A basic knowledge of Microsoft Project is almost essential for any Project manager these days in order to implement project management planning and control techniques. This tool has helped Project managers everywhere to manage effectively and efficiently, transforming the way the world sees Project management. Understanding Microsoft Project thoroughly might take time but the efforts are worth it, mainly because of the benefits that the tool offers. The following are a few advantages of using Microsoft Project –
The most important tool at a project manager’s disposal is how to collaborate with various members of the team and achieve the desired results. This is exactly what Microsoft Project offers by allowing project managers to task status updates for members of the team. Collaborating on task progress and communicating plans across team sites is also possible with Microsoft Project.
Many a times, a project manager has to monitor the work that is ongoing, consider various options for new projects, and evaluate possible scenarios. In Microsoft Project, professionals can use inactive tasks and experiment with plans. This tool is also capable of performing what-if analysis. Simply toggling can insert or remove multiple tasks along with the effect these tasks will have on the project schedule. There are various tools built into Microsoft Project which allow managers to perform a comparison between scenarios, change highlighting and undo on multiple levels.
Controlling and Delivering
Microsoft Project offers flexibility when the manager wants to set multiple baselines along with quick comparison of forecasted vs. budget vs. actual values for measuring the progress of an initiative. User defined labor and cost categories can be created with time phased high level budgets. Controlling project costs can be made extremely simple and easy by quick comparison of budgets and forecasts. Integrated management of performance and predictive analysis is also offered.
Intuitive and Familiar
Microsoft products have been used over the years by everyone, and when it comes to project management tools, managers want something that feels familiar and intuitive. Opening the first project file on Microsoft Project feels familiar and at home because of this reason. Thus, no time is wasted in getting acquainted with the interface or learning where to find basic functionalities. While Microsoft Project is pretty different from Word, Excel and PowerPoint, it still follows the same basics and is easy to get around. Project managers who have used other solutions often complain about lack of familiarity and difficulty in getting acquainted but this is one problem that managers can never face with Microsoft Project.
Easy Integration with Other Products from Microsoft
Microsoft has recently been trying to integrate all its products across various platforms and Microsoft Project is no different. Instead of feeling like work is being performed across PowerPoint, Word and Excel, Microsoft Project (along with other products) gives the illusion that a single application is being used which offers project management, email, spreadsheet analysis and word processing. The ability to toggle between various Microsoft products, sending information and data across multiple applications, opening applications within applications, and overall user experience sets Microsoft Project apart from other project management solutions.
Essential functions are offered by Microsoft Project which save time. These functions include auto complete, zoom, text wrapping, filtering, et al. The copy and paste function has been improved as well and because of integration with other Microsoft applications, seamlessly maintaining key formatting is pretty easy with Microsoft Project. The simple option of creating and saving templates on Microsoft Project can save a lot of time of a project manager. This saved time can be used for other and more lucrative purposes. Instead of wasting time on basics and fundamentals, Microsoft Project allows managers to micromanage.
Other benefits of Microsoft Project include quick estimation of project deadlines, avoiding over-committing of resources, simple updating of plans, user controlled scheduling, timeline view, team planner, easy sharing, at-a-glance planning, saved effort, and so much more. There are many project managers, however, who don’t quite understand how important this tool is. This is because they have not been able to explore it properly. Microsoft Project Training at Parallel Project Training can help with that.