Microsoft Project Room for Improvement

Michael Barg
Principal Consultant at Lexington Consulting
MS Project can insert objects, like a drawing or an Excel worksheet, but cannot handle business rules. Also, I would like to see better integration with graphics applications such as MS Visio. The graphics are primitive and need some major work. I would like to have the ability to insert some small macros within the project for Monte Carlo risk analysis. For example, if you're unsure how much time a task may require, you can generate a reasonable guess. MS Project is very time and labor-intensive to keep current. You need to update it continually. You may find that you are spending more time maintaining the MS Project file than working on your project. I don't want to devote a person to do that. MS Project should have the capability to link it to other applications to make the program dynamic when a real-time resource or schedule changes, but it is not dynamic. It would be helpful to insert real-time input data for each project, subproject, or task. If something is going on, I want to see the impact in real-time, if possible. I want to be able to specify globally what weekend we want or what we want to call a weekend. Also, we might have a project underway seven days a week. External data sources, like third-party manufacturing processes, impact some tasks. Embedding external processes within MS Project is almost impossible because we don't have programming resources here in a practical sense. Also, the interface of Microsoft Project is proprietary. We want to link different tasks to external sources of inputs and outputs and integrate them automatically with our master project plan, e.g., specific third-party CNC machine data. The supplier's system does not interface with ours'. We have to get the outputs from their system serially and manually update the MS Project file to determine the schedule impact. That takes time. There is a risk of data entry errors at both ends. On tight projects, every minute counts. I would like to see a control system interface with Microsoft Project. Real-time system data helps predict cost and schedule variances. For example, if you had to finish a day ahead of schedule, you could "talk" to the systems' software and determine if a given machine works for another four hours, then you could meet the accelerated schedule. MS Project requires manual data entry with a risk of mistakes. Presently, there is no automated data entry capability in MS Project. It just doesn't exist. That's why I say it is only suitable for small-sized to medium-sized companies and small projects. Most companies don't have the same problems we have with MS Project. When you're working on a project that has to get done, you will spend most of the time wrestling with Microsoft Project, whereas you should be using these hours to manage the project. Thinking on a slightly bigger scale, I would like better integration with Office, Visio, and Access. If you make a change in one application, it should cascade to others and vice versa. It doesn't do that, at least not easily. It is not a dynamic program. I would like to see an active program or at least the capability to be dynamic, even if it is close to real-time where it outputs to a module, and the module then talks to real-time systems. The real-time data goes back into the module, and the module updates the project plan. Such dynamic capability would be superior to what exists now. It may not be genuinely real-time, but it is at least closer to it. I want to link directly to the data in an Excel spreadsheet so that I don't have to keep going back and forth updating it. I don't want to have to create a dynamic link library or write a macro. Whenever I change the data in an Excel file for a given project or task, it should update the corresponding Visio or PowerPoint file. If I'm doing a pie chart or any graphic, I don't want to manually update my graphics. I want to link them together, and I want them updated automatically. I know it is a wishful thing. Microsoft doesn't make significant changes every time they come out with a new version. However, they don't appear to fix the issue. Instead, they add a few features. View full review »
reviewer1462419
IT Consultant with 1,001-5,000 employees
When you start getting into the more advanced features, it can become unstable. The more you use the advanced features, the more exposure you have to an unanticipated result. I think we need to add the Kanban Board capability to the product that would help them advance that board into the project management methodology that's being used in the industry today. Being able to depend on Scrum management is key. I actually developed a template that allows me to do that, but if they actually productized that, that would help. View full review »
reviewer1424409
Project Manager at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
We need to know what third party solutions we want to integrate. Microsoft by itself is a project management tool, however, if someone says they want to integrate with something else, there may be issues. Since we work on JIRA, most of the time that can satisfy our needs, as everyone has JIRA. They just update their task there and we can have full visibility. Microsoft's solution isn't really a collaboration tool, however. If you need a collaboration tool, you can use Slack, which can be integrated with your JIRA. Any ticketing in JIRA can be integrated to Slack and you can get the messages there. I personally still need to compare the solution to other solutions. It would give me a better sense of if they are missing any features. Right now, without the comparison, it's hard to tell. They may need more security features, or better communication features. It's hard for me to say with my limited knowledge base. View full review »
Learn what your peers think about Microsoft Project. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2021.
455,962 professionals have used our research since 2012.
reviewer896880
General Manager at a manufacturing company with 10,001+ employees
I can't think of any features that are lacking. I don't know of any issues with the solution that can be updated. The technical support could be improved. They are okay, however, they could be much better. View full review »
reviewer1395372
Senior Business Analyst at a tech services company with 51-200 employees
This solution needs more customization. View full review »
reviewer1234485
Professor, Info Technology at a university with 1,001-5,000 employees
I would like to have more access to templates and tools that could be used to teach project management best practices. View full review »
Jeffrey Bloom
Sr. Enterprise & Project Portfolio Manager/Consultant, Master Scheduler, Enterprise Architect at Jeffrey A. Bloom
This solution needs more templates focused on types of projects to ease setup. View full review »
Martin Nwoga
Business Director at CWG Plc
I would like to see the inclusion of multi-currency support. View full review »
Learn what your peers think about Microsoft Project. Get advice and tips from experienced pros sharing their opinions. Updated: January 2021.
455,962 professionals have used our research since 2012.