Strong, established tool for traditional planning, need more for today's projects
Updated November 30, 2021

Strong, established tool for traditional planning, need more for today's projects

Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User
Review Source

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Project

MS Project is primarily used by project management and managers in research and development. It is used to plan development and other multi-task projects. Individual employees typically do not use MS Project.
  • Adding dependencies between tasks. MS Project allows 4 types of relationships to be built (SS, FS, SF, FF) and adding lag between tasks, so you have the ultimate flexibility to define how tasks are related.
  • Once relationships are defined, MS Project does a good job to highlight/identify the critical path.
  • If you put in the details (resource allocation, task priority), then resource leveling works well.
  • Ability to select specific tasks or summary tasks for the timeline is good to give an overview of the project.
  • Linking tasks between different MS Project files. It can be done, but it's hard to manage and easy to completely break the project plan. We've learned to save multiple versions of the plan in case an external link breaks the project catastrophically.
  • Inability to look at resource loading over multiple projects or multiple project files. This has led us to link multiple files together as a mitigation, which has shortcomings (see above).
  • Network diagram has improved in recent versions, but still limiting. I often use VISIO to create network diagrams instead of MS Project & end up duplicating information.
  • For our project teams, MS Project is a basic need for project planning. Since we've always had MS Project, we didn't calculate the ROI for this tool. It would be a negative ROI if we didn't have the tool for planning.
  • The Gantt chart display of MS Project is used in project status meetings and presentations. All levels of management are well-versed on how to use & read MS Project files and visual outputs.
MS Project is most familiar to our users, so the learning curve is easiest. However, MS Project doesn't allow our teams to collaborate nor does it track actual vs. planned effort (time reporting). Hence it's not the only tool we use. We typically plan with MS Project and use it to run scenarios for project execution strategy. We also use a third-party add-on to perform Monte Carlo simulations on our schedule. Once we have established a schedule, then we no longer use MS Project and export the schedule to Projectplace which better supports our Agile teams and team collaboration. Additionally, Projectplace supports time reporting so we can easily see how the project team executed compared to plan.
MS Project is still most powerful for project planning. It's easy to enter tasks and to add interdependencies between tasks. The ability to add general and custom calendars is great. The ability to set tasks as effort vs. duration driven, different types of relationships between tasks, adding lags, assigning multiple resources and the automatic adjustment of duration as resources are added... the list goes on. MS Project is clearly a mature tool with all the bells and whistles. Also because it is such an established tool, there are many add-ons to MS Project (e.g., Monte Carlo simulation).

However, understand resource loading cannot be done or is not easy, especially if resources are on multiple projects (and multiple project files). MS Project is a static tool and doesn't offer much for collaboration. It is also not as tuned to Agile methodologies. When there are lags and the relationship between tasks is more complex, MS Project is unable to calculate critical path.

Microsoft Project Feature Ratings

Task Management
5
Resource Management
2
Gantt Charts
10
Scheduling
10
Support for Agile Methodology
2
Support for Waterfall Methodology
10
Budget and Expense Management
3
Project & financial reporting
4
Integration with accounting software
Not Rated