For a novice project manager, the software can help create simple schedules with a work break structure where tasks are assigned start and end dates in a timeline. For the advanced user, detailed cost and resource allocations can be performed, with the facility of creating baselines to track project progress.
Creating tasks, their dependencies, and assigning a timeline is a straightforward process in the friendly user interface. The software has a tabular interface where this information can be entered and a Gantt chart is automatically built in a split window on the same screen. Critical path can be determined by simply selecting options from the menu.
MS Project has an intuitive interface but perhaps it is because of the complexity of representing project management in a software, and the number of options and features available, that sometimes make its usage a bit difficult. The difficulty level, of course, is reduced with practice and also with gaining more insight into project management concepts.
MS Project has a strong project monitoring capability and the project manager can set up multiple baselines against which the project can be tracked through its life. Estimated costs, resources, and time usage can all be entered in the project file and checked against the actual data for any deviations.
A large number of pre-formatted reports can be produced from the software. A useful facility is the ability to create custom reports to suit specific requirements. The software also has features to offer an integrated environment to the user by allowing linking of external files which can be opened from inside the project file by a simple click. This provides a useful function where external information related to specific tasks can be easily accessed without having to exit the program and search for files on the