How is Project Insight different than Microsoft Project desktop?
There are several distinctions between any cloud or web-based software versus a single user, desktop application. Cloud solutions like Project Insight are inherently collaborative and democratic, as opposed to top-down, command and control applications.
As you may know, Project Insight allows for an import and export of Microsoft Project (MSP) files. If you have project managers that know and love MSP, then they may continue to build project schedules on the desktop and import them into our centralized project management software. However, using MSP as a stand-alone application is woefully deficient for managing projects enterprise wide.
What is left on the table?
- Centralization of all projects in your portfolio
- Empowerment of team members to update their own tasks and report status
- Collaboration on tasks, projects, issues, documents and more
- Visibility of all resources and their complete workloads
- Real-time reports and dashboards
- Secured access, the right information to the right team member
Desktop applications were designed for a single user at a time. However, projects are inherently collaborative efforts. So why use a tool designed for one person when projects require multiple resources or team members?
Centralize Your Projects
Problem – MS Project is a stand-alone application designed for one user at a time
How do you share an MS Project file across multiple team members?
The most common theme we hear is that project managers email the file to all team members. Okay, this might work for the first version or two, then when you get into multiple updates of your project plan, it gets confusing as to which file is the latest and greatest.
I had a conversation with a customer that did this prior to using Project Insight, and she said one time she and his manager spent 20 minutes discussing a project update until she finally realized that his manager was looking at an old version of the file, not the most recent. That’s a painful lesson.
Another scenario is that the team shares the project on the network and each team member updates tasks from that file. This works until someone forgets to close the file and others are unable to add their updates as they are locked out.
Solution – a cloud or web-based solution can centralize your projects
An enterprise project solution designed with a database back end will provide the team with a central place to put all projects. Project Insight gives you an easy way to load and view all projects in your portfolio.
Empower Your Team Members
Problem – MS Project follows an old paradigm
The old paradigm of project management was there was one project manager handling the project schedule. S/he would map out the project plan in Excel or MS Project, get approval from the sponsor and run a kick off meeting with the team. Once the project had commenced, the project manager becomes the glorified administrator, running around asking the project resources what the status of each task was, then scurrying back to their desk to update the project plan in the MSP file.
The old model basically trained project resources that they were children who could not provide their own updates, while it trained the project manager to spend time performing menial tasks and not truly leading and managing the project.
Solution – Empower your team members to perform their own updates
Throw out the old, do as you are told, command and control structure! Project Insight empowers team members to update their own tasks. This removes the parent-child dynamic and treats the resources like the grown-ups that they truly are. Project Insight allows team members to log into the software, view their own tasks and update the status directly from the dashboard. It’s that simple.
Collaborate on Tasks, Projects, Issues
Problem – MS Project does not allow for comments and collaboration
Desktop applications just were not designed to allow for collaboration, so what happens? Email becomes the standard for project communication. The problem with this is that a lot of great information is sitting in everyone’s email box. Then when a new resource joins the project, the history is not easily accessible.
Solution – a cloud or web-based project solution allows for collaboration and comments
Project Insight allows team members to add comments to any item in the software. For example, if a team member wants to communicate a task delay s/he may add that comment directly on the task.. This centralizes the project communication for the right team members to view and see.
Cloud based software allows the project team to collaborate in a way that desktop applications were not designed for. Your team may access files, documents or assets that belong to the task or project. You can even set up a global knowledge base that stores best practices across all projects or simply to share with the entire organization.
Visibility into All Resources’ Work
Problem – MS Project is only one project per file. There is no way to see what resources are working on across multiple projects.
In MS Project, there is no portfolio resource roll up, no higher level vantage point. If your team only works on one project at a time, then a single file per project is fine. However, most of the teams we work with have many resources working on multiple projects simultaneously.
Solution – A cloud PPM solution provides global resource views
With Project Insight, all projects are centralized, providing project and resource managers with a view into all resources or team members, and every project and task they are working on and when. This allows you to see who might be over booked and under booked. These resource views also provide a way to communicate to management about your future staffing and resource needs.
View Real-Time Dashboards and Reports
Problem – MS Project again is only one file and not a portfolio overview
In the old paradigm, the project manager spent hours gathering task and project updates and aggregating that information for executive sponsors’ reports. We hear stories of hour and hours spent each week assembling project data and making it look pretty for a PowerPoint report.
Solution - a portfolio and project management software tool provides real-time information
In Project Insight, executives can view all projects across the organization in one simple dashboard view. Real-time visibility exposes the problem areas and helps get them resolved faster. This frees project managers up from the time consuming process of gathering and distributing this same information.
Security and Permissions
Problem – MS Project lacks permissions and security
With MS Project, you can share all or none of the project plan. The old paradigm means that executives, team members, clients, vendors and subcontractors would call the project manager for project updates and status reports, which is time consuming.
Solution – a powerful PPM system allows proper rights and access
In Project Insight, the right information can be shared with team members with appropriate permissions settings. You may also give customers, vendors, partners and sub-contractors access to tasks, issues, projects and more. Now all team members, whether internal or external may login and view the project status.