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Recently I had a chance to check out Project Central 2.0, a SharePoint plug-in From Bamboo Solutions. Bamboo offers many project management related plug-ins for SharePoint.

When you log in there is a nice dashboard of information of all the projects in your portfolio. My only issue with this first screen is that you have to scroll to the right to see all the information. Within this view you will find all the common tabs you would need to quickly jump to that spot.

Setting up a project

When setting up a project there is a great summary screen for the project, where you can define your team, see upcoming tasks, announcements, recently updated documents, and so on. These are typical things you would expect to see when developing a dashboard within SharePoint. I do like the idea of an icon that you click that will send out an email to all on the project (no need to bother IS admin to set up a universal mailing list within Outlook).

Updating the GANNT chart

You can enter the items into your project timeline. Each new item has a ton of information that you can enter that will feed the other parts of the application. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t see a button to import a Microsoft Project document into the system (you have to purchase an additional add-on for this).

They do offer different views, and an option to baseline the project, but I didn’t see anything for viewing the critical path.

Resource management

There is a section on resource management, it is nice to have this option so you can easily see if a person is over allocated and when you add a person to a project you can put in what percentage of time they will have on the project.

Risks

There is a full section on risks, and each risk you enter has all the key pieces of information you would normally collect.

Summary

Pros:

Easy to use if you are familiar with SharePoint

Excellent dashboard views

Easy to input data, add more data views, and easy to get data out if you want to build offline reports

Easy to lock down using SharePoint’s built in security rules

Easy to track risks

The ability to add a percentage of time a person will be assigned to the project

One time fee

Cons:

Have to purchase an additional plug-in to import Microsoft Project documents

Discussion board is just a plain old discussion board with no tie into a task within the project

No project news feed type of feature (i.e.: task was completed, new discussion added, new document added)

No place for a team member that are assigned a task can give an update on the task that is tied back into the task

No templates, it would be nice if they had a section on Agile management with burn down item logger and a burn down chart.

Possible issue if you have outside team members, possible security concerns

Overall I think it is a great application at a fair price. Could you ask your companies programmers to build an application like this? Sure. But it is much more cost effective to purchase this one so you have all the key items you need to help capture the needs and the plan of the project.

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