4 Reasons that Explain Why Project Managers still Love MS Project

Thomas Knudsen
4 min readJan 17, 2018

I know what you’re thinking: it’s 2018, why do people still use Microsoft Project?

There are hundreds of alternatives to it and most of them claim to be lighter, slicker and user-friendlier. And that might be true — some there are other project management tools that have some better features than MS Project.

Microsoft Project (initially called ‘Project’) dates back to the early 80s. It was initially an MS-DOS software application. Yes, it’s that old!

And still, in the US, more than 67% of small businesses rely on MS Project. Its most recent version was released in 2016. This is when Microsoft resolved some of its most common issues. The 2016 version has a new Reports section, is better integrated with other products from Microsoft, has a friendlier user interface and has a backwards compatibility with Project Server.

But these new features are not what keeps users tied to MS Project.

At October Software, we are also fans of this app. Plus, Project Reader, our solution designed its users, as well as for those of Primavera, makes the most out of all the MS Project features.

So we know a little bit about why people still use (and love!) MS Project. Here are the top reasons.

4 Reasons Why People are Still Using MS Project (and Why They Don’t Plan to Stop Anytime Soon)

Of course, there are tens (if not hundreds) of reasons why project managers rely on MS Project for the daily grunt. I don’t claim to know them all. The four ones below are the ones I share and the ones I learned from my colleagues and from the October Software clients.

1. Project Managers Are Accustomed to MS Project

You may have heard about MS Project being called “legacy software”. Generally speaking, this is nothing something to be proud of. When you hear the words “legacy software”, “obsolete” and “needs to be changed” come to mind immediately.

But this is not the case for MS Project.

This application is a legacy in most companies and it’s passed on from project manager to project manager because it still brings value to any endeavor.

I’ve heard of countless young PMs trying to move away from MS Project. They introduced new tools to their organization and most of them worked just fine.

However, they weren’t as complex as MS Project.

Finally, even if you can teach an old dog new tricks, why would you do that if the “legacy” ones work perfectly fine?

2. Ease of Integration

Needless to say, MS Project integrates seamlessly with almost all the other Microsoft products. Since Excel and PowerPoint are two of project managers’ best friends, this is perfect.

Better yet, MS Project is also very easy to use by Apple fans.

3. Different Views for Different Needs

Every project manager who uses MS Project knows the importance of a Gantt chart. And this tools delivers an exceptional view and personalization options of Gantt charts.

But let’s be honest: there’s more to managing a project than a neat Gantt chart. You need different types of views and you need to go more in-depth at times.

This is where the various views offered by MS Project come into play. Aside from the Gantt chart, you can also take an in-depth look at calendars, resource usage charts and many others.

Briefly put: if you need to know how a specific area of your project is coming along, MS Project has a dedicated view for it. And since we all know that, just like their managers, there are no two identical projects, the tool offers endless customization and personalization options for every view.

4. Collaboration Tools

Need to share a report or a chart? Want to let others know how the project is coming along? MS Project allows you to easily share documents with the members of your team.

The team dashboard offers you all the crucial information at a glance, along with relevant statistics. As the project manager, you can easily customize this dashboard with the stats, charts and presentations of your choice. This way, you make sure that everyone gets the crucial info with minimal effort.

Even more, you can use this dashboard during any kind of meeting. Thanks to its customizable features, it can be easily transformed into a KPI report of your project.

Among the other incredibly useful features of MS Project, I could name reporting, resource management and the indispensable ability to tackle multiple projects at time.

If it wasn’t obvious by now, I, too, am a fan of MS Project. But this doesn’t mean I believe it’s perfect. Quite the contrary.

Along with my team of developers, I have created Project Reader to make sure that project managers like myself get the most out of MS Project.

Our solution makes it even easier to navigate and to collaborate with your team, no matter how far away you are from each other. Since we know that some projects happen in remote areas, with spotty internet access, we made sure that Project Reader can cater to managers and their teams no matter where they are.

Last, but not least, even if collaboration is easy in MS Project, licensing can get quite expensive. Project Reader, on the other hand, was created with affordability in mind. Its number one goal is to help improve the collaboration and communication between teams. Through affordable licensing plans, everyone will be in the loop — from workers to stakeholders and clients.

Curious about how Project Reader can improve your work? Click here to download and test it for free.