Minor Project Revamp
Microsoft Office Project 2003, like other applications in the Office 2003 family, isn't a radical update. In the latest retooling of this veteran application for project plan production and schedule management, you'll find mostly small improvements, such as better wizards and printing options.
I looked at a shipping copy of Office Project Standard 2003 ($599, $349 to upgrade), which specifically targets managers and professionals who work independently. (Large teams interested in using collaboration features should consider Project Professional 2003, which costs $999 for the full version and $599 to upgrade.)
Project Standard shares the interface and core features of other Office 2003 apps, including a Getting Started pane that displays recently used files. This version also makes it easier than preceding editions to copy Project schedules into other Office apps like Word. Another bonus: With Office 2003 Professional already installed on my PC's hard drive, Project Standard's typical-install option took up just a modest 61MB more.
Project Standard gives you access to clever, time-saving wizards and help features, like the Interactive Project Guide. This wizard pops up when you create a new Project file and covers necessary planning steps; it's a great starting point for people who don't have to do daily project management. You can save additional time in Project by using Microsoft Office online templates--for example, downloading premade project templates to track construction, engineering, and training plans.
Improved options make it simpler to finesse the details of a printout and quickly create a one-page project schedule handout. In addition, you can view project schedules in calendar format.
If you already own Project 2002, the upgrade cost is steep for the added value. But if you still use Project 98 or some other less-sophisticated project management program, Project 2003 could quickly pay for itself in time savings.
Microsoft Project Standard 2003
Pricey time-saver; good bet if
you use much older programs.
Price when reviewed: $599, upgrade $349 Current prices (if available)