Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project comparison microsoft project vs primavera

Microsoft Project vs Primavera Which One is the Best?

Project management professionals occasionally ask this famous question: Which one is the best project management software tool? Microsoft Project vs Primavera. In order to answer the question, we will make a Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project comparison to point out their key differences.

Traditional project management methodologies and approaches and are not enough to bring success all the time considering today’s challenging projects. Project teams always look for the best project management tool to improve decision making and manage their projects successfully. In order to deliver the projects on time and budget, project teams often create baseline schedules, budgets, registers to model and manage the scope of work. At this stage, project management software tools make easier to convey information among stakeholders and create reports to demonstrate the real status of the project.

It is not easy to say that one tool is better than the other because both of the software tools have pros and cons. Here we will make a Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project comparison to clarify the question.

Microsoft Project vs Primavera

Primavera or Microsoft Project -project management software tools

Primavera or Microsoft Project

As we mentioned in the first paragraph, we will focus on the two project management software ( Microsoft Project vs Primavera  ) and analyze their key differences from a different point of view. Let’s talk about the differences between Ms Project and Primavera P6.

Enterprise Capabilities

Primavera P6 is an integrated project portfolio management software which offers advanced enterprise capabilities. On the other hand, Microsoft Project was designed as a desktop application and the Project Server is used to bring enterprise capabilities to Microsoft Project for flexible project portfolio management.

Another significant matter is that the Oracle bought Primavera in 2008, therefore many oracle applications such as Business Intelligence Publisher, Workflow and Primavera Gateway supports Primavera P6. On the other side, software like Dynamics and SharePoint strengthens the Microsoft Project.

User Access Features

Primavera P6 allows multiple user access to use the software at the same time while working on a single project, however, Microsoft Project Desktop application does not. Microsoft Project Server supports several projects at the same time, but a user locks a project and other users can not edit when the project is in use.

Baseline Features

Primavera P6 allows to create unlimited baselines for a single project and four of these baselines (one project baseline and three user baselines) can be assigned to a project. On the other hand, Microsoft Project allows creating limited baselines for a single project.

Highlighting Activities

It is easy to highlight the upcoming activities and activity status by the help of Primavera P6 Progress Spotlight feature. In Microsoft Project, filters feature can be used for this purpose.

Web Support and Project Website

A project website can be created by directly sending the project documents to HTML in Primavera P6. In Microsoft Project, there is no direct feature like that. A project website can be created by the help of Project Server in Microsoft Project.

Activity Steps

In Primavera P6, activity steps can be used to model the phases of activity. This feature allows to break down an activity into meaningful steps to track. Weights can be assigned to each step and the percent complete of the activity is calculated based on the completion of these steps. Microsoft Project does not have a similar feature.


Expenses can be assigned to activity without assigning a resource in Primavera P6. On the other hand, expenses can be added by the help of resources in Microsoft Project.

Multiple Relationships and External Relationships

Primavera P6 allows assigning more than one relationships between two activities. On the other hand, Microsoft Project allows assigning only one relationship between two activities.
Relationships can be established between the activities of different projects in Primavera P6 directly. In Microsoft Project Links Between Projects tool can be used for the same purpose.

Hint Help

Hint help is a tool that provides information about the content of a column or field in Primavera P6. It shows the calculation method of data. Microsoft Project does not have a tool to serve the same purpose.


Primavera P6 Columns are more advanced than Microsoft Project’s Columns. In Primavera P6 more than 200 columns can be used to demonstrate the activity and project information. On the other hand, 500 default fields of Microsoft Project can be used to serve the same purpose.

Note that spreadsheets, e-mails, histogram reports, s-curves are not just enough to model the real status of a project. Therefore, an integrated project management software is required to organize the project’s tasks.

During recent years many cloud-based and web-based project management software tools are created. Various level of details and user roles can be defined along with time and cost management features.

While choosing the best project management tool, ease of use, scalability, user support and cost must be taken into consideration.

Another point is that customer satisfaction and scale (based on market share, vendor size, and social impact) are important parameters to decide the best project management software tool.

Summary ( Microsoft Project vs Primavera )

Project management software tools assist project teams to manage the project’s goals and organizational needs.

In this article, we made Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project comparison to answer the question: Which one is the best project management software tool? Microsoft Project vs Primavera.

Both Primavera and Microsoft Project are widely used and popular software. We can not say that one software is better than the others or the other software are not useful.

A large company may need software to organize multiple projects, on the other hand, a small company may need software to organize a small project. Choosing the best software is based on your projects and organizational requirements. We recommend using the free trial version of each of the products before to buy so that you will be able to get a first-hand comparison of the software tools before you actually invest money in one of them.

Note that there are some tools that help you to view project information without having a Primavera P6 license. ScheduleReader can be used to view and organize project data dynamically. It provides a simple way of tracking and reporting the activities on the critical path.

See Also

Primavera P6 Download

Microsoft Project Download

Resource Leveling

Primavera P6 Tutorial


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