In business, right project management is essential when bringing new ideas to life, whether those are new product developments or creating new marketing and sales strategies. Still, it is not as easy as it seems to be, as a lot of companies struggle to effectively set goals and milestones for projects, as well as they struggle to effectively plan and organize people and create timetables properly, and finally to have all needed resources in right time.

Even after project managers do all mentioned above and more, real problems occur, as usually nothing goes as it should, and they need to cope with them.

Some companies find an external firm providing support in project management, but these consultants are usually expensive.

Luckily for us, since 2011 there exists a firm in Denmark named Forecast, providing software solutions in Project and Portfolio Management (PPM). According to the Forecast website, founders of the company came up with an idea of “simplifying complex problems” for the first time back in 2008. After delivering a software project for one of the biggest banks in Nordic, just like many startups, the journey of this company also began in a basement in eastern Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. The sign of firm´s future success was shown when it won 2nd place in Danish Venture Cup.

People behind this company come from various backgrounds, such as computer science, business, marketing, and more. Each team member has significant long-term experience in specific area, bringing best solutions to final product – online platform for effective Project and Portfolio Management (PPM).

Since its establishment and after employing its first full-time employees in 2013, it has been growing steadily, becoming more and more popular among companies around the globe.

The reason Forecast´s software becomes so popular is simple. It´s not so long ago when all tasks related to project management were done with pencil and a sheet of paper, which is still pretty popular method, as according to a survey conducted by Software Advice, 31% of companies involved in the survey “are still carrying out the project management administration manually on a day-to-day basis”.

But as technology evolves, now it all can be done online in one platform provided by Forecast – Project and Portfolio Management, which is accessible from anywhere and anytime.

This software allows project managers to easily plan various projects, and it is worth to mention great feature that helps with accurate planning and estimating time needed for specific tasks. Forecast can help you to make even more accurate estimate than you would probably make yourself. How? By using data from more than 5 000 projects in database and after project manager inserts low and high estimate of time and add several tags related to project he deals with, based on plans and progress of similar projects that the large database consists of, Forecast will give you an exact estimate. The estimation accuracy of the algorithm allegedly reaches 95%. By permitting Forecast to use data from your projects, you can contribute in making even more accurate estimates in future. But of course, as it is optional, only if you want. If not, you are still allowed to benefit from the database.

How it looks like can be seen on a picture below.

forecast1                                   Source – Forecast.it

When talking about loads of data companies insert into the platform that are usually confidential, you might wonder if and how are data secured when using PPM software. It seems like there is nothing to worry about, as according to Forecast, all data are encrypted and backed up to multiple data centers. These are stored on secure IBM SoftLayer centers, where the highest security is guaranteed and are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Moreover, every interaction with Forecast is encrypted via HTTPS.

Except for planning, you can also assign specific tasks to team members and therefore delegate work among them. When finding right people for project, developers at Forecast added another helpful tool, a visual overview of people showing who and when is available or what work has been assigned to them and when they should complete tasks delegated among them. This tool is shown on a picture below.

forecast2Source – Forecast.it

Also, through PPM you can find out if your team members are on track with scheduled tasks and if any changes should be done to deliver the project as a whole on time. Every team member can be zoomed and project manager can see his or her individual progress and completed tasks. Moreover, PPM tracks the billable hours of employees and calculates total utilization and compares it with target utilization of any employee, providing a picture of employee´s performance.

From other features we can mention budgeting, which includes costs of people. As budget is one of the most important things in project management, via PPM you can see actual budget versus planned so you can adapt to newly occurred conditions.

forecast3Source – Forecast

PPM software tracks and monitors the progress of all projects, analyzing data and giving you final outputs of the project´s evolution, which can be imported to excel file or pdf if needed. You can even allow your clients to check the status and progress of the project, who will see only those data you want them to see.

Also, in case of already using other software for project planning or time tracking and thinking about moving to Forecast´s PPM platform, you just have to contact Forecast´s staff and they will provide all necessary steps to migrate the data to Forecast.

It would be appropriate to mention the costs of the software. Team members can get if for free, but every project manager has to prepare at least 85 US dollars/month if purchasing it for a year, and 99 dollars/month in case of just one-month purchase.

To find out if the PPM platform is suitable, there´s an option to try it for free for 30 days. As I am curious, I´ve registered and tried it out. When I logged in for the first time, it was not that easy to use for me, as the platform is very complex and contains lots of features. But pretty soon, after exploring it a bit deeper, I found it in fact very user-friendly and intuitive, with very nice graphics, and great features, which gets project management to a new level.

With right tools, companies can be one step ahead of their competitors. This is especially true in project management, where the pressure on efficiency of all resources is significant. And PPM solution delivered by Forecast is one of the tools that can help with accurate management of projects, allowing companies to optimize their business and maximize profits.