Usually in corporate America, Microsoft Project (MSP) is one in the same as project management, for better or worse. It’s critical to understand that MSP is just a tool and the old adage “a fool with a tool is still a fool” definitely applies here.
Project began life in the mid 80’s as a Dos application. This author first began using MSP in 1992 as Microsoft Project for Windows v3. At that time, Microsoft pitched it as the PM tool for the “everyman” who could not afford products like Primavera, but like with many of Microsoft’s products it quickly gathered marketing share and became the ad hoc standard. The version history for the Windows product is 1992 (v3), 1993 (v4), 1995 (4.1a), 1998 (9.0), 2000 (10.0), and 2002 (11.0); in 2003, it officially joined the Office brand, with 2003 (12.0), 2007 (13.0), 2010 (14.0) and the current 2013 (15.0).
Project has also infuriated many project managers and administrators. Yet most likely agree that the only thing worse than having to use MSP to manage a project is having to manage a large project without it. It is definitely a RTFM software product and one will need assistance.
Microsoft offered a server component in 2000 to facilitate use of the tool as an “enterprise” project management application. It first debuted as “Project Central”, then became Project Server 2002. It then joined the Office brand with Office Project Server 2003, Office Project Server 2007, Project Server 2010 (which included Project Portfolio Server), and the current release Project Server 2013. The product has gradually come to be anchored on and integrated with Sharepoint and SQL Server. It has developed a well-deserved (at least in this author’s opinion) bad reputation. Server 2010 is palatable but still a kludge, while the jury is still out on the 2013 version of Server. Even more so that the desktop client, Server is a RTFM product.
Fortunately, in addition to many books, there are plenty of sites which address the Project line.
http://www.projectified.com/ – brian kennemer endlessly obsessing about Project Server so that you don’t have to
http://blogs.office.com/b/project/ – Microsoft’s Project blog
http://www.meironke.com/ – “Productivity Blog by Ingo Meironke”
http://winprojblog.blogspot.com/ – Sam Huffman’s Project Blog
http://azlav.umtblog.com/ – “Project Epistemology” UMT “Enterprise Project Management with a Microsoft Focus”
http://www.projectserverhelp.com/default.aspx – MSProject Experts
http://epmablog.com/ — EMPA Inc blog
http://ppmblog.org/ — Microsoft & PPM? (Peter Kestenholz’s EPM Blog)
http://epmsource.com/ — Alex Burton’s “blog on all things Project & Project Server”
http://epmxperts.wordpress.com/ — Project Server and Sharepoint Solutions
Official User Group:
MPUG, or Microsoft Project Users Group, is a large and prolific community that also has gone under the name of MPA. If you are a heavy user of Project, the ~$100/yr dues are well worth it.
Project 2010 Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/project/2010
Project Server TechCenter (TechNet): http://technet.microsoft.com/projectserver
Project Resource Center (MSDN): http://msdn.microsoft.com/Project
Project Video content: http://www.microsoft.com/showcase/en/US/channels/microsoftproject
Project webcasts and podcasts: http://www.microsoft.com/events/series/epm.aspx?tab=webcasts
Project Forums: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/category/projectserver2010,projectprofessional2010
Functions category list:
Using formulas and graphical indicators with custom field:
Project functions for custom fields:
Guide to expression syntax: