Some folks at my employer have chosen to deploy Microsoft Office Project Server.

I have used Microsoft Project, on and (mostly) off over a couple decades. Each time I’ve come back to using Microsoft Project, the experience is less than satisfactory. I seem to detect an anti-pattern. Those folks that are hopelessly invested in the use of Microsoft Project offer a weak defense of the product. Pretty much everyone else thinks the product a poor choice. The single-copy price has always been somewhat high, so relatively few folk have tried to use MS Project.

In the last encounter with project planning software (several years back), I became convinced that a web-based solution was the right solution to the for this sort of problem. Schedules are inherently a shared thing, and passing file copies around via email was a poor substitute. A few years later Microsoft came up with a web-based variant of Project, but by then I was too busy (fortunately) to mess around with project-planning software. (Some other poor guy had inherited the job of making and updating the MS Project schedules - a vast and singularly non-productive time sink.)

Still … there was a chance Microsoft could have done good things since the last time I had used Project. Turning out a web-based application is very different from turning out a desktop application. With the forced change there is the opportunity to re-think the design, and perhaps to make things better.

Nope.

The web-based version of Project is unbelievably lame. I could make a list … but it would be too long. (Hey, this is my personal weblog, not a paid-for review.) The static screenshots look nice, but as a usable web application, this is not. For the design aspects, the words that come to mind are “completely clueless”. (Again, I am puzzled that Microsoft - with all their vast resources - could do anything so badly. Though from my own experience at other companies, I might have a pretty good idea why this can happen.)

Did a bit of searching to see what others were saying about the product, and mainly found folk selling training or consulting - a sign of a pain-in-the-ass to use product. I’m guessing that anyone who has a choice and a bit of intelligence uses something else.