The facts you should know about MS Project

Many people today use Microsoft Project, and some of them have probably advised you to buy it. However, you should know that Microsoft Office Project Standard 2003 was designed for project managers who need a desktop tool to manage their projects independently, but do not require strong coordination with other managers. It was never intended to be used in a network/Internet enabled world. To work in a team and to be able to share your project information, you’ll have to purchase Microsoft Project Server and other necessary software applications. You should be aware that, once installed, MS Project becomes a part of your Office Suite and that your actions here will affect Word, Excel, Outlook and the other programs contained in the suite. Also, be aware that Microsoft Project installs utilities on your system that pop up randomly and can drain your system’s performance.

To help you get an idea of how Microsoft Project is used in different organizations, we have listed typical cases of collaboration with the help of Microsoft Project.

The facts you should know about MS Project

1. Status Update with the help of Microsoft Excel

The project manager keeps MS Project file on his computer, asking his team members to update a template MS Excel file. He receives the updates via e-mail and inputs them manually, cutting and pasting the necessary information. It can be convenient for only 2 reasons: First, all team members already have Excel; and second, it is cheaper than buying MS Project licenses for every user and installing them on each computer.

However, there are a number of disadvantages:

2. Shared access to a Microsoft Project file

All members of the team can have access to Microsoft Project files, which are kept on a shared drive. Different users have different access rights; some of them can edit the files, and others have “read-only” access. In this case, it is good that files can be backed up easily. But there are some very significant problems:

3. Several copies of MS Project with no shared acces

Each team member has a copy of MS Project installed on his or her computer, but they cannot exchange information or share a file. The project manager retains the main file version and sends it via e-mail to the team members to input their changes. Then the project manager collects the updates from all the team members and corrects the master copy manually. In this situation, users can make changes to database objects; however, you should know about the disadvantages:

4. Complementary use of Microsoft Project Server

Can eliminate some disadvantages that have to be dealt with in the above mentioned cases. Still, there are serious drawbacks:

Now which one is your situation? Unfortunately, in spite all the advanced planning features, collaboration with the help of Microsoft Project turns out to be absolutely inefficient. That is why, if your project does not require overdetailed planning, we strongly recommend you to choose Web-based project management software.

Web-based project management software brings more value to your project, because:

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