ManagePro. (project management software) (Software Review) (Evaluation)
by Steve Perry
Make no mistake: ManagePro is a tool for managers intent on managing people and information, and it places a premium on making that information available in a number of formats. Beyond the usual spreadsheet capabilities, it lets you access information about goals and the personnel in charge of meeting them in a variety of configurations: according to time lines, companywide performance objectives, organizational charts, immediate action lists--even individual employee personnel files.
This is software that not only lets you track your people and your goals but takes pains to coach managers about their responsibilities, too. As it says in the tutorial, the creators of Manage-Pro believe there are four key steps in managing people toward collective goals: set the goals clearly; monitor progress; give feedback and coaching; and evaluate, recognize, and reward everyone's contributions toward the goals.
ManagePro is written with that philosophy in mind. There's a people-status board that prompts managers to check on employee progress and offer feedback. There's an Advice feature built in that lets you access basic how-to people management tips as you pull people along toward your goals. ironically, though, the advice is so rudimentary that you may wonder how useful it will be to managers who work for companies sophisticated enough to make optimal use of the software.) To top it all off, the creators of ManagePro go so far as to include a short peptalk book, Managing People: Your Competitive Edge in the '90s.
In terms of architecture, the software is divided into two main headings: Goals and People. The Goals side features a goal planner that elaborates on companywide objectives and spells out responsibility for meeting them, a goal-status board that offers big-picture tracking at a glance, and a time-line feature that lets you monitor target dates for making it all happen. The People side consists of a status, board that offers color-coded prompts to make sure you're evaluating and communicating with employees, a performance data file that lets you compile performance appraisals, and a planner that connects the dots between people and objectives:
ManagePro is commonsensical; it's a breeze to install and use. The learning curve doesn't seem prohibitively steep, thanks in part to the excellent tutorial built into the software. But you may be a while fathoming its many powers. The makers recommend half an hour on the tutorial, but I lingered a little longer to learn my way around the extensive features, and I was glad I did. You may not need all that ManagePro can do, but you needn't be scared away--even if it has more power than you need right now. Avantos (800) 282-6867 (510) 654-4600 $395 Circle Reader Service Number 436