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Did you know an estimated 57% of projects fail due to gaps in communication between teams? Conversely, 77% of the best-performing teams in the world are the ones that use a project management solution to boost their productivity and to ensure that everyone
Did you know an estimated 57% of projects fail due to gaps in communication between teams? Conversely, 77% of the best-performing teams in the world are the ones that use a project management solution to boost their productivity and to ensure that everyone on their team is kept in the loop.
However, it is as important to find a project management tool as finding the right tool for your business that caters to your teams’ unique needs.
Within the software industry, Microsoft has long been a giant, leading the global digital transformation by improving the ability of companies around the world to empower their employees, optimize their operations, engage their customers, and reach new heights of success through innovation.
The world of project management is no exception. Thousands of companies across the globe entrust Microsoft Project with organizing their workload and solving all their project management problems.
But what is Microsoft Project? How can it help grow your business? What makes it so popular? And is it really one of the top tools available? Let’s find out in this review.
Today, we go through an overview of the software and its features, as well as its limitations and pricing, to help you decide whether it’s the right fit for your project management needs.
For enterprises wanting to maintain general control over all their projects in different departments and looking to get an upper hand over their competition, Microsoft Project is the perfect fit.
It is employed by over 60,000 companies across the globe including some of the biggest names in the world such as Aston Martin, Intel, Hitachi, WWF, Comptel, and more. Additionally, Microsoft Project is increasingly acquiring more and more of the project management market share for team leaders and owners running large-scale to medium-sized businesses.
While maneuvering across a platform like Microsoft Project can be difficult at times, especially for beginners, the diverse range of features that it offers makes it the best choice for midsize and large-scale enterprises with a variety of teams in marketing and creative fields.
Designed to assist large and small businesses alike, Microsoft Project is one of the most advanced project management platforms available today. It is equipped with cutting-edge features to support workload for a number of different projects in IT, HR, management, sales, software development, marketing, and construction.
The software helps you create invoices for your clients, keep track of your resources, and manage your clients effectively. For instance, Microsoft Project helps Aston Martin produce and deliver new vehicles to their customers from their vision to production with enhanced efficiency and resourcing.
This is only one example of the many companies that rely on Microsoft Project for tracking a vast range of their project performance and enhancing their collaboration.
From small initiatives to complex projects, Microsoft Project is designed to tackle almost every challenge and to help your team stay organized, focused, and efficient.
In particular, Microsoft Project is an excellent choice for Microsoft Office 365 users who need additional project management functionality to juggle multiple projects and avoid confusion in their day-to-day operations.
However, it is important to note that this project management tool is best suited for users who are accustomed to Office suite, including experienced project managers since the platform is difficult to navigate for beginners owing to its complex and often confusing user interface.
Originally launched nearly 36 years ago as a web-based application, Microsoft Project features carefully crafted tools to help teams work on a number of different types of projects from scratch.
Since its release, it has been helping businesses track their projects, manage resources, assign tasks, meet deadlines, and improve scheduling. Microsoft Project is also supported with tools for project planning, budget development, resource collection, data analysis, and project monitoring.
There are so many different ways you can make use of the vast range of features Microsoft Project has to offer. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
Resource management is one of the most important means of making sure that your project is set up for success. Fortunately, Microsoft Project allows project managers to monitor and track their project’s resources, which in turn helps them make better decisions on resource allocation.
With Microsoft Project as your project management tool, you can assign units of measurement or monetary values to your organizational resources in your project plan. This way, you can identify areas of your projects that need more resources as well as the areas where resources are being wasted.
With this insight, project managers can take charge and make decisions on the best possible distribution of funds, assets, and other resources.
Microsoft Project offers a great deal of flexibility when it comes to scheduling and planning projects. You can add different tasks in your project and assign them to members easily to create a detailed project timeline view that sets out the entire project lifecycle.
By establishing a project timeline with an overall goal, team members can ensure that they meet deadlines and achieve their individual goals effortlessly, while stakeholders can relax, knowing that their project is in good hands.
In addition to material resource allocation and expenses, project managers can design customized charts to track their resource consumption, working hours, and project progress. This data can be used to better assign tasks to individuals and assess employee performance.
Research projects are often the most difficult types of projects to manage, considering they might not have a specific timeline or even specific goals, to begin with.
Microsoft Project helps research leaders manage their research projects and track how funds are being utilized.
The project management solution can at least offer a loose estimation of the work that needs to be done throughout the course of the project in one centralized location, which can then be used as a simple way to record the research project data for future reference.
Project developers rely on Microsoft Project for its powerful project tracking and portfolio management features that allow them to create a product roadmap.
This roadmap helps smoothen the way for their product vision to come into reality. Mapping out their products – from conception to final production – allows developers to optimize their product development process and subsequently bring their product to the market much faster.
Microsoft Project empowers users with the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously from anywhere around the world. The software provides them with the information as to which tasks should be given priority with the help of their business intelligence tools.
Business intelligence tools in Microsoft Project 365 map out different scenarios to help team leaders determine the best pathway for their project. Microsoft Project’s portfolio management features assist managers in evaluating and weighing project proposals against their business’s goals.
Empowered by Microsoft Project, team leaders can choose the best approach that fits their business requirements, including agile, hybrid, task-oriented, or waterfall methodologies.
With just a few clicks, you can add new sprints to a project, customize task durations, and create tasks. Overall, Microsoft Project is a versatile tool that can be customized completely to support your preferred project management methodology.
In Agile environments, Microsoft Projects serves as a robust tool to facilitate communication between team members and team leads while ensuring that any changes are promptly recorded in the project schedule.
In Microsoft Project, you have the option to create new agile projects or add agile views to other waterfall projects. You can also track these tasks using Kanban and Scrum techniques to view taskboards, track sprints, create backlogs, and get detailed reports on Agile statistics.
During the project execution stage, Microsoft Project also helps businesses support their Agile goals and shorten their development cycles so that their product reaches the market much faster.
As businesses juggle multiple projects, whether complex or simple, they need a project management solution with top-quality features to help support them on their project management journey and keep everything organized in a way that is both efficient and profitable.
With a variety of features Microsoft Project has to offer, the benefits are endless. Microsoft Project allows you to collaborate and work with teams from anywhere in the world and keep track of everything you need to run to set your enterprise apart from the rest of the industry.
MS Project’s auto-scheduling feature automatically maps out a calendar for all your tasks. All you have to do is enter the scope of your project and define the designated time frames within which you expect each task to be completed.
This creates a more manageable flow of your projects’ timelines and saves you the time of having to manually create a broadly shared project calendar for your team.
MS Project is particularly useful for businesses that handle multiple projects on the same platform.
It allows users to create what is called a ‘Master Project Plan’ that combines the details of all your projects into one broad centralized workspace so that businesses can be more organized and receive a high-level view of all their projects.
Users can also link a sub-project to a master project, making it easier for them to track multiple, related projects all on one platform.
Microsoft Project also offers its users the option to choose from a number of different views such as Gantt Charts, a grid view, and a board view. The grid view shows you a simple ordered list of tasks that are to be completed, making it easier to plan simple projects.
Kanban-style board views give you a bird’s eye view into the overall status of your project and Gantt Charts help teams track their tasks and map any dependencies between tasks on a visual timeline.
MS Project also seamlessly integrates with other Office suite applications such as Word, Excel, Teams, Outlook, OneNote, PowerPoint, and more – which not only makes sharing files and creating, viewing, and updating data easier across different platforms but also gives users the freedom to choose the tasks in the application that they’re most comfortable with.
MS Project is also enriched with time tracking features that are useful for not only invoicing clients but also calculating employee payroll.
Since teams have to work with several tools, each with a different and unique role to play, when planning and managing projects, your data is likely to be spread out across several different platforms.
Project management integrations serve to conveniently bring all your data into one centralized workspace.
With integrations, you can export and import your project’s data to and from several different platforms online with considerable ease, allowing you to better plan, manage, and report your project.
One of the biggest benefits of MS Project is that it integrates with other Microsoft products that improve collaboration across different platforms and allow for easy sharing of data between applications.
Teams who already rely on the company’s products such as Word, Excel, Outlook, and more can take great advantage of these integrations and streamline their workflows in a single location.
Yet, companies that do not do so might find themselves missing out on crucial features and failing to unlock the platform’s true potential.
While Microsoft offers powerful integrations with tools within the Microsoft family, it fails to offer the same outside it. Unfortunately, MS Project does not integrate with popular platforms that several organizations rely upon such as Zapier, Salesforce, or Slack.
If your organization also uses these applications, then MS Project may not be the best tool for you.
One of the most powerful features of MS Project is its ability to deliver quality highly customizable reports. You can generate a custom report by going to the report section and choosing what data you would like to be a part of your final report.
Thanks to the integrations that come with MS Project, the final report can easily be shared across different platforms such as PowerPoint for presenting the results to the stakeholders.
Instead of having to spend valuable hours designing these customizable reports, you can choose pre-existing report templates too and let the program work for you.
MS Project’s task management features also allow you to create, assign, and prioritize tasks with just a few simple clicks. Users list out their tasks’ details, set their duration, and any other detail they wish to add.
They can also set and visually track any task dependencies. Tasks may be linked to one another using one of the following types of dependencies:
Microsoft offers Project as two different solutions:
Each solution comes with several different package options. Let’s discuss these packages in more detail.
Microsoft Project offers three different package plans for their cloud version.
Project Plan 1 (Project Online Essentials)
Priced at only $10.00 per user per month, this is the cheapest Microsoft Project plan in any category. This package offers multiple project management views, cloud saves, collaboration, and coauthoring.
Project Plan 3 (Project Online Professional)
This plan is priced at $30 per user per month and offers the same features as Plan 1 in addition to roadmapping, timesheets, resource allocation, and portfolio reporting features. Within this tier of service, you also get an added desktop client on up to 5 computers. This plan is the only one that comes with a free trial.
Project Plan 5 (Project Online Premium)
This pricing tier costs $55 per user per month and adds advanced analytics and portfolio and resource management tools to the features offered in Plan 3.
Just like cloud-based solutions, Microsoft offers Project in three different versions for on-premises deployment.
Priced at a one-time cost of $620, this plan is for small-scale businesses that don’t require collaboration tools and other advanced features. With this plan, you can simply just manage projects, tasks, and reports.
This tier of service costs a one-time payment of $1,030 and comes with the same standard features, plus resource management tools and timesheets.
This is an on-site solution for project portfolio management. It offers all the advanced analytics and BI features needed for evaluating project proposals and portfolio planning. To purchase Project Server, you have to find a local third-party through which you can buy the software.
While a powerful and flexible tool that is jam-packed with features, the potential of Microsoft Project as a project management solution is limited without other Microsoft products.
It also comes with a steep learning curve that hinders teams from being able to utilize the solution to the best of their capabilities.
But despite all this, it’s hard to deny that Project offers the perfect package for project managers. With the planning, resource management, tracking, analytics, and so many more tools it has to offer, Microsoft Project is an exceptional tool, especially for experienced professionals.
If your company has already invested in other Microsoft products, we recommend you give Microsoft Project 365 a shot to streamline your projects and enhance overall productivity. Sign up for the free trial today!