Sunday, October 29, 2006

MS Project, MindJet, SharePoint and Groove Interconnected

Doesn't seem possible, does it? How can four very different applications work together?

With one unique application.

TeamDirection Project 2007 has the robustness of an athlete, the wherewithal of a concierge and the communication skills of a diplomat. But perhaps most importantly it brings project management to a more human level.

We realize there are people involved in projects. This is why we integrated Instant Messaging right into the project view. We made it behave very similarly to SharePoint integration with MS Office apps so SharePoint (and Groove) users will be right at home.

But the real benefits are for team members who don't need a project management tool. Rather, they just need their browsers to point to SharePoint workspaces. Or if they have the newest MS Office family member, Groove 2007, then join Groove workspaces that take advantage of forms. The important thing is these team members need no additional software to participate in the project and complete their tasks.

We also aim to make the project manager's life a little better too. It's now very easy to move data from MS Project into TeamDirection, and from TeamDirection back to MS Project. Not import/export, but full synchronization. And not necessarily the entire project.

For example, while a project manager may be perfectly at home in a 1000 task project, sometimes its easier for a team to work on smaller pieces. TeamDirection Project lets the project manager identify a summary task as the piece of the project to share. Once in the TeamDirection system, we maintain a link to the summary task's origin and allow it to be published to either SharePoint Task Lists or Groove Task Lists. TeamDirection Project will then gather task data as people update their assigned tasks and synchronize that data with original summary task (and its children) in MS Project. It may sound difficult, but we've got it down to two clicks.

The result is any summary task can become a shared task list.

And not just MS Project summary tasks, but also topics and subtopics. The observant readers may have recognized the simple diagram above as a MindMap. We've found MindJet's MindManager is not only a great way to conceptualize a project but a powerful way to communicate it to a broad audience. TeamDirection Project takes it one step further-- it gives you a simple way to connect projects and tasks to individual team members, through SharePoint and Groove, so you can now execute and track them too.

Finally, we've made a few project management enhancements we're proud of. Things like an improved, interactive Gantt chart and a better Task grid. Useful features like multi-level undo, multi-project views with filtering, a very handy project organizer to group projects and 'smart folders' to quickly identify late ones.

Our philosophy at TeamDirection is 'The Right Tool for the Job.' We could spend years trying to make a project management solution do everything anybody ever wanted. But then it would end up looking something like this.

We believe in the right tool for the job. One of our jobs is making project management easy, accessible and useful. But our other job is to make sure the task data you need is in the application you want. MS Project, MindJet, SharePoint and Groove are a few such applications, but there are many more out there. Most of the world's projects are started with Excel. More and more task lists are executed with next generation web applications like BaseCamp and @Task. TeamDirection helps you make sure your projects are completed with the right tool for the right audience.


Anonymous said...

Read you nice article 'Elephants and Evolution'. Laszlosystems also is in the mix.

I started an effort in 2000 to create a web based and standalone app using Mozilla XUL I shut it down in 2003. But may be starting it up again with a couple partners down in in silicon valley. QBAL was targeted a managing data and processes for an organization

You effort looks very intestesting!


bushmanbill said...

It's always baffled me that PMs have to use shoddy software to manage the process of building (what's supposed to be) great software.

It's great to see that someone out there cares enough to actually do something about it.