Project management is important for any business, especially those that include many variables and need to be managed consistently. Project management practices are evolving with the advent of the latest technology and at the pace of industry growth.
The project management process includes planning and design, task planning, coordination, communication, and regular updates and evaluations. Project management involves prioritizing processes according to importance, setting milestones, and instructing each party to complete these tasks. Project management tools or software can help you manage your project operations smoothly by helping project managers and project teams work more efficiently.
What is Microsoft Project?
Microsoft Project (MP) is one of the most widely used project management tools in the industry for managing almost all types of projects. It is a flexible project management and scheduling software that has been in commercial use since the 1980s. Its robust project management capabilities are very effective and efficient. Initially web-based, it was later developed for the desktop.
Microsoft Project uses the Azure cloud as its computing platform, with the latest version released in 2019. We have a user base of over 20 million professionals and over 10,000 organizations, including well-known companies such as Coca-Cola and AIMCO.
Microsoft Project allows professionals to manage projects based on project status and goals. It provides a simple and integrated user interface that allows users to seamlessly switch between grids, graphs, Gantt charts, and more to track progress, and Microsoft Teams' built-in support enhances coordination.
All team members can create or edit information at the same time and use the automated planning feature based on tasks, time periods, and resources. Microsoft Project offers different options for creating interactive dashboards in Power BI (Microsoft Project Platform) to visualize your project from different perspectives. In addition, the roadmap feature provides a series of magnified and improved images of project activity.
Microsoft Project Packages
Microsoft Project offers three different subscription packages: Project Plan 1, Project Plan 2, and Project Plan 3. These are known as Project for the web, Project Online, and Project Online Desktop Client, respectively. These can be easily explained as follows.
01 - Project Management- Project managers can monitor task schedules using a variety of data display techniques, including bar charts, Gantt charts, and grid views. It also facilitates coordination among all stakeholders by providing features such as editing and updating item lists, schedules, hierarchies, and more. Submitting a timesheet is one of Microsoft Project's unique features that allows you to track billable project and non-project times.
02 - Portfolio Management- Microsoft Project has provisions for managing multiple projects and programs in your organization at the same time and prioritizing those projects. Advanced features such as business intelligence allow you to model different scenarios. This allows companies to choose the best course of action to increase their win rate, evaluate existing proposals and compare them to their goals and requirements.
03 - Resource Management- Microsoft Project helps you complete your project on time by predicting resource needs, delays, resource utilization, and more. You can request resources as needed, track resource utilization across your project, and use Microsoft Project to assign tasks according to your resources. You can also use Microsoft Project to track the progress of your resources, projects, programs, and portfolios.
Microsoft Project Advantages
There are many features that make Microsoft Project tools useful, some of which are described below:
01 - Planning and Scheduling- Microsoft Project helps users prioritize and plan tasks, define individual steps, and ultimately assign them to their respective teams or members. You can link dependent tasks, create subtasks, and set criteria for tracking progress, which helps you visualize your timeline.
Teams have complete visibility into the status of ongoing tasks and projects from the shared team calendar. This allows users to synchronize their work schedules and send meeting notifications. This is very important for organizations working on multiple projects at the same time.
02 - Integration- Microsoft Project is compatible with other software such as Microsoft 365, Microsoft TeaMicrosoft, Skype and Sharepoint. It also easily integrates with Microsoft Azure and other Microsoft software.
03 - Flexibility- Microsoft Project is extremely flexible due to certain features such as load mapping tools and financial management. The user or team is given more choices to make changes or configure the project according to their needs. The software tracks the availability of resources and allocates costs accordingly to monitor and evaluate how valuable resources are being used.
04 - Structured Reporting- Microsoft Projects allows users to customize the report format to meet their needs, including all aspects of project status. These reports can include expenses spent, inventory resources, completed tasks, and even a complete project overview. These projects not only provide important insights into the operation of the project, but also help to calculate staff time, allocate salaries accordingly, and complete work on time.
05 - Remote Working- users or teams can simultaneously review, update, and edit projects and tasks from anywhere in the world. Not only can you work from anywhere in the world, but you can also work on multiple devices to increase your productivity.
06 - Secure Platforms- For Handling Large Volumes of Sensitive Data and Investment Organizations need secure tools to protect their information assets. Because Microsoft Project data is integrated into Azure, it was developed as one of the most expensive and state-of-the-art threat intelligence systems to ensure data security.
07 - Interactive Dashboards- Microsoft Project provides a variety of interactive dashboards that allow you to organize your data in a variety of visualization formats to provide better insights into the process of your project. Dashboard features include compelling features such as custom graphs and charts that keep workflows, tasks, and project progress streamlined and comprehensive.
Microsoft Project Disadvantages
Microsoft Project is a top-notch, powerful, flexible, and great team-up tool, but with its own drawbacks. Some of these drawbacks are:
01 - Intensive Training for Beginners- The learning curve of Microsoft Project is not an easy straight line for those new to the software and can be overwhelming for new users. Project managers often complain that new students take a long time to learn and navigate Microsoft Project.
02 - Expensive Subscriptions- Many users are dissatisfied with expensive subscriptions for some of the software or its features. The price per feature is very high, and some even suggest that the cloud-based version is not the same as the on-premises version. As a result, many users who get a few features from Microsoft Project are unproductive. It's certainly not a viable option for small businesses.
03 - Compatibility Issues- Microsoft's proprietary software format prevents Microsoft Project files from being opened on other platforms. Even free applications that can open Microsoft Project files can only be opened in read-only format. Opening with other read-only software may result in the loss of some functionality used to prepare the file.
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