Why DSM project software is different to other project software tools

Our software uses a very powerful planning principle that is not commonly used in project planning and product design: The Dependency Structure Matrix method (DSM

The Design Structure Matrix method is also sometimes called Dependency structure method. Itis in use in many industries that depend on rapid innovation in new product and service development.

The question is not: “When does this task or step start or finish?”

In conventional project and with conventional project tools, the focus is on scheduling tasks based on their time/completion-related dependencies. For example, task B depends on task A when it requires task A to be completed before task B can start.  These types of dependencies are called parallel (when two or more tasks can be executed at the same time) or serial dependencies if tasks depend on the completion (rather than the outputs) of a task

The question is: “What input does this project element (taks, step, component) depend on to deliver its output?”

There are many more and different types of dependencies that co-exist between project elements such as

  • Task dependencies in terms of start and completion (process dependencies),
  • Product component dependencies in terms of e.g. energy input, materials or other functionality or characteristic,
  • Task inputs and outputs in terms of information, people effort, money etc.,
  • Domain specific dependencies in terms of e.g. a task or process step being dependent on people or information etc.

Not being aware of the differences between these dependencies leads to avoidable project risk

Not understanding the types and nature of specific project element dependencies in a project leads to very specific and identifiable risks that can derail a project.

The result may be project delay, cost overrun, delay to market and earnings and at worst project/product/service failure

Conventional project software cannot identify these dependencies and risk types

To identify and address these types of project risks requires the use of specific DSM software that can help project managers identify these types of dependencies and address the related risks during the project planning phase.  Conventional project planning and management software is not able to handle these project problems.

Our DSM software tools have been designed specifically to identify the dependency and risk structure in a project.  This helps project planners to avoid designing risks into their project during the planning stage  Specifically, information and functionality feedback loops and assumptions made but not verified during the projects are made visible.

How does our DSM software help?

Our three software tools guide project planners through the process of becoming proficient in using DSM methods. 

All three software tools are powerful in making risks and potential solutions visible and are therefore the communication tools of choice for visualising project risks that originate in poor project planning.

  • DSM Matrix – a DSM teaching tool (25 project elements) for learning to understand the principles of the different types of dependencies and ways of addressing a less than optimal project structure.
  • DSM Matrix PRO – a easy to use DSM tool for small projects up to 150 project elements. Useful for the occasional project planner and consultants to businesses.
  • ProjectDSM – the DSM tool of choice for projects up to approximately 350 elements and for the more project planners/strategic planners/consultantsin small to medium sized businesses.  The software has many visualisation tools and helps project planners to streamline project structure and reduce project risks,