Who is Microsoft Project for the web Designed For?

Please find highlights from Erik Van Hurck’s course – Project for the web: How It Works and What You Can Do With It – being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions, such as those steps included in product demonstrations, or there may be additions to expand on concepts. You may watch the on-demand recording of this webinar at your convenience.

Microsoft has a wide variety of applications that are available for users to manage their projects. Microsoft’s Project for the web is a project management solution that has been created to help teams collaborate and manage their projects more effectively. The solution is aimed at providing users with a way to track project tasks, timelines, and resources in a more visual way.

In this article, we will discuss who Project for the web is for, and where it fits in the Microsoft landscape. We will explore the various applications that Microsoft has created for project management, and how Project for the web compares to them.

Microsoft’s Project Management Landscape

To understand where Project for the web fits in the Microsoft landscape, we first need to understand the various applications that Microsoft has created for project management. Microsoft’s project management applications range from lightweight task management tools to heavy-duty project management solutions.

Applications such as ToDo are more consumer-based, lightweight solutions that allow users to create to-do lists and manage their tasks. Microsoft Office, with Word and Excel, is a go-to suite for project managers who need to create project initiation documents, risk reports, and financial reports.

A line chart titled 'Microsoft To Do, Microsoft Planner, Microsoft Project' compares the three applications on a scale of 'Simple' to 'Comprehensive.'  Squares representing each application are positioned along the line. Microsoft To Do sits furthest left, indicating it's the simplest application. Microsoft Project sits furthest right, indicating it's the most comprehensive application. Microsoft Planner falls in the middle.

Microsoft Teams

In recent years, Microsoft Teams has become an important tool for project teams, especially thanks to the pandemic. It’s hard to imagine an office space that doesn’t have some kind of tool like Microsoft Teams to communicate with team members on a project. In addition, there are specific applications that are tailored to look at projects in any kind of way, such as Planner.

Microsoft Planner

Planner is a lightweight application that has taken form mostly in Microsoft Teams. The Teams community or the Teams product group at Microsoft has seen that Planner is the most used application or add-in for Microsoft Teams. A lot of people are going towards Microsoft Planner. It’s a Kanban-style planning application that does more than ToDo but less than Project for the web.

Project for the web: Where Does It Fit In?

Project for the web is a lightweight project management application born on the web. It provides Gantt charts, allowing project managers to create project timelines, task boards, and time tracking. Unlike other applications in the Microsoft suite, Project for the web is designed specifically for project management, making it an ideal tool for teams looking for a dedicated project management solution.

However, it is not Project Desktop re-envisioned. The two applications, Planner and Project for the web, go hand in hand, and you can create a Planner plan and upgrade it to a Project for the web application or schedule. Project Desktop, on the other hand, has been around for a very long time, and it has a lot of capabilities.

Source: Microsoft

Project Online and Project Server are the enterprise versions of Project, where you have the ability to communicate with a team, organization, or department about your schedules. You can structure that communication using enterprise project types, or an enterprise resource pool where you can share your resources between projects with Project Desktop. As a single schedule, it does not allow you to do that. Project Operations, previously called PSA, is a Dynamics 365 application roughly equivalent to Project Server, but it is tailored for the service industry. Consultancy services are ideally managed within a Project Operations setting or solution.

Microsoft envisions Project for the web to be somewhere between Planner and Project Desktop at the moment, but the company wants the application to do more in the future. So, what makes Project for the Web suitable for an enterprise solution? To help with that discussion, we asked project professionals to rank 12 core features that are considered enterprise-ready key features and they selected :

  • Baselines
  • Advanced Dependencies
  • Resource Pool
  • Full MS Project Import/Export
  • Enterprise Custom Fields
  • Permission-based Access
  • Resource Types
  • Cost Scheduling
  • Custom Templates
  • Increased Task Limit
  • Enterprise Views
  • Prioritization

In the next article, we review the results of the ranking and take a closer look at the top six features that were identified by the survey. These are the features that received the highest scores and are deemed the most important to users.

Written by Erik van Hurck
Erik van Hurck is a Senior PPM consultant for Projectum, a western European Microsoft Partner with offices in Denmark and The Netherlands. On top of that Erik is a Microsoft MVP. As such, Erik assists enterprise customers to adopt the new Power Platform cloud solutions for Project and Portfolio Management. Beyond writing for MPUG, Erik also has a personal blog (www.theprojectcornerblog.com).
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