What frustrates the Microsoft Project User Community?

We surveyed MPUG members asking, “What is your biggest frustration, issue, bug, or pain point with the Microsoft Project tool?”

The results are in….



We’re addressing these frustrations with sessions, articles and live discussion with partners and Microsoft.  Get the free newsletter for updates and view the latest webinar sessions here.

  • Expensive, not compatible with PowerBI, not user Friendly.
  • Too many unused features that get tangled and wasted, which add costs to the SW.
  • Steep Learning Curve! Isn’t an entry -level product. The SW is designed for experienced PMs and technical users. If you don’t fall into this category, you will struggle with the SW.
  • Not the best for Agile! You are better served by more specific agile PM tools.
  • Compatibility Issues! MS Project files (.mpp) are proprietary, so there is compatibility issues if you open a project in another workstation that does not contain the software. You have to go through extra export/import steps, which adds complexity.
  • It’s Expensive! Project Standard 2019 desktop costs $620/PC and Professional costs more than doubled than that. And to think these desktop applications don’t have collaboration features.
  • Project for the web does not have built-in COST functions. comparing it to Project Online, I used to be able to conveniently assign Cost for each Task item/row then get the overall project Cost from the Project Summary row. Now, there does not seem to be a comparable function in Project for the web. There is a workaround to use Project Power App and add an “integer” field (not currency, should not have decimal points) but it seems it’s not really meant to be used that way. Is this really the case by design? If I need to get Project Cost derived from my Tasks, am I forced to choose with either the old Project Online or the much more expensive Project Operations?
  • Too labor intensive, and too much human error, breaking of the links, etc.
  • There is no way, even in the Enterprise or web editions, to overlay plans so you can see in one place all the date changes throughout the life of the project. Additional tooling in the likes of Excel and Access are required for this but is a common requirement.
  • I’ve been using this tool since DOS days, and while it’s been a great tool, but the interface has always been a problem (starting with the command-line DOS version, all the way up to today). Considering where we are now, the entire UI should be re-envisioned for the modern digital world, while at the same time keeping the underlying data structure intact (.mpp data is great). This more modern UI might look more like Wrike or Monday, instead of Excel. And speaking of Excel, the new UI must be able to take in data from other sources, and easily convert to .mpp, without complicated templates and column assignments. With a new, more modern UI, and unlimited export and import possibilities, MSP might triumph in the future world of the 4th Industrial Revolution.
  • Data Loss
  • Reporting, reporting, reporting!
  • SharePoint Designer 2013 needs to be used to build custom lifecycle workflows, it is clunky, out of date and not intuitive and normally requires a 3rd party to develop the workflows. Why can’t user-built workflows be available and simple?
  • OData for reporting doesn’t allow custom risk/issues or other data items to be accessed for reporting
  • Unable to open multiple instances of Project to be able to compare project plans and quickly copy and paste from one plan to another
  • Resource management across schedules and ability to share worklists/tasks with team members across multiple schedules.
  • The project schedule does not have many of the functions in MS Project
  • It doesn’t read my mind when updating schedules.
  • Not as rounded as Microsoft project. Excel works great for giving high-level, easy to deliver milestones but has limited capacity for anything more nuanced past that. But, we can’t use project because it costs a lot to license everyone and it can be difficult to understand.
  • The odd problems that make you feel like you are going crazy. For example, I normally have the details pane open. Sometimes the predecessors and the successors are not accurate. I close and reopen the details pane – while on the same task and the predecessor and successors change. I am required to provide historical details for why dates pushed out a 1 1/2 months after the fact. I use the notes field, to reference changes but there is no easy way to show a customer or the PM what happened. I tried using finish variance, but then I was asked to explain how the finish variance duration came to be on 14 different deliverables. The team does not have access to MS Project and those who do make my life a nightmare – I made changes just use my version. I have tried providing a PDF of the IMS but they cannot stand the sight of an IMS.     I tried using Milestone Professional to create a visual of the IMS. This helps when we are building the schedule to verifying relationships are correct, but it is not a good tool for completing tasks.     I struggle with simplifying the communication of the work that needs to be done with the IMS.     When we are late to contract there is the possibility of re-baselining the schedule. Project can be difficult when moving tasks and relationships. I have to slowly move the group of tasks otherwise it zooms up and down and you lose track of where you are in the IMS.
  • The Microsoft Project Family has so many solutions (i.e., on -premise solutions, Project for the web, Project Online and so on) , pricing structures, and platforms to choose from that it can be confusing to most people what to use. It would be great if Microsoft told us what their long-term strategy is for Project. What’s clear is they are moving from a license strategy (i.e., no more upgrades to Project 2019) to a subscription strategy.
  • Sometimes it is too complex, it tries to do too much and has many different ways of doing things. That is a strength – but also a weakness. The time-phased calculations can be very confusing with how data is overwritten, even after manual entries have been put into cells.
  • Can Go find by Unique ID Can’t split 2 projects onto two screens 3. Not all columns can be used on both resource sheet and task sheet. 4. Text Styles- once you change it the default is no longer working
  • Too many features with not enough big picture communication toolsets or drag & drop like Mindjet. Also, underlying calculations impact capacity reports and don’t show realistic assignments & durations. Also, when you modify the project schedule, values can change even when you lock a line item. Too much overhead administration. Not enough big picture details to communicate in real-time.
  • Our organization chose to implement the MS PPM platform without a partner and now most of the features don’t work or don’t integrate as intended. MS should require implementation partner services so customers can’t do a hack job and end up with something that is more trouble than it’s worth.
  • MP freezes on occasion working with large .mpp files (+20MB) or with multiple .mpp files open simultaneously. Requires reboot to clear.
  • Automated workflows: When a task is completed, a notice or e-mail could automatically sent out to team members that their next scheduled task(s) can start. This would help to improve productivity and possibly be done easily by utilizing “Power Automate” (already used to create automatic processes and support day-to-day work).
  • Portfolio Features: For starters, I’d like to see a field called “Portfolio.” Furthermore, the ability to have a Portfolio plan template that automatically calls in defined related projects would significantly save time.
  • Excel Features: I’m an advocate for incorporating more Excel features! For example, “Zoom to Selection,” so that the selected range of cells fills the entire screen, and “Freeze Panes,” which freezes a portion of the sheet to keep it visible while you scroll through the rest. It would be nice to have “Page Layout,” so that one could preview how the printed plan would look.
  • I’d love to be able to say, but seriously I wonder if MS are actually deprecating Project?
  • The sales and marketing don’t align with what the tool is actually good at. Also, MS seems to have halted active development on Project Online so it gets weaker at managing agile like projects while its competitors are improving.
  • Restrictions to share Plan dynamically and easily due to prohibitive License Cost
  • …Indirectly… That it is not as well-recognized by project management professionals for its intended purpose… This is a powerful tool for scheduling, bottom-up budgeting, and tracking
  • Print feature
  • the MSP-Triangle! Resourced Tasks & their Dates/Durations/Work. Change one and the tool screws up the other two.
  • Text wrap setting for Name Field
  • With Unifier it is the quirky interface, but it does work well for us. The other part is the cost vs eBuilder or AssetWorks.
  • Not being able to time scale network view to plot.

Do you have a solution or frustration to add? Email editor@mpug.com with your contribution ideas or head over to the survey now.

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Misconception #4: Managing Resources in Project is Too Hard

Written by Community
The Microsoft Project User Group (MPUG) is the world's largest community of Microsoft Project users, with over 200,000 members in more than 170 countries. Founded in 1997, MPUG has been serving project management professionals for over 25 years, providing a platform for members to connect, share knowledge, and learn from one another. With a focus on using technology to improve project management processes, MPUG offers a variety of resources and services, including webinars, training courses, articles, and discussion forums. The organization is dedicated to helping members master Microsoft Project and related technologies, stay up-to-date with industry trends, and advance their careers. Whether you're new to project management or a seasoned pro with decades of experience, MPUG is a valuable resource for anyone looking to improve their skills and knowledge.
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1 Comment
  1. I notice a lot of the frustrations listed here seem to be based on not understanding the software fully. I invite you to attend a Zoom information session on Jan 11, 2022 (get info and register at the link below). It provides information on an on-line Zoom based training class of MS Project (good for Ver. 2010 thru 2019).


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