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Summary:

While some productivity and project management mavens may decry using Microsoft Outlook for managing projects, it’s often the one application that people keep open at all times on their Windows desktops. MissingLink Project Center from Moore Software Solutions is a lightweight add-in that makes project management […]

While some productivity and project management mavens may decry using Microsoft Outlook for managing projects, it’s often the one application that people keep open at all times on their Windows desktops. MissingLink Project Center from Moore Software Solutions is a lightweight add-in that makes project management features available in Outlook. You can purchase it for $49, with a 30-day free trial available. Can it help you to manage projects without having to add a separate app into your toolbox?

Inside MissingLink Project Center

After installing MissingLink Project Center, it appears as a toolbar and menu in Outlook. It includes the following:

  • MissingLink Dashboard: This is the central control panel for setting up new projects.

MissingLinkProjDashBrd

  • Add to MissingLink: This enables you to add items to an existing project and opens the Select Project dialog box.

AddToMissingLink

  • Find in MissingLink: This button seems to be for a search mechanism, but in Outlook 2007 I was only greeted with an error message.
  • Help for MissingLink: This tool could definitely benefit from a simple quick start guide to get users acclimated to it. There is online help, but it lacks task orientation and spends more time going over the user interface, rather than telling users how to use the add-in to manage projects.

The greatest gaffe with MissingLink Project Center is that it doesn’t take a process-oriented approach. While I am conversant with a number of project management tools, and am a longtime Outlook user, I didn’t find MissingLink Project Center very intuitive. My expectation was that it would offer more wizards and give me a more fluid system for managing projects. Post-install, much to my disappointment, I was only left with an extra toolbar.

I ran MissingLink Project Center on a Windows XP machine with Outlook 2007 and noticed in some places that the add-in breaks from Office 2007 interface standards, because it isn’t accessible from the Add-Ins ribbon, which is irritating.

MissingLinkProj-email

MissingLink Project Center could be useful for the many non-PMs out there seeking tools to improve their project management, such as freelance workers who want to get better organized with their client work. However, to capitalize on this audience, usability is key and this add-in is just not good enough.

Final Thoughts

In the end, my hope is that future versions of the Missing Link Project Center clean up some of the add-in’s rough edges, especially its usability, and make sure that it keeps up with the interface changes present in Office 2007 and the forthcoming Office 2010. This add-in has a lot of potential, but needs to mature further. I look forward to revisiting MissingLink Project Center because it is a good idea suffering from poor execution.

Have you tried MissingLink Project Center? What did you think of its usability?

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By Will Kelly

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  1. Hi Will,

    Thank you for creating you article about MissingLink Project Center.

    I appreciate your feedback and comments regarding the system. MissingLink Project Center is compatible with Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007 and as such I’ve had to ensure that the system works equally well with both version.

    I am working on improving the user interface of the system to take advantage of improvements, such as the Ribbon, and will continue to release updates on our web-site that accomplish that goal.

    I appreciate your comments and will continue to improve the execution of this product.

    Best regards,

    Kevin Moore

  2. WizeHive Upgrades to Compete in the Crowded Project Management Arena Friday, July 31, 2009

    [...] a new product aimed at managing projects every week. Just in the last month or so, WWD has reviewed MissingLink Project Center, Zen, Zoho Projects and EasyProjects.net. Joining this parade is WizeHive, which has just released [...]

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