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Project Management

Why I Switched From Microsoft Project to TeamGantt

Bella Woo
July 16, 2014

Do you feel lost when you log into your TeamGantt account? I’m not afraid to admit that I was when I first began using TeamGantt. There’s a likely chance you were using Microsoft Project before you decided to make the jump over to TeamGantt (or maybe you’re still deciding if it’s the right tool for you). In fact, I used both products simultaneously for a while before I decided to run with TeamGantt as my primary timeline and planning tool.

There are a lot of differences between the two tools, but I’ll highlight the biggest differences that sealed the deal for me.

Access for team members vs. PDF versions


Depending on the plan you have, you can invite some or all of your team members as collaborators to a project. You can assign them permissions such as the ability to view, edit or administer over the project. Or if you prefer, you can add resources to assign tasks without requiring them to register. Exporting the project out take less than  minutes. PDF exports are already formatted to fit within the paper size and the settings are easy to adjust. For those who love data, you can export the project out to .csv within 15 seconds and format to your heart’s content.

MS Project:

You can create resources and assign tasks. However, these resources are likely to be your team members who need to be aware of deadlines. From time to time, you’ll also need to share the timeline with external stakeholders as well. Unless everyone has Microsoft Project and can open large .mpp files, the only way you’ll be able to do share the project is either to export it out to PDF or copy and paste then format in Excel.

Why it matters:

When team members and stakeholders have access to your most critical planning document, you’re being transparent. There are less incidents where individuals work against old deadlines or misunderstand the process. You’ll spend less time looking for the right version of the timeline. Everyone important will already have access! This is possible because TeamGantt is web-based and doesn’t rely on installing specific programs such as Microsoft Project or Mac alternatives.

And for my favorite part, whereas with Microsoft Project I can spend almost an hour formatting the chart to print or PDF nicely, the banal task of setting print breaks, margins and paper sizes has been eliminated with TeamGantt. Microsoft Project has notoriously terrible print options and settings. This was my first point of conversion.

Task-oriented collaboration vs. email communication


Once you have your team members register as users and you grant them access to the project as editors, you can trade comments and upload documents as they relate to tasks or milestones. That way the important attachments and critical decisions can be documented in one central place.

Are you worried that your team members won’t check TeamGantt on their own everyday? Just make sure to select the right users that should be notified of new comments or documents by email.

MS Project:

Because Microsoft Project doesn’t support additional users, collaboration occurs elsewhere. Luckily, my organization provides me with the flexibility to experiment with different project management tools. So for some projects, I use may use MS Project and another team coordination tool. But then that leaves out my clients, with whom I communicate with via email. Or on some projects, email becomes the only coordination method. After branching out into multiple threads and multiple attachments/download links, it can become a headache.

Why it matters:

Unless your organization’s process is deeply integrated in another project management tool, collaboration within the project plan brings sanity to everyone’s workday. If you team works with multiple project management and coordination tools, it might seem daunting to try and add another into the repertoire. But think of it this way, with TeamGantt, you won’t have to dig through your emails and multiple collaboration tools to help you find out why you’re 4 days behind.

Simple UX vs. bells and whistles


Drag and drop each task or milestone. to when it should occur. Slide the ends to dictate the duration of a task. One click and a drag will create a start-to-finish dependency. More dragging and dropping can help you reorder the tasks. You can even create dependencies where the latter task doesn’t immediately follow its predecessor. You can view multiple projects at the same time without worrying about subproject file links. It’s so easy to use that even non-project managers can create detailed timelines and plans.

MS Project:

Microsoft Project proficiency is an art. It took me a while to figure out you can have multiple predecessors. As my projects become more complex, I learned how useful different types of dependencies can be (start-to-start and finish-to-finish). You can also dictate working days/hours and cost rates for individual resources. In Microsoft Project 2013, you no longer have to use a complicated hack to create a burndown chart. These are features that unique to Microsoft Project. I was proud of all the skills I developed through trial-and-error, but it shouldn’t have felt like I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to get there.

Why it matters:

If your project has extremely complex dependencies and you require budget tracking integrated into your timeline, then Microsoft Project will fulfill those needs in a way that no other project management tool can. But admit it, you’ve probably gotten frustrated when Microsoft Project doesn’t allow you to move a task for some unknown reason. It has scheduling quirks that doesn’t always represent realistic situations.

However, instead of fiddling around with settings and finding hacks, TeamGantt’s simple UX lets you focus on setting up and tracking progress in terms of getting the job done. It takes the scary out of setting up a project plan and is easy to adjust as your project progresses and tasks change. This gives me the flexibility I need as things are always changing with my projects.

So the next time you log into TeamGantt, don’t be overwhelmed with the dashboard. You’re just disoriented because you didn’t spend 10 minutes searching for the right .mpp file. The differences between TeamGantt and Microsoft Project are meant to make your work easier and add time back to your day. Make sure to watch the orientation videos, click on the + New Project button and start scheduling away! Read more about how TeamGantt is a great Microsoft Project Alternative.

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