The following is the second in a series of two posts from Jon Kaufthal, a program manager from the Project team. Click here to see the first post.
For those of you new to Project and Project Server, see my first post before reading on. What follows is what tasks from Project Web Access (PWA) look like in Outlook.
When you double-click to open a Project task in Outlook, you’ll notice some differences. Here’s what a task item from Project Web Access looks like:
Some things to notice here:
· Existing “standard” Outlook task fields—like Subject, Start (start date), Finish (due date)
· Existing “advanced” Outlook task fields—like Actual work and Total work
· Project Server-specific fields—like Project name, Task hierarchy, remaining work
· The project name is set as the task’s category. You already know about the great categories improvements in Outlook 2007, so this allows you to create some powerful views by category/project in Outlook.
· The “inner tabs” to switch between task management and timesheet. Task management is for updates going to the project manager—and might be in the form of, for example, percent complete, while the timesheet is likely going to some kind of accounting/billing process, and will be in the form of hours per day. Besides task status, PWA provides a complete timesheet where you would also track things like vacation time and sick time.
Clicking on the inner “Timesheet” tab, that section changes to look like this:
In this example, you might update your percent complete, remaining work, and some timesheet values. Once you’ve updated status in Outlook, you can:
· Immediately update via the buttons on the form
· Save for later (save locally to Outlook, don’t tell Project Server just yet)
· Update this and any other changed tasks to PWA via the toolbar button
You’ll only connect to PWA when importing or updating, but you can make local changes and save them for later even when disconnected. Once you’ve updated back to PWA, your status flows back through the system as if you had been logged into the PWA site—it will be incorporated back into the project plan and your organization’s reports.
So if you can do this all through PWA, what’s the point of the Project Server add-in for Outlook?
· Lower overhead for you, the team member—use the tools you already use
· Give you a single view of all your work—personal tasks and Project Server-based tasks
· Management gets better reports, because they have more buy-in from team members—which leads to better data
I’ve had to gloss over some subtle points and leave out a bunch of detail to keep this high-level, but we’ll keep an eye on comments to see if there’s interest in future posts on this topic. Thanks for reading!
Some related info:
· Project Server blogs and books
· Project Server 2007 home page
· Overview of Project Server 2003 Outlook integration
· If you’re interested in Project Server but don’t want to set up your own server, some of our partners offer hosting