Project Kickstart 3 helps you brainstorm better projects

This valuable can help you to increase your odds of success on your next project, by helping you to brainstorm and organize project elements and tasks using a proven 8-step planning process.

Once you’ve come up with a winning idea, you need an effective plan to help you bring it to fruition. That’s where Project KickStart 3, a valuable project planning software program from Experience in Software, can help you.

One of the biggest reasons that projects run into problems is because of poor or incomplete planning. Resource constraints, people problems and unexpected obstacles can all play havoc with poorly-planned projects. Project KickStart 3 increases your odds of success by helping you to brainstorm and organize project elements and tasks, using a proven 8-step planning process.

The Planning Wizard

The inferface of Project KickStart 3 (PKS) is built around an 8-step planning “wizard,” which walks you step-by-step through a proven project planning methodology:

  1. Naming your project
  2. Dividing your project into phases
  3. Listing your project goals
  4. Selecting tasks from similar projects (your projects or any of the sample ones that come with the program)
  5. Identifying other people who are may be able to help you in some way with the project, and who may suggest other tasks for your project
  6. Listing your obstacles (a very important step, often overlooked in most project plans)
  7. Assigning tasks to people (delegation), and
  8. Refining your project’s timetable, using the program’s built-in GANTT charting capability

At each step, PKS prompts you with several questions, which help you to consider your current project from fresh perspectives. By doing so, it helps you to brainstorm action items that you might not otherwise have thought of. If you’re having trouble thinking of tasks for any phase of your project planning process, PKS enables you to borrow items from a convenient “library” of common project tasks and action steps. You can also click on an “advisor” button to get context-specific advice about the phase you’re working on — a real plus for people who don’t have a lot of project planning experience!

At the end of this 8-step “project storming” process, PKS displays your project phases and tasks in an outline format, so you can review and refine them. You can drag and drop tasks to rearrange them, or manually add new ones to the outline.

Flexible Export Options Add Power

Once you’re satisifed with your project plan outline, Project KickStart 3 gives you numerous options for exporting task lists to leading project management programs and Microsoft productivity applications, including:

  • Outlook
  • Project
  • Word
  • Excel and
  • PowerPoint

In other words, you can easily take your completed project plan and move it into the software programs you’re already working with. You can even save your project plans as an HTML Web page, so you can post them to your company’s intranet.

PKS can also perform 2-way links also links with MindManager, a leading visual diagramming and mindmapping program. This means you can export your project plan outlines to view them in a more visual arrangement in MindManager. If you’ve brainstormed elements of a project plan in MindManager, you can also import it into PKS to continue refining it there. For more details on this capability, please click here

PKS 3: Simple but powerful

Project KickStart 3 fills an important role in the world of project planning. There are numerous software programs available that can help you to manage complex projects. But there is no other program that helps you to brainstorm the underlying structure and content of your project plans in the way that PKS 3 does.

Unlike high-end project management programs, which can be intimidating to use, PKS is designed to be used by any businessperson with a minimal learning curve. The library and advisor tools are great aids for new users, and help to make PKS significantly more user friendly than you might expect. In fact, the program’s developer claims that you can plan your next project in about 30 minutes — which I found to be quite accurate in my tests of PKS.

If your current method of project planning is to do a “mental core dump” into a word processing document, I strongly urge you to try this powerful project planning and brainstorming tool. The cost of Project KickStart 3 is $129.95; you can also download a trial version of the program from the company’s Web site.