2 posts categorized "Microsoft Project"

09/20/2010

5 Reasons Not to Use Project Standard

Project is still the most widely used tool for project management.  I discussed some reasons to use Project.  Here are some reasons to consider not using Project for your day-to-day project management needs.  This is specifically geared towards the Project Standard Edition (the desktop version).

 

You have a number of projects to manage.

 

IStock_000004021750XSmall Project Standard is a desktop tool, meaning it is installed on an individual computer and is designed for an individual user working on an individual project.  A desktop tool is simply not designed to manage a number of different projects.  Each project has to have its own separate file and can be updated by only one person at a time.  That means you miss key capabilities such as cross-project reporting, data mining, and resource management.

 

If you have a number of projects to manage, you need to use a tool designed to manage a number of projects.

 

Your projects are not overly complicated.

 

If your projects are complicated, MS Project is a good tool to schedule and manage those individual projects.  If your projects are fairly simple or not considerably large, a simpler more straightforward tool may be more appropriate.  For example, if you have a 1,500 task project, you need a desktop-based, fairly

complex scheduling tool.  If you have a 25 task project, you simply do not.

 

You have a number of people to manage.

 

Project Standard is not designed to be accessed by multiple people or to view information about multiple projects.  I know that you can create master project files, but that is not the same thing.  Managing people (i.e. resources) is very important in today’s environment of trimmed staff and being pushed to do more with less.  It is simply difficult to manage resources with a desktop tool.  Here is what you are missing: access by your people to view their assignments and update status, views of how your resources are allocated across all projects, and reports on who is performing well and who is falling behind.

 

You do not want to buy it for all of your people.

 

Project Standard requires a license and installation for everyone that will use it.  That can be quite expensive when you start to ramp up the number of people that will use it.  You may want to consider a hosted solution or a solution where there are at least varying levels of user pricing.

 

Your project managers do not have good Project expertise.

 

Project Standard requires a minimum amount of expertise to use it successfully.  Unless people understand concepts such as dependencies, constraints, actual vs. baseline vs. scheduled dates, and are familiar with Gantt Views, they will have a hard time using Project.  One of the considerations is that there is no other interface except for the “project manager” interface.  For those that are not operating in a project manager capacity, or do not have the fundamental knowledge of project management scheduling, there is no other interface.

This is where a tool that provides multiple interfaces for different user roles becomes important, or a tool that is simpler to use than MS Project.

 

An alternative scenario to consider if you do have a mix of people that are skilled vs. people that are not skilled is to implement a tool that supports both an interface with MS Project and provides an alternative for project scheduling.

 

Consider these when making the determination to use Project Standard throughout your organization to support your key project processes.





09/14/2010

4 Reasons You Should Use Microsoft Project Standard Edition

It is no secret that the mention of Microsoft Project brings out certain emotions in people.  Generally, they love it or they hate it (that is a separate topic all to itself).  But Microsoft Project is the most popular tool out there to manage project schedules and we should not simply discard it offhand.  There are reasons to use it and reasons not to use it.

 

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Before we get to that, understand that Microsoft Project comes in different flavors these days.  The Standard Edition is the desktop tool that is installed on your computer and enables you to schedule a single project (I know some of you are going to talk to me about master project schedules, but that is not really what it was designed to do).  “Project Server” or “Project EPM” is the high-end server system.  We’ll cover that in a future post.

Here are four reasons you should use Microsoft Project Standard.

You have complicated schedules.

If you have schedules with a lot of tasks (hundreds or thousands), or complex schedules (lots of different types of dependencies and constraints), you should use Microsoft Project Standard.  It does a good job at managing an individual project schedule that is large or complex.  Of course, you have to know how to use it, but that also is a separate post.

You are a Microsoft Project expert. 

If you are an expert at Microsoft Project, you should use that expertise.  It is a good tool in the hands of a skilled user.

You work with vendors, partners, or customers who require the exchange of project plans in Microsoft Project format.

This is self explanatory.  You either need Microsoft Project or a system that easily interchanges Microsoft Project formats.

You do not have a lot of different projects.

If you use Microsoft Project Standard, you will need to open up each project individually to update it.  If you have a lot of different projects, the management of these becomes very cumbersome.  You really are going to want to use a more centralized system for the management of these projects.

Next we’ll look at reasons not to use Microsoft Project Standard.

 





 

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