PM Tools Review: Microsoft Project Center

For 6 months at a bio firm, I used a tool the relied on to manage projects and for portfolio management called Microsoft Project Center. It is not the pure web based version of Project Online and the company I am consulting for only licensed PM’s to use the software. So for collaboration and viewing issue list etc., I had to use Microsoft Teams, which I will discuss in another post.

Upfront, would say I would not recommend Project Center. Using a SharePoint foundation, it does allow for keeping documents organized, and logging issues, decisions, and risks, and for workflow customization.
However, like all SharePoint applications, you quickly find yourself hunting for where you just were, suffering with a side menu whose links are never consistent, and an ultra-slow reporting process.

There are many overlapping areas among the Microsoft applications. For instance, you can manage a project plan in Project Center or you can click and icon that will open up the Microsoft Project client and manage your project that way, much easier as you will have all the features needed to manipulate tasks. You can create a project calendar in Project Center but also jump to it from Microsoft Teams.

I spent most of my time on the Status Page in Project Center, updating that 1-2 times a week, which actually no one read and I ended up emailing PowerPoint slides, duplicating information. Some things never change like having to login and click 3-4 links to read a status versus opening up an email attachment.

Weekly, we PM’s ran an Excel Workbook that pulled key data from all the projects however it was very inconsistent and often didn’t update no matter how many times you went through the steps and refreshed the data, the browser, the computer.

In the end, this is just a testament to a dying method for portfolio management. Largely bogged down with links within links, time intensive compiling of data and barely useful integrations e.g. Teams, I found Project Center more time consuming that it was worth.