Price And Product Impact of Project For The Web

Microsoft’s newest offering for cloud-based project management, Project for the web, expands on the Project platform, but may have a pricing impact to you. Microsoft currently has the following Project Online products available, Project Essentials, Project Pro and Project Premium. This new offering Project for the web is the entry level Project management program, designed to be used by task-level employees. With the new Project for the web Microsoft has aligned the subscription structure with other Office 365 products, moving from the “Essentials”, “Professional”, and “Premium” titles, to the familiar E1, E3, and E5 plans. This shift in titles may also include an increase in price for the E1 type users.

What Is Project For The Web?

Project for the web is Microsoft’s newest cloud-based project management tool. The “For the Web” moniker refers to the fact that the Projects system is accessible in a browser-based format. As Microsoft describes it:

Project for the web is Microsoft’s most recent offering for cloud-based work and project management. Project for the web provides simple, powerful work management capabilities to meet most needs and roles. Project managers and team members can use Project for the web to plan and manage work of any size.

What does that actually mean? Project for the web allows teams to remotely work together, view project roadmaps, schedule tasks, create and track milestones, and compile reports. For the web also integrates with most of Microsoft’s other online offerings, allowing a smoother workflow across Office 365, Power Apps, and Microsoft Flow. This means that a project manager can assign and schedule tasks to their team members. From there, the team members can see where on the project roadmap they are, what tasks have been completed or are still open, and even create reports.

Project Pricing Tiers

Microsoft is continuing with their trend of tiered-subscription models for Project for the web, but they have also rebranded the tiers. The former “Project Online Professional” is now Project Plan 3, while “Project Online Premium” has become Project Plan 5. Let’s look at what each tier will cost you compared to their previous price. If you want to check out some of the features available with those plans. Click here to see Microsoft’s Project pricing page.

Project Plan 1 vs Project Essentials

Project Essentials Pricing Used to be: $7 /month per user Is now: $10/month per user

Formerly labeled “Essentials”, Project Plan 1 gives users access to only Project for the web, it does not allow on-premise use. Users can manage project documents across the Office 365 ecosystem, schedule tasks, submit timesheets, as well as use integrations with PowerApps and Power BI. This plan is meant for those who work at the task level and removes much of the higher-level project and portfolio management tools. The entry level subscription saw an 42% increase in price per user, moving from $7.00 per month per user under the “Essentials” banner, to $10 per user per month. This price increase translates to an added $3 per user per month, or $36 extra per user each year. In large corporations with hundreds of Project Essentials users, moving low level teammates from essentials to on the web could mean thousands of dollars in added costs.

With the price increase, however, comes the ability to use Project for the web without Project Online. Project Essentials was an add on for Project Online which provided the most commonly used features for task-level workers, but required that you also have Project Online Professional or Premium to actually use Essentials. With Project for the web, that tie has been severed, allowing small teams to perform basic project management without needing a more expensive license. While small organizations that can work within the confines of this slimmed down offering will save some money by virtue of no longer needing Project Online, larger organizations will feel the price increase as they will already have a mix of user types.

Project Plan 3 vs Project Pro Online

Used to be: $30/month per user Is now: $30/month per user

Previously known as the “Professional” tier, Project Plan 3 gives access to Project Online and you can use Project Online Desktop Application (Project Pro) for users looking for more functionality and flexibility than those on Plan 1. All the features of Plan 1 are included in Plan 3, but users can also create roadmaps to success, set tasks, add team members, and view the entire project from a top-down perspective. Plan 3 also allows for full integration with the Power Platform, including PowerApps, Power BI, and Microsoft Flow. While users can access Project Online and the Desktop Application with Plan 3, some functionality is restricted, like the ability for demand management and enterprise resource planning.

Project Plan 5 vs Project Premium

Used to be: $55/ month per user Is now: $55/month per user

Formerly the “Premium” edition of Project, Plan 5 is Microsoft’s complete Project subscription package. Project Plan 5 gives users access to the Project Online Desktop Application and is designed for Enterprise Project Management (EPM) type users. The Project Desktop Application allows Directors to monitor and manage their department’s complete roster of projects from the top down. Project Plan 5 allows Project Managers the most in-depth planning and management tools available. Users at this level can compile smaller projects into master projects, track project resource costs, compare planned budgets and resources to actual real-world data, and even set baselines to monitor performance against historical data. Plan 5 also opens additional functionality in Project Online not available in Project Plan 3.

How Do I Control Project Online Costs?

For clients that are currently contracted for Project Essentials, you will not feel any impact on pricing until you renew your contract. For Project Pro Online and Premium Online users there really is not much of a pricing impact. The real key to control costs is ensuring that you subscribe your end-users to the correct licensing tier. There is a big difference in costs between E1 and E5, and so often we see companies buying higher level licenses for users that only need E1s.

Understanding the hierarchy of Microsoft’s pricing scheme is essential to making a smart buying decision.

For task-level team members, Plan 1 should suffice. Users at this subscription level can communicate with each other, share files and resources, can monitor the timeline and task lists, as well as submit timesheets. While the feature list is limited, Plan 1 is designed to allow teams to complete their assignments without interrupting the planning process.

Project Managers will want at least Project Plan 3 since this tier makes the real planning tools available. Anyone who is active in the planning process of the project, assigns tasks, is authorized to make approvals or requests, or needs to closely monitor performance and resources, will require at least this level of subscription.

Project Plan 5 is designed for organizations that want Enterprise Project Management (EPM) functionality and who need full control of their project environment and portfolio. Not all users will require Plan 5, but users that are planning, tracking, and managing projects across a department or company likely will.

Where To Go From Here

Now that you have a better understanding of the Project platform, you can make an informed decision regarding the subscriptions your organization needs. If you are considering purchasing licenses for Microsoft Project and would like more information about negotiating a contract with Microsoft, our learning center is full of useful information for you to use, or you can reach out to us and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

About MetrixData 360

MetrixData 360MetrixData360 translates software licensing agreements into clear understandings and drives significant cost savings in audits and negotiations.