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November/December 2006

Review of Project Tracking Software

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New customer metric | 20 Project Tracking Software Reprint Compliments of

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Exclusive research results | 29 What deployment leaders foresee | 49 • 617-492-0707

com 617-492-0707 .“Best-in-class home page” “Best usability” “Best user interface” “…Great Six Sigma tracking tool…” (See full details on Page 6) www.powersteeringsoftware.

four of the most popular Six Sigma project tracking software programs were reviewed: EnterpriseTrack 4. The programs are used by virtually anyone involved in a Six Sigma deployment – executives.3 iSIXSIGMA TEST LAB Project Tracking Software BY ANSELMO CHUNG D espite the uniqueness of the Six Sigma programs that are being implemented worldwide. The choice of which Six Sigma project tracking software to use depends on many factors. project leaders.1. Six Sigma Champions and deployment leaders. and each has its own strengths and unique features that set it apart from the others. Instantis’s software is scorecard driven and has excellent dashboarding capabilities. i-Nexus 3. customizable software program to manage all the data associated with project tracking. This article may help you decide which one could be right for your organization. November/December 2006 iSixSigma Magazine isixsigma-magazine. PowerSteering 5.9. utilization of Belts.9 delivers a standard product with minimal customization needed to go live. All four of these programs have proven track records in the industry. Master Black Belts. there are many common measures by which all of these programs gauge their success – the alignment of projects to business strategy.0’s user interface is intuitive and easy to use.3 from Instantis. These project tracking programs can perform a multitude of functions. from facilitating knowledge sharing through a project database to tracking financial metrics. What is common across these metrics is the ability to track projects and monitor project performance. i-Nexus 3. and team members. to name a few. For this article. from monitoring project deliverables to reporting collectively on project status enterprise wide.1 has the best self-paced e-learning program embedded into the software to train general users in four to five hours. PowerSteering Reprint Courtesy of PowerSteering Software .0 and SixNet 2. Some companies choose to craft an in-house solution for tracking Six Sigma projects. best-practice sharing and achieved financial benefits. project completion. SixNet 2. Another option that appeals to many organizations is an offthe-shelf.

i-Nexus 3. with the ASP model. Reprint Courtesy of PowerSteering Software . At the heart of this product are the executive dashboards.3 summarize approach and is structured project and around “SPOMP” – scorecard. Data security is standard with one login ID and password required to sign into the account and with firewalls protecting data transfers. This will allow the user to link an existing project to another project at any point during the project life cycle. projects. DMAIC) and lists the predefined deliverables required for each project phase. Black Belts or Green Belts. objective. This product requires a dedicated full-time administrator to maintain the software and is best suited for a mature Six Sigma program. Screenshot provided Scalable from a few to thouby Instantis sands of users. then you may be interested in The dashthis product. It can support virtually any language. the most customizEnterprise hosted – The able and the easiest software application runs to use. The downside of its heavy metrics focus is that diligent maintenance is necessary or the credibility of the data will be diminished. The coolest feature of EnterpriseTrack is its automatic storyboard-creator function. adds additional security by selecting who can view sensitive data such as financial reports.3 leads the pack in supporting multiple languages. is a featurerich Six Sigma project tracking software that doesn’t disappoint. The manager sign-off feature. version 4. Using the Six Sigma project files. metrics.1 is another robust tool that has been November/December 2006 iSixSigma Magazine isixsigma-magazine. with improved features to import project charters and to provide greater control of multigenerational project planning through dynamic project linking. New releases of this product are rolled out in what Instantis calls “trains. the encrypted database prevents virus injection. ASP (application service Although the other provider) hosted – The data software programs and the application are hostreviewed here have ed by the vendor on its similar storyboardsecured server and creator functions. start date and due date. Implementation of EnterpriseTrack takes approximately three weeks from start to the go-live date. Cardinal Health and DuPont. those scorecards will drive metrics down to the projects.4 iSIXSIGMA TEST LAB EnterpriseTrack 4. the software can automatically generate customizable PowerPoint presentation slides suitable for an executive- level tollgate review. This page outlines the methodology used for the project (e. released in June 2006.g. sponsors. project deliverables page. The tasks are tracked by – among others – owner. accessed by the client via EnterpriseTrack’s is the Internet. i-Nexus 3. which provide a graphical overview of the deployment. Verizon.6.1’s project boards in management functionality centers EnterpriseTrack on the Balanced Scorecard 4.3 EnterpriseTrack 4. The software has an intuitive user interface that permits easy navigation through its customized screens by any level of user – executives. It also supports multiple currencies. from the client’s own server. The software emphasizes the alignment of the Six Sigma program to key business metrics. EnterpriseTrack can be ASP (application service provider) hosted or enterprise hosted. overall deployperspective. Like most products in its class. EnterpriseTrack 4. The key advantage of having the ASP-hosted model is that the vendor tracks and installs new updates. The philosophy of this approach is that once high-level scorecards are created. is set to be released in late fall of 2006.3..1 If you are looking for a Six Sigma project tracking tool that will link the performance of projects to the business strategy. Instantis’s clients include Motorola. as long as a translation catalog – a list of foreign words and phrases and their English translation – is provided. Another noteworThe data for the application thy feature is the also is stored there. The next train. The simple layout quickly guides users to data that pertains to their specific role in the Six Sigma program. A combination of web conferencing and two-day onsite training is required to train the system administrator. i-Nexus 3. which can be disabled.” Improvements have already yielded a few updates since the initial review. ment status.

i-Nexus 3. which do not require an interim sign-off but will need one for project closure. followed by approximately one week for Beltlevel Reprint Courtesy of PowerSteering Software . including Pfizer. menu.2.iSIXSIGMA TEST LAB 5 implemented by several large multinational corporations.1 has many outstanding features.1. BP. self-paced online instruction.1 is a little disappointing. and directly inserted into the project templates. sponsors. However. which takes approximately four hours to complete. The data then can be linked to the dashboard for a real-time view of the project performance against objectives. Tollgating also is a robust function in i-Nexus 3. When graphically displaying project data. which require a designated sign-off in order to move on. however. An additional two to three days is needed to train finance representatives. and therefore can be overwhelming to novice users. Project deliverables can be separated into hard gates. the i-Nexus 3. the beta release of which is due out in fourth quarter 2006. Project Tracking Program Features These features formed the basis for the evaluation of each project tracking software product. Champions and executives Scalability – The software’s ability to support any size Six Sigma deployment Search function – The ability to retrieve information on past projects or documents from a knowledge database through inputting keywords or phrases Tollgating – Functionality that allows the project leader and sponsor to set project milestones and track project phase status User interface – The layout of the program’s features and the ease with which users can interact with the input and output of the program November/December 2006 iSixSigma Magazine isixsigma-magazine. Sponsors and executive management. the user interface of i-Nexus 3. should improve this aspect of the program. Comprehensive. is an optional program feature that makes training available to general users at any time. availability and methodology expertise. Also noteworthy is the real-time data collection capability that allows data to be extracted from sources such as enterprise resource planning software programs. Compared to the other programs reviewed. This comprehensive function queries keywords from a knowledge dataScreenshot provided base that the user company builds by i-Nexus as projects are completed. Another strong feature is the software’s search capability. Customization – The flexibility of the product to be tailored to an organization’s specific Six Sigma deployment needs Dashboard – A high-level visual overview of key business and/or project performance metrics Data security – The ability to prevent data corruption and to reasonably control access to the data Multi-currency – Functionality that allows the software to convert the base currency to other currencies Multi-language – A feature that allows the software to support multiple languages Reporting – Functionality that allows project information to be communicated to teammates. Implementation time for this product is estimated to be approximately two weeks – two to three days for the initial setup. It is a modular tool that requires significant customizing. version 3. It also can search for project team resources based on certification.1 user can stratify the data through offers data a simple pull-down menu. and will add a new Portfolio Explorer module to strengthen the portfolio management capabilities. The stratification Finance Tracker module allows capabilities users to monitor project benefits through through many different customiza simple able configurations to fit various pull-down financial structures. Alstom and Royal Bank of Scotland. or soft gates.

0 PowerSteering 5. the project financials can be audited and rolled up. From the home page.0. Once the financials of a project are locked and presented to the executives. When one of these methodologies is selected for a new project. Raytheon. as with most of its competitors. DMADV. IBM. but they lack the visual pizzazz of Instantis’s software. is much improved from the previous version. and Kaizen methodologies.1. PowerSteering 5. acquired from consulting firm Breakthrough Management Group (BMG) in March 2005.S. project names. methodology.0. This excellent feature gives Green Belts more confidence to execute Six Sigma projects.0.0 is its search capability. After PowerSteering acquired ProjX from BMG in 2005.0 supports DMAIC. Black Belt or Master Black Belt) cannot go back and change the figures. the project cycle summary and improved phase deliverable date metrics have been adopted from ProjX. The company’s eight person-years of research in human-factors design pays off with a home page that offers a straightforward. Users can even define their own customized Method for Product Reviews The review of each product began with a demonstration by the respective vendor’s marketing team. Also. DMEDI. It then extracts keywords from charters. The products were evaluated by Master Black Belt Anselmo Chung for their performance of 10 specific program features (see Project Tracking Program Features). The dashboards do their job of communicating the performance of the program. Black Belts can even initiate a new project from this page with a simple click of a button. 4.9 SixNet 2. allowing users to seamlessly share knowledge across business units around the globe.9 became the only project tracking Screenshot provided by PowerSteering November/December 2006 iSixSigma Magazine isixsigma-magazine. This product is a great Six Sigma project tracking tool with the best user interface and best usability. DFSS. which includes online training and onsite administrative user training. Compliance requirements related to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act are addressed in the financial reporting page.0’s home capabilities available with page is i-Nexus 3. SixNet 2. the software automatically knows which deliverables to populate the project with. Implementation time is generally two weeks. project objectives and other content from projects in the database and recommends the top 10 projects that are similar to the one you’re working on. clutter-free dashboard. the U. This functionality goes beyond keyword searches and uses algorithms similar to those found in data websites like Amazon. PowerSteering 5. The best feature of PowerSteering 5. at which time ProjX will cease to be a stand-alone product.9 is made by SixNet. One potential area for improvement is the dashboards’ rudimentary graphics. the project leader (Green Belt. That’s cool. The demonstrations were videotaped so they could be examined repeatedly. Army and Heinz.6 iSIXSIGMA TEST LAB PowerSteering 5. multiple currencies and multiple languages. Its clients include GE. The evaluations were conducted during the summer. which represents the merging of PowerSteering and ProjX. and a space is provided to explain how the numbers were derived and who validated them.0 has the best-in-class home page. and can view their project’s phase-completion percentage. supports layers of business units. Lean. a sister company to consulting firm Six Sigma Qualtec. and they PowerSteering do not have the data-stratifying 5. which produces PowerSteering 5.0. This promotes knowledge sharing and replication of projects across the enterprise. Black Belts can send emails to remind team members to update the status of deliverables. Out of the box. has provided project tracking software to some of the industry’s leading Six Sigma programs. These features represent the functionality that deployment leaders and Master Black Belts might look for in a project tracking software Reprint Courtesy of PowerSteering Software . PowerSteering Software. best-in-class. ProjX and PowerSteering will be fully integrated by to query the software’s database. where an electronic signature is needed for all the financials. PowerSteering 5. SixNet 2. The easy-to-use user interface. The acquisition was planned to establish PowerSteering as the industry-leading product for project and portfolio management by gaining BMG’s customer base and incorporating ProjX’s superior user interface.

Another potential by SixNet drawback is that the automatic storyboard feature compiles the How Much Does It Cost? When purchasing project tracking software. the slow network connection. It also includes innovative features that the others Other Project Tracking Software Besides the project tracking software programs reviewed here. such as Master Black Belts. SixNet 2. and not those who simply view or retrieve data.9 also is available. November/December 2006 iSixSigma Magazine isixsigma-magazine. project tracking software. and multiple currency and language support. It allows project leaders to highlight areas identified in the Measure phase for immediate improvement.” which will especially appeal to businesses that don’t have a complex organizational structure.9 is the least complicated to use. with minimal functionality and customization. Note: Not every software provider whose product was reviewed here supplied cost information. such as executives. For a basic ASP-hosted version of the program. deliverable metrics. and mark them as quick-win projects that do not SixNet 2. and too many “clicks” are required to get where Screenshot provided you want to go. SQL servers can be used in coordination with all programming languages. including SAP and Oracle. accommodates Navigating between the different users who modules feels a bit cumbersome. It requires the least amount of customization to get started “out of the box. Of the four products tested. The set-up fees for the software programs reviewed here range from $6.9 offers all the basic project administrative functions.9’s need to go through the rigorous dashboards Six Sigma methodology. We recommend that you verify pricing information for your specific needs directly with the lack. multitude of navigation options on a given page are not intuitively organized. the per-seat fees are around $400 to $600 per year. “Quick Wins” is another neat feature in this product. the per seat fee is applied to all users. operate with a Compared to the class leader. or people on the road who must use dial-up. The per-seat fees for a comparable enterprise-hosted program are generally Microsoft Office System: microsoft.000 plus. Boolean search function. role-based user ID and password security features. Discounts are usually available based on volume of users and length of contract. feature straightAlthough this product has all forward the features you would want in graphics. other software providers charge only for users who input data. Pricing is based on which functionality is activated in the program you choose. Similar to other project tracking software. SixNet 2. you can expect to pay an initial set-up fee and a “per seat” fee for each user in your organization. such as financial tracking. Clarity Six Sigma from Niku: niku. SixNet 2. which allows the software and the data to be compatible with many common enterprise resource planning systems. there are several others in the marketplace. An enterprise-hosted model of SixNet 2. there The program are areas for Reprint Courtesy of PowerSteering Software .7 software produced by a Six Sigma consulting firm. You can find more information at the noted URLs. In many Traction from Moresteam.000 to $20. users often purchase a maintenance plan for support and updates.9 can adjust to either a slow or high-speed network connection to accommodate users working from home who may have slower connectivity. SixNet was the first to offer the ASP-hosted model that stores its data in SQL (structured query language) moresteam. With the enterprise-hosted model.

com Anselmo Chung is the deployment Master Black Belt at Power Great Lakes. He later took on a Black Belt role with GE Power Systems Asia Pacific. u Summary of Program Reviews Product Overall Evaluation Customization Data security Program Features Search function Multi-language Multi-currency User interface Dashboard Very Good Scalability Reporting PowerSteering 5. It can go live in as quickly as one week – half a day to install.0 powersteeringsoftware. Chung received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Arizona State University and his MBA from Loyola University of Chicago. a mid-sized manufacturing i-Nexus EnterpriseTrack 4.9 sixnetintelligence.powersteeringsoftware. Mr.1 i-nexus. overseeing all Six Sigma activities in the region related to installation and field Reprint Courtesy of PowerSteering Software Tollgating Excellent Good Poor Fair .8 iSIXSIGMA TEST LAB files only in a PDF file. where he quickly became Green Belt certified. making the presentation difficult to SixNet 2.3 instantis. His career began at GE. Implementation for this product is among the fastest of the products reviewed. To learn more about our top-rated software: 617-492-0707 November/December 2006 iSixSigma Magazine isixsigma-magazine. two days to instruct and the rest of the week to configure the software for the business.