RationalPlan On Premise and SaaS Project Management Offerings
What does RationalPlan have in common with the Carpathians or the unique style of the Bucovina medieval monasteries or even Johnny Weismuller, the best known actor for playing Tarzan in films of the 1930s and 1940s? That they all have their origins in Romania.
StandBySoft, a software development company with head offices in Aleea Parului, Nr.4A, Craiova, Dolj, Romania, is the creator of project management software RationalPlan. Today, RationalPlan helps project managers keep their projects on time and within budget and it is available in both on-premise and Software-as-a-Service delivery modes.
StandBySoft provides RationalPlan under a single or multi-project software license. Actually, you can purchase their software directly on their web site for download for the single or multi-project versions. You can also choose their Project Server software configuration to centralize all of your enterprise project efforts into a single centralized environment. If you choose RationalPlan Project Server configuration, StandBySoft can also offer hosting/SaaS configurations based on your particular requirements.
What does RationalPlan is capable of?
- Project Management: You can create and define projects, create and track project notes including hyperlinks to important documents and sources, log assumptions and project constrains.
- Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and Gantt Chart: You can decompose your projects into smaller deliverable-oriented components and properly track all project activities and individual tasks. Once the project starts, project managers can track the project evolution as completed parts of tasks (%complete or %work complete) will be marked with a darker color within RationalPlan Gantt chart.
- Resource Management and Calendars: You can define resources (personnel or equipment) and their standard and overtime rates (Price/Hour). For every resource you can define a particular calendar and manage exceptions such as vacations, days off, etc.
- Cost Management: In addition to equipment and personnel, you can also define any project materials and their related costs (Price/Unit) as well as keep track of other project costs such as travel expenses, consulting services, etc.
- Task Management and Scheduling: For every individual task in the WBS, you can define dependencies, constraints, estimate duration, set lead/lag time and assign resources. You can also identify/assign what material resources, personnel and/or equipment are needed to complete particular tasks; so you have the added benefit of managing materials, people and equipment all within RationalPlan. You also have different views to track critical tasks or filter tasks based on different criteria.
- Task Costing: Based on the resources assigned to a particular task, costs are taking into account depending on the estimated duration. In addition to this calculation, you can also add other related costs and specify their accrual method.
- Risk Management: You can create and prioritize project risks. For every risk, you can log notes and monitor the status (open, close, etc.)
- Project Portfolio Management: If you go with RationalPlan multi-project or project server options, you can create dependencies between projects as well as access RationalPlan Portfolio view. The Project Portfolio view is intended to help you review all your projects in one place with all necessary details.
- User Management: Under the multi-project and project server options, you can manage users and how they connect to the centralized data repository.
- Data Import/Export: RationalPlan support data import from Microsoft Project and also data export to both Microsoft Project and Excel.
What about RationalPlan pricing? If you are looking for a cost effective option that you can later scale to a higher-end enterprise server version, RationalPlan provides exactly that evolution path. You can start with a $57.00 USD single software license for RationalPlan single project version. But, as you need more projects or portfolio management, you can scale to their multi-project version for $98.00 USD.
As the need for more users and projects come then you can go for RationalPlan Poject Server version, which enables the import of all your previous RationalPlan data and provides web access to all of your enterprise users.
Now in addition to all of the above, the ice in the cake is RationalPlan Project Viewer. The Project Viewer is FREE and provides limited access to project stakeholders, customers or subcontractors, so they can check/review the project evolution. Project Viewer can either connect to the Project Server or open files created with RationalPlan single or Multi Project versions.
RationalPlan final verdict? RationalPlan does project management right. It has enough features to fit within the comprehensive project management software category: it features a Gantt chart, you can create tasks and even project dependencies and its cost tracking capabilities go as far as estimating costs for personnel, equipment usage and even materials. As it name implies, RationalPlan is a very "Rational" approach to project management, not more not less.
If you are looking for a cost effective option that can grow with your organization as you see fit, you should consider RationalPlan in your list of potential software options, specially if you are running away from the complexities of Microsoft Project or not ready yet to commit to an online software option (monthly subscription plan). Good luck!
Posted on January 24, 2013