phases and gates of the stage / phase-gate process.  These tools include:
  • The Project Brief captures a summary of the project including the project charter, phase durations / gate dates, summary of key financials and a sign-off section used to indicate the completion of a gate review.

  • The Budget and Schedule Worksheet captures the project timing and project expense estimates for both non-capital and capital expenses.  Costs are broken down by phase and summed for the total project budget. The resource demand data entered in this tool allows PD-Trak to 1) automatically calculate the cost of assigned resources as part of the project budget and 2) to extract the resource demand data which can be used for performing resource analysis.

  • The Financial Justification Worksheet captures the expected sales and profit or savings realized as a result of the project.  This data is used to calculate metrics that quantify the financial attractiveness of the project e.g. net present value, internal rate of return, break even time etc.

  • The stage/phase-gate process is described by the Task Plan worksheets which capture the objectives of each phase, the tasks that must be performed, the deliverable documents that must be completed, the responsibility for the tasks and deliverables, the due date for completion, and the current status of the tasks and deliverables. This provides a mechanism for teams to review accomplishments and plan upcoming work. The task plans also define what information will be available to support the gate review decision making process that terminates each phase of the project.  The Project Process Templates include populated Task Plans that describe a best practice- based process, or you can create your own process definition in the Task Plans.

  • The Project Plan (MS Project) is a Microsoft Project file that contains predefined group headings for each phase of the project with the standard process based tasks in each phase, as described by the Task Plans worksheet. The Critical Chain add-on for Microsoft ProjectTM is available as an optional module.

  • The Resource Allocation worksheet allows a more detailed resource profile to be captured by weekly time period. Resource assignments can be made and resources can also be planned by person. If MS ProjectTM is used to plan resources by task, these resource requirements can be imported into this table.

  • The Expense Allocation Worksheet allows a more detailed timeline of project expenses to be captured, on a weekly calendar.

  • The Financial Summary Worksheet provides an overview of the project financials summarized by month, quarter and calendar year.

  • The Project Milestones Worksheet shows the completion of gate reviews and can be used to capture and track other important milestones for the project.

  • The Risk Management Plan is a tool to capture risk factors that apply to the project.  These risk factors ranked based on probability and impact.  High scoring risk items are assigned to a team member to be managed.

  • The Action Item Register is a central location for storing and tracking action items with team member ownership and dates.

  • The Decision Log is a tool for capturing key decisions made during the lifecycle of the project.

  • The Gate Archives tool allows the entire Project File and it's related documents to be archived at each gate review thereby providing a detailed record of the project at the time of each gate in the process.  The Gate Archives Worksheet provides guidance on the archiving process.

  • The Team Members Worksheet captures the names, roles and contact information of the team members.

  • The Project Scoring Worksheet provides a structured method for determining the value of the project relative to other projects in the portfolio.

  • The Metrics Dashboard automatically records the values of key metrics as each gate is passed.

  • The Project Cost By Phase shows a graphical comparison of planned vs. actual cost by phase.

  • The Slip Chart captures a history of changes to the project schedule over the life cycle of the project.
Primary Documents
This column would be populated with any standard/primary document templates that you intend your project teams to use to document the project.  Pre-defined Phase-Gate Templates are available from PD-Trak Solutions, (optimized to a particular stage / phase-gate process) which can be adjusted to meet the specific needs of your company, or you can add your own document templates.

Document Storage
This column provides links to navigational pages that are part of the Document Management system within the project file.

This column would contain any additional, optional tools that are to be made available to the project teams to use.  The Product Development Tools includes a set of tools that would appear in this column.  You can add your own optional tools to this column.