I am representing a construction developer firm and I am looking for a tool to easily manage my contractors' progress and their payment. Currently I am using Microsoft Project and Microsoft Excel to keep track of all the work progress, claims and whatnot. It is a very tedious progress for me.

Note that I am not talking about software project management tools.

I am looking at the Microsoft Project Server. I am interested to configure it so that it should have the following standard project management features and functionality:

  1. Our construction developer firm will be the "superuser" who can see all the progress of all projects, made by our users--consists of contractors and sub-con ("normal users"). Our users can only see the projects that are related to them, they can't see other users' progress, of course. Only the superuser gets to see the whole project progress, in the form of Gantt chart, project baselines and whatnot.
  2. Progress indication and % of completion and all the things that a real project management has, like start date, due date and so on. The progress indication can be updated by the "normal users".
  3. Cost and projection. The user can specify the actual cost spent,the progress, and the estimated remaining cost for a task. At the end of the day, the program will take all these information, compute a new budget and compare this against the initial budget to check whether the project is over-budget or not.
  4. It should be easy for our users to attach photo, provide description in conjunction with their progress of completion.

My question is, can Microsoft Project Server be extended or configured or customized to support the above needs? Or is there any other tools ( open source or not) that can be supported to do this?

  • The FAQ states that "This site is NOT about...Tool recommendations". Tool recommendations are localized in time (features & comparisions change with versions) and are subjective (I prefer blue, you prefer green). I'm also not entirely convinced that this is about project management - I think this is really billing support. You've crafted this question well, but I believe this is a bad fit for the site. (I didn't flag because I think others may disagree with me, and I think this is very well written). – Mark C. Wallace Dec 3 '12 at 15:25
  • Hi Graviton, these questions do tend to generate a lot of spam. I'll leave it open for awhile with the expectation that answers will substantially answer the question and not just drop a link to a tool. If there's any edit you could make to focus more on the problem and not a tool, that would be helpful. – jmort253 Dec 5 '12 at 4:31
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    @jmort253, I've edited the question to make it specific to Microsoft Project. Hopefully it won't get spammed! – Graviton Dec 5 '12 at 4:48
  • All of the functionality you outlined can be handled with project server and can even be done at a fairly reasonable cost through hosted providers. – user5161 Dec 6 '12 at 17:47
  • Hi joe, can you elaborate? – Graviton Dec 7 '12 at 2:51

Microsoft Project Server works well with a broad range of project types like construction, software and what you have described is within the functionality of the tool.

  1. You can fully configure security to allow administrative or executive level view of all projects while limiting access to other users. This is done using the RBS Resource Breakdown feature or “Department” codes.
  2. There are 3 levels of % complete: Work, Duration or Physical. We typically use physical % complete with construction projects to help gauge the amount of effort to deliver the product.
  3. Project has full baseline and budgeting functionality. You can create a budget resources and baseline up to 10 iterations of actual cost, remaining cost, forecast cost, material cost, etc.
  4. Project server SharePoint Project sites that are like website where you can easily attach any kind of document and version control it.

Microsoft Project Server is fully configurable and depending upon your needs you can either do it in house or you can have a hosted company rent you a project server site. The hosted option works best when you don’t have any internal computer/IT help. It really works well when you have people all over the place and they need access in the office or on the job site. Hosting can be accessed anywhere.

Hope that helps answer your questions.


If you are willing to spend money, if the team get's large, I would ask you to look at Jira. If you are dead set on open source and "free" software I would say that Redmine, Bugzilla or any other that has been atound a while, and looking for plugins to make it suit your needs is one of your best bets.

There are many others but most of them are quite new. That means that they are likely to change core functionality that could make your life hard, they don't have a vast community support yet (for help and plugins) and they might seize to exist due to low adoption levels.

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