Project Pro for Office 365 vs. Microsoft Project

Posted on: 16th May 2017

Microsoft Project verses Project Pro for Office 365

Why should you consider moving your projects from standalone client machines with Microsoft Project to Project Pro for Office 365?

Introduction

Microsoft uses the term Project Portfolio Management (PPM) to refer to a group of components
that includes Microsoft Project Professional, Project Server and Project Web App. It’s also used for Microsoft Project Online combined with Project for Office 365. These are integrated into SharePoint Server, delivering a common collaboration and information platform available to everyone involved with the project. This combination provides a centralised solution for successful, enterprise-wide project and portfolio management on-premise or using Project online, in the cloud.

In contrast, Microsoft Project Standard is a standalone package for one workstation and is not designed for collaborative work across departments or projects.

Office 365 and Project Professional licensing

If you’ve already subscribed to Office 365 and have a Microsoft Project professional license(s) then there are no further significant purchases required. Integrating Microsoft Project into 365 is quick and easy.

Link to licensing options

Advantages of using Project Pro for Office 365

I’ve outlined below several major benefits using Project Pro for Office 365 compared to a stand alone client version of Microsoft Project.

Work in a browser with Project Web App (PWA)

The new PPM solution allows you to create and work on projects in a browser-based Web App. Now, almost everything available in the client version is available in Project Web App. While Project Professional and Project for Office 365 client is exclusively used by people involved in detailed project planning and management processes, participants and decision-makers only need to work with the browser-based PWA.

Advantages of only using the PWA is that license costs are significantly lower. Project team members can use PWA to access an overview of all the projects they have been assigned to, view their work packages, and update their time-sheets.

Managers can access the PWA anytime to view current reports as well as analyses of the project portfolio. The centralised resource pool gives them a clear overview of the workload of resources that have been assigned to several different projects.

Project life cycle with workflows

Project selection and approval: Based on criteria such as budget or resources, and on predefined criteria such as customer satisfaction, market awareness etc. the system can suggest the optimal project portfolio to decision makers. By editing various parameters, project managers can review a number of scenarios.

Project planning: Project provides planners with all the standard options for schedule, resource and cost planning. With the consistent use of the resource pool they always have visibility into resource availability and workloads across all projects.

Project execution: Planned activities are automatically communicated to project members, making it easier to plan and manage project execution. Team members provide feedback about progress directly to the project plan, so project managers can view the status of a project at any time. This makes reporting significantly easier.

Rapid Communication of Project plans: In addition, the Project Webspace provides an efficient platform that makes up-to-date project-related content and information available anytime and from any location.

Resource Management

Resource pool: it provides an overview of all available resources, their current workload and projects they have been assigned too. It can be used to avoid overallocation and optimise resource utilisation.

Skills management: the capabilities of each individual resource can be recorded.

Generic resources: these allow for the initial planning of resources based on skills, groups or departments without naming members.

Reservation of resources: this is a preparatory step before a firm commitment of resources and enables resources to be shown separately in project analysis.

Budget resources: initial planning on the project level that can be compared with the detailed plan.

Team resources: Assign a task to a team. If a substitution is required, any team member can be booked to work on the task.

Integrated Collaboration

Flexible access to information: viewing specific project data in PWA (across projects, departments, locations, teams, managers and suppliers) is based on permissions.

Feedback: team members can use the PWA to enter actuals, work completed and remaining work.

Reporting

Analyses across projects: project can be grouped together and filtered in PWA, and include customised data fields used for analyses.

Portfolio reports: browser-based analysis of projects and portfolio data in the form of graphics and tables viewed using Project Online.

Office integration: easy to generate status reports in Excel or Visio quickly and automatically.

Export to external systems: reports can be exported to Excel for further editing. Note: Web apps can be used to integrate a wide range of reports.

Centralised data Management

Important performance data and projects can be quickly monitored and analysed.
What-if analyses for portfolios are available to assist with project selection.


Are you thinking about taking the next step?

Get your system going by downloading our Project Pro for Office 365, 12 day starter pack. [pdf]


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