Over the next few weeks, I'll be reviewing some of the improvements we made to Project management and accounting in the Dynamics AX 2012 R2 CU7 release. I'll start with the newly revamped Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) template editing experience:

 

The first thing you will notice is that you get a full collapsible, hierarchical grid rather than the tree control we used in the previous release. This allows you to see much more of the project plan at once. You can easily expand or collapse the grid with the Expand to Level button in the ribbon. The shaded rows in the grid are summary rows where  you can see how the effort hours are totaled at each level.

Moving tasks around in the hierarchy is easy with the Move up, Move down, Indent, and Outdent buttons. You will also see that you get automatic WBS numbering based on the level in the hierarchy. Moving rows up or down or indenting or outdenting will maintain the numbering.

In this example, I'm using automatic scheduling. This means that it will calculate the task duration given the effort and number of resources assigned. You can turn automatic scheduling off if you would like to override this behavior.Since this is a template, the start date and end date are not specified. These will appear once you import the template into a project. 

In addition, we have added support for specifying predecessors. Each task can have one more more predecessor tasks. You will see the impact of these tasks when you import the template into a project and have the start and finish dates automatically calculated.

Down below, you will see a set of fast tabs with properties of the selected task. One of these tabs contains the Estimated cost and revenue for the task. The nice thing is that hour transactions are automatically generated based on the WBS elements above. In this example, the 60 hour task in the category of ERPDev automatically keeps in sync with the estimate line below. You can add additional estimate lines that are not affected by the task properties. In the example above, I've added an Item and Expense transactions that are attached to the task. Later, when you import this template into your project, you can push these estimates into project forecasts or budget.

Hopefully, these improvements will make it easier for project managers who would like to use built-in Dynamics AX functionality to edit their WBS. In a future post, I'll talk about the ability to edit your project using Microsoft Project.