Today, a former colleague of mine called to ask me which tool I’d recommend for managing a software development project. He then told me that his project manager just started using MS Project, or should I rather say, he tried to use it. From what he told me, it appeared to me that they tried to use the resource planning feature: define the timeline and the tasks, then assign people to the tasks and have Project calculate when they should work on which task. When he started telling me about this, I already knew what their problem was: it just doesn’t work in a sensible way.
So, all I could tell him was to stop using MS Project for managing the project and use some custom made Excel table or a tool like eGroupware that has a built-in project management module that is not trying to be smart.
My project manager was in the room when I was talking to my former colleague on the phone and when I said “all project managers that I know of use Excel tables and only use Project for drawing Gannt charts”, she put two thumbs up.
I just don’t understand why this tool is so expensive and why people still try using it…