Microsoft Project Pros & Cons
Microsoft Project is among the most popular project management software. In a 2018 statistics report, one copy of Microsoft Project management software gets sold every 20 seconds where it is available in 80 countries. About 20 million users in 10,000 organizations develop plans, assign tasks, and track progress with the help of Project. Professionals are able to control finances and schedules, communicate information, and organize work and manpower better working on their projects using its modern tools and features.
What is Microsoft Project?
Project is a Microsoft project management solution that enables project managers and teams to break down big and complex projects into manageable tasks, assign tasks to project resources, and create a schedule to track progress. A dynamic scheduling feature lets users create plans based on effort needed, project duration, and allotted members. Resources can include equipment and materials shared across projects with their availability displayed in a calendar.
Getting started with Microsoft Project software is easy with a built-in wizard to guide users in managing the project throughout the various phases. Whether a veteran project manager or an accidental one, Project provides the interface, methods, and tools that can help users go through project complexities and issues without the software also becoming an issue. From project creation and resource assignment to task distribution and project closing, Microsoft Project management software include features such as interactive dashboards, automated workflows, team collaboration, and integration.
Top 3 Microsoft Project Alternative Software
The first Microsoft project management tool was a DOS program used by the company internally to manage an increasing number of software projects. Since its initial release in 1984, it has and continues to undergo improvements and enhancements to become one of Microsoft’s important products used in several situations, including:
- Project management – Microsoft Project software comes with familiar scheduling tools where users can list tasks, assign them to team members, and set details such as duration and due date. It includes different views like grid view, board view, and timeline/Gantt chart view where project managers can oversee schedules. As a collaborative software, it allows co-authoring so project teams can work together with other stakeholders to edit and update task lists, project schedules, dependencies, and priorities. Teams can use it also for timesheet submission as it captures project and non-project time and linked to payroll or invoicing.
- Portfolio management – Project allows users to manage multiple projects and programs of a company and provide information as to which initiatives should have priority. Modern features such as business intelligence can model different scenarios and help organizations determine the best path and the higher value. It has features to help evaluate and weigh project proposals against business goals and drivers. Companies can also use Microsoft Project management software for demand management as a tool to capture ideas across departments and check them against a standard process.
- Resource management – Microsoft Project lets teams forecast resource needs, predict bottlenecks early, manage utilization, and ensure timely project delivery. Users can define the project team, know when to request resources for the project, and assign tasks to resources. Additionally, they can view and compare resource utilization across projects. Pre-built reports can help them track progress on resources and also on projects, programs, and portfolios.
The Cons or Disadvantages of Microsoft Project
- Requires training. Project has become more intuitive over the years but it can still be overwhelming to new users. Today, when more people are thrust into project management jobs out of necessity, Microsoft Project software will require new users to spend time training to avoid getting lost in the details and miss the big picture goals.
- Cost constraints. Microsoft Project management software is available as an on-premise or cloud-based solution. It can be prohibitive for smaller businesses to purchase many licenses for an on-premise solution, which then can interfere with the team’s capability to collaborate amongst themselves. Sharing of information and updates in real-time with clients and stakeholders will be an issue, too. In comparison, the cloud-based versions are not exact products of the on-premise software, which can result in compatibility issues.
- File compatibility issues. Project saves files in a proprietary format, so PCs that do not use the same program will not be able to open them. When project managers needs to send files to clients and other stakeholders, they have to check if the recipient can open the files with a compatible program or perform an extra step of creating compatible formats or printouts.
For project managers who are looking for other software alternatives to Microsoft Project, this Top 3 Software Alternatives to Microsoft Project Online article provide suggestions.
The Pros and Advantages of Microsoft Project
- Integration. Project integrates with the ubiquitous Microsoft 365 Office suite. The project management software also works seamlessly with Microsoft Teams, Skype, Power BI, and Sharepoint, with easier integration to Azure and other Microsoft platforms. The ribbon interface is similar to various Microsoft products, such as Excel.
- Dependability. Microsoft Project software is a pioneer among project management tools. Commercially released in 1984, it is a stable software that continually gets enhanced for more relevant features that suit the needs of its users.
- Customer support. Microsoft as a reputable software company provides reliable support to its users. Partners, consultants, and third party support services are available for this software.
- Flexibility. Microsoft Project management software is flexible enough for other purposes such as a roadmapping tool or for financial management. The deployment options as on-premise or cloud-based solution also provides teams and companies more choices to fit particular user requirements.
Is Microsoft Project Right For You?
Microsoft Project software is a pioneer tool that has become a cornerstone of the PM software industry. New applications have based their innovations on its features as well as its limitations. With a rapid changing business landscape, a single do-it-all magic software will continue to be elusive, especially in project management. Project managers and their teams need to carefully weigh their requirements before deciding on tools that will fulfill their needs. In the meantime, Microsoft Project is an option that’s here to stay.