Is Project Online Going Away?

Let’s talk about Microsoft’s latest indirect announcement for Project Online, their technology direction, what the impacts are to you, and perhaps how you can best take advantage of the opportunity.

At Advisicon, we look at work management productivity, do a lot of teaching and coaching, and work with the Microsoft Engineering teams on the next two generations of tech. We’re getting a lot of questions and we’d like to take this opportunity to clear up some confusion and give guidance.

So, what the tech is going on with project technology?! Microsoft has been hinting over the last couple of years, but now they’ve made a definitive choice to phase out Project Online.

Microsoft Project Online is not going to allow new users.

The fact that Project Online isn’t going to allow new users might send a little bit of a shockwave. Let’s unpack that announcement.

First off, it’s not new. Microsoft has been very clear about what they’re trying to put out there. There are implications you must think about. Maybe we’re planning to move to Project Online. We’re thinking about moving from our on-premise software, or we need an enterprise environment to work with. With that in mind, you’re probably wondering, “what does this move mean for me and how does that work?”

When considering this announcement, it’s essential for everyone to look at the ecosystem in place as well as the crawl, walk, run, and grow-up story. From task management, work management, leading to project program, resource management, and portfolio management, Microsoft has solutions for you across the spectrum.

Where do you fit in with your project needs and organizational maturity? Microsoft is trying to continue to innovate this experience. Phasing out Project Online is a big piece of that.

Project Online will be phased out

Microsoft wants to give people enough time to think about and adapt to this change, so they’ve given a leeway period for people to make the shift. The date isn’t set in stone. Microsoft has shown time and time again their flexibility to change dates, and most likely, they will do it. But in their public-facing documentation, they are recommending that users migrate to Project for the web “as soon as it makes sense for your business.”

If Microsoft’s not ready, they won’t force something out the door. They’re not going to lock people from getting into something unless they have it structured enough that people have options to work with. But keep in mind they’re also saying “there is no date to limit the functionality of Project Online at this time, but we encourage customers to plan their transition as soon as possible.

Timing is fluid on the capacity limit which says that Project Online isn’t going to let anybody new in. Get in quickly if you want to use that because it works, it works all day long, all day strong, and it is certainly a valuable asset.

What technology is going to replace Project Online?

There isn’t a single application slated to replace Project Online. However, there’s an impressive suite of emerging project technology platforms. As Microsoft looks to lead people out of the legacy tech into the future tech, consider some impressive new applications integrated into the Periodic Table of Microsoft.

SharePoint used to be the only collaboration portal loop bringing components together in a very easy-to-manage experience. While Microsoft is still investing in and bettering SharePoint, they’ve now launched Loop, which is a new, next-generation way to collaborate and work interactively online.

In terms of the Viva platform, consider Viva Goals. While there are many Viva products that are out there for project management, Viva Goals shines when it comes to taking your opportunities and key results and creating value from that. Viva Goals integrates with Project for the Web and Planner to automatically update OKR and initiative progress.

There are also big improvements in store for the Power Platform and Microsoft Lists. They’re growing in strength and capabilities as Microsoft continues to invest and let people work through that.

Power BI, in particular, is seeing change. One of the biggest complications in data analysis is managing AI models, and to meet that need, they’ve launched Microsoft Fabric. Now, Power BI users can connect “every data source and analytics service together.”

While it’s not listed on the Periodic Table, you will see some new things like Project Operations. This project service automation is meant for large, mature organizations centered around projects. Powered by Dynamics (a Power App itself), you can connect all your data sources and software within one application. This enterprise application allows you to perform billing and collecting and have hours come in—all in a single place.

Overall, Microsoft’s goal is to begin pushing people into a stronger and more secure environment. It’s not that Project Online isn’t secure, but it is the legacy enterprise top-level functional element they’ve built for 30 years.

It’s no wonder that they’re reenvisioning that experience. That being said, they intend to make sure that they take the most important features and capabilities that people are using daily and incorporate them into the new project management platform.

What are your options if Project Online is at capacity?

Project for the Web

Number one, you can go to Project for the Web. You can certainly scale with Project for the Web. Some people are already in Project Online and they also use Project for the Web, leveraging Power BI to bridge those systems together. They’re using the Microsoft Fabric space to read data from multiple enterprise tools and generate dashboards that combine all the information.

Additionally, Project for the Web has added new features and more capabilities monthly. It’s exciting to see the things we’ve always known and loved in Project Desktop still emerging as a new feature and capability with Project for the Web. Microsoft is actively investing in the ease and use of Project for the Web.

Power Platform

Secondly, the Power Platform exists, and in fact, there’s an accelerator for Project that Microsoft puts out. There are some partners who have built their own Power App applications to work with. Be inspired to say, “If I don’t have an enterprise feature, I’m not going to wait for Microsoft to build it. I can go in and I put that together.”

Power Automate and Power Apps offer ways for you to build the processes you need without technical coding skills—perfect for “citizen developers.” Drop in your data sources and functions you’d like to see, then watch your scheduling technology, resource management, and task/work management systems deliver it. Offering a variety of templates, they’re designed for easy automation.

Project Server

Finally, as we think about Project Server, do you have to move it? No, not really.

In fact, some people are just hosting those online. They have their own servers.

Have you heard of the term “Azure?” If you haven’t looked at Azure, it’s just Microsoft Server in the cloud. Some people do it with Amazon Web Services, where they’ll host their enterprise environment.

Technically, even Project Server or Project Online, this web app you could grab it, deploy it, and stick it to the environment where it would be static and stable. And you can continue to use that since Microsoft isn’t turning it off.

How to Pivot to Other Project Management Tech

As you can see, instead of having a one-stop shop with Project Online, Microsoft is moving towards a project management experience that ties in many applications. Considering this somewhat complicated approach, there are several steps to making wise software movements.

  • Remember your culture. Whether or not your outcome is better work management and productivity, remember your company, your organization, your agency, your nonprofit, or even just you. You work as part of a culture! You can’t just shove in technology that isn’t right for your people.
  • Consider organizational maturity. We all work at different levels. This dictates that we don’t all start with the most powerful tool. We may have a crawl, walk, run approach.
  • Look at your process. You can go out and get the greatest tool, but if you have zero processes or standards, in many cases, it’s not maintainable. We recommend mapping your processes in a flow chart and aligning technology to it, not vice versa.
  • Examine the many available toolsets. After your discovery legwork, think about how the software works together and fits into your situation. This careful deliberation helps you find a solution that’s the right fit for you.


In summary, Microsoft is moving toward a world with project managers using several applications to manage their work. Instead of cramming all features into one application, project management will be handled in various avenues customizable to the project work’s size, scale, and scope.

As we think through some of that change in structure, we know that change is inevitable. You need to evolve, or you’ll go extinct.

While things may not take three steps forward or three steps back, it might be a little bit of a shuffle stepping as you go along. Keep in mind that Microsoft wants to ensure the project technology stack stays secure. They have a large vision of where they’re going, and certainly, in 10 years, you will see a radically different environment.

In the next four or five years, we’ll see Microsoft saying, look, I want people to begin to move. So, if you want to stay exactly where you’re at for a while, then keep using Project Online. Nothing new will emerge, but you can continue to manage and grow.

Project Desktop will also be around and won’t disappear. There’s an intent to keep that, as it’s just a super powerful tool and has been for almost 30 years. Project for the Web will scale, and that might be scaling with you as you begin crawling your organizational maturity from Level 1 to Level 2 or Level 3.

Whenever you want to begin using the Power Platform, it’s an exciting experience. The great thing about Power Apps or Power Automate or even thinking about the structure of Power BI is that once you learn this, you’ll be able to replicate that for other things, not just the project technology stack.

Change is coming. We want to get in front of it versus having it surprise you while you work through your grow-up story.

Next Steps

Always keep in mind you can provide feedback directly to Microsoft. We want to encourage you to send them feedback. They use this information to help prioritize what’s on their backlog.

User feedback is essential! We guarantee you that your thoughts are being read and prioritized accordingly.

Check out our other blogs and our YouTube channel, and if you want PDUs become a member of Advisicon Academy. We offer free routes to learn current, helpful information.

If you ever feel like you’re wrestling through it, reach out. We perform free consultations to point you in the right direction!