Microsoft Project 2002: A Faster Start

Microsoft's updated project management software adds wizards to walk you through the steps involved in creating the right plan

By Laurianne McLaughlin

As anyone who has used Microsoft Project 2000 knows, this project manager packs in its many tracking features and charting tools as if they were bread and batteries at hurricane time. But the new Microsoft Project 2002 addresses the issue of overload by adding wizards that guide you through every aspect of constructing a plan for a complex project, monitoring its progress, and finally reporting it.

Once I got my shipping copy of Microsoft Project Standard 2002 running (the install takes time), I appreciated how quickly I could set up a project plan and specify options. The program retains all of Project 2000's options and offers new Project Guide help tools.

The Project Guide wizards (which appear in a left-side window pane) are all business: Concise instructions usher you through defining a project, listing tasks, setting deadlines, specifying workers and associated costs, choosing calendar templates, and saving a baseline version of the project plan. You can import task lists from Microsoft Outlook or save multiple baseline estimates for any project.

Project 2002 tracks the way changes to one aspect of a project affect another, slices and dices all the data, and draws Gantt charts and other graphics for quick e-mail updates or formal presentations.

At $599, this software is not for individuals tracking everyday work. Instead, corporate workgroups or well-heeled small businesses will benefit.

From the September 2002 issue of PC World magazine

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