Project Management

Microsoft Project: Saint or Sinner? (Part 2)

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

In the first part of this article I wrote about some of the great features in Microsoft Project. I outlined (or at least identified) some of the complex analysis and tracking tools that it offers and suggested in my conclusion that it’s not the tool’s fault if people aren’t familiar with those features. As I write this second part, the first part hasn’t been published--so I don’t know what the reaction to it was (I imagine that there will be at least a few “Yes, but…” type comments).
So in this second article I intend to address some of those shortcomings and present the argument against Project, or at least the way that Project is used in most organizations. Which is closer to my personal view of the tool? Well, let’s save that for the end…
It doesn’t talk to me
I heard this comment from an extremely frustrated project manager one day when she was struggling to update her plan and was finding that the tool was making changes that she wasn’t expecting and refusing to accept other changes that she was entering. She didn’t mean that the tool was literally not talking to her of course, she meant that the tool wasn’t intuitive and it didn’t provide feedback--she had no idea why making a change to the amount of work needed was changing the resource allocation instead of the duration.
This…

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