Detailed Review of Project Lifecycle Pro Salesforce App

Project Lifecycle Pro is subject of insanely precise free review by Japanese scholar.

Project Lifecycle Pro is reviewed against 200+ project management software requirements on a downloadable spreadsheet. Project Lifecycle Pro is scored overall and for each of the ten project management processes. This post provides a summary of the key strengths and weaknesses for each of the processes.

Summary of Findings

Overall, Project Lifecycle Pro (PLP) is intended to be the foundation of a comprehensive project management solution and to integrate with other best-of-breed solutions.

If you are looking for Salesforce’s equivalent to a scheduling tool like Microsoft Project or Primavera, Project Lifecycle Pro (PLP) is not the right solution. PLP is intended to support all the project management processes except scheduling and is intended to integrate with a best-of-breed scheduling tool for a comprehensive project management solution. If you think all you need for a project management solution is a scheduling tool, then you should keep reading to understand the full project management process and what is needed to support it.

If you are a professional service organization (software development, consulting, accounting, engineering, etc.) wanting to manage your client projects, Project Lifecycle Pro is not for you. You should search the Salesforce AppExchange for PSA tools to find the several apps dedicated to this industry (Mission Control, Cloud Coach, etc.).

When compared to the project management process as defined in the PMBOK PLP has a coverage of 52% with some coverage in all the processes. This is pretty good considering its intended scope and when compared with other Salesforce project management apps. The table below shows the coverage of each process as a percentage basis compared to full coverage.

Project Lifecycle Pro
Total Score39%
Communications Management27%
Cost Management31%
Integration Management56%
Procurement Management13%
Quality Management17%
Resource Management31%
Risk Management83%
Schedule Management25%
Scope Management94%
Stakeholder Management71%

Download Project Lifecycle Pro Evaluation Spreadsheet

Click here to add the Project Lifecycle Pro Excel spreadsheet to your basket and continue reading. Visit the basket page to complete the download.

Project Lifecycle Pro Pricing

Project Lifecycle Pro has three tiers of pricing. First, it offers a small business site license at $3,000/year for companies with less than 50 employees. Second, it offers a site license at $10,000/year for businesses with more than 50 employees. Lastly, it offers custom pricing for non-profit businesses. Full functionality is provided in all three of the pricing levels.

Scoring Methodology

I’ve been evaluating all of the Salesforce project management software and sharing the results to help others save time in making an informed decision. I started the evaluation as marketing research for the Salesforce project management app I built: Project Lifecycle Pro. I’m doing my best to give a unbiased review, but I’ve attached the detailed Excel spreadsheet which you can use to perform your own analysis. Here are detailed instructions on how to use the spreadsheet to weight requirements and compare multiple software packages side-by-side.

I structured the analysis around the Project Management Institute’s (PMI)© project management process. This is outlined in the PM Book of Knowledge (PMBOK)©. First, I listed the project management processes and then the activities within each process. Finally, I developed a list of requirements related to each of the activities. The list of requirements is based upon my thirty years of project management experience and experience evaluating project management tools for clients. When I come across novel functionality in the software I’m evaluating I add it to the requirements list. Of course, I’m sure I missed some requirements and welcome any suggestions.

I gave all processes and requirements equal weights, but you can adjust the scoring weights in the Excel spreadsheet to suit your needs. Each requirement was rated as either:

  • Yes – As Is – Meaning, the requirement is met with out-of-the-box functionality. This rating is awarded four points.
  • Yes – With Configuration – Meaning the requirement can be met with minimal configuration or no-code updates. Since, Salesforce is highly configurable I used this rating for simple things like changing picklist values, adding a field to an existing data object, creating a report, etc. This rating is awarded two points.
  • No – Not Available or Requires Customization – Meaning the requirement cannot be met without significant investment of time or money. I assigned this rating if custom coding would be required, or a new custom data object, or a new custom flow. This rating is awarded zero points.

Finally, the scoring spreadsheet totaled the ratings by process to show how the apps compare by process. Therefore, you can assess the apps based on which processes are the most important to you. You can confirm my scoring using the Project Lifecycle Pro test drive or by installing the free trial into a sandbox.

Here are some links to help you research the app:

Here is the spreadsheet used to score the app:

Download Project Lifecycle Pro Evaluation Spreadsheet

Click here to download the Project Lifecycle Pro Excel spreadsheet.

Communications Management

Project Lifecycle Pro (PLP) has dedicated functionality to identify stakeholders and project change impacts, as well as, plan the required communications. The project changes are organized by stakeholder and release to easily facilitate identifying the required communication and training. While change management is a major focus for PLP it does not yet have all the functionality of a learning management system (LMS) to catalog and track communications and training.

Cost Management

Project Lifecycle Pro (PLP) supports the creation of separate cost line items and then totals these costs by release, project or program. A baseline and current cost estimate are recorded so budget variances can be tracked. The costs are also categorized so you can differentiate expenses and capital expenditures. The automated flows which rollup the costs, can be cloned and modified to support any custom cost fields you may want to add. Duplicate functionality is also provided to record and rollup project benefits.

Integration Management

Integration Management is the process of coordinating the overall project and the different project management processes. This an area of strength for Project Lifecycle Pro (PLP). PLP supports different project record types so that you can customize the project phases, picklist values and various page layouts based on the type of project. PLP also supports the complete data captured in a project charter: scope, stakeholders, milestones, etc.

PLP has three nice advanced features related to integration management. First, projects are dynamically routed for approval at the end of a stage based upon the specific sponsor and steering committee members assigned to the project. This eliminates the need to build a custom project approval routing for each project.

Second, project dashboards are automatically filtered to the current user’s assigned projects. This eliminates the need to build custom dashboards for each user and to maintain the list of current projects in the dashboard filters. If you’ve ever built Salesforce dashboards, you know that filtering is handled at the individual report/component-level. This means that if you have ten components on a dashboard, the user will have to create a custom report for each component and maintain the project filter on all ten custom reports. The automated filtering avoids the explosion of custom reports and the maintenance nightmare of maintaining filters.

Lastly, PLP has advanced security functionality where projects can be marked as public or confidential at the click of a button. All Salesforce users have read-only access to public projects. Only assigned team members can access confidential projects, and the project manager controls whether team members have read-only or write access to the project. Furthermore, access to project financials is controlled separately from the overall project so a team member can have access to the project but cannot view or edit financial data. Having this security architecture built into the foundation of the solution from the beginning is very important. This allows executives to use a single project management solution even for sensitive projects like mergers, acquisitions or improvements with staff reductions.

PLP’s gaps are in the area of monitoring and controlling the project work. PLP doesn’t yet have a change order feature. It doesn’t yet have automated alerts to notify people of assigned or completed tasks. It also lacks functionality to enter and track actual time against a task.

Procurement Management

Procurement is not a current focus for Project Lifecycle Pro and therefore, it has limited functionality. With the detailed cost information, it does support the generation of a cash flow forecast. Also, vendor information can be added to the cost records to track vendor spend against a contract.

Quality Management

Project Lifecycle Pro (PLP) does not yet have any real quality control functionality. Providing testing and QA functionality to support software development is a focus of future releases. Testing functionality would consist of documenting acceptance criteria, test scripts and recording testing results.

Resource Management

Project Lifecyle Pro (PLP) has the ability to allocate resources to the project. However, PLP only allocates a person to the total project as a percentage of time. If you need to perform detailed resource allocations either by time periods (weeks, months, quarters) or based on hours by assigned tasks you should research PSA tools as this is a major area of focus. I hope to improve the resource allocation functionality of PLP in the future. As mentioned earlier, PLP does have advanced functionality for controlling people’s access to project data.

Risk Management

Project Lifecycle Pro (PLP) supports multiple risk records with associated mitigation plans. PLP users can even assign tasks specifically to a risk to track its resolution. PLP will be expanding risk management capabilities in future releases, but since the infrastructure is in in place, you can easily configure it to provide more detailed risk functionality.

Schedule Management

Project Lifecycle Pro (PLP) is not intended to be a scheduling tool, but is instead intended to integrate with a best-of-breed scheduling tool to provide a comprehensive project management solution. PLP uses the standard task object, with the intent that a user can view all their assigned tasks on the Salesforce home page regardless if the task is being generated from a project schedule or is created ad hoc directly in PLP. Integration with a scheduling tool involves implementing a flow that will synch tasks between the scheduling tool and the standard Salesforce task object. The popular Salesforce scheduling app Inspire Planner comes with this capability so can integrate easily with PLP.

One nice feature of PLP is that tasks can be associated with both the project and its related objects. So you can associate a mitigation task with a risk, or a follow-up task to a requirement, etc. Yet, you can also report on all tasks within the project.

Scope Management

Project Lifecycle Pro (PLP) has a proper data structure to support project scope. Individual scope records are created and they can be categorized by people, process, technology and whether they are in or out of scope. Individual scope items can also be assigned tasks and Chatter conversations during the planning process. Finally, PLP has a scope metric based on the number of components to be built. This allows tracking the component count changes from the plan baseline as a proxy for scope variance.

Stakeholder Management

Project Lifecycle Pro (PLP) has been built to support change management. Separate stakeholder records are created and they can be associated to the planned changes so that communication and training can be planned. Department managers can also see upcoming changes because their departments have been identified as stakeholders, the stakeholders have been associated to changes, and the changes have been associated to release dates. This requires a complex many-to-many relationship which has been built into PLP’s data infrastructure.

Definition of stakeholders can be limited to specific individuals through a dedicated permission set. This allows you to setup stakeholder gate keepers to ensure that stakeholders are being consistently defined and not duplicated. Maintaining a proper list of stakeholders is key to accurate reporting to support change management.

In Conclusion

If you are looking for a project management office (PMO) or project portfolio management (PPM) tool you should research Project Lifecycle Pro (PLP). It is ideal if you already have Salesforce licenses for most of your organization and recognize the value in a highly-configurable cloud-based solution. PLP will form the foundation of a custom project management solution for your company.

Regards,

Brian

Additional References

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