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Top 8 Disadvantages of Using MS Project

To
make sure that businesses are more successful in delivering their
products or services, they use project management. Not only are they
able to deliver on time, on budget and on scope, project management
also helps teams and organizations deliver the right product or
service that provides real value to its users.

Project
management software, like Microsoft Project, is key in helping
businesses and their clients align project goals with business goals.
By using PM tools, project teams are also more likely to follow best
practices due to greater visibility, transparency, and
accountability. As a result, people do their best on a more open
platform.

Since launching in DOS in 1984, MS Project remains the primary enterprise PM product of Microsoft 35 years later. Customers like Aston Martin, ABANCA of Spain, Arauco of Chile, Cacades Canada, and Comptel of Finland, are among the over 20M users who rely on MS Project to help them deliver projects, products or services with greater efficiency, resourcing, and collaboration. However, MS Project is not always the best fit for your project management requirement.

Recommended article: Top 3 Software Alternatives to MS Project

What
is Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project is a project management software that helps users execute projects better, allows them to evaluate and optimize their project portfolio, as well as manage resources and workload more efficiently. Features include timesheets, Gantt charts, project tracking and reporting, integrated task and resource management, advanced analytics, and others. Several plans are available, for both cloud-based cross-platfom solutions and scalable on-premise solutions.

Disadvantages
and Cons of MS Project

Microsoft
Project is one of the earliest project management software. So, it is
a mature product that has benefited from countless feedback from
users over the years. It is a reliable tool sustained and supported
by one of the biggest companies in the world, with a great number of
tutorials and guides online. However, as more businesses embrace
project management in their process, it is evident that not all are
keen to take the Microsoft way.

1. It has a steep learning curve

The
most common complaint about MS Project is its difficulty to learn to
use. On the average, you may need to go to at least 2 tutorials
before you get comfortable using it. It requires significant learning
and experience to use it effectively. In fact, one of the common
reasons SMBs are looking to replace MS Project as their tool is
because of the difficulty it poses to new, to non-PM and to non-tech
users.

2. It’s expensive

Microsoft’s on-premise solutions have a greater number of features compared to their cloud-based version. However, Project Standard 2019 desktop application costs $620 for 1 license for 1 PC. The Professional and Server editions are more expensive. And to think that these desktop applications do not even have collaboration features.

3. It has limited integrations

Microsoft
Project Online is built on top SharePoint Online. It has limited
integrations with other non-Microsoft products. Project integrates
with Planner easily, which is Microsoft’s task management app. But
even Planner does not connect with Project Server. For collaboration,
you may have to use Outlook, Skype or other communication apps from
Microsoft.

4. Compatibility issues

Microsoft
Project files (.mpp) are proprietary, so there are compatibility
issues if you need to open a project in another workstation that does
not have the software. You have to go through extra export/import
steps, which adds complexity. The latest MS Project also needs
Windows 10 to run the desktop application. There are free Project
Viewer apps, but you can only view the project, and not edit.

5. Poor progress visualization

Since
most users of MS Project prefer the on-premise solution for its
better features, there are also many complaints of the lack of
real-time updates to track progress. Desktop apps do not have
collaboration features, so it is challenging for users to get the
actual progress of tasks getting completed. This will result in more
time getting spent to get updates through other modes of
communication, or through another app.

6. Not the best for agile

MS
Project started when project management methods were limited to
traditional waterfall only. It was only around 2017-2018 that the
software introduced tools for tracking projects that use Scrum or
Kanban. There was almost nothing added in this area for Project 2019
edition. Therefore, if you plan to implement agile methods or are
already doing it, you will be better served by more specific agile PM
tools.

7. Incomplete PM solution

If
you are strictly implementing PMBOK practices and recommendations, MS
Project may not be sufficient for your organization. Users complain
of difficulty using it for cost management. In the same way, they do
not find enough or any tool that can help them with quality or risk
management. So, it always goes back to paying for an expensive
software that does not provide a complete solution.

8. For general project management only

As
a productivity tool, it can help a great number of teams and
organizations that need a project management software for general PM
purposes. However, if you are in the construction industry, for
example, or in software development, there may be better options to
choose from that caters to specific industry requirements. It lacks
customization features, too.

Conclusion

Microsoft Project as part of the MS Office tools is accessible to organizations that are Microsoft-centric in their choice of business applications. Therefore, if you use Word or Excel, it will be easy to also try to plan your projects with MS Project. However, with the introduction of so many new cloud-based PM tools, it is playing catch up but still a bit behind. For instance, its online versions are not the exact copies of its on-premise tools. So, it is important to evaluate your requirements, your preferred PM methods, and your budget before choosing your project management software.

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