Most helpful critical review
64 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2010
I've been using one flavor of Project or another for years. I've never had formal training in the tool, so I'll be the first to admit that my ignorance of the deeper details of the Project package is fairly high. However it's fairly easy to see that this time around, we didn't get what we'd hoped for. While on the one hand we have an interface that finally matches the look and feel of the rest of the Office Suite, on the other we have buggy behavior and difficult processes that were made to accommodate the 2010 facelift.
If you missed out on Office 2007...well, you didn't miss much with Project 2007 - it looked and behaved fairly much the same way Project 2003 did. While the rest of the Office suite were moved to an entirely new design, Project and Visio were given a raincheck, with the promise to be revamped in the 2010 suite. With the 2010 version of Project, we now get the following changes:
The "Ribbon" replaces toolbars (as per the rest of Office 2007)
Instead of dragging this or that toolbar, lining them up how you like them, and adding/removing various toolbars, there is one band across the top of the Office products that is broken into sections. Each section contains categories relevant to the area that you're working in. This concept was introduced in 2007, and in 2010 it's further broken up into tabs: click a tab and the ribbon changes to the items for that tab.
The "Ribbon" also has tabs (new to Office 2010)
For example, the default "Task" tab will show you a ribbon for Clipboard, Schedule, Tasks, Insert, Properties, and Editing. Each has buttons and tools in it, such as Cut/Copy/Paste/Format Painter in "Clipboard", or font size, style, and color in "Font". "View" will toggle the Gantt chart on and off. If you click the top of a column or on a header, "Tasks" and "Insert" might become grayed out because you cannot perform these actions on a column or header. Click the "Resource" tab and you have a new ribbon, of "View" (which will now toggle "Team Planner" on and off), Assignments, Insert (which is now about Inserting people), Properties, and Level.
We use Project Professional fairly simply: keep a timeline, make some estimates, hand in to management on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we have some very particular yet simple features that seem to have been broken going to Project 2010. We have a specific color scheme and the standard colors in Project 2007 are gone...this brings Project 2010 more inline with the default palette for the rest of the suite. We can make custom colors to perfectly match by typing in the correct RGB values...if you like fiddling with graphics concepts that much (isn't that more for a web designer than a Project Manager?). The concept of editing the font has been stripped down to the minimal buttons...and when you need to go further you will need to start using the "Text Styles" feature that also mimics Word.
Which then brings us to the bugs. For reasons I can't figure out, changing one task and clicking Save is causing some individual fields in unrelated tasks to change their font size. Using Print Preview has gone from "What You See is What You Get" to "What You See May or May Not Work You Should Try Re-opening Your File". And the most difficult issue we've had has been with concurrency. You are allowed to install Project 2010 and keep your existing Project 2007 installation. You are prompted during install, and then you're prompted again to ditch the old version when you first launch Project. If you say no to all of these things, you can keep both instances of Project installed...but you can't run them. Whichever version of Project you launch will be the ONLY version that will launch until you reboot. I have 2007 and 2010 on separate hard drives and if I double-click the executable in the 2007 program folder...but I've already opened Project 2010 once today...then 2010 is what will be launched. Unless I reboot.
Project Professional 2010 is the first serious overhaul to Microsoft Project in a while. While the intention was to bring it up to speed with the rest of the suite, I get the impression it wasn't a finished product. If you are considering it, I highly suggest both familiarizing yourself with the basics of the new Office 2010 interface...and starting over from scratch with your older files. If you are considering keeping dual versions installed, you may want to consider taking the leap or staying behind, and not trying to do both.
It is my hope that a service pack or other update will improve Project 2010. Until then, I have to recommend against the new version.