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.