MS Project for the Web in the test – Modern and simple?

New and unknown. Who knows MS Project for the Web? Microsoft is also moving with the times and developing modern alternatives to project planning with MS Project. This test and review is about this intuitive cloud software from Microsoft.

Intro

This review addresses several issues:


The most important facts in brief:

  • Intuitive and easy to use – an entry-level project management software and a contrast to classic MS Project
  • With tasks, Kanban board and timeline the minimal project management functions for many projects are mapped.
  • The connection to the Microsoft ecosystem enables a wide range of extensions such as MS Teams, Power BI, SharePoint.
  • There are sometimes waiting times when switching between program parts.
  • Those who do not yet use Microsoft services have a lot of work with the integration.
  • Advanced features like time tracking, resource planning or document management are missing (but available with expensive pay plans in MS Project)
  • Multi-project management goes with the roadmap


The company behind MS Project for the Web

The company Microsoft is the world’s leading manufacturer of operating systems. With MS Project, the first software for project management was added as early as 1984. MS Project is considered the standard for project planning and is still part of training in project management seminars today. Even a cloud version MS Project Online is in no way inferior to the offline version. MS Projectremains a powerful tool for project planning. However, the complexity of the software does not make it easy to get started and there are many users who do not need all the features of MS Project.

That’s why Microsoft has launched a cloud-based project management software that is easy to use and limited to the most important functions. Microsoft is thus pursuing the goal of providing significantly more users with access to project management. While familiarization with classic MS Projectcannot be completed in a week, MS Project for the Web* can be completely penetrated in a few hours. We have done this for you in our test.

What features does MS Project for the Web offer?

The test shows a basic application for project management. The focus is neither on project planning nor on task management. Instead, Microsoft is primarily trying to make it as easy as possible to get started in project management with the new software. In addition, MS Project for the Webshould be able to integrate as well as possible into the Microsoft ecosystem.

The trial starts with setting up an account with Microsoft and choosing “Project Plan 3” as a 30-day trial. However, Project Plan 1 would have been sufficient for this test.

The overview in MS Project for the Web. One can create a new project or a roadmap. Alternatively, you can switch to Project Online to plan in the classic view of MS Project (only from tariff "Project Plan 3")
The overview in MS Project for the Web. One can create a new project or a roadmap. Alternatively, you can switch to Project Online to plan in the classic view of MS Project (only from tariff “Project Plan 3”). (Used with permission from Microsoft.)

Projektplanung in MS Project für das Web

The new software from Microsoft* is suitable for simple scheduling of projects. Since the focus is on the essentials, some functions can be missed.

Management of general project data

When it comes to general data, you are limited to just a few pieces of information:

  • Project name
  • Project Manager
  • Start date

Task Management

Within a project, the task list is one of three views. You limit the information of a task to 13 columns in the task list. In addition to the columns, notes can be added to the tasks.

Tasks in MS Project for the Web
The view of tasks in MS Project for the Web. (Used with permission from Microsoft.)

Gantt chart or Gantt plan

The view of tasks in the timeline corresponds to a simple representation of a Gantt chart. It should be noted that simple does not have to be rash. With the timeline it is possible to get a good overview of the project. Dependencies between tasks can also be mapped. Milestones can be set via tasks with a duration of 0 days.

The timeline corresponds to a Gantt chart for the representation of the tasks.
The timeline corresponds to a Gantt chart for the representation of the tasks. (Used with permission from Microsoft.)

Important
“Project Plan 1” the roadmap can only be displayed in read-only state. In the test we have Project Plan 3 and can edit.

Network plan or work breakdown structure are not available and must – if necessary – be created via Project Online (possible from tariff “Project Plan 3”*).

Communication and collaboration with MS Project for the Web

By itself, MS Project for the Web provides the visualization of a Kanban board to give a better overview to each team member in the project.

The Kanban Board
The Kanban Board (Used with permission from Microsoft.)

Important to know:
With the link into the Microsoft ecosystem, many different collaboration tools can be used. For example, the use of the Microsoft Teams communication tool is possible.

Roles and permissions

Roles and permissions are covered by the separate Microsoft groups. Anyone who creates a new group in their organization can link it to MS Project for the Web. This group can be used in all applications of your own organization (e.g. Microsoft Teams).

Groups from Microsoft 365 are also used in MS Project for the Web
Groups from Microsoft Office 365 are also used in MS Project for the Web (Used with permission from Microsoft.)

Requirements management

There is no requirements management. Here you have to resort to MS Project Online. However, this is already included in the Project Plan 3* paymentplan.

Resource planning

There is no resource planning. Hier müssen Sie auf MS Project Onlinezurückgreifen. However, this is already included in the Project Plan 3* paymentplan.

Project controlling

There is no internal project controlling. However, the data from the cloud application can be analyzed with Microsoft Power BI.

Document Management

There is no possibility to deposit files.

Multi-project management at MS Project for the Web

With the view via a roadmap, multiple projects can be viewed simultaneously in the timeline. The project data is presented in an aggregation. This enables multi-project management and planning of a project portfolio in the simplest way. Utilization and costs are still not shown here.

The roadmap in MS Project for the Web as a parent view
The roadmap provides multi-project management in MS Project for the Web with a higher-level view(Used with permission from Microsoft.)

Other criteria for evaluating MS Project for the Web

Features and functionality

The functionality is kept extremely simple. The focus is to combine a simple task management with Kanban view and timeline. The roadmap keeps track of all projects. This gives you a basic version for managing projects.

With integration into the Microsoft ecosystem,connecting to Groups, Power BI and Microsoft Teams is easy. This supplements missing features such as controlling or communication via the software.

Those who miss additional features of a comprehensive project management software can still switch to Project Online*.

Important
The integration of additional applications from the Microsoft ecosystem may be subject to a fee.

Other evaluation criteria

  • Language settings are possible.
  • All versions can be used free of charge for 30 days for testing.

User interface and ease of use

The initial setup can be done in 15 minutes. In the review, it takes 5 minutes to create a company account. After ordering the account for testing, the setup of MS Project by Microsoft itself takes some time and you will be informed by email when it is completed. This took another 5 minutes in the test project.

However, those who use MS Project with multiple users face longer waiting times. Setting up groups correctly in the Office Portal is necessary to add additional users in a meaningful way.

The setup and installation is described in the Microsoft Help for Project Online. By the way, this is machine-translated, which is noticeable at one point or another.

After setup, the new project needs some time.
After setup, the new project needs some time. (Used with permission from Microsoft.)

MS Project for the Web* is very clear and intuitive. There are very few distractions and the functions are limited to the essentials. This is very good for the user experience. In contrast to the classic MS Project, you never feel overwhelmed, so you can integrate a new team member in 5-10 minutes and have them ready to work with a clear conscience.

The Mobile App

Currently, there is no mobile app yet.

Data protection, hosting and service

Data protection – Where is the data located and where are the servers?

As a major software manufacturer, Microsoft is actually well positioned when it comes to data protection. At least that’s what you would think. There are critical voices about the handling of data protection at Microsoft, but the Microsoft Group offers some documents about the GDPR, so you can form your own opinion.

What Microsoft does in the area of security cannot be presented in a software review. Here we refer to the business section of Microsoft itself. MS Project for the Web is grouped under Microsoft 365 for data protection. All information on data deletion can be found here.

Accessibility and stability

The only drawback is unfortunately the performance compared to other providers. One notices more often that the synchronization between roadmap and project takes a few minutes and cannot be done directly. Also, the time to start a project can make the user run to the coffee machine first.

However, as long as you are in a workspace, there are no delays.

The status of the booked services at Microsoft can be viewed via this link. You have to be logged in as administrator at Microsoft.

Support from the manufacturer (customer service) in case of problems

Microsoft providesonline help for MS Project for the Web. In addition, you can contact the Microsoft 365 Support Center. For current problems, you can fill out a contact form or support case, or reach out for help.

Online training is offered by Microsoft here.

If you are looking for external support or consulting for MS Project or the implementation, you can find an overview of possible experts here.

Support of Microsoft 365
Support of Microsoft 365 (Used with permission from Microsoft.)

Costs when using MS Project for the Web

Good to know
,
you already use Microsoft products in your company, MS Project for the Web may already be unlocked. Just check at project.microsoft.com.

(Stand Dezember 2020, Kosten ohne Gewähr)

The cloud variant of MS Projectdistinguishes between three different cost models. MS Project for the Web is included in all three models.

Only the pricing model of MS Project for the Web* will be discussed here. It is important to know that with higher price levels MS Project Online and the server version of MS Projectare also integrated.

MS Project costs and tariffs
MS Project costs and tariffs, commission link (Used with permission from Microsoft.)

By the way
An overview of the costs for project management software from different providers can be found here.

Project Plan 1

Project Plan 1* includes the basic features presented in the review:

  • Task lists
  • Kanban Board
  • Timeline in the project
  • Communication via MS Teams
  • Roadmap (read-only multi-project management)

Project Plan 3

All areas from Project Plan 1 are included in Project Plan 3*. Additionally, the roadmap for multi-project management can be edited. Integrated are one more external functions:

  • MS Project Online
  • Use of the latestMS ProjectDesktop version
  • Reports, resources and working hours in the cloud

Project Plan 5

All areas from Project Plan 3 are included here. Project Plan 5* adds a layer on top of the projects to manage the project portfolio.

  • Portfolio scenarios
  • Demand management
  • Management of the company resources

Cost comparison


MS Project for the Web1 Nutzer5 Nutzer25 Nutzer75 Nutzer
Project Plan 1*100€504€2.520€7.560€
Project Plan 3*303€1.518€7.590€22.770€
Project Plan 5*556€2.784€13.920€41.760€
Kosten von MS Project for the Web pro Jahr - Angabe in Euro (pm-tools.info, Stand Januar 2021)

Our evaluation of MS Project for the Web as a project management tool

The advantages

Intuitive and easy to use – the project management software to get you started.

The roadmap gives a good overview and enables multi-project management with MS Project for the Web*.

With tasks, kanban board and timeline, the necessary project management functions for most small projects are mapped.

The connection to the Microsoft ecosystem enables a wide range of extensions such as MS Teams, Power BI, SharePoint.

In the more expensive paid plans you can switch to the classic MS Project for complex projects.

The cons

Advanced features like time tracking, resource planning or document management are missing (but available with expensive pay plans in MS Project)

Those who do not yet use Microsoft services have a lot of work with the integration.

There are sometimes waiting times when switching between program parts.

Online help is not easy to find and machine translated into German – you can tell.

For whom is MS Project for the Web worthwhile?

The review shows that the focus is definitely on small to medium-sized projectsin which detailed scheduling is not required. In the classic MS Projectyou need extensive training. This is not the case with MS Project for the Weband therefore Microsoft does not necessarily target the classic project manager as a user.

In today’s world, there are many groups of people who want to plan and successfully execute projects. With MS Project for the Web*, Microsoft simplifies the entry into project management massively, not only for department heads, subject matter experts or consultants, through an intuitive interface and the focus on the basic functions of project management software.

If a company is already using Microsoft 365, you should check if MS Project is already unlocked. A first look is worthwhile especially when you don’t need to do extensive integration and all employees already use a Microsoft account. Even if the classic MS Projectis established in the company, only the project management department uses the software and the business departments try to navigate through smaller projects with Excel. This is precisely where the modern cloud application can be a good addition.

But many self-employed people, startups and smaller businesses don’t use services from Microsoft. For these groups, the introduction is associated with greater effort. There are some alternatives in this area in particular that are easier to set up and offer comparable functions.



MS Project for the Web Alternatives

MS Project for the Web is especially worthwhile if you already use Microsoft services. Fortunately, if you’re looking for an alternative, there’s a good selection on the market. It is necessary to distinguish which tariff the MS Project alternative should cover. For the tariff Project Plan 1 a very simple project management software is sufficient. With the Project Plan 3 and Project Plan 5 tariffs, you already have to resort to extremely comprehensive solutions. Here are 3 examples that will help you:

How to find the software for your project or company, you can see here in the guide.

* = Commission link
This software review is an independent publication and is neither affiliated with,
nor authorized, sponsored, or approved by, Microsoft Corporation.

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