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Microsoft Project Plan 1 vs 3 vs Plan 5 – Feature Comparison

Microsoft Project Plan 1 vs 3 vs Plan 5

In this article, we are comparing the Microsoft Project Plan 1 vs 3 vs Plan 5, which are available under a subscription model from Microsoft under the M365 umbrella of online services.

Well, if you are checking out the options for an effective project management software, Microsoft has been one of the prominent options. If you are looking for the best choices in terms of software licensing for the deliberation requirements, one such an excellent option of software licensing involves your project management.

Related: Microsoft 365 Business Basic vs Standard vs Premium

Microsoft has been a clear leader when you are looking at the best options for the project on the web concept, and its Project plans have been observed to be extremely practical and powerful.

What are Microsoft Project Licensing Options?

In case you are checking out the project and work management requirements of your organization, the best options that Microsoft offers you would include the following:

What does these mean? Well, let us explain each of them.

Project for the web

This would refer to the project management on the cloud. It offers you an excellent means of handling cloud-based work and project management. It is built on the Microsoft Power Platform and is designed for the project managers and team leaders in plan and manages the work of any size.

The project for the web Power Platform is consists of several core apps such as PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, Power BI, and the Common Data Service (CDS). All your data is saved on CDS. You can opt for it through different plans named Project Plan 1, Project Plan 2, and Project Plan 3.

Project Online

Project Online is yet another flexible online solution for use with everyday project management. This is a project that is specifically designed for use with Project Portfolio Management (PPM). It does provide you access to proper planning, prioritizing, and managing projects.

The Project Online solution can be one of the great options for the use of administrators, portfolio managers and viewers, project and resource managers, and team leads and members. This plan would be available through Project Plan 3 and Project Plan 5.

Project Online desktop client

This is the third project management solution on offer from Microsoft. As is evident, this is a local client on your desktop and differs from the online counterparts we just described in the above paragraphs. The solution comes with automated scheduling, project resource management, and built-in reporting.

You can either work with it as a standalone application or can even choose to work with it along with Project Online. It can be availed as apart of the Project Plan 3 and Project Plan 5.

The Differences between the Three different Project Plans

Image: Microsoft

Well, now that we have understood the basic concepts in detail about the different project management options offered by Microsoft, we will discuss in detail each of the three different Project Plans.

Project Plan 1

In sharp contrast to what most of us tend to believe, Project Plan 1 is an altogether new license option and NOT a renamed version of Project Online Essentials. If you are using Projects for the web and looking for the simplified approach to project management, the Project Plan 1 should be what would make it one of the best options.

It lets you get access to a streamlined option for quickly managing your projects with the simple choice of Project Plan 1 and Microsoft 365 experience.

A few of the features offered by the package would include

  • Simplified Task Scheduling – You can schedule your tasks rather quickly and smartly and organize them, preferably in a better manner.
  • Visualized Timelines – You would have access to better visualization of your highlighted task paths. That would help you understand the difference between the tasks.
  • Multiple View Options – You and your team members will be able to view the project in your preferred project view. Choose between grid, board, and timeline.
  • Easier collaboration and communication – Use a combination of Project and Microsoft Teams for a productive collaboration. You should be able to indulge in a range of communication and collaboration options through the transfer of files sharing, chats, and a lot more.

Project plan 1 does offer you access to an enhanced and improved experience with an easy to use and coherent experience. A perfect combination with Microsoft 365 should be yet another advantage. The ease of use and an intuitive interface are a couple of features we would find a compelling option on almost every count.

The plan is available for $10 per user per month.

Some of the options offered by the platform can include –

  • Ease of managing your projects through visual and straightforward tools.
  • Secure initialization and control of any project.
  • An effective and efficient planning and status tracking
  • Collaboration options from practically any location.

Compatibility – Windows OS: Windows 10 SAC, Windows 10 LTSB 2016, Windows 10 LTSB 2015, Windows 8.1, Windows 7 Service Pack 1*, Windows Server 2019, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, or Windows Server 2008 R2

Project Plan 3

It was earlier known as Project ‘Online’ Professional and has recently been renamed to Project Plan 3. This license would ideally be useful and a practical option for the project manager or resource manager. This license is designed to work in Project Online and Project for the web. It does provide you access to powerful project management capabilities so that you would be able to work with your projects from practically anywhere.

A few salient features offered by Project Plan 3 would include:

  • Simplified Visual experience – Simple to use and intuitive interface through Microsoft 365 should be one of the unique and excellent options. This will give access to an intuitive and coherent user experience.
  • The world-class Built-in Templates – You can either use the templates that are built within the project or choose to go to to pick your favorite templates.
  • Easier collaboration and communication – You can use a combination of Microsoft Teams and Project to arrive at the best possible collaboration. The Microsoft Teams streamlines and makes it rather easy to share files, chats, and meetings.
  • Visualized Timelines – You would be able to have a better understanding of the relationship between the different tasks. The concept of highlighted timeline should be yet another excellent option.
  • Easy to follow roadmaps – Project Plan 3 provides you access to easily visualized roadmaps. This can go a long way in letting you visualize the progress in a project in a single view.
  • Well informed decisions – The baseline comparisons between the actual progress to the original plan let you take the relevant decisions.
  • Better reports – The Plan lets you have access to proper insights and reports. The built-in tools such as burndown help get a better idea.
  • Options for better customization – The Microsoft Power Platform provides you with a higher degree of customization. This will help you better customize your project to meet your actual requirements.

A highly collaborative work style and efficient functionality would further make it one of the excellent options for use with your projects. Project Plan 3 is available for $30 per month per user.

You can be assured of the following options with Project Plan 3 –

  • Powerful project management online.
  • Options to keep track of projects, resources, and teams organized.
  • Easier and efficient planning and status tracking.
  • License lets you have access to up to five concurrent installations of the Project Online desktop app.
  • Collaboration virtually anywhere.
  • A high degree of resource management capabilities.

Compatibility – Windows 7 or later, Windows 10 Server, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2012.

Project Plan 5

In case if you are wondering, this the new name for the Project Online Premium. This license should be one of the excellent options for the users who are looking for access to an entire Project Online Platform. It provides you access to the complete portfolio selection. You would be able to plan, prioritize, and manage the whole project. You would be able to analyze the portfolio investment from practically anywhere.

Some of the salient features offered by the plan would include –

  • Access it anywhere at any time – You will be able to edit, submit, view, and collaborate on any project on the move.
  • Work with your Office apps – The license collaborates and integrates seamlessly with your Office apps such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, plus Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint
  • Intuitive Roadmaps – The roadmaps let you visualize the project in a more positive manner. Get access to every sort of progress that you have been able to achieve in your projects, programs, and portfolios.
  • Create useful reports – The license lets you get access to the best insights into the best possible reports that you can share with your stakeholders.
  • Easier and effective communication – A perfect combination and integration of Microsoft Teams and Project can help you indulge in a truly effective file sharing, meetings, and chats.
  • Pick your own views – You can visualize your projects in different views based on the ones you would prefer. Choose between grid, board, and timeline.

The simple to use and easy to implement functionality along with a faster efficiency are what would make it one of the exciting options you would want to go with. The Microsoft Power Platform lets you customize your project management. The plan should ideally be one of the expensive options with a price of around $55 per month per user.

Some of the options available on the platform can be summarized as –

  • You gain access to a complete cloud-based project and portfolio management.
  • The license is best suited for resource managers and solution administrators.
  • Demand management options
  • Analysis of portfolios and proper optimization
  • Enterprise resource management.

Compatibility – Windows 7 or later, Windows 10 Server, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2008 R2, or Windows Server 2012

How do they compare against one another – Microsoft Project Plan 1 vs 3 vs Plan 5

Having understood the significant features offered by each of the three Project Plans, let us check out the head to head comparison between the three plans.

Features Project Plan 1 Project Plan 3 Project Plan 5
Project Home Options Yes Yes Yes
Grid View Yes Yes Yes
Board View option Yes Yes Yes
Timeline view with Gantt chart Yes Yes Yes
Collaboration and Communication Yes Yes Yes
Project planning and scheduling Yes Yes Yes
Reporting No Yes Yes
Timesheet submission No Yes Yes
Resource management No Yes Yes
Roadmap Read-only access Yes Yes
Desktop client No Yes, up to 5 PCs Yes, up to 5 PCs
Portfolio selection and optimization No No Yes
Demand management No No Yes
Integrated apps Project for the web Project for the web

Project Online

Project Online desktop client

Project for the web

Project Online

Project Online desktop client

The Closing Thoughts

Well, that was a complete comparison between the three plans for project management viz Project Plan 1, Project Plan 3, and Project Plan 5. The discussion and the overview offered or each of the plans above should help you make a well-informed choice for the best option among them.

We would assume the tips here should help you arrive at the right kind of decision making. Check out those plans and share your thoughts and experiences with us.

Disclaimer: The Questions and Answers provided on are for general information purposes only. We make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose.

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