Asking a scheduler on his preferred scheduling software and talking to the IT department on which software they can get will ultimatively lead to the old question: MS Project vs. Primavera (not as old as Nikon vs. Canon, yet nevertheless dividing). Whereas in 2003 the answer was a simple “P3”, nowadays Microsoft has learnt a lot and upgraded their Microsoft Project software to match Primavera, also in terms of resource management.
However as a project manager a decision has to be made upon what is required and what is best suitable to thrive your project!
Both softwares are boosting with additional features and add-ons that allow your schedule to not only be resource-loaden, but also cost-loaden and linked up to SAP to automatically collect costs and map them to progress of your works. As promising as these features sound, as complicated they can be in execution… and as unnecessary. The essentials of a time schedule is plainly this: a time schedule, a graphical or tabular representation of the major works comprising your project. And with any given project: it is different from the last one. Had you had to build 400 kilometers of highway today, it is the retrofitting of a high-rising building tomorrow. The one project gives you a free-hand in on-site matters, in the other you are dependent on precious night shift hours between regular maintenance activities.
Hence before setting out to buying the software, training a dozen of your project members and establishing complicated report and update process, think twice and evaluate what will best serve your project. In any case the following is to be a must have:
- A baseline time schedule – to be agreed with your team and your customer (see Baselining)
- An updatable and adaptable schedule that can be compared to your baseline