New Version of Microsoft Project, or more of the same?

On the 24th September, Microsoft announced the general availability of Microsoft Project 2019.


So what does that mean for users of Microsoft Project ? It really depends if you are a stand-alone user or if you use it via Office 365. For those using via Office 365, they get enhancements progressively anyway, so for them there is no difference. For stand-alone users, its mainly security updates and fixes. Microsoft assures us of at least one more update in the future for stand-alone users, but don’t hold your breath for fundamental changes.

What is new in 2019 ? From what we can work out, not much. The enhancements they promote include:

  • Security updates and fixes
  • Better user interface for adding Predecessors via the table cell
  • Timeline – enhancements to bar labelling

Is that it ? Fact is, Microsoft Project is an old piece of software dating back to the early 1990s. Sure, it’s been made prettier over the years and had a few new features added, but fundamentally it’s the same tool. Updates typically add a few new features, but only one, in 2010 bringing in the ribbon user interface really changed the product. The analogy is taking the previous new car model and adding pin stripes, then doing that for 30 years. It could be the product is so complex nobody is really too sure how it works. Or it could be that they don’t want to mess with their dominant market share. Who knows, but users expect more.

In addition, Project Management has evolved dramatically over the last 10 years with Agile in particular. Surely we should be seeing planning tools evolving too. If Microsoft isn’t careful a new incumbent will overtake them in the planning space.