Microsoft Project Professional the ultimate in project management

Arguably the ultimate in project management, Microsoft Project Professional is the solution for any manager who is tired of trying to get by with whiteboard scribblings, post-it notes and scraps of paper.

Ironically what makes Microsoft Project work so well is exactly what makes a project work: it deals with complexity in a simple manner. While the software has an impressively wide range of capabilities, it’s easy for the user to quickly get it to do exactly what they need.

Some rival organization software suffers from a fatal flaw: the user needs to know exactly what they intend on doing at the start of the project, and changing details such as scope, categories or output is impossible once its underway. Microsoft Project is clearly designed by people who’ve worked on real-life projects and know that things are always changing. As a result, adding new tasks or changing the organization of a project midway through is not a problem.

While there are dozens of neat little touches in the software, such as the handy “Ribbon” menu system familiar from other Microsoft Office programs, or auto-complete functions to save time and repetition, Project really works because it has the fundamentals right. It takes account of the fact that a project is based on juggling several resources (time, manpower, equipment, supplies) to produce the optimum result.

Perhaps thankfully for managers, Project can’t yet make decisions and take responsibility for them, but it does mean human users can be sure they always have a clear grasp of both the fine detail and the big picture and thus can be sure of making fully informed decisions throughout a project.

download Microsoft Project Professional

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Office 15 Speculation

Okokokok…We may as well go here – With Windows 8 Consumer Preview due 29-Feb-12, and all the Office on a tablet talk, we may as well get out our Office 15 crystal balls and see what we can see…

My good friend and former co-worker, Paul Thurrott is probably one of the very few people I know of who has a good handle on what’s going on inside Redmond’s walled garden (the other is MaryJo Foley…)  When I’ve got a question or two that no one else seems to know the answer to related to Microsoft and what they’re thinking, Paul’s usually the one I ask. His Windows Super Site is probably one of the best resources on the internet.

Windows 8′s Consumer Preview is due out on 29-Feb-12.  Office 15 Technical Preview (due out to their technical beta team, or by invite only) will be released shortly after that.  Paul’s pulled together some interesting screenshots on both.

From what I know from my own work in the industry and from the contacts I do have, Office 15 is going to be tablet, or more appropriately put, more touch-screen-centric than previous versions of Office.  Look for a cleaner, less cluttered interface.  The final disposition of the Ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar are undecided; or at the very least, I couldn’t find any corroborating information regarding their fate.

I’ve heard a lot of information regarding Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote. I have heard ZILCH about any of the other suite components. Most notably absent is any real news regarding Outlook 15. Which brings me to the screen shots on Paul’s site…

You can clearly see full sized screen shots of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.  The interfaces that are shown are clean and provide a great deal of space in which to work.  However, without any real understanding of where the Ribbon is, how the individual app menus are structured and whether or not they’ve moved and reorganized everything, it’s difficult to say what level of improvement or value-add they offer over Office 2010.  The screens that Paul has displayed also linked to any larger shots or screen renders. We also don’t know if we’re looking at the WOA version of Office 15 or the full desktop client.

I was hoping to have a bit more, here kids; but solid information on what to expect with Office 15 is scarce.  I’m hoping that my TechNet subscription will get me access to the Tech Preview bits so that I can take a closer look at the software. If I can get a look at it, I’m certain I’ll develop an opinion to express…

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