You need to manage your projects online, so you’re considering the options, including all the Microsoft Project online options. So how do you choose?
If you’ve worked with Microsoft Project before, then you are familiar with its powerful planning capabilities but also its many, well… frustrations.
For one thing, it’s hard to share files, which are too large for email and only viewable if you have MS Project installed (and not many people do.) Also, it’s quite expensive and usually requires using alongside Microsoft Server and/or Sharepoint, which require license renewals, large installation costs and the cost of upkeep and management.
Finally, even though there are a myriad of new Microsoft online versions, you still need the desktop license! Confusing.
What you need is to be able to use the features of Microsoft Project online, without all its frustrations. In this article, we’ll show you how to do that.
What Is MS Project Online?
You know MS Project, but Microsoft Project Online is a different animal. It’s a web-based version of the desktop software that can do some of what the desktop version can do.
But there’s a catch.
It’s designed to complement the desktop version of the software. Which means you need to also have the desktop version of the software, and so does the person you want to share plans with online. You also need Sharepoint integrations, which is the sharing portal for Microsoft files of all kinds, because the file sizes are so large.
Related: How to Run Microsoft Project on Mac
Pros and Cons of MS Project Online
Microsoft made great gains with their MS Project Online versions, but if you still need the $1100 desktop license on top of the monthly subscription fee for the online access, then… well, you’re not really managing your projects completely online.
The online tool is very powerful and is a great option for teams already set up within a Microsoft ecosystem, such as MS Project Server and Sharepoint. For these teams, adding a minor cost for online additions of their desktop tools, is a great way to get the plans online.
The problems with Microsoft Project and it’s sister product, MS Project Online for organizations and people who don’t have enterprise-level Microsoft applications throughout their orgs, is that there are many confusing plan and pricing structures for the various MS online versions.
There are a number of different types of products, too. Do you need MS Project Online with Project Pro for Office 365 or Project Lite or just Planner which is yet another Office add-on?
Thankfully, there are Microsoft Project alternatives.
Alternatives to MS Project Online
Microsoft Project has long been the standard for project managers, that many are incredulous that there are viable alternatives. Yes, there really are affordable alternatives with all the power of MS Project and without all the frustrations.
There are a variety of popular online project management tools that claim to be an alternative to Microsoft Project, but really don’t have all the features.
ProjectManager.com was designed for project managers by project managers as a better, online alternative to MS Project. Try importing an MPP file during your free trial today.
For example, Smartsheet has many features in common with Microsoft Projects, such as task lists, spreadsheets, Gantt charts and reports, but it doesn’t have a dashboard that collects real-time data or a way to track issues and risks in your project.
Asana doesn’t even have spreadsheets or Gantt charts, let alone a real-time dashboard and expense reporting. And many others, like Wrike or Trello, are simply too feature-lite.
The difference, primarily, in all these tools and ProjectManager.com, is the power of the planning capabilities, resource management, and online Gantt charts.
MS Project vs. ProjectManager.com
The cloud-based ProjectManager.com has the total planning power of the MS Project Gantt, plus the resource management features, but it’s faster and easier to use. Plus, because it’s always online, it has team collaboration features and the ability to share plans with anyone.
No Sharepoint required.
ProjectManager.com is also completely compatible with Microsoft Project, for teams who have Project Server and Sharepoint, but need to be able to share their plans online. This tool allows you the flexibility to work on your MPP files online and more.
There’s a significant cost savings, as well, as you don’t need desktop versions of the software. Here are the other unique features of ProjectManager.com:
- Real-time dashboards – View progress instantly, anytime. When you import MPP files, you immediately see your plans’ progress on the real-time dashboard.
- Online Timesheets – Your team can update their time anytime, anywhere, and you get alerts when they’re ready for approval. Avoid having the expense and inconvenience of using another resource management tool.
- Online Collaboration. Add files & comments to tasks, or create group discussions on projects, by desktop or mobile.
But most importantly, ProjectManager.com offers seamless import & export of MS Project and Excel files, with no data loss.
How to View MS Project Files Online with ProjectManager.com
Some teams require the ability to continue to use their MPP files or still prefer to use the desktop version of Microsoft.
ProjectManager.com gives you the power to not only view your MPP files online, but also manage them online, and export them back to MPP format with complete data integrity. This lets you share your plans with team members, clients and clients online freely and securely, while still using Microsoft Project.
So, how do you import and export MPP files with ProjectManager.com? There are five simple steps to importing and exporting MS Project plans.
- One-click Import: Just click a button to import the whole plan. You can also import select parts of the plan like just the task list or resource data that you want to see
- View Plan Online: The MPP file is immediately opened, so you see your columns, task & resource data in the Gantt chart online.
- See Plan Progress on Dashboard: The moment you import your MS Project plans they populate the real-time dashboard, showing plan progress, team productivity, task status, budgets and more.
- Update Plan Online: Not only can you view your plan, but you can update tasks, columns and resources online. You can even invite your team to collaborate with you on the plan and update their tasks in auto-populated task lists.
- Easy Export: just as seamless as importing, you can easily export your data back to MS Project at the click of a button, with all your online updates saved back to your MPP plan.
You can not only view your MPP files online, you can update them, too.
There are many ways to get Microsoft Project Online, and hopefully, you’ve learned some alternatives to paying for additional desktop licenses of MS Project.