Microsoft Project vs Primavera P6 Which One is the Best ?

Primavera P6 And Microsoft Project Comparison Microsoft Project Vs Primavera

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 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 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 facilitate conveying information among stakeholders and creating reports to demonstrate the real status of the project. For sure, 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.

Primavera P6

Primavera P6 is an advanced software tool developed by Oracle for project, program, and portfolio management. It offers sophisticated solutions for planning, managing, and reporting tasks.

Primavera P6 can be applied to projects and organizations of all sizes, regardless of the industry. There are two versions of P6.

  • P6 PPM (Professional Project Management)
  • P6 EPPM (Enterprise Project Portfolio Management)

Primavera P6 PPM

P6 PPM is a standalone application that is installed on a computer and operated with the help of a local database. It supports a multi-user system.

Primavera P6 EPPM

P6 EPPM is a web-based enterprise application. Therefore, it does not require a local database and it is not installed on the individual’s computer. All of your data is stored in a main database.

If you have an internet connection, you can access it from anywhere through the login interface. Therefore, your performance is affected by the quality of your internet connection.

Microsoft Project (MS PROJECT)

Like Primavera P6, Microsoft Project is a project management software tool developed for project teams to facilitate their project control process.

The Microsoft Project, which is a member of the Microsoft Office Family, helps to develop project schedules by linking activities, planning resources, and managing costs. There are two versions of Microsoft Project.

  • Standard Version
  • Professional Version

Microsoft Project Standard

The standard version of Microsoft Project (MS Project) is suitable for small organizations because its features are quite limited. It is used to manage activities, costs, business intelligence, and reports for your project.

Microsoft Project Professional

Unlike the Standard version, Microsoft Project Professional (MS Project) is an advanced tool that has additional features such as Skype for Business, business presence, resource management. One of its most prominent features of the Professional version is its ability to sync with Project Online & Project Server.

Microsoft Project vs Primavera P6

Microsoft Project Vs Primavera, Which One Is The Best Software Tool

As we mentioned in the first paragraph, we will focus on the two project management software tools ( Microsoft Project vs Primavera ) and analyze their key difference.

Difference Between Microsoft Project Professional and Primavera P6

Both Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project are widely used software tools available on the market, however, there are some major differences between them. One of the most important difference is that the Primavera P6 is a database based tool where the Microsoft Project is file-based. Primavera P6 was developed with advanced enterprised capabilities from the beginning. On the other hand, the Microsoft Project was developed as a standalone desktop tool, then it gained enterprise capabilities. Let’s analyze their key difference in deeper.

Enterprise Capabilities

Primavera P6 is an integrated project portfolio management software tool that offers advanced enterprise capabilities. However, 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 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, the 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 an unlimited number of 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 Baselines feature allows creating limited up to 11 baselines for a single project.

Highlighting Activities

It is easy to highlight the upcoming activities and activity status with the help of the Primavera P6 Progress Spotlight feature. In Microsoft Project, the 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 with 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 activities without assigning resources in Primavera P6. On the other hand, expenses can be added with the help of resources in Microsoft Project Professional.

Multiple Relationships and External Relationships

Primavera P6 allows assigning more than one relationship 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 tools 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.

Risk & Issue Management

Primavera P6 has an advanced risk and issue management feature that allows you to identify and manage risks as well as assigning a risk owner (or a responsible). On the other hand, Microsoft Project is not designed for risk and issue management.

Tracking Multiple Projects

Although both software tools allow creating multiple projects, Primavera P6 enables to track multiple projects resource and costs calculations while Microsoft Project does not support tracking multiple projects, cost, other calculations.

Activity IDs

Activity IDs are unique in Primavera P6. In Microsoft project Activity IDs are unique, they indicate the position of the activity with respect to the other activities.

Activity Control

Activity grouping and sorting are possible but less flexible in Primavera P6 compared with the Microsoft Project. In Microsoft Project, an activity can be moved from one position to another where you want it to show.

Primavera P6 vs Microsoft Project (MS Project) Infographic

Primavera P6 Vs Microsoft Project (Ms Project) Selecting Best Project Management Software

Selecting the Best Project Management Software Tool

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

In recent years many cloud-based and web-based project management software tools are created. Various levels 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.

Primavera P6 vs Microsoft Project: Which One Is Better?

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 (MS Project) comparison to answer the question: Which one is the best project management software tool? Microsoft Project vs Primavera.

According to the above Primavera P6 and Microsoft Project comparison, both of them are advanced and capable software tools. 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 buying 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.

See Also

Primavera P6 Download

Microsoft Project Download

Resource Leveling

Primavera P6 Tutorial

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