The ability to track project progress is the single largest benefit of installing a collaborative project management tool. Despite Project’s popularity as a planning tool, a substantial number of Microsoft Project users fail to use it as a progress-tracking tool. As a stand-alone tool, it does little to promote project tracking. Each plan manager must manually gather this type of input and enter it into the plan. Some businesses employ people specifically to perform this work. Project Web Access timesheets provide the ability to collect progress information directly from the resources who are performing the work.
The predictive analysis enabled by a database full of up-to-date project and up-to-date resource information drives a return on investment for implementing project management software. The ability to recognize future resource demand and track project performance to standardized indices and criteria drives better decision making by line managers and executive managers alike. Perhaps the single most significant benefit of advanced analysis is the ability to identify and respond to project performance failures. Your goal is to know when to make adjustments to scope and resources and know when to kill an unsalvageable effort before costs get out of hand. Managers make these decisions most effectively with data and not by gut. Very few organizations have any, let alone well thought out, criteria for killing a project.
All the additional collaborative features provided by Project Server, such as the easy access to project data through the Web, issues management and document repositories, notifications and reminders, and many more, are the bonus prizes bestowed upon those organizations that can implement and commit to a managed project environment.