Planning is an important part of the project life cycle. Before starting the execution of any project the project manager needs to create a plan of action which includes breaking down the overall project goal into tasks and assigning resources to these tasks and defining the timeline for each task. Project planning plays an important role in project success. It enables the organization to decide the timeline of the project and anytime track project progress against this schedule. For project planning and scheduling Microsoft has some awesome tools and organizations select their tool as per their requirement and available resources.
Microsoft provides its project planning and scheduling offerings majorly in three forms -
- Project Server (On-Premises)
- Project Online
- Project for the web.
Microsoft Project Server on-premises and online has almost similar features. If an organization has the proper infrastructure, and resources trained on the infrastructure side and potentially need more data security then Project Server On-Premises is best suitable for them. Project Server on-premises requires installation and maintenance of at least Microsoft Project Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server, and Microsoft SQL Server.
Eventually, everything is moving to the cloud. It reduces the burden of managing the servers on-premises and installing patches. If an organization has O365 licenses, then it must opt for Project Online. All the features of Project On-Prem and Project Online are similar for project scheduling and managing. Project Online and on-prem are best for managing complex project plans. For Project Online Project P1, P3 and P5 licenses are available which an organization can purchase as per their need.
For managing small projects, Project for Web is quite a beautiful tool. Project for Web has several features which are special. Project For Web is built on Microsoft Power Platform whereas Project Server On-Prem and Project Online are built on SharePoint. Data of Project for Web stored in Dataverse, which could be easily accessible via other tools of Power Platform including Power Apps, Power Automate, and Power BI.
Project For the web is best suited for users who want to manage a simple project plan with tasks and resource assignments without much complexity. It integrates into the Microsoft 365 suite. Program and portfolio management, financial management, resource management, and other advanced project management functionalities like baselining, critical path, etc. are not available in Project for the web.
Along with Project scheduling, there are other project-related entities that are also important like risk, issue, change requests, etc. Project for web accelerator is a Power App that extends Project for the web.
It provides several additional features to the Project for the web.
- Project Request
Project Request - Using Project for the web accelerator, project managers can create project requests with minimal information. By looking at the request information stakeholders can decide and approve it. After the approval, the request was converted into Project.
Program - To see a bigger picture users can create a hierarchy of programs and projects. By this users can group projects by their characteristics.
Risks and Issues - A project manager always wants to track and maintain a log of Risks and issues in a project along with their mitigation plan.
Changes - As the project proceeds with its deliverable, there are changes coming in terms of scope or design. These can be logged using Project for web accelerator.
Status - The project manager can routinely update stakeholders about the health of the project. It also provides flexibility to centralize the status reports.
Microsoft has Its project management offering for all types of organizations. Now it’s up to the users which tool they want as per their project requirements and resource availability.