Artemis Software in Boulder, Colorado, is adding an alerting mechanism to its Views 4 project management software suite. Called Active Alert, it will notify project managers and executives by way of fax, pager, or voice mail when "any facet of a project veers away from its predefined course," according to Artemis executives.
"Inventory managers have systems in place to warn them when supplies are getting low," said John Baldwin, Artemis' vice president of product management and strategic business development. "Cars are equipped with gauges that tell us when to fill the tank. It's only logical that project management applications also be equipped with technology that gives an early warning of potential project trouble."
Active Alert combs for discrepancies in established business rules in the Views 4 database. When something wrong is detected, an alert is automatically sent to designated people via e-mail, pager, fax, or voice mail. It can also be programmed so that different people can receive different updates, to make sure the right people can account for their piece of the project.
For example, a project manager might get alerts for every project milestone, even successful ones. But the company chief financial officer might only want to be alerted when some piece of the project runs over budget.
"More than 50 percent of all large and complex projects run late," said Capers Jones, Artemis' chief scientist who joined the company when Artemis bought Jones' cost estimation software firm Software Productivity Research. "Requirement changes, poor quality control, and failure to monitor the critical path are among the most common reasons for schedule slippage."
Of course, being alerted to a problem and being able to do something about it are two different matters.
Views 4 with Active Alert is to ship at the beginning of next year.