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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Getting Started (Project 2003 Pro)

    Ok this may seem like an elementary question but here goes, I am an IT support tech and I have users now wanting to to have MS project. They wish to be able to manage all tasks from begining to end. They wish to access assignments, due dates etc, and they wish all of their people (about 8) to be able to view and change status. They wish to do this to track division progress. I've read some of the product descriptions on MS project 2003 pro and it seems like it should work. But I wanted to know for their requirements do I need Project server also ? Or can they do this with Project pro with out the added cost of Project Server,SQL and taking up one of my servers? I've been google'n for a day now and have not found any coherent answers as to if I really need Server.

  2. #2
    4 Star Lounger
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    Re: Getting Started (Project 2003 Pro)

    HI,

    There are so many choices. Here are my personal observations. For eight users I would think Project Server to be a little extreme. In the desktop version Project plans can use strategies where multiple subprojects can be consolidated into a single view master project. This works pretty well and allows each user to see just thier portion of the project or the overall project. It works very much like Excel one user can open a file with read write, a second user only has read permissions. The files if they are open update dynamically, if they are closed you are prompted for a choice to update with the new changes. If you don't want to see the message in Tools Options you can set to always update with changes from linked files. You don't have the ability to set permissions on the file, but you do have some ability to set a password or secure the files from the network side. You also have the ability to setup a shared resource pool. There are some specific guidelines that have to be followed by all participants and it works pretty well.
    My experience with Project Server is that it does all the things you would want a collaborative product to do. You can set specific permissions, the plans are accesed by the web, because of the SQL back-end multiple users can be on a file at the same time. Lots of features for automating status reporting and updating plans, much better control of shared resources. Very expensive. You probably need a technical person to manage SQL server, Project server, IIS, Exchange and all the other pieces of the server product, additionally a project manager to manage the Project pieces. My experience is Project server seems to only work well when users first have a very thorough understanding of Project stand alone.

    You might let the users work with Project stand alone and become familiar with it and see if their needs justify the cost of the server based product.

  3. #3
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    Re: Getting Started (Project 2003 Pro)

    Thanks for the response. In running this as stand alone will they still be able to view status of Tasks make updates and see due dates of all projects ? They are a marketing department and are trying to use this to manage all the marketing requests with 8 Marketing Reps. This involves the sign/ flyer/ promotion or public events that each Rep would be in control of.
    As such they are going to want to view each other's status and maybe make input on each other's work. You're right on the users, they have never used Project this just is a request from their Marketing Manager. And I don''t think they have an idea of the scope of IT work involved in the request. Honestly I wasn't sure if Just Project Pro would do what they needed or we had to run Project server in addition. My Main concern is that I can fill their request without killing myself with extra work. Right now I am working on a cost proposal for the setup. When it boils down to it we will be doing all the "dirty work" as setting up SQL, Project Windows Server, and the Server itself. I've never used Project myself but as an IT tech I will have to learn it to be able to support it.
    I wanted to say thank you again for your words of wisdom and if there are any suggestions you could offer.

    <img src=/S/cooked.gif border=0 alt=cooked width=50 height=46>

  4. #4
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    Re: Getting Started (Project 2003 Pro)

    Hi,

    If your users put the Project plan on a network drive they will all be able to update it and see the changes. It will be limited to one user will be able to make changes at a time the others will just be able to look (read only) and any given time. If they want to all update, and see the plan at the same time this won't happen with the stand alone. This problem can be helped by using subprojects and a master project setup. On your side I would want to have a good backup strategy.

    My experience with this product include writing courseware and teaching this product for many large organizations in the area I live in as well as Project consulting to help organizations use Project effectivly.

    Here are my thoughts ( this is opinion only) on Project in general. It is a wonderful tool and if you have manage Projects on paper and you use the project management framework this product is a revelation. It assumes you have a thorough understanding of project management principles and theory. It is useless without some undersanding of project management . It makes no decisions for you only displays data you enter. Project has a huge learning curve, particularly the resource management tools. Users will not just sit down and just use the product. You should definitly include user training and training for yourself in your proposal. I would recommend paying the extra cost of a good trainer. Most who teach Project and are good will not teach the product for the typical application rate. If your users are able to be productive with the stand alone product then the Server product might be another phase. I definitly would not spend the money for the server product if the stand alone has not even been used yet. It will go one of two ways your users will make the effort to learn to use the product and find it a very effective decision making and communication tool, or they will expect to go in and make it work and find it to be a miserably frustrating experience.

    Carla

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