2.2 Advantages of Microsoft Project
a) Incorporation with Microsoft software suite
The fact that this software works with Office 365, Skype and SharePoint. This integration with Office 365 is the most important reason for small and medium business project managers wanting to invest in MS Project. Also, MS Project shares a familiar interface with other Microsoft products, such as Excel, brands the program attractively for many customers. This is important for companies that work with client as client fondness or knowledge with a certain tool or operating system can often be the deciding factor in which PM system to invest in.
b) Acceptance in the industry
Many users refer to MS Project as the PM tool that every project manager should be familiar with.” The product’s prestige is due in large part to its international distribution, the similarity to and integration with other Microsoft products and again, the fact that it has been on the market for over a decade. This is a positive for users in another way as well. The availability of tutorials and guidance videos online is amazing. When searching for videos on YouTube, other popular PM products, such as Workfront or Wrike, have roughly 11K and 6K results respectively, while MS Project has over 4.6 million.
1.1 Disadvantages of Microsoft Project
a. Not ideal for collaboration and sharing data
Its inability to collaborate and share data is among reasons users are looking for a replacement to Ms Project
• It does not update in real-time as work is complete or positions change, something like google docs.
• It is hard and time consuming to share data with stakeholders and the process to share data requires a significant degree of manual effort
• Are purchased and installed on a desktop (and in the case of Microsoft software, on Windows PCs), which makes working remotely very challenging
SMBs needing to collaborate in real time can purchase Project Online Professional or Premium for project managers and then purchase the scaled-down Project Online Essentials package for team members.
b. High learning curve
Current users report that MS Project requires significant training and experience with the tool to use it effectively. The high learning curve makes it difficult for the layman, people new to the program or non-technical users, often resulting in poor user adoption.
Additionally, several SMBs report difficulties with custom reporting, resource planning and portfolio management. Whether this is the result of a lack of training on how to perform these functions or a lack of depth/advanced capability within the tool itself, is unclear.
It’s possible that SMBs experiencing frustration with these applications have not upgraded to the most recent version of MS Project. As new features are rolled out in new versions, organizations that do not upgrade will not have the full capabilities of the tool available to them.
The high cost of MS Project is a recurring complaint we see in both user reviews as well as hear from SMBs looking to replace the system.
The cost for the desktop plans (Project Standard, Project Professional and Project Server) is such that SMBs can only reasonably expect to purchase a handful of licenses. This in turn causes issues with collaboration and sharing information in real time with both the project team, executive stakeholders and external clients.
While there are cloud-based versions of MS Project (Project Online Professional or Project Online Premium), as stated above, they are not exact copies of the desktop tools, i.e., functionality is not the same across the deployment options. Meaning the capabilities are not the same across platforms. This discrepancy causes many businesses to stay with the desktop versions.