Microsoft Project is a powerful, but sometimes cumbersome, tool that has been a staple in enterprise-level project management. So why is Microsoft Project still used by 67 per cent of small businesses?
In recent years, project management has expanded rapidly beyond IT. This once-secular practice has now been adopted by businesses of all sizes and in many industries. LinkedIn currently lists hundreds upon hundreds of Digital Project Managers available in the United States alone. A separate search for “Healthcare Project Manager” jobs in the United States yields almost 4,000 results.
GetApp released new research last month on the project management software market. Based on our previous research in this area, we predicted that there is a gap between the features that users require and what’s available on the market. As the report’s researcher, my expectation was that respondents would list a wide variety of project management software tools they use. I was wrong.
There were a few popular PM tools, but there were a few. Basecamp was used by 9 percent, Asana was used by 6 percent, and Trello was used by 5 percent.
None of them can compare to Microsoft Project. Two of the three respondents use it for project administration, despite the fact three quarters of respondents working in small businesses.
A global enterprise’s project management is very different from a small business. MS Project might not have been so surprising if the majority of respondents had worked in enterprises. It is still the preferred project management software for small businesses. This raises additional questions.
The Client is Always Right (?)
Data cannot replace human insight. So I interviewed two project managers working in small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), to find out why they still use Microsoft Project. Despite being interviewed separately, and not knowing each other, there were many similarities between their answers. Both project managers:
Microsoft Project is a tool that can be used to manage projects in healthcare.
Have you looked for alternatives to Microsoft Project?
Are you “very likely” to switch project management software in 2017?
This begs the question: Why use Microsoft Project?
“As our company grew, so did the size of our projects,” says Sarah Meerschaert (PMP – Project Manager at CenTrak). What was once possible to manage in Excel and Trello is now too complicated. Project is also taken seriously. Gantt charts help clients feel that their project is in good hands. ”
Microsoft Project is also used by Cerila Gailliard (PMP, CSM), a project management consultant who was previously Project Manager at Xerox. Her main reason is, like Meerschaert’s, client expectations.
Gailliard explained to me that clients use Microsoft Project to manage their projects and purchase them. “We use the same software that our clients to collaborate. ”
Both project managers use Microsoft Project according to the needs of their clients. This is logical, given that both PMs have been using the tool for years. Both PMs shared that they have researched alternatives to Microsoft Project, and are “very likely” to switch software in 2017. They don’t have to worry about the reactions of their clients.
When Gailliard was asked if she would expect her clients (SmartSheet) to use her new software, Gailliard replied, “Yes, I would expect them to use it,” “Of course, I would have the opportunity to explain the advantages of this project management software over what they are currently using. They will also be exposed to other project management software on the market. It is a plus for me. ”