The idea for Microsoft Project originated from the vision of Ron Bredehoeft in the 1980’s. Ron’s vision was to express the recipe and all preparation for a breakfast of eggs Benedict in project management terms. He knew if he created a program that could do that, it would have the scope to digest far more complicated plans.
The first commercial version of Project was released in 1986.
What is Microsoft Project?
Microsoft Project is a project management software product. It is designed to assist a project manager in developing a plan, assigning resources to tasks, tracking progress, managing the work load and analysing workloads.
Microsoft Project ties together all aspects of a company. With one single tool, managers can gather all the data they need. This is useful for monitoring the progress of tasks, seeing where time can be saved or where delays stem from, and highlighting where additional resources should be assigned to meet deadlines.
Microsoft Project can also create detailed reports on the projects entered. This saves time spent transporting project data into Excel and is a valuable tool for sharing progress with the team and setting expectations for stakeholders.
Not only this, but as managers begin to use Project more frequently, it will offer them a better understanding of how long certain tasks take and of which team members work the most efficiently. No spy cameras needed – Project sees all.
Aside from this, Project also allows for comparison between plans. You may wish to compare similar plans of your own from different months with different resources, or perhaps you are considering outsourcing some of your workload to an external agency and wish to evaluate the cost and time of performing the task in-house against that of outsourcing.
Here is a short clip that makes light of the fact people use Excel to manage projects. It’s comedic, but managing projects is no laughing matter; that’s where Project comes in:
Who would benefit from using Microsoft Project?
Anybody managing a project and wishing to save time and money, stay organised or to analyse their workload, essentially. From the design company moving offices to the charity organization bringing clean drinking water to parts of impoverished countries.
United Airlines used Microsoft Project as their project management solution. See how it helped them here:
How is Microsoft Project available?
Project is a part of the Microsoft Office family but is not included in any of the Office suites. It is available as an add on application in two editions, Standard and Professional. Differences between the two editions are explored in further detail on the Microsoft website and both versions can be purchased here from Ebuyer.
Project is available on Windows, IOS and Android devices, so team members can update tasks on their device of choice and view timelines and reports on the go.
Want to see Project in action?
Microsoft offer several on-demand videos and webinars about Project, both general and industry specific. To view these videos or register for a session click here.
Alternatively, you can view Microsoft’s YouTube Project tutorials below. As with all Microsoft applications, Project has an intuitive workflow and memorises things like resources and their calendar availability to save you time:
What the future holds…
Microsoft have created the following video to show their future vision of project and portfolio management in general. It is not intended to communicate specific Microsoft PPM’s product roadmaps, but makes for a great watch: