Microsoft Project Review

It's pretty straightforward to use. It integrates nicely with Microsoft Project Server.

What is our primary use case?

My primary use case is to take advantage of Microsoft Project Server to plan and track program project work at an enterprise level. Particularly, to enable tracking of actual project and program costs across multiple business lines.

What is most valuable?

The look and feel is familiar for users of the Microsoft Office Suite of applications. It is pretty straightforward to use. If you are not from a professional scheduling background, you could open it up and you would see how to do some pretty basic things without too much training.

It's most useful feature is that it interfaces with Project Server which enables a whole portfolio or enterprise perspective across the organization.

What needs improvement?

Project Professional is a powerful tool with many features and functions available for an experienced scheduler with advanced scheduling knowledge and skills. One primary problem that we have is that users that are new to project management and scheduling find it a little overwhelming when they are first introduced to the tool, particularly when they are introduced to features required to enable enterprise level planning and reporting. 

To address this, we are creating a trial of custom views that mask some of the complexity involved to enable project cost estimates, effort records and resource assignments to be consumed at an enterprise level. Some people find having to fulfill enterprise level task and resource assignment rules a little overwhelming and frustrating when all they want to do is a simple project plan.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than five years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

I haven’t experienced any stability issues with Project Professional client – problems can however occur on the server side depending on the number of custom fields used, and number and nature of dependencies created by multiple users in a single master schedule with links embedded in multiple project records.

Some users can create some very convoluted inter-dependencies and schedule conflicts that can impact performance of reporting at an enterprise level.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We have around 700 active projects and over 4,000 users, at times the product is slow – this is often a result of insufficient server capacity.

How are customer service and technical support?

At present, we have in-house tech support. We really on Microsoft Partners with Project Server and Sharepoint Server experience for support occasionally.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

I have had experience using Primavera and Open Plan Professional previously. I personally find Project Professional to provide the same functionality from logic and scheduling perspective.

How was the initial setup?

The packaging of Microsoft Project Professional for enterprise use is relatively straight forward. The end-to-end enterprise implementation with Project Server is complex. Most of the complexity is on the people and process side of set-up for an enterprise rather than for a single project.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

I am not involved with this.

What other advice do I have?

My suggestion is to do  homework and compare what other products are out there and how well they will fit with your organisation. This one's okay. I've personally used a range of different products, all potentially good choices, it just depends on the operating context and culture of the organization whether it's going to fit, or not. 

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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