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MS Project Server vs Individual copies of Project: Cost/benefit analysis

Posted on 2007-12-03
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We are a very small company (9 people total) and in need of project management software and we are trying to figure out how to get the most value for our limited monies.

I am virtually completely unfamiliar with Project, so I am relying on your feedback to help me make this decision.  (I am not wedded to MS Project 2003, but we have already purchased a copy of the software for one computer.)

Needs:
1) We have 2 "superusers" who will need to input/update the data (one schedule), but we expect to add a third person in the near future.  These people often work remotely, through our VPN.
2) We have 3 "management" people for whom I'd like to provide a very robust view of the projects we have (allow them to see the details, but we don't need them to make any changes).
3) We have 4 "support" people for whom I'd like to provide basic scheduling information, but we don't need them to make any changes.

We have a server.  

So.  As I see it, I have a few options:
1) Go ahead and purchase a second copy of Project 2003 to install on the second superuser's computer, share the Project file manually on the server (only one person can open it at a time) and manually print reports for management and support folks (is there a cheap and easy way to share the data? Web interface?)
2) Purchase a server copy of Project 2003 with 5 licenses.  Give the 2 superusers and 3 management users access to the server copy, lock down management's permissions to modify the data, print reports for the support folks.
3) Purchase 10 licenses of Project 2003.  Same situation as above, but the support folks can also now view the data.  (This strikes me as a waste of $$, but I'm very much in favor of providing everyone with all the information that they need to get their work done--having only a few people being able to see the data on demand sets up the potential for bottlenecks.

HELP!
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Question by:gettica
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jbfraser earned 400 total points
ID: 20431750
Some information that might help with the decision:
Project Standard 2003 can not connect to Project Server. You need Project Professional 2003.
Implementing Project Server is not a trivial process. Even the install requires a great deal a familiarity with SharePoint and Project Server. Configuring security and timetracking options could take weeks for a new user, unless you are familiar with the options. And then there is the creation of views and reports.
With what you describe, if you were willing and interested to take on the configuration and maintenance you could purchase Project Server 2003, 3 copies of Project Pro 2003, and 7 Project Web Access (PWA) licenses.

Project Server is at its best when letting people view information across multiple projects at once. Since it sounds like you don't have too many projects, and you probably don't want to become full-time project server person, you should probably stick with solution #1.

If you are still interested in pursuing Project Server, you should consider hiring consultants for the installation or perhaps hosting the service with a third party.


James Fraser
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by:gettica
ID: 31412346
Yikes!  I guess what they say is true: "With great power comes great responsibility!"  I want a program that is either a little less powerful or a lot more user-friendly!  Thank you for the suggestions!
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