cloud computing vector. backing up and storing business data via cloud computing. vector illustration.

Download our comparison of MS Project versus ITM Platform

Industy standards that consolidate at certain historical moments are often more strongly influenced by the human tendency to conservatism than by the value they bring.

It may seem like a bold statement, but there is a plethora of literature on it. It will be clearer with an example: the QWERTY keyboard came from a salesman trick: agents who sold typewriters demonstrated the amazing ease of use by typing the word "typewriter" using only keys in the upper row of the keyboard.

However, many people still believe that the QWERTY keyboard was created after extensive studies on the relationships between English vocabulary letters and, therefore, is optimized for English speakers.


This is the case of MS Project, which appeared in the era of the personal computer and propelled the digital consolidation of project management methodologies in hundreds of thousands of organizations. Just as QWERTY has never been replaced by an alternative keyboard due to the resistance of the typographers (first) and the millions of users (after) who were already accustomed to a certain configuration, the continuity in using MS Project is not due to a rational comparison between alternatives evaluated on an equal footing, but the enormous power of continuity.

What both products have in common is the combinatorial use to generate a superior result to its parts. The integration of characters and components creates a coordinated meaning. In this situation, replacing all functions with different access modes in an alternative generates major issues in the transition.

But there is the difference between the two examples. While QWERTY has captured 100% of users, Microsoft Project only has 67% of the market share in project management, and 15% in portfolio management, according to Statista.

How does MS Project market share compare to QWERTY? Data

This rate will go down for one simple reason: MS Project is a product anchored in the past. There are many reasons to dismiss it in favor of a solution based on a contemporary digital paradigm, that is: collaborative, distributed and connected.

So, what are the main reasons for leaving behind MS Project?

The question could also be formulated in the opposite direction: What reason is there to continue using MS Project? It is fundamentally a desktop program and is for personal use? Is it that it’s comfortable? Or a false perception of the balance between advantages and disadvantages?

Let's review the motivations for replacing MS Project with a SaaS solution like ITM Platform:

MS Project is single user (ITM Platform is multi-user)

In MS Project, the working model is a project manager who creates the project plan, saves it to a file on a local hard drive ... and makes changes manually.

"In ITM Platform, your team can be an army permanently connected." 

Overcoming the native limitations of MS Project as a desktop solution is very costly even for small teams. While ITM Platform is worth $ 1,000 USD per year to support teams of up to 7 people, that same amount can only serve 1.5 people with the most affordable version of MS Project online.

In addition, since MS Project does not have project approval mechanisms and state changes, anyone can make changes to .mpp files on a shared server without prior discussion, without approval flows or notifications to the parties involved.

On the contrary, ITM Platform works from a network model, so users do not work on files, but in environments: shared project ecosystems common to each organization. This model has important implications:

  • Users have differentiated access profiles, so they make modifications exclusively in their area of ​​responsibility;
  • No action by other users goes unnoticed: the system generates notifications about changes made to projects and tasks, as well as allowing contextual communications.
  • In short, thanks to the ability of team members to report hours and progress, the distance between planning and execution is much shorter and more efficient than MS Project.

ITM Platform is designed for strategic planning - MS Project is not

MS Project focuses on improving its timeline; ITM Platform in alignment with business objectives

When considering this aspect, the history of project management as a discipline is of particular importance. With its expansion beyond the fields of engineering to assert itself as an organization management model, the demands on the priority aspects with which software must comply have changed.

MS Project has not responded to those needs, having preferred to concentrate on the complexity of planning aspects.

In contrast, ITM Platform allows you to introduce business objectives, study different scenarios and make decisions based on actual data for which projects to execute.

MS Project requires expensive installations - ITM Platform is cloud based

"ITM Platform is a tool for organizations; MS Project is software for the personal use of project managers." 

This distinction has nuances: MS Project Server is the version for organizations that Microsoft offer. However, the process of moving from the personal to the organizational version can cost between $ 10,000 and $ 20,000. In addition, the on premises installation requires MS, SQL and Sharepoint servers as a starting point, as well as advanced technical expertise in those fields.

On the other hand, the deployment of ITM Platform in an organization is much more agile, since it does not require any type of installation (clarification: we offer on-premises installation for the organizations that demand it, but it is a marginal option among our customers). Including all parameterization and initial training, our customers begin to use ITM Platform in terms of between two days and two weeks.

Build a PMO in a week ... or in an eternity

"ITM Platform is an ideal tool to create a project management office." 

For adoption facilities and portfolio management capabilities, ITM Platform is an ideal tool for organizations that already manage projects from the initiative of individual project managers and that are about to create a project management office. While MS Project Server requires a remarkable economic and human effort to simply deploy the tool, ITM Platform is a catalyst for centralized management, thanks to the ability to focus on the methodological aspects that really matter.

MS Project does not offer control over basic integration components

The management of basic components of project integration - such as costs and billing of projects - are done outside of MS Project, so anyone who only accesses the .mpp file has no visibility to these modifications.

On the other hand, ITM Platform's solution includes cost management, making it an excellent candidate for integrations with ERP systems. Another example of the holistic ITM Platform approach is risk.

MS Project has a closed philosophy - ITM Platform an open philosophy

In the era of online business productivity, where most players integrate solutions through API to achieve more ambitious automation flows, Microsoft maintains a closed philosophy that only allows to connect their own solutions with each other: Excel, Access, and so on. Even so, the possibilities to connect MS Project are deficient. It is impossible, for example, to receive custom notifications in Outlook when modifications are made to projects.

On the contrary, ITM Platform strives to coexist with the systems of all our clients: we don’t want to bring about traumatic changes.

Not only do we have a complete API for developers from any organization to connect their ERP, accounting or CRM systems; there are also integrations with JIRA and Slack, as well as an upcoming presence in Zapier.

MS Project is rigid - ITM Platform is flexible

According to Mark Corker, president of Seradex Web Services, software complexity and the repercussions of preprogrammed options to readjust dates in dependency tasks have the counterproductive result that 99% of MS Project projects have no reliable dates.

On the contrary, ITM Platform is based on a flexible software model: resilient adaptation goes from the technology to the user, and not the other way around. That's the reason why ITM Platform is enjoyed not just by project managers, but also by CFOs, CEOs, CIOs, IT Analysts, and a long etcetera.

Receive the latest blogs directly into your inbox


Even in a specialized world like project management, there are current trends and popular kids (often newcomers), while other issues, skills and areas are relegated to a second row or altogether ignored. Here are ITM Platform’s candidates to those second row components in project management that are worth discussing more in-depth.

1. Project Evaluation

Project Evaluation should be a methodical and un-biased assessment of your projects, both completed and ongoing. Post Project Evaluation completes the project management process once the product is in use. It provides feed-back in terms of effectiveness, efficiency, relevance, etc. in order to learn for the future. There are two main stages:

  • Immediately, evaluation seeks to identify isolate learning moments, transform them into lessons so that they can be applied to the next project – that’s the moment they turn into lessons learned
  • A longer term review to determine what, if any, adjustments should be made to company policies and procedures

2. Project Integration Management

The objective of Project Integration Management is to co-ordinate the diverse components of the project by quality project planning, execution and change control to achieve the required balance of time, cost and quality.

Project integration management ensures the effective integration of a project into the organization’s total business and co-ordination of the diverse components of the project. This includes setting up the planning and control systems for project selection, planning the total project and co-ordinating the activities in the other eight knowledge areas. It also includes working with everyone in the organization who is involved in the project, not only the immediate stakeholders.

3. Management tools and techniques

The objective of using management tools and techniques is to optimize specific activities in the development of a system. Although much of the attention is paid to the selection of planning tools, some areas that are often neglected from this point of view are:

  • Growth Management. Beyond the adoption of prediction metrics that can measure the growth of an organization, it is essential to have scalable tools to accompany an organization when it goes through a transition between different maturities. By combining ease of use with the full benefits, ITM Platform is specifically designed to support these processes.

Using Project management tools such as ITM Platform will help automate management processes and make your company more efficient.

  • Talent development should go beyond measurement and remuneration by objectives, seeking to introduce a learning loop between project performance and work performance of team members.

4. End-customer orientation

Although this is the fundamental focus of agile philosophy, putting yourself in the place of the end user is a form of empathy that is always lacking and which there are few formative options. Here are some strategies that demonstrate customer orientation:

  • Work in startup mode beyond the initial phase of creating an organization: the business orientation is to respond to what the customer is looking for.
  • Responding swiftly to customer complaints and questions.
  • Dealing respectfully with community issues.

5. Creativity

Essential to conceive solutions for customer problems, they are typical of engineers and product owners, but obviously extend to project managers. In one way or another, creativity is an essential skill in project management. As opposed to the regular and standardized world of operations, there is no one-size-fits-all for projects.

But creativity in project management is not a voiced desired for the extremely original or the never-seen-before. It’s, put simply, the ability to identify what’s should be happening when placed under a new situation.

Project managers require a taste for recalling their past experiences, and those of the projects they interact with, to come up with a combinatorial solution that applies to the current context. That’s creative project management.

6. Coaching and Development

By employing their coaching skills, supervisors assess the training and professional development of team members with the aim of offering them opportunities for improvement, such as new experiences that allow them to develop new competencies. Although project management certification is a recognized goal, it is often important to be able to identify intermediate training and experience objectives.

Receive the latest blogs directly into your inbox


vector human resource management concept in flat styleThis is one of the ways to assign a certain task to a worker. Unfortunately, it is among the most frequent, but the least effective.

Imagine that something similar happened in a hospital. A patient who has suffered an accident and has fractured a leg comes to the emergency room. Who should care for this patient? Any doctor, who is free at the time? Or would it be better for the patient to be taken care of by a specialist in trauma and fractures?

In this example, the answer is clear. However, it is not straight forward when allocating resources and workers to projects in a company.

Allocation of resources: key to efficiency

Appropriately allocating tasks will ensure that each worker is engaged in projects for which he or she is more skilled or more experienced. By ensuring appropriate allocation, it is possible to improve the efficiency of the company, obtaining better results in less time. The result is greater profits for the company and for workers at all levels.

  • Economic benefits. The quality of the results will be greater, since the project has been executed by a specialist. In the example above, there will probably be better patient survival rates and better functional outcomes (less pain, faster recuperation, etc.) if the physician is a specialist.
  • Increased confidence. The achievement of good results is in itself an outstanding value for obtaining new clients. Returning to the example, if the patient is satisfied, he is likely to recommend the clinic to other patients who present the same problems, which, if they have the possibility, will choose the option they consider the best. Likewise, if a company satisfies its customers, they will become a source of publicity within their professional sector.
  • Temporary benefits. It is possible that a specialist and a layman in this instance will achieve the same result in the end, but it will probably take a lot longer for the layman. This additional time incurs an expense in the form of opportunity cost: the additional time dedicated to the task by the lay worker could have been used to perform another task, therefore losing both time and money. In addition, the fact that a worker who has no experience is engaged in performing a certain task, increases the risk that they will not be able to complete the work on time. This is another reason why a suitably qualified worker should be assigned to each appropriate task.
  • Benefits for workers. Focusing on tasks for which you have prior knowledge and preparation, allows you to obtain satisfactory results for yourself, which allows personal self-realization and decreases stress levels.

Assignment of tasks: aspects to consider

What aspects should be considered when assigning a task to a particular worker?

  • Skills. This is the most important thing. Does the person we are going to assign to perform this task have the necessary skills to be able to execute the project completely and successfully? If the answer is yes, there is no doubt, this is the right person for this task
  • Experience. Has the person to whom we will be assigning the project carried out similar tasks previously? If the answer is yes, you will have valuable experience that you can use in the realization of this new project. In addition, it will present less uncertainty and more confidence, since they have managed in the field previously, therefore should require less support from management and colleagues. In this instance, experience could be more important than skills. If a worker is qualified to perform a task but has no experience, he or she may still need to receive some support during their first steps, to become fully comfortable.
  • Interest. Difficult to measure but very necessary for the success of a task. A worker may have qualifications in a particular area and also have experience, but that does not mean that he is motivated. Motivation is fundamental to be able to perform a task properly and be able to respond to new problems that arise during the execution of a project. Therefore, we must talk to the workers before assigning them a project and, not only assess their training and experience, but also take into account their motivation.
  • Cost. Using overqualified workers to perform relatively simple tasks is to misuse resources and imply an unnecessary expense. Going back to the example at the beginning of the article, it would be like occupying the specialist surgeon in organizing the appointments or the programming of the operating room. They are administrative tasks that can be performed by the surgeon, but it is preferable that the management team takes care of this to allow the surgeon to utilize their skill set and experience in the most effective way. In the case of personnel with less specialized qualifications, their salary will be lower and therefore imply a lower cost.
  • Geographic location. There are more and more tasks that can be carried out remotely, allowing the most qualified or experienced personnel to be hired for a specific role, regardless of their geographical location and without having to pay transportation costs. However, there are tasks that still require the physical presence of workers. Therefore, the economic, temporary and personal cost of moving a worker to a specific place to carry out a project, or selecting another worker who is already in the location but may be less qualified must be weighed up.
  • Availability. Obviously, to assign a task to a particular worker, they must be available. However, the fact that they are available does not necessarily imply that the task has to be assigned to the first worker that is present. Checking the availability of workers should ensure that new tasks are assigned fairly, however also making sure that the workforce aren’t being either underutilized or overworked.

In order to keep track of the degree of utilization of the talent of a company or a project, it is essential to have efficient mechanisms for collecting information and reporting. The resource management module of ITM Platform allows you to check the use in a portfolio view, so that you can detect overlaps in the use of resources by different project managers.

Juan Delgado
ITM Platform

Receive the latest blogs directly into your inbox