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Scheduling Software

I've posted before about how people have issues with Microsoft Project. You could even say some people hate it. I think the reason is that it is hard to figure out. Techically it is part of Microsoft's Office Suite so people expect it to work like Word or Excel. And in fact it kind of does. But it doesn't give them what they want. The reason is that it doesn't give them the result they are expecting.

Word and Excel don't have quite the same problem. I think it is because they are not called "Poem" and "Cash Flow Analysis". They are just generically named and you can produce just about anything you want with them in their general area of applicability. Word can be used for everything from mailing lists to sonnets. Excel can be used for producing everything from timecards to kaliedescopic images.

Project likewise has the same latitude, but I think people just don't understand that. They don't really understand that a schedule is a creative work and can be almost anything you want it to be. It can be a dry as a stack of timesheets or as impressionistic as a Monet. The results are in the hand of the schedule author.

Many of the questions I see about Project are ostensibly about the tool, but at their heart they can only be answered if it is made clear what people really want to tool to do. I am by no means an apologist for Project. There are clear deficiencies, but I think that people do need to look at a schedule as a creative work and acknowledge their part in creating it. Until they do they will be frustrated. Once they do, they are free to develop their own abilities. They can transcend.


Comments (3)

Wonderful. (I wish I had used those words yesterday for a meeting where this "problem" came up.)


Just as a sample of one, but a big one, the aerospace firm I consult for has three planning packages. MSFT Project, AMS RTP, and Plan View.

MSFT Project is the preferred choice, because the customers want it. It has its problems, but so do all the others, including Primevera. But MSP has direct connections to the desk top, has VBA and the project server - which itself has security and access problems but is better than anyother solution.

I'll post on my Blog the show stopper reasons to use MSP and Project Server.

In the end my VERY biased view here from aerospace is very few PMs or planners know how to plan or PM using a tool. But we have to do this or we don't get paid and that's what's missing in many software domains where every complains about how bad the projects are run. If the project is in trouble they still get paid, we don't.

Yes that is correct. I liked your comment. I too belong to the same profile and this was of great help.

Isaac Marowitz

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