When we think about Project Management Office, a project management software is pretty much a necessity. However, there are many other solutions that can make the life of a project manager easier in several facets from productivity to communication. In our last article on apps for PMOs we introduced the first 7 software applications, today we continue the list by presenting you with another 6 tools that will make your work easier and faster. Thank us later ?


1. Airtable

Combine Excel, Pinterest, Trello and a database management system and you have Airtable. No jokes. Airtable is an extremely powerful solution that enables you to visualize the same data in various ways: table, Kanban, blocks (Pinterest style), calendar and forms. It’s so versatile that it can be used for almost any activity that requires a database.

logo Airtable


Airtable is powerful and flexible. It allows you to manage in a single location the data you probably would have separated into different areas. For example, you can use it for demand management in conjunction with ITM Platform. You can create an internal form for project proposals from employees, a table view for project managers to manage the proposals, and a blocks view accessible to the whole organization to inform of the selected projects. Airtable is also customizable with “blocks”, a premium feature that allows users to add new functionalities to tables.


While great for managing, Airtable is quite poor on the communication side. While there’s the possibility to comment on each line of the table, that’s the extent of its communication capabilities given that there’s no chat feature .



If you have ever needed to design a flowchart or a diagram you are probably going to love this one. Microsoft Visio is a diagramming and vector graphics application that is used to design charts swiftly and easily.

logo visio


Apart from being easy to use, Visio is part of the Microsoft Office family of solutions, which means that it is perfectly integrated with other common solutions like Word or Excel. It also allows users to design 3D map diagrams and to pull information from external sources that can update automatically.


The main issue of Visio is its compatibility as it only works on Windows. Furthermore, it doesn’t allow for real-time collaboration, without mentioning the hefty price tag (considering that it is unlikely a software you’ll use every day).


3. PMO Value Ring

The PMO Value Ring is the perfect software to use in conjunction with a project management software. The software is designed by PMOs for PMOs and is aimed at providing a consistent framework to manage the PMO across different stages of its life cycle.

logo PMO value ring

An example of a complete cycle in PMO Value Ring:


The tool forces the user to be consistent in the definition of the PMO and all its elements, such as Functions, Roles, Stakeholders etc. All the data can be accessed in a consolidated dashboard view that scores several different aspects like ROI or maturity.


The downside of the PMO Value Ring is that it is not integrated with any other solution, which means that all the data should be inputted manually. Furthermore, the software enhances and facilitates the management of the PMO but it is separated from the actual project management activity of the office.


4. ClicData

ClicData is a very powerful data visualization and BI software. It allows users to create and share dashboards that are automatically updated from the data source.

logo click-data


Clicdata is integrated with almost anything, at least with all the main apps used for business. This is great as it allows to create dashboards that can then be shared with, for example, a director or CxO, that needs to have access to live data. Another strength of ClicData is that it permits cross-evaluation of data or automatic database merge.


The interface is drag and drop but this does not mean that it is easy to use: the logic behind the interface is not always the most intuitive and the user needs to have a clear understanding of the structure of the data imported, which is not always bvious when importing data directly from a third-party source. Also, more complex dashboards require some time to set up so ensure to allocate enough time when implementing ClicData.


5. Sharepoint

I’m sure many of you are already familiar with SharePoint. For those who don’t know it’s a web-based collaborative platform that is primarily sold as a document management and storage system. But the product is highly flexible and usage varies substantially between organizations. Sharepoint is commonplace in larger organizations where the document management is complex and encompasses several departments.

logo SharePoint


The main advantage of SharePoint is in its document management capabilities: given its configuration capability you can create several Site Collections, limit their access, from one single, clean interface.


The main cons of SharePoint are tied to its main strength: as a consequence of being highly configurable Sharepoint is quite complex to manage in its full capability, meaning that you’ll often need to dedicate human resources or hire a consultant.


6. Risk assessment matrix

Good planning is essential, so that project managers and the respond to the emergence of risks. ITM Platform’s Risk Assessment Matrix evaluates risks depending on their impact and probability, allowing to visualize the level of risk exposure. Thanks to that information, you can prioritize risk management and reduce exposure!

logo Risk Matrix


This matrix allows you to register, quantify and share risks and you can share them collaboratively as well.


The tool can only be accessed online and only covers the risk management part of a Project manager work routine. However, if you need a more integrated application you can try ITM Platform, where the risk management functionality is integrated with a whole set of their features…   What do you think of these 6 tools? Are there any that you’d like to see covered that are not in this list? Let us know

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vector graphics, modern flat illustrationEven 16 years into the 21st century, there is a very common story about companies that are not leveraging the wealth of information on employee performance to their advantage. Typically, these organizations prefer their employees to stay on their desks for longer hours as a measure of productivity, motivation and commitment. In these cases, poor project management is cured by merely expanding the scope with more and more time effort.

Another sign of disrespect to performance information is a killing culture of long meetings, or even of just too frequent meetings for any topic that requires any kind of interaction –it doesn’t really matter whether you have 5 one hour meetings or one deadly, heart-melting 4 hour meeting: your work will be frozen just the same. Sometimes, organizations that try to be agile fall into this trap.

If your company is suffering from this kind of counterproductive culture that kills productivity, there are basically two ways you can change it.

Become a Dane (yes, it’s unlikely)

Your name is Richard Heart? Change it to Rikkard Hjertsen. Move your company’s HQ to Denmark, where people finish their workday regularly before 5 and still manage to get their stuff done. They say the trick is simply trust in the work completed.

Or turn Dane in your own territory. Netflix did a similar thing in 2012 when they abolished the notion of holidays for an unlimited time off policy of “freedom and responsibility”. But there’s a wicked angle to it: after just x months into this major shift, the HR manager who coined the new holiday culture was fired, and many employees are actually taking less time off to prove their commitment. Back to square one. In other words: when unnuanced, major policy shifts are likely to have unintended consequences. And they can be really hard to heal.

Other companies have been more realistic about their Danification: Spanish utility company Iberdrola simply shuts down their offices after 3 pm and forces their employees to stay focused for seven-hour shifts starting at 8 am. For a Spanish company, it’s a big deal, and so far it’s worked well.

Be smart about your people processes

The opposite way is to actually be smart about what I call your people processes.

People processes are all the organizational flows in virtue of which you assign responsibilities, allocate tasks, measure completion and (what is often overlooked) get back to people to make sure they understand what their value contribution is.

You will have to be attentive to all the nuances in your company, and treat people differently corresponding to their personalities, working styles, objectives and effectiveness.

There is no simple treat for smart people processes, but here are some recommendations that can help you find the right path.

People processes start SMART

SMART objectives can align project management and people management processes. Treat your employees with goals that are Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, and Time-bound!

Recruit objective-oriented talent

Try hard to recruit people who prefer to work based on objectives. Of course, this is easier said than done; but some things that you should be looking at in the recruitment process are resumes that display clear achievement narratives; interviewees who are energized by challenges; and employees who don’t mind taking some work home during high peak but are intelligent enough to prioritize properly.


Build business dependencies to reward employees who come in first and get the job done. With no surveillance into the processes, it’s easy to transform First In, First Out personalities into First In, Last Out burnout promises.

Identify critical data

This is the essential resource management data for project management:

  • Allocation gaps: Of the total amount of man-hours estimated for a project, how many of them have been assigned to your resources?
  • Utilization: How many man-hours are currently assigned to each of your resources? Are any of them currently having a problem of underutilization or overutilization?

An important problem of resource management data is its exhaustiveness and reliability. In other words, you need to be sure that when a resource appears as underutilized, he or she is not actually working on tasks that haven’t been registered.

That’s why you should make sure that the project management software you use meets three conditions:

  • It allows you to view and compare allocation gaps and utilization stats so you can pivot your assignments and identify bottlenecks
  • It is properly enforced and used by all project managers and team members
  • It allows for a program and portfolio vision, so you scale utilization at the organization level

It’s really easy to adopt ITM Platform to meet all three conditions:

  • Easy adoption. Our SaaS deployment, easy rollout and licensing policies allow to have project managers, portfolio owners and team members on the same platform. Additionally, with the ITM Platform Teambot team members can report their efforts directly from their Slack chatbox.
  • ITM Platform is an industry leader in Project and Portfolio Management.
  • Our resource management functionality combines allocation gaps and utilization statistics in a unified vision at the portfolio level.

Iterate on your data

Of course, you will have to look back at your project management data and ask a few questions, which can be addressed in project post-mortems or at a more strategic level.

You basically want to know why your performance forecasts aren’t met.

For example, you may have an average 35% excess between the estimated hours and the final effort devoted to a project. But unless you look into it with more detail, you won’t be able to know whether the problem lies in:

  • Low productivity of task and project members
  • Unforeseen events
  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Or a combination of all

You can build several HR analytics into this evaluation process, and the layer can be as complex as you want it to be. However, it’s good to keep in mind that your human resources are people and you will need to treat them with flexibility: beware of decisions based solely on data!

For example, you could start by looking at the estimation accuracy per worker, per type of project or per project manager, and start creating baseline metrics. This could then help you better compile requirements and tune time estimations to how your experts actually work.

Go beyond your usual toolkit: Social Network Analysis and others

Utilization and allocation gap metrics usually allow to identify bottlenecks, but they may not be enough. You may be interested in supplementing them with analysis of how your organization actually communicates. For example, a social network analysis based on your reporting procedures will allow to view who are the formal gatekeepers in your organization; while an empirical study of real information flows will allow you to see who is actually blocking or facilitating the processes.

Have you ever used other type of analysis and metrics? What’s your smart approach to HR analytics, and how does it contribute to improving your project management processes?

Jaime González-Capitel
Senior Content Strategist
ITM Platform

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