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How to Decide When to Upgrade Your Microsoft Project Software

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I receive a lot of questions from customers asking if they should upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Project. And why not? As of right now I work with clients who have all of these versions: Microsoft Project 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016 as well as Project Pro for Office 365.

Making the Case for the Upgrade

Here are some reasons why you might want to upgrade:

  • You have experienced a software bug that has been fixed in a later version;
  • Your company has software assurance and upgrades are included with this service;
  • Your current version is out of the support period by Microsoft, which means that service pack updates or bug fixes are no longer available;
  • You feel a new feature could solve a problem you’re having or could add business value; or
  • You have Project Server or Project Online, and you need to keep your Microsoft Project versions aligned with your enterprise software.
Curious about end of life for your Project software. Here’s how it worked for Project 2007:
Program nameRelease DateService Pack End DateSupport End Date
Project Professional 20071/27/20071/13/200910/9/2012
Project Standard 20107/15/20101/13/200910/9/2012
For Project 2010 Pro and Standard Project 2010 Server, here are the crucial dates:
Products ReleasedLifecycle Start DateMainstream Support DateExtended Support DateService Pack Support End Date
Project Professional 20107/15/2010Not applicableNot applicable7/10/2012
Project Standard 20107/15/2010Not applicableNot applicable7/10/2012
Project Server 20107/15/201010/13/201510/13/20207/10/2012

If you’re using Project 2013 Pro or Standard, here are the dates to care about:
Products ReleasedLifecycle Start DateMainstream Support DateExtended Support DateService Pack Support End Date
Project 2013 Standard1/9/20134/10/20184/11/2023Unannounced
Project Professional 20131/9/20134/10/20184/11/2023Unannounced

Making the Case for Staying with the Same Version

Here are some reasons why you might want to keep the same version:

  • In my experience, lots of larger corporations upgrade software only every three years;
  • If you’re not using Project Server or Project Online, you may not need critical updates to continue running your projects;
  • Software bugs have workarounds that you’re satisfied with;
  • You would have to incur an additional software or hardware expense to deploy the update;
  • You have budget restrictions; or
  • You don’t have software assurance, and you’re trying to get the most out of your existing purchase.

The next time you have this discussion internally, think about these points. They’ll help you rise above the marketing hype and make the decision that’s best for your organization.

Do you take other factors into account when you’re deciding whether to upgrade your applications? Share them with the MPUG community in the comments below.

A version of this article originally appeared on Cindy Lewis’ blog here.

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Cindy Lewis
Written by Cindy Lewis

Cindy Lewis is an awarded Microsoft Project MVP and an expert in scheduling with a long history in project management. She holds numerous credentials in the field including: PMP, PMI-SP, MS, MOS, and MCT. She serves on the board of the MPUG Detroit chapter and is a frequent speaker at conferences and events across the country . Cindy’s personal passion is sharing knowledge with others and helping them grow and achieve personal success. Her training philosophy is known as the 4 Pillars of Success® which is also the name of her company. Feel free to connect with Cindy on social media or contact her directly through her website www.4pillarsofsuccess.com.

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7 Comments
  1. Project Server 2013 dates
    Product: Microsoft Project Server 2013
    Lifecycle Start: 1/9/2013
    Mainstream Support End: Review Note
    Extended Support End: Review Note
    Service Pack Support End: 4/14/2015
    Note: See Service Pack listing below for dates

    Products: Microsoft Project Server 2013 Service Pack 1
    Lifecycle Start: 4/17/2014
    Mainstream Support End: 4/10/2018
    Extended Support End: 4/11/2023
    Note: Support ends 12 months after the next service pack releases or at end of the product’s support, whichever is first.

    Reply
  2. Thanks Jill for adding in Project Server.

    Reply
  3. My comments are MS Project desktop oriented — e.g. pretty much a project manager who is using MS Project basically solo / is not tied into an enterprise system.

    I have access to MS Project 2016, 2013 and 2010. 2010 is still my favorite version because —I know this is going to sound silly—but because of the default font in the Notes box. You cant change the default. I can remember Dale Howard writing about this. And for the most part all versions of MS Project from a functional perspective are pretty much the same. Yes, I know the Ribbon came out with 2010. So the fact that 2010 is out of support doesn’t worry me—I prefer the way the Gantt bars appear too, and the tiles/icons are more dimensional.

    Thats my story and I am sticking with it!!

    Reply
  4. Thanks Kevin for sharing your thoughts.

    Reply
  5. Another reason not to upgrade are issues encountered when crossing organizational boundaries. For instance, as an independent consulting project manager, I frequently have a more current version than my partners or the client organization. “Down saving” to an earlier version often has incompatibilities and sharing PDF output is not an option.

    Reply
  6. I am finding it an issue of having to upgrade because my users PC hard drive was failing and the 2016 seat he is using is 2016. While I have the product code for this seat I cannot find a fresh download of Project 2016 online. Anyone know where to find a link to download it?

    Reply
  7. I believe your only option right now is via Microsoft 365 and obtaining a subscription to Project Online Professional. I have a client who was is in your situation and they had to search through some boxes to find their original CD of Project 2016.

    Reply

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