Oracle Primavera P6 and MS Project are the most popular software for project planning, reporting, progress updating, and tracking. Both the software are used worldwide and they have their benefits. There are several differences between them. The following are the differences between Primavera Software and Microsoft Project
1. Unique ID:
- Microsoft Project, Hard to organize a large number of activities, the first line is assigned as ID 1, the second line as ID 2, and so on. If you insert a new activity between 1 and 2, the new activity becomes ID 2. Thus an activity’s ID is determined by its position among the others.
- P6 is characterized by a unique ID. For example, you can set the project to start from 1000 and increment by 10, so that the first activity entered will be assigned as ID 1000, the second as ID 1010, and so on. The activities keep their ID regardless of changes in position (unless you decide to physically change them).
If you are working on a big project and using an activity ID system/ Identification then Microsoft Project will not be the correct choice.
2. Activity Sorting:
- In Primavera P6, you can tell how to sort the activities. Sorting by date order, sorting by Activity ID, or any other factor makes sorting very durable and easy.
- Microsoft Project offers a bit more flexible control in that you can just move individual activities into the position you want them to appear in.
- In MS Project only 11 baselines can be created.
- In Primavera, unlimited baselines can be created.
4. Start and Finish Milestones:
- In Microsoft Project, you can not define a milestone as either a start or finish milestone.
- In Primavera P6, you have plenty of milestone types.
5. Multiple User Access
- MS Project doesn’t allow multiple users to work on a single project at the same time.
- In Primavera, you can even specify what features of Primavera a particular user can use, and which he can not.
6. Issues & Risks
- MS Project lacks the feature of tracking project issues or risks. No Risk-Issue recording or analysis.
- In Primavera, we can record issues and risks.
7. Web Support
- Primavera plans, documents, and other information can be converted to HTML directly from the software.
- MS Project doesn’t have such an option.
- Steps in Primavera allow you to create sub-activities (steps) of an activity. Each step can have its own start and finish date, and a completed step can be marked as completed.
- This useful feature is missing in MS Project.
- Besides costs, in the Primavera project expenses e.g. training, travel, etc. can also be added.
- In MS Project we can not do all of these options. You can only add one type of cost (Project Expenses).
10. Custom Fields
Both MS Project and Primavera allow us to create custom fields.
- But MS Project even allows us to set complex formulas or use fields and add additional values to them, to use in the custom field.
- In Primavera, we can create a blank custom field, but can not set formulas to it, so users have to manually enter values in each field, for each column.
- Primavera P6 has many useful columns. It comes installed with over 200 columns, each giving you different information. Some column category names include EVM, Budgeting, Costs, etc.
- On the other hand in MS Project, there are only around 40 columns. User-defined columns can be added easily which you can customize with functions.
12. Multiple Activity Relationships
- In Primavera P6, more than one type of relationship can be established between activities e.g. we can have FF and SS between the same two activities.
- In MS Project only one relationship can be made between two activities.
13. Project Website
- The Primavera P6 software can create a comprehensive website comprising complete project details including activities, resources, reports, risks, issues, WBS, and everything that has been entered into the software.
- This website is a very valuable feature and is not present in MS Project.
14. Multiple Project Creation, View, and Tracking
- In Primavera, multiple projects can be created and viewed. This can be done in MS Project too but since MS Project is not intended for multiple-project use, it doesn’t allow us to do things like the things we can do in Primavera like multiple project tracking, multiple projects, or WBS comparisons, cost, and unit calculations.
There are many more minor differences between Primavera P6 and MS Project but the above list is of major and prominent differences between the two software.
- In Primavera P6, WBS is created separately from activities. Once WBS has been created, then we can add activities with each WBS element. Whereas in MS Project, activities are indented to make them look like WBS.
- The benefit of MS Project is that the work breakdown structure is generally implemented through the use of summaries. You can create a new WBS level by indenting from the line above. This method allows you to create a system on the same screen where you enter activities. No single screen for adding WBS.
Which one You Should Learn, Primavera P6 or MS Project?
If you are heavily involved in a project or multiple projects, and you are required to computerize every detail of your project, you should go for Primavera P6 Professional Project Management. Or if you are working on a single project that doesn’t require you to record details other than activity schedule, resource list, and assignment details, use MS Project as it is simpler.
- Small Simple Project.
- Your team and stakeholders are not P6 users.
- Fast Learning Curve.
- If you’re not a P6 user and want to start creating now.
- Limited Resources.
- Limited Cost accounts.
- Projects with Mixed OS Environments.