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Microsoft Project is a relic of the past.

microsoft project alternative image

Microsoft Project, first released in 1984 for the MS-DOS operating system, offered companies and organizations the ability to monitor the progress of a given event, project, or work order. MS Project laid much of the framework for the project management software suites of the next two decades, though the wheel would be re invented once again with the advent of cloud-based project management web apps around the turn of the millennium.

Archaic Microsoft Project Features Moving forward with WorkZone

Segmented conversations When a solution such as MS Project is offline, notes and updates on projects are left unorganized and often lost.

Threaded conversations Conversations are time stamped and ordered at the project, task, and document levels so no one can miss an update.

Locally hosted project files You can only work on projects in your office; losing critical time to finish projects

Accessible anywhere Only an internet connection is needed to always stay up to date on your projects.

Steep learning curve With no live or reliable online support, MS Project users are left to self-teach.

Easy to learn Pick up WorkZone quickly with the assistance of our world class Customer Success team.

Distracting, needless features complicate daily work MS Project is bloated from years of iteration, complicating the interface and confusing users.

Only features teams need to achieve their goals We carefully choose what features are added to WorkZone to maintain the balance between power and simplicity our users are used to.

MS Project limits visibility into your work.

ms project limits visibility
Microsoft Project only allows users to view one project at a time, which severely limits a project manager’s ability to manage. Project management tools need the ability to view multiple projects at once so it is easy to see where all projects stand. Catching delays before they wreck a deliverable is essential to a project manager’s success. Limiting visibility may have worked when MS Project was the only tool on the market, but business needs have changed.

Microsoft Project is complex and hard to use.

The problem with being around so long is that you start to add features that project managers don’t use often or don’t find valuable in their day-to-day work. Microsoft Project has added so many features and so many options, that the platform has become burdensome, heavy, and difficult to use. Even venture-backed Microsoft Project alternatives, like WorkFront, Wrike, and Clarizen, have suffered from feature bloat, adding features just for the sake of adding features; sacrificing usability and increasing costs.
microsoft project is complex

MS Project is not available on a Mac.

ms project is not on a mac
If you have ever used a Microsoft product on a Mac, you know it is watered down so even if Microsoft Project was available on a Mac, could you imagine how difficult it would be to use? The present and future is moving business operations to the cloud and modern tools such as WorkZone are compatible on any computer with an Internet connection.

Microsoft Project is not a web-based, modern solution.

Most project management tools today are available anywhere you have an internet connection. Like most legacy solutions, MS Project has been slow to adopt cloud based software. Accessible anywhere as a web-based tool, WorkZone is a web-based Microsoft Project alternative. Lets multiple users (on PCs or Macs) work simultaneously on projects and send email alerts when projects/tasks need attention. Never miss an update because you are out of the office again.

“WorkZone is web-based so staff can access it anywhere. E-mailed ‘to do’ lists help people see what they need to be working on now as well as what they have coming up. Project Managers can easily see if their projects are on track, at-risk or in danger of not being completed on time.”

-Kristen Walcheski, Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency


Benefits of cloud based project management software

accessible anywhere

Accessible Anywhere

Work wherever you have the internet. For organizations that have remote workforces, the ability to access their work remotely is invaluable.

lower costs

Lower Costs

Though cloud software is usually paid monthly, the setup and licensing costs are generally lower. When you factor in maintenance advantages, you could end up saving a bundle.


Easier Training

Getting new workers acquainted with your plans and projections is far easier when you can get them plugged in with a new login right away, rather than having to fiddle with settings and installations on different machines.


Hassle Free Maintenance

While you might think an infrastructure hosted across many servers would be more susceptible to troubleshooting headaches, the best project management software handles all upkeep for you.

What is the best alternative to Microsoft Project?

It is a tough question and we would love the answer to be WorkZone but we believe that organizations should choose the tool that solves their business goals the best. From our first conversation, we will explore your current process with MS Project, your biggest pains, and try to align them with what WorkZone offers. If we are not the right solution for your team, we will tell you.

Watch how simple and easy-to-use WorkZone is for your team:


WorkZone was designed for power and simplicity.

It’s the careful choice of features, balanced with ease of use. Bloated project management systems like Microsoft Project, are too complicated, with hundreds of little-used capabilities that get in the way of the handful that are really important.

“MS Project did not scale economically and wasn’t easy to use. I did sign up for a few web-based project management trials but everyone had one or two features missing that we had to have. I tried WorkZone. It was intuitive and logical in its structure and was easy to use.”

— Dave Hook

WorkZone helps teams run smoothly and effectively.

Better Organization

From getting everyone on the same page to keeping documents stored in one place online, WorkZone gives teams a reliable and consistent method of organization.


More Productive Meetings (or even eliminate them!)

WorkZone gives managers complete visibility to all their active projects. Meetings naturally become more productive because the discussion shifts from status updates to more strategic conversations about hurdles to overcome or how the team can add more projects to their plate.


Improved Communication and Collaboration

WorkZone consolidates communication into one centralized location online. Gone are the days of using your inbox as the location for all project files, comments, and updates. By getting comments out of the inbox, project managers and other team members have one spot to reference for updates or questions.


Monitor Progress and Identify Issues Early

Project management software is essential to tracking tasks, as a manager can easily check on the status of assignment at any time. WorkZone allows a manager to get the big picture view to all open activities and the ability to look down the line to anticipate problems.

Share files securely in the cloud.

Share files securely with only people who need to view/edit the file. Send email alerts of updated files, comments or approvals. Drag and drop files right from your desktop into WorkZone. Files are organized in a central location with revisions and comments. No more emailing attachments back and forth.

“I like storing all of our project documents within the project and being able to look at the entire trail of the project at a glance. The new system significantly improves our organization of job data and status.”

-Rachel Farrell, Weyerhaeuser


Centralized document management keeps teams organized.

What makes centralized document management so valuable for a busy marketing team?

No more emailing attachments back and forth
– Keep v1, v2, v3, etc. off your hard drive
Control who views/edits documents
– All comments organized by project, task, or file
WorkZone includes powerful and secure document management software (similar to Microsoft Sharepoint, but much easier and cloud-based). Send email links to alert team members of new documents needing review. Use WorkZone’s simple approval workflow to get signoff on documents before you move forward.

“Without WorkZone, I don’t know how we’d stay on top of our rapid-pace workload, and the many deliverables we’re responsible for producing without missing something.”

-Maria Harmer, True Sense

Task dependencies notify the next person responsible.

In most projects, certain tasks cannot begin until other tasks are completed. As projects become more complex and involve more people, the ability to link tasks and alert the next responsible party becomes an essential feature for project managers. The need for task dependencies is one of the classic signs that a team needs a robust project management solution.
microsoft project is complex

Expedite creative review and approvals workflow.

Request approvals on files or webpages. WorkZone automatically emails an approval request to the appropriate parties, tracks and records responses, and alerts overdue approvals helping keep the project on time. An approvals dashboard shows you where everything stands.

WorkZone formed the backbone of the intake process restructuring by providing a reliable platform for the organization and presentation of documents, and the automation of the review and approval process.”

-Bill Gast, Mangos

Every Customer has a dedicated Success Manager

You get a dedicated Customer Success Manager who provides one-on-one training and support for all users—including you, your team, your bosses and your clients. Anytime you or your team has a question, simply give us a call at 610-275-9861 and speak with your Success Manager within seconds.

“The Customer Success team is phenomenal. The software can be the best in the world; however, it’s the support team that can make it or break it… WorkZone has exceeded my expectations.”

-Sherri MacCheyne, University of North Carolina Greensboro


See all projects at once.
Microsoft Project does not give you the big picture view that you need to monitor project statuses across departments, clients, or campaigns. With an all status view at your fingertips within WorkZone, managers can quickly report project status to upper management or prep for last minute meetings easily.
see all projects at once
ms project is not on a mac
Keep everyone focused on their work.
A major difference between WorkZone and MS Project is how individuals get their work assigned to them. WorkZone provides daily to-do lists via email or a dashboard designed to keep the team working and keep their manager out of the weeds. Microsoft Project does not allow for a to-do list, leaving the project manager to dole out daily work.
Identify items at risk.
See what tasks are on track or falling behind with status alerts. Late tasks are highlighted and can trigger automatic email alerts. Projects and phases slipping behind schedule are flagged with colorful caution symbols.
see all projects at once

What is Microsoft Project?

Microsoft Project, also recognized globally as MS Project, is considered by many to be the gold standard software in the world of Project Management. First introduced in 1984 to function on a DOS system, it is the PPM product of choice for the technically savvy. MS Project is placed second with a market share of roughly 15%, trumped only by Oracle.

Some of the popular features of MS Project include project plan development, hierarchical structure of tasks and sub-tasks, generic role assignment from within the project plan, resource assignment on a more advanced level, progress tracking, and workload analysis.

Who uses Microsoft Project?

MS Project is a software solution that is used by a number of industries including but not restricted to construction, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, government, retail, financial services and health care. Estimates peg the actual user count at 5 million.

The unique selling proposition of the software is believed to be the ability to manage highly complicated and sprawling projects with an astounding level of granularity and attention to minutia. This makes Project the tool of choice for large, technically savvy businesses, which need to focus on flagship endeavors requiring complete dedication of time, resources and talent.

MS Project is recommended for CIOs, CTOs and certified Project Managers who can make the most of the advanced features provided by the platform and appreciate the WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) leveraged by it.

In short it is the tool for long duration projects where agility and accessibility are second to handling the complexity of the ventures.

How do I learn MS Project?

MS Project possesses a steep learning curve. Because of this complexity, only the most experienced and proficient users can correctly compile information, how-tos, and tutorials to benefit others.

The Help files of MS Project are a useful resource. Coming from the most authoritative source, Microsoft, the help files are vividly defined with screenshots, proper processes, and detailed descriptions. Before skipping over the Help Center, it would be a good idea for users to spend time assimilating the content.

Microsoft Online has a vast repository of short training videos and tutorials helping new users orient themselves to the interface and master simple tasks like assigning resources and creating timelines.

Many books and websites have been tackling MS Project for years. A simple web search will lead a user to a plethora of resources.

Another option to learn MS Project is by attending a full-time, hands-on training course. Both online as well as onsite trainings facilitated by certified MS Project instructors are organized and delivered by renowned names such as New Horizons, Webucators and VTF.

Does an internal IT department need to help support MS Project?

Yes. When deployed as an on premise, single PC, single user software solution, or for large enterprises, MS Project brings with it some IT support requirements. Microsoft Server is an able companion to the MS Project and is used frequently for its ease of use and data security.

In the Standard or Pro versions, the bulk of a company’s IT support team is needed to manage the updates. On the user side, major updates result in changes to popular processes, confusing users who use Project. The IT team may need to intervene and upgrade user skills if they are capable of mastering the update or additional training may be needed to bring users back up to speed. On the IT side, the support team needs to update versions and implement the technical changes. If Server is used in conjunction with MS Project, IT costs may bump up significantly. Other than that normal weekly maintenance regimes to ensure proper working of the tool are deemed adequate. If Project Online is in place, this maintenance is no longer the responsibility of the buyer.

MS Project is not known for random updates. They are methodical about the process and release CUs (cumulative updates) with proper training videos to supplement and support new feature introductions.

What are the alternatives to MS Project?

Though many consider MS Project be the gold standard of project management software solutions, a one-size fits all approach is not advised when selecting and implementing a project management tool. Every MS Project alternative in the market has certain features that lend itself to a particular user base.

Project is without doubt a powerful tool. It is unparalleled in terms of the attention to detail and the ability to handle large complex projects but it lacks online collaboration facilities, doesn’t allow users to get a “snapshot” of all ongoing projects from a central dashboard, and it is a closed product, one that has no formal integration features beyond the standard Office suite.

For prospects looking for a project management, document sharing, and collaboration tool that can handle multiple projects, provide a 10,000 foot view of the progress, allow email collaboration, custom create To-Do lists, manage resources without daunting windows and processes, and allow every employee to master it in hours.

Some viable project management software alternatives are WorkZone, Wrike, Clarizen, Workfront, Smartsheet, and Mavenlink.

These options bring the most popular features of MS Project in terms of ease of access and frequency of use in an easy to afford package.

Still have questions about WorkZone as a Microsoft Project replacement?

Call: 610-275-9861