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IT Project Planning Can Be Improved With The Right Tools

Vegas.com cuts the time involved in planning IT projects and produces more accurate estimates of the resources needed with tools from Scope iT Inc.
Although some companies use portfolio management and project management software to help track the progress of IT projects, the processes involved with the actual planning of IT projects—including making cost and resource estimates—are often still handled manually or with spreadsheets.

However, some companies are beginning to turn to project planning software tools to help make more accurate and collaborative estimates about projected project expenses, requirements, staff, and time.

Until about a year ago, at Vegas.com, an Internet-based business that resells Las Vegas facilities and attractions including hotel rooms, shows, and events, IT project planning processes had been "ad hoc" and time-consuming, says John Painter, director of IT project management operations at Vegas.com.

Now, IT project planning at Vegas.com takes considerably less time, is more standardized throughout the company, and is more accurate because of the use of Scope iT project planning software from Scope iT Inc., says Painter.

Using the Web-based Scope iT software, key people representing groups or constituencies involved with Vegas.com IT projects complete online surveys that ask about the skills, resources, time, user training, hardware and software, and other requirements that they expect will be needed for the project.

The software compiles and calculates those project estimates and costs, which are used by Vegas.com project managers to prepare project proposals that are then evaluated by Vegas.com's priorities committee, which makes decisions on what projects the company should pursue, says Painter.

Now, all IT projects in the company—such as an enhancement to the Vegas.com Web site—are planned and evaluated using the Scope iT tools, which helps to put "everyone in the company on the same page" throughout the planning process, he says.

Using the Scope iT software, planning that might have taken five days for some IT projects now takes only about two hours, says Painter. Also, the planning process now results in more accurate estimates on the hardware, software, time, costs, internal and external resources needed for projects because the Scope iT software facilitates the collaboration from multiple people who are experts in their particular areas—whether it's business users, vendors, training personnel, or others, says Painter.

Scope iT software is priced starting at $2,950, and is available via a per-user annual subscription-model. Via its survey feature, the software "pulls knowledge from multiple people" involved with an IT project, rather than depending on one or two individuals who might not be fully aware, for instance, about the training needs of specific groups of users in a company, says Scope iT founder and CEO Henk Keukenkamp.

The company is planning to release an enhanced version of its software, Scope iT version 5.0 early next year, Keukenkamp says.

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