I must say that Microsoft (MS) Project is probably one of the best Project Management (PM) tools I’ve had the pleasure of utilizing! At University of Nevada, Reno (UNR), they didn’t have any classes on MS Project; the closest UNR got to teaching it was through my advanced PM class which really only mentioned it as a good PM tool. I suppose it could be argued that I just didn’t take the right classes, but in my own defense, the descriptions for a lot of UNR classes don’t actually match what is being taught, so…. yeah.
Anyway, thanks to that advanced PM class, I was exposed to MS Project in a couple of ways: (1) class discussion, and (2) my final project. The final project entailed interviewing a Project Manager and a Program Manager on best practices for Project and Program Management – the title is a mouthful, I know, but the process itself was actually quite fascinating! During the interview, we discussed what their preferred platform was for managing projects and both of my interviewees were unanimous in their opinion: MS Project is a phenomenal tool, but too expensive. Perhaps the inherent high cost of MS Project would explain why UNR doesn’t provide classes. Regardless, I didn’t realize how “phenomenal” it was until I started working with it.
I’ll admit that I haven’t delved much into MS Project beyond the initial scratching of the surface, but I love what I have seen so far.
MS Project offers many admirable and useful features, but I think the one that I will come to cherish the most is its ability to apply estimated/actual hours to a work week. That work week can be altered to any series of times such as M-F, 9a-5p or maybe M-Th, 8a-6p. You can also add holidays or events that would make that particular day – or days – into a non workday. AND, these kinds of changes could also be done for individual resources rather than the project as a whole.
For me, Time Management is the most important Knowledge Area because time is the only thing that cannot be changed – you cannot make time turn backwards, it can only go forwards. You can change deliverable dates if you need to make adjustments depending on where your project is in its process, but time itself will continue on, no matter how much you try to change or control it. Thus, the ability to change your project software to show when resources will be available and how this will effect the project overall is a highly useful feature for me.
I’m sure that there are other PM softwares with this feature, but I haven’t been exposed to those yet. If you think that another software would be better with this feature, let me know! I’d love to hear about it!