It’s been nearly a year since I last looked at Genius Project. The team has been working on some new features, and I was keen to find out what they meant for users. I spoke to Christophe Borlat, the managing director of Genius Inside, to find out what’s new.
Christophe, Genius Project 6.6 is billed as ‘the IT version’. What are the highlights of the new features?
Some of the new features of Genius Project 6.6 include:
- New Agile and SCRUM features such as tracking use cases, sprint, definition, reviews and performance
- A multi-project Gantt chart that provides managers with a consolidated view of all projects and the ability to link between main project activities and sub-project activities
- New help desk abilities:
- capturing and managing help desk events;
- managing multiple help desk queues;
- logging and tracking events and histories; and
- a configurable escalation process.
I can see why you call it ‘the IT version’. Help desk management isn’t really part of ‘traditional’ project management, so why did you choose to include it in a project management tool?
The Help Desk module [see below] was initially designed based on feedback from many small IT departments with fewer than 50 people. Managing the IT demand using help desk is one of their major concerns. All demands are tied to project execution no matter the nature of the IT department, the infrastructure or the support in place. It is a must for a project manager to have this functionality or to at least have strong integration with an external help desk tool. Since these small clients don’t have the critical size to go for an enterprise help desk package they like the idea of having the help desk be a part of the PPM tool. We saw growing demand for help desk from other customers and prospects so decided to incorporate it as a permanent module in our product.
So you decided to add this in as a response to customer comments?
Customers were looking for ways to cut project development costs, improve help desk support and ultimately increase productivity so we introduced these features for those reasons, and to stay in line with competitive offerings. While general project management functionality has applied very well to IT issues, we wanted to go a step further and develop features for specifically addressing tasks that are unique to IT.
Is IT project management really that special?
Agile and scrum are not unique to IT departments, but in many cases the initial request and use begins with IT and then other departments follow. Nowadays Agile is used 50% within IT and 50% with new product development projects. Help Desk is definitely something that is very specific to IT. IT as a business unit behaves differently compared to other units. In most cases IT has to execute projects without having to have a business case or generate revenue, unlike projects in other departments.
I think this is changing – Andy Murray tweeted recently that the UK’s ‘austerity’ focus was creating an interest in project management maturity models, and I would expect IT projects to get caught up in that and have to produce a business case like everything else. In fact, I think they should be doing that already!
More about my interviewee
Christophe Borlat is managing director of project management solutions provider Genius Inside. He was the company’s first employee back in 1997, and since then he has been involved in all business activities from consulting to sales. With more than 10 years of experience in project management and sales, he has extensive knowledge of the project management market. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org/09/2010