Microsoft Project is the industry standard for a reason
June 20, 2019

Microsoft Project is the industry standard for a reason

Robert Paul | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Microsoft Project

I used Microsoft Project to develop the framework of all our projects, and to track their progress and resources throughout implementation. We typically had about 20 projects running at any one time, so it was useful to see everything in one place. While we used a ticketing system for the day-to-day stuff, Project worked better for long-term, per-planned operations.
  • Gantt Charts: Every project manager's favorite thing, MS Project does this very well. A Gantt chart keeps everything in a project timeline visible, and in Project, you can drill down to look at resources, costs, and a myriad of other things. It's also very easy to rearrange items as necessary, either by dragging them around or opening them and manually entering data.
  • Resource Management: Project allows you to set up resources, either as individuals or with type of work (e.g., Bob Smith or Network Engineer I). Within those resources, you can set up hours of availability, when overtime kicks in, costs, and a myriad of other useful items. Then, when you assign them tasks, the software calculates the time needed or how much extra it will cost if you need a resource to work longer on a particular piece.
  • Multiple Projects: With the resource pool and other elements shared between projects, managing multiple projects becomes easier. Project will warn you if resource is over-scheduled, and show which projects that resource is being used on. It'll also show conflicts.
  • Integration: Since this is a Microsoft product, it integrates very well with other Microsoft products, especially those in the Office suite like Excel. That allows you to, for example, export the Gantt chart to a spreadsheet to send to stakeholders, or link it into a Word document.
  • Time Management: Tied into the Gantt and Resource pieces, Project lets you set prerequisites and linked work, so even if you have to adjust steps to deal with scheduling or change management, Project will keep everything organized. It will automatically re-adjust dates and milestones as things are shifted.
  • Expertise Needed: The software is not always easy to use or intuitive. I took several Project courses, on top of my project management certifications, to understand the software better. While all the elements are there for anyone familiar with standard project management processes, it takes experience and training to really get the best out of the software.
  • Collaboration: Project does not work well with multiple users simultaneously. There's no real-time updating, and if we had multiple project managers, there'd be no way to work together on the same projects.
  • Price: Project is expensive, largely due to it being an industry standard.
  • Project saved me, as the project manager, countless hours of digging through tickets and schedules to plan everything out. It also saved me time in adjusting the project triangle as needed, since it does so much automatically.
  • It is costly, and since it requires extensive training to master, it's not just the high licensing cost that you need to take into account.
  • The reporting features - even just printing out Gantt charts - makes it far easier to communicate with stakeholders. That means less time for PMs doing all of this manually, and it means less follow-up questions and delays moving forward.
Trello and Wrike are cheaper alternatives, but I do not consider them true project management software. They can certainly work to organize tasks, and they are collaborative, which is something MS Project lacks, but they lack the depth and, in my opinion, the actually necessary features of a project management tool. Trello doesn't even have a Gantt Chart natively, it requires an add-on.
Microsoft Project is well suited for anyone running a standard, PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) project. It is especially good for managed service providers who need to run projects for clients, not just for support. If you plan to run many projects, either simultaneously or consecutively, this is a good resource.

If you're in a small business and you don't have multiple resources or multiple projects, this is probably not a good solution.

Microsoft Project Feature Ratings

Task Management
Resource Management
Gantt Charts
Workflow Automation
Team Collaboration
Support for Agile Methodology
Not Rated
Support for Waterfall Methodology
Document Management
Email integration
Mobile Access
Not Rated
Timesheet Tracking
Not Rated
Change request and Case Management
Budget and Expense Management
Not Rated
Project & financial reporting
Integration with accounting software
Not Rated