Project management software from Microsoft

“MS Project” represents the original project management software from Microsoft. But what other solutions does Microsoft offer in the meantime that can support project management? In this article, you will get an overview of Microsoft’s current portfolio.

Total portfolio on project management software from Microsoft

Microsoft’s overall portfolio for project management support now includes many different tools and small helpers. Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) in particular holds some treasures for the project manager:

MS Project Standard/Professional

With the classic applications for project management, Microsoft offers very comprehensive possibilities in planning work packages, costs or resources as well as controlling during the project duration. MS Project Standard or Professional offers a lot of potential especially for the individual project manager who monitors his project and the work packages in direct contact with the team. Lack of collaboration capabilities makes proper contribution from the team rather difficult. Due to the fact that the MS Project Server version is so comprehensive, the training period for employees is relatively long.

The software is distributed in the form of installation licenses: With one license you can use the tool as long as you want. Updates are currently available approximately 6 years after the release of a version (using MS Project 2021 as an example).

MS Project Server

MS Project Server is also a tool made for the project manager. In terms of scope, the server variant offers somewhat the same as MS Project Standard/Professional. Its advantage is local installation on a server, so you can log in from anywhere to work on your projects/programs. You can plan projects of any size and have many options for controlling.

MS Project Online (Project Web App)

The online version of MS Project now has about the same range of functions as MS Project Standard/Professional or Server. MS Project Online is suitable for the management of medium to large projects.

Cloud hosting and distribution as a SaaS solution facilitates collaboration between project partners. Furthermore, this tool remains in the field of application of experienced project managers rather than the project team, as the software remains quite complex.

You buy MS Project Online via a monthly license per user. In addition, you have the option to use a local installation of the software in the form of a desktop client. This is currently considered a replacement for the classic MS Project Standard/Professional and allows you to link to your projects stored online.

MS Project for the Web

Microsoft’s individual payment plans* have included MS Project for the Web since around 2019. Mit MS Project for the Web hat Microsoft eine sehr intuitive Lösung für Projektmanager geschaffen. The focus is on ease of use and minimal distraction from the software. The software is well embedded in M365, making it easy for the entire team to use.

Compared to the versions mentioned above, a few functionalities are still missing, but these are always being developed further. According to Microsoft, as of today (2022), much of the work and innovation is being put into Project for the Web, be it integration with M365 or further feature expansion.

How the tool covers the most important functions and remains clear at the same time, you can read in the MS Project for the Web Review.

By the way:
Of particular interest is the integration of Project for the Web with PowerApps and PowerBi. With the Project Accelerator Microsoft offers a free possibility to cover the portfolio planning in your company from project application to project controlling. In Project Operations, Project for the Web integrates directly with Dynamics 365 with pre-built dashboards and solutions for your lead management and more.

Office 365 Planner (Microsoft 365 Planner) as project management software from Microsoft

Integrated into Office 365, Microsoft offers Planner, a tool that is suitable for smaller projects. Especially if the effort for maintaining a project management software in the project is too high, you can still keep track of the project with Office 365 Planner. The core of the Planner is the visualization of tasks in the Kanban board as well as the overview of all tasks on a project dashboard.

By the way:
You can find a nice comparison of MS Planner with MeisterTask here.

MS Teams

The MS Teams supports the communication in your project and thus is definitely important as project management software support from Microsoft. You can add the Office 365 Planner tab to Teams and with this integration you have even more options to manage smaller projects without a separate tool. In addition, you have the possibility to communicate via chat, video telephony and with the group function.


Microsoft365 for Business

SharePoint To Do Lists

With Office 365, SharePoint is also added. In SharePoint there is the possibility to create task lists and manage them. Thus, you have the overview of tasks – even with Gantt chart. Assigning to specific users with due dates gives you control over your small project. In 2022, Microsoft also announced the display of list items in the form of a Kanban board.

Outlook Tasks

If you use Microsoft Services, you will also use Outlook as your email client. Integrated in Outlook is the task function. You can assign priority, category and status of the task. Reminder and documentation of working time is also possible. However, the task function in Outlook is actually intended for personal tasks. Thus, the overview suffers, so that Outlook tasks are no longer suitable for larger projects.

Microsoft To Do List App

There was a big outcry when Microsoft decided to discontinue the Wunderlist app. But Microsoft has sent an alternative into the race: The Microsoft To-Do List app. While this app is not yet as complete as Wunderlist, it already has integration to Outlook tasks. Otherwise, it’s a simple to-do list app that can track personal but also business tasks.

Conclusion on project management software from Microsoft

In Office 365 or Microsoft 365*, Microsoft has integrated some support tools for project management. Especially if you have established Microsoft in your company, it makes sense to also look at these tools before looking for alternative project management software from other vendors.

If necessary, you can already manage a large part of your smaller projects with Office 365 Planner or MS Project for the Web. This is especially useful for departments or teams of a size of up to 15 employees. Only for extensive and complex projects that require long-term planning should you then rely on the classic MS Project.

What tools do you use from Microsoft’s project management software?

Alternatives to project management software from Microsoft

Are you dissatisfied with Microsoft for project management and would rather rely on other service providers?

Change history of the review

22.02.2022Larger update of the article:
– MS Project Standard/Professional supplemented
– MS Project Online Desktop Client mentioned
– Microsoft focus on further development of MS Project for the Web
– Project Accelerator and Project Operations in Dynamics 365
– SharePoint lists in Kanban representation
Change history for Microsoft project management tools

* = Commission link

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