PLAN! is a shrink-wrapped project management system based on the leading groupware standard Lotus Notes. As such, it includes e-mail, personal calendering & scheduling as well as a sophisticated replication mechanism to ensure consistent data.
PLAN! consists of a number of modules which can be combined to meet individual requirements. In addition, the software can be modified and/or expanded to take into account individual aspects particular to a company or an industry.
You can create and manage customers, leads and business partners, all with as many subsidiaries and contact persons as necessary. Projects can be set up as external or internal projects.
You can define as many external or internal projects as required. This task is supported by a built-in Gannt-Chart based on Java. All necessary Notes-project-documents are then generated or modified automatically. Alternatively, a built-in bidirectional interface to MS-Project can be used to set up or modify projects.
Each project consists of subprojects and activities allowing unlimited nesting. You can define all relevant planning data such as start and end dates, required people and ressources, manhours (work assignments), costs and revenues on all planning levels as necessary. Each project, subproject and activity includes an approval process (can be configured optionally).
You can define as many activities within a subproject as necessary. Activities are clearly defined ToDos with planned start and end dates. Each activity includes one or many work assignments for a person or a group representing the budgeted hours. You can also define dependencies between individual activities in the Gantt-Chart.
Project portfolio management (PPM)
A specific module allows you to create project portfolios into which all or some of the existing projects can be uploaded. In addition, you can also define new projects as virtual projects in order to simulate workload and other project parameters to figure out how best to integrate them into the existing project landscape. Once you have optimized your planning, you can transfer all modifications of existing projects but also the new projects out of the portfolio back into the "real" world. PPM thus gives you a real option for what-if-analyses in a virtual world.
Project management and controlling
Each member of your project team reports his actual times and hours in a time reporting document for all activities for which he has received work assignments. From this central time reporting document, all hours and times are read out and allocated automatically to the appropriate activities, subprojects and projects (and aggregated accordingly).
Actual costs can be reported in cost documents in the same way: they are reported against individual projects and are then read out and allocated automatically, either as cost per resource (e.g. investments, material) or as personal costs (e.g. expenses) within an activity, subproject or project (and aggregated accordingly).
Every member of your project team is also responsible for tracking his/her activities. This includes the setting of status and percent-complete-figures throughtout the project structure.
Actual hours can be marked for invoicing and will subsequently show as invoiced.
Central administration of tasks
All types of scheduled tasks arising from all projects (work assignments, delegated activities, project deadlines, milestones, approvals, etc.) are listed in a ToDo-DB so everybody can easily look up what he/she is supposed to deliver by when. All these tasks can also be posted to the Notes calendar to make sure people get informed even when they are not checking the PLAN! schedules (configurable option).
PLAN! supports a number of different document-types to assist the communication within a project. This includes problem reports, document folders, incoming / outgoing mails, letters, notes, meeting minutes and task delegations. So a user has all data relevant to a specific project of project’s activity at his fingers‘ tips. These documents are highly integrated with the Lotus Notes mail and calendar.
A mail module allows for direct communication with internal colleagues and / or external customers. All letters, faxes, mails, etc. are written within PLAN! and then formatted and printed in MS-Word right from within the application using configurable Word-templates.
Project-wide documentation can be saved in a separate documentation-DB whose structure is freely configurable. The documentation-DB supports document versioning approval mechanisms and logs.
Views, analyses and reports
The following analyses can be made available to all or a limited number of members of your project team:
Projects by status and customer
Analysis of planned-vs.-actual hours, costs, revenues by project
Planned hours by person and day, grouped by projects for a definable interval
Project folders including all project documents
Project engagements by person
Work assignments by person
A dedicated "resource search function" allows you to look out for people based on certain skills and other parameters in a given time interval. This is a quick and easy way to decide which resources can be allocated in a project.
A separate reporting DB allows you to define your own non-graphical reports to be run without using external reporting software. Only graphical reports require third-party tools e.g. Crystal Reports or Integra4Notes.