Blog Microsoft Project Project Management

MS Project PPM: What’s New & What’s Coming

As a Project MVP, I get to assist clients globally, and I get to evaluation approaches for MS Project and different scheduling technologies, together with what is new and what can be probably popping out sooner or later. As a word, I need to point out that MVPs (myself included) can’t guarantee new capabilities, but we might help information and reinforce the growth and improvements for Project PPM.

What’s exciting is that during the last ten years, the Engineering Group at Microsoft has actually begun approaching the development of Microsoft Project and Project PPM capabilities in a very totally different method. As an alternative of being “feature” targeted, they’ve been far more “solution” targeted.

That signifies that Microsoft is focusing on what issues need solving. Keep in mind that, in requirements gathering, a function or new perform is a “solution” vs. a real requirement. The question that’s being requested is “What problem does this solve?” To take it a step further, once I lead Project On-line or Project Server implementations, we concentrate on asking “What of value does this give you?” There are various methods to construct dashboards and views, in addition to handle the venture lifecycle in Project PPM, but the hot button is aligning tradition, process, and productivity with the answer/strategy that best fits the necessity/requirement. By asking “What of value does this give you?” consideration is directed to delivering a requirement with maybe many various solutions.

This is massively necessary for those eager to influence the Engineering Staff at Microsoft and the Project Staff in what and the place they focus their restricted time and price range. Should you haven’t seen the Consumer Voice choice now obtainable for all O365 products, that is the right and greatest place to share your ideas.

As I detail out what’s coming, I would like you to know the mind of the Engineering Workforce at Microsoft of their drive to take Project PPM to the subsequent degree and help the rising PPM group of apply with each present and future applied sciences and know-how enhancements.

Guarantee You Have the Newest Version

Earlier than we get started, many people have asked find out how to ensure that they’re getting the newest features with MS Project.

You completely need to just remember to are using Project Pro for Workplace 365 and are leveraging the “Click-to-Run” version. It will permit the Microsoft Office replace engine to proceed to roll these updates to you routinely.

As shown within the picture, Present Version of Project, you possibly can simply examine to see in case you are utilizing a version of Project that may permit these updates to be passed to you.

Image: Current Version of Project

You might notice you’re on the month-to-month, semi-annual, or annual channel. In case you are on an replace channel that takes longer, you could wish to request being moved to a quicker channel to see the updates seem in your model of Project sooner.

Enhancing MS Project by way of Consumer Voice

Microsoft’s Project Staff has absolutely begun leveraging and listening to the Consumer Voice perform that comes with Project and other O365 Products. This implies you possibly can ship suggestions instantly (and have it learn by an individual) at the Project Engineering Workforce. Additionally they even respond, so don’t be stunned, for those who embrace your e-mail within the dialogue, should you get an answer on how something works or a response stating where functionality already exists.


Image: I have an Concept 1

This matches with the working strategy that the Microsoft Project Staff is working beneath, which is to “delight and excite” end customers and achieve this in an Agile trend (as we’re seeing all of Workplace 365 doing). You not have to wait three years to get features launched, go to a Project conference, or discover that the only means the “User Voice” could be heard is to name a associate or a Project MVP. Now, you’ll be able to share your thoughts and have requests immediately with the Project Workforce!


Image: I’ve an Concept 2

As much as I’d love to offer out native telephone numbers for the Engineering Staff, using Consumer Voice is actually one of the best car for getting your ideas and feedback heard. In truth, for a lot of merchandise, like Power BI, for instance, that is probably the most influential approach analytics are collected. This is actually the info that leads to making or supporting modifications.

In fact, you aren’t restricted to only MS Project, you possibly can provide feedback from within all Office 2016 or Workplace merchandise. When you take a look at Project or any Office 365 or Office 2016 product, you will notice a smiley face within the upper right-hand corner, as shown in the screenshot, Consumer Voice 1.


Image: Consumer Voice 1

Merely click on the face. Alternatively, you’ll find suggestions in the File Tab in the direction of the bottom of the listing of choices. Select to send a smile, a frown, or present more options on the Project Consumer Voice web site as seen in the image, Consumer Voice 2.


Picture: Consumer Voice 2

Keep in mind, if you would like the Engineering Staff to offer you direct suggestions or to ask questions, you’ll need to offer an e-mail handle along together with your ideas.

As seen in the picture, Consumer Voice 3, you’ll be able to enter your e-mail tackle instantly on the display together with the lively screenshot of what you’re working on in MS Project.


Picture: Consumer Voice three

I do need to state for the document that Microsoft might reach out to you with questions on what you’re stating, however they’ll NEVER, EVER ask you for bank card info or private info, so please don’t be a victim of scammers. The Engineering Workforce at Microsoft takes your feedback very critically and will solely ask questions on what you’re suggesting.

Overallocation Notification/Icon

Let’s proceed our dialogue of what new parts yow will discover displaying up most lately within MS Project. One thing you might out of the blue notice is that the icon for “Resource Overallocation” has modified from a full individual to a half torso.

This modification was predicated because there needed to be a unique colour purple and an general visibility improvement to useful resource overallocation, and the Engineering Group discovered it was simpler to evolve the icon vs. making an attempt to re-tune the original.


Picture: Tasks New Burning Man

Whereas some individuals assume this can be a minor change, it’s one of many key change approaches that the MS Project Engineering Workforce is doing and has a huge effect on some users. Primarily for individuals using MS Project and Project PPM Instruments which will have visual impairments.

While at Microsoft, the Project Engineering Workforce shared a real-world state of affairs, where a Project Supervisor, who was blind, was unable to do their job because the important thing device for venture managers in that group was to make use of MS Project. Can you imagine that state of affairs?

Microsoft’s Engineering Groups across the board, have been working to improve their merchandise for many who are visually impaired or who might use display readers. Display readers are software program packages that permit blind or visually impaired customers to read the textual content that’s displayed on the pc display with a speech synthesizer or a braille display. This supports the ADA (People with Disabilities Act) and other initiatives for enhancing work environments for those with visual imparities and permitting them to be able to better navigate colors, fonts, and textual content.

In creating these software enhancements, the Project Group has discovered other parts that may profit from updating. I, for one, am very proud to help corporations that basically take into consideration doing both social good and dealing to enhance their purposes for all users. Keep tuned for more on this matter later as the listing of delicate enhancements will continue.

Project Residence

A part of the improved enhancements to Project PPM is the addition of Project House. Project Residence is concentrated on undertaking managers who might not need to go to the Project Middle View in Project Online (or for these of us who had solely the selection of Project Middle in on-premise variations of Project Server).

This lets you see your most recent tasks, ones which might be shared with you or created by you, and for you to pin your favourite tasks to the top.

This is additionally key for creating one of the latest capabilities (and virtually a completely new product) referred to as Roadmap. Extra on Roadmap later on this article.


Image: Project House

Identical to on your cellphone, you’ll be able to pin your favourite or most recent venture plans or “Roadmaps” and discover them simply without having to scroll via the various views or other Tasks in the Previous Project Middle. You possibly can nonetheless leap to the Project Middle, as this view continues to be very helpful, however sometimes more of a dashboard or general rollup view, vs. the targeted view of attending to tasks and modifying them.

Icons A‘ Comin’

Throughout all of Office 365, you’ll begin seeing new icons for products. This can, in fact, embrace Planner and MS Project. Prepare for these icons to “magically” appear quickly.


Picture: New Icons Coming 1

If you’ll your Office login page otherwise you start to click on on the “waffle” in the higher right-hand corner of your Workplace 365 setting to pick an software to launch, you might discover that most of the icons have already changed, as seen in Image: New Icons Coming 2 under.


Image: New Icons Coming 2

Project Platform Evolving

In the Fall of 2018, Microsoft announced a number of the upcoming modifications round MS Project. This created quite a stir as the dialogue was about altering the back end (both the info model, referred to as Widespread Knowledge Mannequin (CDM and the Software Engine or what is referred to as the Widespread Knowledge Service (CDS

While this may increasingly have sounded earth-shattering, and it is pretty vital, think about the truth that Microsoft will proceed to evolve and innovate their know-how and merchandise. They perceive that when you don’t evolve, you turn out to be extinct.

That is true for software program, databases, and streamlining and enhancing efficiencies. The secret’s all the time that the top customers are supported with a cushty and capable product. Imagine, you’re sitting in your favourite automotive after which discovered that someone improved the performance of the engine, growing its fuel effectivity by 3,000% whereas also maximizing its energy and dealing with. Most individuals wouldn’t complain, as long as they will get in, enjoy the comfort of the inside, and didn’t lose any legroom or cargo area. I know a few of you still miss those Eight-Monitor tapes (you younglings go look that one up), however frankly, music and the standard of the recordings have gotten better, so why not have a better expertise?

With that being stated, let me now talk about a few of the earth shaking, concept altering and usually mind-blowing new features.

Dynamics and MS Project – It’s Now the Similar Thing

Project, Dynamics, similar factor … yes, you read that appropriately!

While I was on the MVP Summit this yr, it was very exciting to see a very totally different matter construction. Specifically, how the Dynamics 365 workforce was represented in the Project Management discussions.

Howard Crowe and the Project Engineering Workforce stored reminding us, particularly once we would say “Dynamics does it this way, or Dynamics can’t do this with their schedule engine,” that the MS Project and Dynamics Group are the identical teams since they’re now utilizing the identical platform.

I’ll let that sink in for a second. What meaning is that the identical efficient engine that’s getting used for CRM, finance, subject providers, advertising, operations, and venture administration has the power to work interchangeably.


Image: Project is Dynamics 1

What does that mean in MS Project terms? It signifies that the Project service automation engine, which has an excellent useful resource administration module, extends that functionality to MS Project, and MS Project extends to process administration and its scheduling engine – an all-around “kick-butt and take names” Project Administration device, to the remainder of the Dynamics suite.

In the image, Project is Dynamics 2, you see a Dynamics PSA (Project Service Automation) scheduling device that has links and duties, and so on. Does this look type of acquainted to you, MS Project customers? It ought to, because it’s just like MS Project’s Gantt view. This will probably be changed with MS Project (the New Trendy Project), and the facility of forecast scheduling, resource management, and your complete lifecycle of CRM will probably be blended collectively, with the mixing with Dynamics ERP/Accounting and Finance. All underneath one roof.


Image: Project is Dynamics 2

Wow, that’s quite a collection of related techniques. For this reason Microsoft needed to start letting organizations know that as they start and proceed to make use of MS Project and related options (like Roadmap, and so forth.) that the Office 365 engine (Move, PowerApps, Power BI, and so forth.) will probably be drawing from the same location, offering prolonged advantages to individuals who need to automate or create better views, studies, dashboards, or usually their very own purposes. All whereas still providing you the complete capabilities and performance of present merchandise (like CRM and/or MS Project) that we’ve got been enjoying all along.

This isn’t something that may occur overnight but over a for much longer process. Nevertheless, it’s begun and is constant to grow in connectedness and capabilities, as the Microsoft Engineering Groups give attention to security and enhanced consumer expertise with the prevailing tools we at the moment are using.

One component that I was excited about (for these of you who have not performed or labored with Dynamics’s Project Service Automation module) was the large enhancements to manage assets for the Line Managers, Practical Managers, or Useful resource Managers. As seen under within the Project is Dynamics three image, the thought of taking a look at time-phased work requests and making time tracking easier for the top consumer is a key capability that folks request who handle assets.

While I feel there are examples within the marketplace of better or extra streamlined resource engagement/management, it is really good to know that for MS Project customers, this can be one of many capabilities that may continue to extend right down to those using Project.


Image: Project is Dynamics three

Doing Things Extra Agilely

During the last yr, you’ve got additionally seen many new “Agile” options seem in MS Project, from sprint views to Kanban views and the mixing of Project and Office 365 Planner.

This give attention to “Agile” will continue as we see MS To-Do Planner and other Views, in addition to reviews with MS Project supporting the Agile area. A few of this shall be also continued with Roadmap, the Project Workforce’s latest launched function that connects Azure DevOps (Visible Studio and Workforce Foundation Server for us older customers).


Picture: Agile Project PPM

Azure DevOps Integration (Roadmap)

Let’s dig a bit deeper into Azure DevOps and the mixing with probably the most powerful and absolutely capable productiveness tools for developers.

The newest incarnation of Microsoft’s continued help for the developer group builds with the Visual Studio Online surroundings is proven within the picture under.


Image: Azure DevOps

Azure DevOps provides builders the power to put in writing their supply code, verify it in and out, monitor progress to the assigned work, and hyperlink necessities, Epics, Consumer Tales, Sprints, and Story Points, proper to the precise tasks or actions which might be related to the source code being written.

Now, right here is the place it actually will get helpful. The new function, Microsoft Tasks Roadmap, integrates MS Tasks throughout totally different tenants, and in addition throughout Azure DevOps (referred to as Azure Boards) to usher in any of the key work activities found there immediately into a view that provides you a roadmap throughout totally different tools.

On this subsequent picture, MS Project Roadmap, you possibly can see MS Project schedules, duties, milestones, and other methods all introduced into a high-level view to help give a bigger-picture story to the Project to Portfolio managers who can be monitoring and monitoring progress.


Image: MS Project Roadmap

This is just the start of this new function’s capability. What I would like individuals to understand is the idea of a “bridging” device, bringing in not only Project or Microsoft info, but reaching out to other instruments (like Jira, and so on.) and creating a single source of fact for a big-picture view of activities and deliverables.

The Future: Trendy Project (Identify TBA)

At the Ignite Convention in late 2018, Microsoft gave some early screenshots and started the dialogue around enhancing MS Project with the main target of helping a wider viewers leverage MS Project and to create a greater on-line expertise. See the picture, Trendy MS Project 1, under.

Keep in mind there are three totally different parts to managing a undertaking:

  1. Process Management (small actions that most commonly by no means make it to an MS Project schedule)
  2. Work Management (larger activities that undertaking groups sometimes work on, but which will nonetheless be small and not require a full degree of effort in estimating; things end customers would manage in a extra Agile approach (Kanban, Publish-it Observe, and so on.)
  3. Full Project Administration to Portfolio Administration (resource capability planning from predecessor/successor to alignment with milestones across totally different tasks, business drivers, and price forecasting)

Whereas all of those are essential, in most tactical situations, the venture staff members and the venture manager work every day to speak and monitor progress. This is the reason the MS Project Engineering Group has begun releasing new merchandise (like Workplace 365 Planner, which now has over 150 million users and is the primary tab added to MS Groups) and integrating with different activity administration instruments (like Wunderlist, which is now MS To-Do, or for us Outlook users, Outlook Tasks now… ?).


Image: Trendy MS Project 1

The MS Project Group has begun rethinking its improvement for MS Project with a no-holds-barred, begin from scratch and build a world-class product mindset. The aim is to concentrate on “what solutions need solving” and what could be executed with 21st-century know-how to actually make the consumer expertise world-class.

Within the early idea image released by Microsoft on the Ignite 2018 conference and seen in the picture under, Trendy MS Project 2, the thought of getting a cleaner interface, one that is net or cellular system driven, has begun to resonate with the knowledge staff of at present’s era. The aim is to get in, get out, and get again to work, all while not having to overthink venture administration know-how.


Picture: Trendy MS Project 2

Using the Proper License for the Right Functionality

As an alternative of building all venture administration associated options and capabilities into a single product and together with the correct licenses for undertaking management, process management, and program to portfolio administration, the Microsoft Engineering Teams are working to enable the proper set of licenses in Workplace 365 to get customers the options they need.

Do you need CRM and Resource Capacity administration? Perhaps adding these parts to your licensing combine might be sufficient with MS Project? Or perhaps simply being on the Office 365 platform shall be enough, with Workplace 365 Planner and MS To-Do (that are free) integrated with MS Project and its Roadmap features?

There may be many mixtures, however add-what-you-need vs. working around options chances are you’ll not need is a a lot better strategy.


Picture: PPM Productivity Pyramid


I hope you enjoyed this article, reviewing both what’s new and what’s coming for MS Project PPM. What’s thrilling is that it’s not simply isolated to a single product, however really incorporates a mix of applied sciences that provide challenge, program, and portfolio managers, as well as the traditional info worker, the power to increase productivity, have visibility of their work, and simply get in, get out, and get again to work, while nonetheless driving info to executives via dashboards and reporting.

I encourage you to keep checking the Advisicon web site for extra blogs and webinars. You can too attain out to me instantly with any questions at [email protected]