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MS Project vs. Primavera

Microsoft Project


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  #1  
Old 09-07-2007
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MS Project vs. Primavera

I need some help to find out the best one between MS Project and Primavera. I had seen many are using MS Project but some of my friends has recommended me to check Primavera also. As project manager my job is to find out solution that can allow me to design and construct large plants. Some of them may be active for entire year. So here I am looking for some help that among this two software which one will be better to use. If there is anyone who can offer me a comparison between both then it will be easier for me to get one. I am also looking for some enhancement in project management software that can help me to deal with long term projects.

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  #2  
Old 10-07-2007
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I will not recommend you to go with Primavera. It will be completely new for you and you will need some time to learn the same while compared to that Microsoft Project is more user friendly. It is much easier to manage task in that. I had seen a number of professional who mostly uses Microsoft Project. There are many things which are easy to manage and above all you get much easier tech support for that. Or else it will be a bit waste of time in dealing with entirely new software and learning it from scratch.
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  #3  
Old 19-09-2007
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MS Project Expert

I am attaching herewith my CV for your perusal
Attached Files
File Type: doc TJ_CV9_INTL.doc (54.5 KB, 2434 views)
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  #4  
Old 08-07-2009
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Primavera, creating a reporting showing baseline data

How do you create a report with Primavera's own reporting tool to show the per resource baseline hrs vs. the actual hrs? It is so hard trying to use what comes with Primavera. I can show the budgeted hrs or show the per role BL hrs but nothing else.

I know I could go to Oracle-Discovery to generate this required report, but hope someone out there can help me.
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  #5  
Old 11-08-2009
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I have used Primavera versions P3 through to P6 as well as other high end tools such as Open Plan Professional over the past 10 years or so as an expert user for a myriad of projects. Some very large (600 million plus) and very small (10-15K)

I would also clasify myself as an intermediate user of MS Project as well due to my clients occasionly asking for MSP to be used.

I do generally shy away from clients that decide to use MSP as I have found that it generally says something about how seriously they treat project controls and project management.

Put simply if you are serious about using a tool to control your projects schedule AND costs from start to finish then MSP won't do the job.

If however you are just interested in creating a project plan to add into a business case to show the client that you have thought about the delivery of their project then MSP is perfectly okay.

If however you want to get a true and accurate picture of the projects resource requirements as well as scheduling conflicts then you need to use different tool to MSP.

This is really easy to work out.

Develop 2 identical project schedules with resources and add to both MSP and any one of the Primavera tools

Create a baseline and go through a cycle of stausing both schedules and comparing the results

Watch what happens to the critical path and the resource cost information in MSP as opposed to Primavera.

Also worth mentioning that the new enterprise edition of MSP doesn't really address the validity of the project data on the desktop.

When you are trying to consolidate information such as resource demand to need to ensure that all the live project schedules are consistently up to date at the same time.

Very hard to determine which activities and corresponding resource demand are ahead of the data date AKA Time Now. MSP has tried to introduce this concept which the Status date function mentioned in Rod's post above but it still allows out of sequence progress i.e. resource demand can still be behind the staus date.
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  #6  
Old 18-08-2009
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for project infomation collobration,, try seems to work better when it comes to managing information,

I am from Astrowix Project Management solutions. Astrowix provides range of services on project management . Here I found you're interested in Microsoft project 2007. It will be pleasure for us , if you invite our sales team for presentation for Microsoft project 2007.for further queries contact me

I have been a scheduler for 17 years and have long had to suffer claims by inexperienced schedulers that MS Project can do whatever Primavera, Open Plan or Artemis can do. To me, Ms Project is like scheduling in a spreadsheet. It does not force the user to have a WBS around which to structure the schedule. Just create 2 activities and indent one and there you have a WBS in MS Project. In a huge project al lit takes is for someone to indent or outdent one of the summary bars and the whole WBS is screwed up.

The problem with MS Project is that because it is cheap anybody who touches a schedule can have it on their desktop. Companies see that as an advantage but really it is not. What happens is too many people in an organization lay claims to being experienced schedulers because they use MS Project. MS Project merely allows inexperienced schedulers to develop bad scheduling practices.

MS Project is very weak when it comes to analyzing lots of data. For example grouping and sorting datga in MS Project is very limited. Also MS Project does not really have a reporting feature.I have a large amount of experience in defense and construction and have used Open Plan, Artemis and Primavera - al lof which in my opinion provide great scheduling software. I have never bee na fan of Microsoft Project and would never be my tool of choice

Not sure I understand the question... I am trying to get a feel from industry as a whole as to why MS Project is held in such high esteem.
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  #7  
Old 19-08-2009
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It depends on your need what you want. To some extent even I agree that Microsoft Project is a kind of good software for project management. But there are good possibilities provided in Primavera also. I had heard that the new edition is much improved and has more newer option. I am here talking about Project. There are nice tools and guides available on web in using project. People are a number of time confused what to go for. So it totally your choice what you are willing to want for yourself.
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  #8  
Old 10-09-2009
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I used Primavera and MS Project. However, I would recommend Asta Power Project. It is comparable to Primavera in functionality and to MS Project in easiness. It is the standard PM software in UK and other countries all over the world. It is now available in the US with support. You can visit to see comparison between Asta Power Project and MS Project & Primavera. Moreover, it is much cheaper than Primavera.
It has multiple editions; single user, network (allows concurrent users), and enterprise. Asta Power Project can customize the enterprise edition for your company. They have a whole team for enterprise support.

Did you use Asta PowerProject before?

I guess you can visit the Asta wb site and check the case studies. There are a lot of case studies for big projects such as London Eye, and Bishopsgate Tower that Asta PowerProject was used at. You can go there and check the software features. I hate to attack a software without studying it.

I looked online to verify what Asta Development says. I found the following link. It is a survey among planners. It says that PowerProject has about 43% of the market share in UK ranking the top software and the third worldwide. You can say any critique about surveys but lots of things of our life is managed by surveys. If you don't believe that it is the top used scheduling software in UK, no problem, but at least it is comparable to Primavera in UK at least.

Here is comparison between Asta PowerProject and Primavera. It is found on their web site as well but simplified here you can get a trial version and verified yourself:

• Unparalleled control over the presentation of your plans
• Share project plans more easily and at no additional cost (free viewer)
• Control the appearance of activities, resources & costs
• Multiple tasks per line
• Identify and hide non-driving links
• Schedule correctly with mixed calendars
• Differentiate between different types of links
• Seriously accurate progress reporting (records every progress period)
• Jagged progress view
• Control the appearance of activities, resources & costs
• Multiple resource cost rates
• Detailed date zone (10 levels)
• Unrivalled control over your task types
• Calculate and display free float easily
• Display durations accurately
• Calculate elapsed time as well as working time
• Schedule short activities precisely (shows units from weeks to seconds on schedule)
• Undo as many times as you like!
• Schedule grouped activities and overhead costs correctly
• Flexible currency display (can calculate and display in different currencies)
• Effective, accurate annotations
• Custom macros to meet specific requirements
• Familiar, accessible interface
• Powerful and user-friendly
• Flexible, cost-effective licensing (enterprise can be customized for client’s need)

I contacted them to check the fact that we don't know Asta PowerProject in the USA. They told me that they do direct marketing. Apparently, they are not investing in marketing as it should be. It is not known at the USA because they had no office before but they have one now. Off course anyone used MS Project knows that it is easy to use but when it comes to professional use, it gives hard time. I teach MS Project and Primavera and use them in my consulting. I found Primavera is powerful but has some issues with advanced users. MS Project is easier to learn as it is Microsoft product but it has much less capabilities and it gets me and others frustrated of its performance and controllability. I found Asta has some advantages over both MS Project and Primavera. If you don't know it, it is understandable but that doesn't mean it is low quality. I downloaded the trial version and tested it and got impressed of some its features that needed in Primavera and Ms Project. It gives you full control of the schedule, Gantt chart, resources which I really like. If you do advanced scheduling or claims, you can manipulate the software the way you want and what you see you get. I checked the new features in Primavera P6 version 7 that was just released last week. The big difference in that they are using couple of Asta PowerProject features. That can tells you a lot. You can download the pdf file that Primavera has for its new features and get the one that Asta compares Asta PowerProject to Primavera and see it yourself.
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  #9  
Old 10-03-2010
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Re: MS Project vs. Primavera

I think we should differentiate between small project/basic project management requirements and big project/advanced project management requirement. I’m agree with most of points when it consists in small and basic needs to manage project, but once we have a lot of projects with thousands of activities Primavera should b considered. Some of the benefits they published about P3 are:
- Common Data Platform on Oracle / SQL, Client / Server mode.
- All projects data available on a central location, Comparison of data of different projects.
- Multi-project planning and control.
- To plan and maintain multi project baselines and examine what-if alternatives..
- Plan and control large and complex projects efficiently.
- Project ,managers can quickly analyze the impact of changing resource limits, activity priorities and constraints on the overall project goal.
- File Compression - Send/receive significantly smaller files (55 percent) as a result of new DWG optimized file format.
- Save drawing storage space and increase the speed of file transfer operations such as emailing drawings or opening and saving drawings across a network.

Even more than that, there is a significant ecosystem around Primavera, and a lot of tools are developed to support and facilitate a lot of manual work.
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  #10  
Old 22-04-2010
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Re: MS Project vs. Primavera

It seems that many professional schedulers prefer the functionality of Primavera over MS Project. However, it often strikes me that they rarely understand MS Project's capabilities and features. I sometimes wonder if they have ever used the product judging by some of the misguided comments that they make about it.

In my company we use both Primavera P6 and MS Project 2007. Both packages integrate and exchange data well with our Oracle based project controls database. I personally prefer MS Project as I can plan projects efficiently and reliably with it. I regularly plan EPC projects with between 1000 and 2000 activities, many hundreds of thousands of man-hours and TIC values of around $30-$40m. MS Project can do everything that I need:

- Establishing custom WBS coding structures
- Establishing a logic linked activity network
- Assigning durations and budget work hours to each activity
- PERT analysis to establish optimistic, likely and pessimistic schedules
- Assigning and levelling resources
- Calculation of available float
- Establishing a baseline schedule and budget
- Establishing the critical path
- Creating manpower histograms (by exporting data to Excel)
- Entering earned man-hours and actual costs
- Monitoring and analysing progress against the baseline
- Performing earned value analysis
- Calculating cost and schedule variances and productivity indexes
- Forecasting completion dates and costs
- Performing what if analysis
- Automatically re-scheduling uncomplete work to beyond the status date
- Re-baselining and creating interim plans (up to 11 baselines are available)
- Sorting and grouping data to present a multitude of different summaries
- Exporting data for analysis and presentation using MS Excel pivot tables

I'd be interested to know what other features are needed to control and analyse a project? I've been managing projects for 15 years and have found these measures quite adequate.

My suspicion is that professional schedulers primarily prefer Primavera and promote its use as it protects their "expert" status within organisations. I'm prepared to change my mind if someone can tell me what Primavera can do that MS Project can't; I am talking specifics not generalities like "its better for complex projects".
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  #11  
Old 22-04-2010
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Join Date: Apr 2010
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It seems that many professional schedulers prefer the functionality of Primavera over MS Project. However, it often strikes me that they rarely understand MS Project's capabilities and features. I sometimes wonder if they have ever used the product judging by some of the misguided comments that they make about it.

In my company we use both Primavera P6 and MS Project 2007. Both packages integrate and exchange data well with our Oracle based project controls database. I personally prefer MS Project as I can plan projects efficiently and reliably with it. I regularly plan EPC projects with between 1000 and 2000 activities, many hundreds of thousands of man-hours and TIC values of around $30-$40m. MS Project can do everything that I need:

- Establishing custom WBS coding structures
- Establishing a logic linked activity network
- Assigning durations and budget work hours to each activity
- PERT analysis to establish optimistic, likely and pessimistic schedules
- Assigning and levelling resources
- Calculation of available float
- Establishing a baseline schedule and budget
- Establishing the critical path
- Creating manpower histograms (by exporting data to Excel)
- Entering earned man-hours and actual costs
- Monitoring and analysing progress against the baseline
- Performing earned value analysis
- Calculating cost and schedule variances and productivity indexes
- Forecasting completion dates and costs
- Performing what if analysis
- Automatically re-scheduling uncomplete work to beyond the status date
- Re-baselining and creating interim plans (up to 11 baselines are available)
- Sorting and grouping data to present a multitude of different summaries
- Exporting data for analysis and presentation using MS Excel pivot tables

I'd be interested to know what other features are needed to control and analyse a project? I've been managing projects for 15 years and have found these measures quite adequate.

My suspicion is that professional schedulers primarily prefer Primavera and promote its use as it protects their "expert" status within organisations. I'm prepared to change my mind if someone can tell me what Primavera can do that MS Project can't; I am talking specifics not generalities like "its better for complex projects".

Zindar can I ask you a little bit about your background? Are you primarily experienced as a Information Systems\IT professional or are you a professional project manager?

Zindar, thanks for the reply. You certainly have all the right credentials and expertise to comment on the merits of the different software.
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  #12  
Old 05-05-2010
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Join Date: May 2010
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I have used both extensively and there are already very good comments posted about why Primavera is a better product. Unlike Microsoft, Primavera is very closely tied to the user base and the tech-support staff is reachable via phone and they remember you. Joel and his team did a great job of building the Primavera SW on the backs of people like me who asked for reasonable features and they agreed. Microsoft tried a customer advisory board (I was a charter member) but when Dieter did not like the fact that we asked MS to fix bugs instead of add new features, he got exasperated and ultimately they ignored input they did not like. Then they killed the whole thing.

I must add that Primavera does not release crappy software like Microsoft. I make my living installing. maintaining, and operating MS Project Server so don't rush to judgement about my motives. I am just sick and tired of having new issues arise (especially after installing "updates"). Seriously, right now I am struggling to answer the question why baseline work is showing up in non-baselined projects that do not have resources That is just today's issue. It is non-stop with the crappy product. And yes I do use some of the best consultants in the industry who also can't figure out why this happens (don't ask who, but they help write features for Microsoft and are tied in at the highest levels of the development team. I have used 4 major consultant firms from coast to coast and each time I could stump them and Microsft's techies with issues/bugs).

In short I am experienced in both, I do know what I am doing in the SW and on the backend and I do think this is a piece of crap. I really hope better for 2010, but as a power user from the 2002 days, I am not holding my breath.

Upstream, in the nicest way, I offer that it does not matter right? I have my opinion and I realize that you have yours. My opinion is not based on loyalty to either product or development team and I owe neither of them anything. I have been in planning and scheduling since 1985 at NASA. I have worked half of my career in oil and gas engineering and heavy construction (100's of millions of dollars or work in plans - large stuff) and I have spent the other half in government-related industries where the file sizes you state are par for a single file and a program may have 15 of those all interrelated. I have worked with great IT support staff and mediocre support staff. I, myself, have been in IT since 1992 but I use SQL experts to configure my SQL servers.

The point is I think MS releases SW way too early and then rather than fix it they move on to feature development in the next release. Unlike what some people may suspect, MS does not have unlimited development resources and I personally think they do not manage those that they have. I also feel the VAST majority of the development team (and I mean the people that think of the features - I used to know a lot of them) have no real world experience using there own product in a production environment. Primavera was literally built by people like me who had working relationships to the company because we used the product in real world setting as what you and I would probably agree to be "mission critical" software. They listened and the product improved and it did one thing well. As part of the customer advisory team, a product developer asked if I wanted the SW to handle my contacts. Say what?!

I am not looking to convince you or anyone of anything. I am relating my frustation to the comparison of the two products. Everyone can decide for themselves and more power to them.
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  #13  
Old 05-05-2010
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Join Date: May 2010
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Re: Project compare to Primavera

Well thanks. But I did mistate one item: the files are in fact baselined and the baseline work is appearing when the file is baselined. No resources. No assignments. Just 'poof!' 1 fte's worth of baseline work (not timephased) out of nowhere! Grrrrhhh!!!!!! Oh well. Its a living!
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  #14  
Old 28-07-2010
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Re: MS Project vs. Primavera

Interesting discussion.
I work for a multi-national construction company and we use P3, P6, MSP, Asta and SureTrack. We're currently consolidating the toolset down to P6 and Asta as P3 and SureTrack are both about to be unsupported and are not Win 7 compatible. MSP is seen as uncontrollable, so, as we move towards an enterprise level solution, we are working out when it is appropriate to use P6 and when to use Asta; we've reached the following high-level conclusions:

1. Asta is cheaper
2. P6 has more depth
3. Asta works with more BIM tools
4. Asta is suited to quicker schedules (such as bids) and small projects
5. P6 requires more knowledge to use properly
6. Asta projects can be migrated to P6 (for when you win the bid!)
7. Asta now supports P6 shortcut keys.
8. Both are compatible with Win 7
9. We will likely use P6 when a dedicated planning resource is available (large projects) or dictated by the terms of contract; and Asta for everything else.
10. Construction projects are NOTHING like IT projects - Over the last 26 years I've worked all over the world in and on IT projects.
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  #15  
Old 13-08-2010
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MS Project Server 2010 and updating existing projects

Zindar (and others),

May I have your assessment of MS Project Server 2010's suitability for updating existing projects in a large enterprise portfolio?

Let's define the current production portfolio:
* 1000-1500 (or more) existing projects
* 900-2500 tasks per project
* 2000 generic resources centrally available for all projects
* 1000 or more enterprise fields
* project duration is typically 20 years (not all finish)

Scope of bi-weekly or monthly changes to production projects:
* 6-10 resources (new, revised, retired)
* 3 enterprise fields with formula revisions and/or 1-2 new enterprise fields
* 2-6 new tasks added to each existing project's WBS

It is my understanding that after revising/adding enterprise fields, one has to open, recalculate, and republish each project.

Adding or modifying tasks for each project also appears to be a manual activity for lack of user-configurable creation macros that pinpoint where specific tasks belong in a given WBS.

Although there is a possibility to update projects through a SQL script, it appears that the server must be offline for customers--not a decent proposition for worldwide users in various time zones. And any checked-out projects would need individual attention after being checked in.

For accurate, portfolio-wide resource modeling and forecasting over ten-twenty years, existing projects need to change with business evolution. When project scheduling is the primary focus, such monthly or bi-weekly changes are less common.

1. From the perspective of maintainability and manual effort, would you recommend using MS Project Server 2010 (or even 2007) when fairly frequent updates of existing projects are an ongoing business reality?

2. Is it wise to go beyond Microsoft's recommendation in the 2010 SDK, which claims that 1000 enterprise fields or less produces "acceptable" server performance?

Thanks for your comments, Zindar.

--John
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