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Project management tool helps non-PMs improve their development lifecycle

Project management software from Clarizen offers greater collaboration, accessibility and visibility for all involved in the product development lifecycle of Catalyx Engineering.

Catalyx Engineering was looking for a tool that allowed them to finish projects faster but with the same high level of quality. About a year and a half ago, Catalyx began using Clarizen's project management software. However, as Catalyx CEO Saleem Muneer explained, the PM tool's usefulness is based upon the fact that it is used by more than project managers.

The most important benefit is, really, collaboration. The visibility that we are able to get internally is something that is worth every effort that we've been through.
Saleem Muneer
CEOCatalyx Engineering

"My engineers are great but they're not full-time project management people," he said. "I'm not a project manager, but I do need that data and I can get to that," Muneer said.

Clarizen's tool is integrated with email, which aids communication among team members, he said. Users do not need to login to Clarizen to report on their progress.

"All they have to do is respond yes and no and give a percentage complete," said Muneer.

When team members or managers want to know the status of a project, there are dashboards and a Web interface to view both the larger picture and the details or a project's progress.

"The most important benefit is, really, collaboration," Muneer said. "The visibility that we are able to get internally is something that is worth every effort that we've been through."

Clarizen's vice president of marketing, Eran Aloni, touts this visibility and accessibility as advantages that set Clarizen's tool apart from others.

"The key to success is that everyone in their team uses the system," he said. "[Our product] is focused on execution and team adoption -- project execution based on team adoption."

Catalyx is a small company that designs and produces parts for aerospace and electrical companies, among others. Their design process is iterative "and also collaborative," said Muneer.

In many cases, requirements come very clearly defined from clients. When requirements gathering becomes complicated, however, Catalyx uses Clarizen to ease the process.

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"The interface allows for much greater back and forth" among clients and team members, Muneer said. There is "a unique and helpful level of accountability we didn't have in past deliveries" that allows for shorter project lifecycles and greater customer satisfaction, he explained.

Microsoft still dominates the project management software market, and MS Project is generally seen as the default PM tool for organizations. Newer tools, such as Clarizen's and LiquidPlanner purport to offer a more streamlined, user-friendly, and accessible experience than MS Project. Catalyx still uses MS Project for specific tasks, but since adopting Clarizen, Catalyx has reduced their number of licenses with MS Project from four to one.

Muneer likes the simplicity of Clarizen. "Most of the time people ask for way more than what they use. Most of us don't even scratch the surface in Excel or PowerPoint. The basic things we all need as well. That's what Clarizen sent me -- quickly, effectively, and in a manner that an average Joe could understand," he said.

On June 30 Clarizen released a new version of its product, Clarizen 2.1. New features include an open API, greater email integration, and support for the Firefox browser. For more information, visit Clarizen's Web site.

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