Businesses are free to use Microsoft (MS) Project as a standalone product if they wish, although benefits can be reaped when it is teamed up with other software.

The project management application is a highly developed programme that can ease the teething problems of workplace tasks. As well as helping to get initiatives running, it can also give you the tools to smooth out difficulties you experience along the way. From large to smaller tasks, the product's software helps you define your entire project, while also ensuring you identify the resources and costs needed to keep everything to budget.

From analysing your finances, to revealing how your initiative is panning out, MS Project can offer you useful information and insights regarding your assignment. Different methods of displaying your data, including Gantt charts, can help you see the progression of the project from different viewpoints. You can also get an idea of the impact delays have on your finances, while also being able to input details of suspected changes you think might occur. This gives you the opportunity to see how you could alter aspects of your project to benefit the changes.

For example, if you are buying goods from the continent to stock a new retail outlet, but are aware there may be strike action that is sure to delay the date you receive these items, you can input this change into your timetable. This shows you how the lack of stock, and possible change in opening date of the store effects other factors, such as staff contracts and the money you may pay them, even though the outlet is not open.

By predicting this via the software, you can inform staff their contracts start later than previously stated, so you do not waste money employing staff that you do not currently require. It may be difficult to see why you might use other MS products when this application can meet so many of the demands project management software requires. A great advantage to utilising the benefits of MS Project is that it can work with Excel, Word, Access and PowerPoint.

Although you may be quite content to browse through the project management's files without the need to represent data in other forms, many managers appreciate the software's ability to work with other applications when it comes to informing others in regard to the progress, successes and challenges that the initiative has faced and may still have to overcome. For example, figures you have put into MS Project in regard to the costs of your assignment as it currently stands, can be exported to an Excel workbook.

This kind of data is referred to as Earned Value and gives an impression regarding the status of your initiative according to the current budget. If there are problematic issues you wish to bring up in a meeting, it can be useful to use Excel to create graphs and tables of this information, compared with data that has been generated to show the impact of the situations after you have made budgetary changes. MS Project can help you calculate these predicted outcomes so you are able to transfer them to Excel, where the figures can be transformed into graphs and tables that get your message across clearly and quickly.

Likewise, you are free to move information and data to Access documents, which may be more easily accessible for those workers who may not own MS Project, but want to use the versatile functions available in the former applications. Additionally, if you wish to compile information into straightforward, instantly recognisable documents you are able to cut and paste text into Word documents, while those keen to professionally present their information can combine MS Project with PowerPoint.