The battle of the project management software. The long-time heavyweight Microsoft Project and the newest challenger to the block, Monday.com. Both sides definitely do not pull their punches but they definitely have different strengths and weaknesses that can mean the difference between an alright performance and a knock out performance!
In this blog, we will give you an overview of both software, compare their features and provide some recommendations and alternatives that might best suit you and your team.
Monday.com vs Microsoft Project, let’s get started!
In the short ten years since its founding in 2012, Monday.com has become a widely popular and prominent figure in the project management world. Known for its sleek and simple interface, collaborative features, simplified visualisations, and ready-made templates, the web and mobile-based platform make getting work done easy. It styles itself as an intuitive spread-sheet style task management program with additional features to help address your everyday project management needs. With its mid-range pricing plans, it is best suited for medium to large businesses.
Created by software giant Microsoft in the 1980s, Microsoft Project is one of the most widely used project management software in the world. From communication, resource management, time tracking, road mapping and much more, Microsoft Project is the benchmark for holistic project management software with its level of detail and customizability. Additionally, as a Microsoft product, it can also seamlessly integrate with the countless powerful Microsoft tools and software within the Office365 catalogue. While the level of detail and scalability is a win, it can also make the software rather costly to smaller businesses.
Monday.com and Microsoft Project have a wide range of features but we would be here all day if we went through every single one. We will be comparing the two software through seven different features or measures: Usability, reporting and visualisation, collaboration, planning and task management, accessibility, integration, and pricing.
Monday.com takes the crown for its easy-to-use interface. With its striking colours, streamlined views and easy drag and drop features, users require little to no experience to get a hold of the software.
On the other hand, Microsoft Project, while detailed and pragmatic, requires some training to be used to its full capacity. For those who are not used to the Microsoft ecosystem, it can appear clunky and complicated. It may not look as pretty, but it is packed full of tools we will talk about more further below.
Reporting and Visualisation
Monday.com typically organises and visualises projects through columns and boards (not to be confused with Kanban boards) that allow for quick overviews of task progress within a project. However, these overview dashboards are critically missing timeline percentages that can help grasp project progress on a higher level.
Additionally, Monday.com does not come with a dedicated Gantt chart feature but enables Gantt chart visualisation, known as Timeline view, with a greater focus on the dependencies between people over tasks.
While this is great for visualisation purposes, making active changes, reorganising task dependencies and setting deliverables is a challenge. When working on more complex projects with interdependent tasks and mixed teams, this can become an issue. On top of that, the timeline view itself is only available on premium packages.
Microsoft Project excels at visualisations and reporting. With its seamless integration with other Microsoft and partner services, Microsoft Project can give you more detailed, configurable and accurate dashboards that consider a wide range of factors beyond singular projects alone. Not only will you be able to see task progress within projects, but you can also keep track of the overall schedule, expenses and resource usage at a single glance.
Additionally, its Timeline feature allows you to pair different projects and tasks onto a single timeline. To top it off, exporting these configurable dashboards with your own custom fields is simple, allowing you to easily share the visualisations and simplify your reporting activities.
Through its simple board system, all project teams members can easily allocate ownership to tasks, clearly visualise their tasks and track progress. Communication is also centralised within the app with its own chat features and document management system to make sure everyone is on the same page.
In Microsoft Project, team dashboards allow you to gain a critical overview of project activities and is configurable to your teams specific KPIs. File sharing is also simplified with additional controls to ensure you and your client’s data is secure at all times. Furthermore, Microsoft Project makes it easy to include individuals and teams both within and outside of the organisation without sacrificing security. Finally, its seamless integration with Microsoft Teams ensures all your communication needs are covered.
Planning and Task Management
Monday.com is a great tool for task management, and they offer a free plan as well! With its easy drag and drop assignment feature, checklist system and progress updates, project managers will have no problem knowing exactly where their team is at. However, there are some limitations in planning as it is difficult to track time and expenses, particularly due to the lack of a proper Gantt chart tool. As a very people-centric tool, Monday.com is great at motivating people to get the task done but planning tasks is not yet fully optimised.
On the other hand, Microsoft Project excels at detailed planning, especially for projects that apply waterfall-based methodologies. Microsoft not only allows your to allocate and manage tasks, but it also has different tools that allow you to integrate budgets, link up to resource planning tools and allow for clearly defined task dependencies. It also comes with additional earned value analytic tools to help gain further real-time insight into project value. This wide range of capabilities allows Microsoft Projects to be a full-fledged project management tool with the ability to handle multiple projects and even portfolios instead of being limited to task management of singular smaller projects.
Monday.com has great accessibility with desktop and mobile app versions available in multiple languages. However, it is important to note that the mobile app version has certain limitations. Firstly, the valuable time tracking column can be added through your mobile app, but you cannot view or edit previous times. You also lose several board views including files, map, Gantt, workload, chart and form view. Finally, both your automation and widgets on your dashboard cannot be edited and can only be viewed or interacted with if they already exist in your desktop version.
While Microsoft Project does not have a specific mobile app version, its higher-level plans come with access to Project for the Web, Microsoft Project Online and Project Online Desktop Client that allows for different levels of configuration and personalisation through API capabilities and customizable UIs.
Monday.com can integrate with various tools for project and customer relationship management, file sharing and online payment ranging with apps like Stripe, Asana and the recent addition of Microsoft teams. With over 2000 app integrations available, Monday.com is definitely an integration beast.
As expected, Microsoft Project integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft products such as Outlook, Excel, Sharepoint and much more. With over 1 million companies and 1.2 billion users using Microsoft Office, none of those users will be missing out on critical data connectivity within their system. Additionally, Microsoft Projects can also integrate with other platforms such as Zoho Projects, Wrike, Planview and much more.
Monday.com has five different packages ranging from free versions to full enterprise-level solutions. The price range from $10 per user/month for the Basic version and up to $20 per user/month for the Pro version. However, it is important to take note of the different inclusions with each package. You will find that many of the useful premium tools will come with the premium price tag as well.
Microsoft Project comes in three different subscription plans. Plan 1 comes with Microsoft Project Essentials (with limited features) and costs $10 per user/month. Plan 3 includes Project for the Web, Microsoft Project Online and Project Online Desktop Client at $30 per user/month. Finally, Plan 5 includes the same products as Plan 3 with additional features such as portfolio selection and optimisation, portfolio selection, demand management and enterprise resource planning and management tools.
Both Monday.com and Microsoft Project have their fair share of pros and cons.
While monday.com may excel with its simplified UI and intuitive task management features, it may not be suited for large and complex projects that require very specific features and configurations. Its lack of holistic integration of time and expense tracking also makes it impractical for program and portfolio management. While it may appear cheaper at first glance, the premium tools are only available through their more expensive packages.
Microsoft Project might not have the prettiest look and might take some time getting used to, but its integration of different project management functions and its detailed configurations particularly for Gantt charts make it particularly valuable for large scale waterfall-based projects.
Its price packages may not be the most friendly on the pocket but it is important to remember that these packages can be paired with your pre-existing Office365 subscriptions that allow you to tap into a wealth of tools and applications such as Power Automate, Power BI and more that can take your project management activities to the next level.
Say you want the level of detail you get with Microsoft Project but want the simplicity and integration of Monday.com. What do you do? Lucky for you, pmo365 is able to solve your problems.
Off-the-shelf solutions like Monday.com often come with bells and whistles that sound great at first yet do not solve the problems you have. And those premium tools you truly need, more often than not, end up coming with additional costs.
On the other hand, Microsoft Project on its own may seem limited but when utilised in cohesion with the full suite of Office365 tools, it can achieve unprecedented levels of detail, functionality and efficiency.
With pmo365, we build solutions that specifically address what you need, when you need them. Instead of throwing premade software at your problems, we build according to your unique context, practice and processes. You no longer need to be held back by limitations in integrations and external data connectivity.
Some benefits of pmo365 include:
- Personalised and customized applications and solutions built for your specific needs
- Solutions built on your tenancy so you are always in control of your IP
- Integration with virtually any external database with Power Automate. Check out the full list of connectors here.
- Iterative deployment of your solution means we grow as you grow
- Consolidating all your project management activities onto a single platform to give you a single-source-of-truth.
- Transparent, stress-free and no lock-in pricing strategy that gives you the most flexibility and control over your solution. Forget calculating individual licensing fees and subscriptions.