Microsoft Project 2010
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Welcome to P12!

Welcome to P12!

  • Comments 36

Welcome to the first office Project “12” blog entry! I am a Program Manager in the Microsoft Office Project team and will be coordinating this blog as a space for the entire product team in Project to communicate with anyone who is interested in Project.

 

We are going to focus our blog discussions on the new version of Project, currently code named Project “12”. Our goal is to be able to share what’s new in Project “12” and hear your feedback and questions. There will a new posting at least once a week but I’ll try to regularly respond to comments and questions.

 

I would like to get started by telling you how amazing the Project Conference 2006 was! For those who are not familiar with the conference, it is an annual event where we hold multiple sessions discussing how to solve some project management challenges using Project. This year, we also had a number of partners presenting on their solutions as well as best practices. It was the biggest conference ever for Project with about 1,600 attendees!

 

Project “12” has some incredible areas of improvements in both the client as well as in the server. I hope to, over time, have some in depths discussions on separate features. For now, I would like to highlight a couple of client features that received a lot of applauses or “Oh my God” reactions from the conference:

 

Multiple Levels of Undo: There was a post from Dieter’s Project blog about this feature. As he explained, it was an incredibly hard to implement feature but amazingly rewarding to see customers reaction! Project “12” will support multiple level of undo but we have gone beyond that and also support custom batching of VB code. What that means is that you can wrap any VB code with new functions that will become an undoable action. This is great if you have custom Add Ins or have extended applications running with Project.

 

Task Drivers: Many of our customers had some problems finding out what happened to the schedule, so Project “12” has this new feature called Task Drives. A common question you may have when looking at your project schedule would be “why has a task moved to a certain date?” Now, you are able to select that task and see what is driving that task to be at the state it’s currently in.

 

There is a very long list of really great client and server features in Project “12” but this is just to get us started.

 

Dieter, the former Project Group Program Manager, has a Project blog containing a lot of great posts on new features as well as the conference. I highly recommend it if you would like to get more information now: http://blogs.msdn.com/dieterz/. Mostly, new posts will be added to this blog.

 

Hopefully we’ll be able to build a good community on this blog.

  • Great to see you join the blogging world. It will be very cool to have someone from inside the team sharing what is going on with the product and the development efforts.

    Brian

    Hey Brian - I am excited to share some of our work with everyone! Thanks for adding info about this blog on yours. -Lidiane

  • I would like to know if the Project Server database has change and if already have a Project Server 12 sdk.

    Andre - In Project 12 we have 4 separate databases and they are very different than it is in Project 2003 Server. We are currently writing the SDK articles that documents what is the new database schemas and will provide a lot of sample code. We'll have a partial SDK released with Beta 2 and a complete one released with the product. Which database are you mostly interested in?
    -Lidiane

  • Good to see you blogging.  I hope you will continue Dieter efforts on informing us what will be the future of Project server and project12.  I have question about the project conferece sessions DVD.  When it will be available.  I am desprate to see the new Project 12 demonstration.

    Regards

    Jerry

    Hi Jerry - I am very anxious to get the DVDs also, mostly to see how badly I appear on TV :-) The DVDs are currently in production phase. The expected dates is about 8 weeks though a final date hasn't been set yet. I'll make sure to post this info here once we have a definite release date.
    -Lidiane

  • I'm happy that you aspire to continue Dieters effort to inform us about all exciting new P12 features.

    We are planning to build a Phase-Gate process support system on top of P12. I'm sure that this is an interesting topic for many large-scale project management offices, particularly within product development.

    I am therefore very keen on learning about new features  such as programs, master plans, deliverables, comittments which may add value to the process side of project management.  Also, are you planing any features or changes specifically with the phase-gate model in mind?

    Good luck with your new position,
    /Daniel

    Hi Daniel - Thanks for the post! Yes, we have added features in Project "12" server to manage programs. Also, we have added the support of mater projects in the server, I'll be writing more about this in the future. Regarding deliverables and commitments, we are integrated with WSS which means that the lists of commitments/deliverables related to your project is tracked by Project Server and supported by our reporting database as well. So, you should be able to easily track that along with the project issues and risks.
    We are planning on releasing an article regarding how to build a phase-gate process using P12 but that won't happen until we get closer to release later in the year. I'll keep you posted if anything is release earlier.  -Lidiane

  • What's the date for a public Beta of P12?  Keep up the great blogging!!!!

    Hello! We are planning on releasing Beta 2 on the second quarter of this year. -Lidiane 

  • Also looking forward to hearing more about new features, as my company is evaluating moving from Project Pro to Server this year.

    There's a bunch of stuff I'd love to see added to Project
    :-), but here's a few things at the top of my list:

    - ability to work in multiple currencies for planning & expensing down to the task level, while maintaining overall costs in a single "base" currency. Possibly using web services to grab foreign exchange cross-rate data to convert from actual expense amount to the base currency on the date expensed?

    - exposing an "AfterTaskChange" event to allow performing input validation through code on a custom field.

    - recurrent task groups/recurrent deliverables, not just recurrent individual tasks.

    - "contingent' tasks or task groups i.e. work or deliverables that your're not sure whether you'll need to do or not (with an estimated probability).

    Hi Greg! Thanks for the list of wishes :) I have passed it along to the right PMs in the team. We get very interested in hearing wishes, so please feel free to send me more. Here are a couple of responses:
    - P12 will have some support of currencies on a master and sub projects level and you'll be able to report it on the Reporting database though it may not do all that you need.
    - We'll have an after assignment change event
    - P12 is fully integrated with WSS, so you will be able to use deliverables feature from there. It's similar to how risks and issues are done in a list form.
    Hope this helps a bit. Thanks for checking the blog.
    -Lidiane

  • Best of luck Lidiane.
  • Welcome!  I look forward to future posts.

    Since we're talking about Project wishes, here mine:

    The ability to define a range for a task duration.   Early on in a project it is often unclear how long a task may take.  So, lacking the ability to say that something will take either 1 or 2 days of effort, we get to either guess low, guess high, or pick a random value in between.  Multiply that by hundreds or thousands of tasks and you see what I mean.

    Any chance in some future version?

    Mike - I'll pass it to the team as a feature request :) -Lidiane

  • Mike,

    Maybe the "PERT analysis fields" that are in Project already will give you what you're looking for?

    You can also flag the duration of a task as "Estimated". Though I haven't found much use for doing that.
  • Mike, Greg

    I agree to Mike's wish. In accordance with the current PMBOK Guide, I would propose the term "3-point-estimates" instead of PERT analysis, which is not quite the same. PERT uses Sigma calculations on critical paths, something I would not expect from Microsoft Project.

    3-point estimating is a great technique from a management perspective as well as from a leadership point of view.

    Greg's proposal is only a 50% solution as it relates to duration information only. This may fit to some project situations when some time has to be filled with work and you are uncertain how much time this is.

    Other situations include uncertainty on work. In such cases, duration is a function of work and availability. While work is a more linear element, availability normally isn't.

    An example: A task effort increase from say 40h to 60h may increase the task duration by say 100% if the task finish moves behind some non-working time and only one of two resources are affected.

    It would be desirable to allow 3-point-estimates for work as well as for duration.
  • Mike, Greg,

    I think that PERT as a technique has been widely abandoned in favor of Monte Carlo simulation. The reason being that the values returned by PERT were just a guess and not based on solid statistics. Monte Carlo simulation gives much better results and since modern computers are much more powerful than they were when PERT was developed, the calculations can be run in minutes or even seconds.

    There are a couple of commercial products which extend Project to do Monte Carlo simulation, @Risk and Risk+. In addition, you can also write your own VBA code to do it. As an example you can look at (and use) my free quick and dirty simulation macro here: http://masamiki.com/project/blackjack.htm

    Of course getting good results requires good modelling so it is not as easy as it looks.

    Lidiane,
    Great to see you are posting this stuff! Look forward to more.
  • Thanks everyone for the list of wishes... I have to say that if we keep on this pace we might be able to get enough requests for another couple of versions :)

    I've been passing along your comments to the PMs in the team, so your feedback will make it to the right people even if you don't get a response right away.

    I've been writing within each comment in italic, so hopefully that will be easy enough to read. Let me know if you prefer a different response method.

    Thanks for all the posts.
    Lidiane

  • I welcome a client version 12 which actually has new features. It's been a looong time only with server-features. A short list of features that would be nice to have in v12 (not only client-related):

    - Be able to select more filters (combining) at one time

    - To be able to give a task an expected finish date - not to be confused with the actual finish date. Many users using PWA to time register are frustrated that they have a hard time telling the PM when they thing the task will end, and not having to use hours. And this date should be reflected in the plan (not as an text-field).

    - Dropping the old-fashioned access to projects: That they are currently treated as files, and that one user blocks write access when editing. A "share" mode would be very ideal, especially for larger projects. I know this might be difficult to achieve using the current architecture, but this really something that would bring project to a higher level. As an addition to this, it would be much easier editing multiple projects at a time.

    - Most users find it too time consuming that they have to access pwa to retreive project updates.

    - The publishing and updating process is both time consuming and difficult to control for many users. It would be very clearer for the PMs if a project state controlled whether the tasks were visible for the project members or not. They spend awful lot of time updating the correct dates and progress.

    Hope you get the idea of my suggestions!

    Best of luck with the development,
    Kasper

    Hi Kasper - This is great feedback. Most of them we have heard it before or have encountered ourselves. We are looking into all of this for the future though I can't promise anything :-)  (my disclaimer). I'll have more information on more new features for the client in P12. There are quiet a few more (including publishing improvements). -Lidiane

  • Hi Lidiane. I think it's great to communicate this way through the MSDN Blogs. We are in the process of building a medium scale EPM (2003) environment for a customer, and are probably going to move on towards P12. What we would like to know is if there is already any documentation available about system requirements, especially other software prerequisites.

    I assume P12 can cooperatie with SQL2005, but is it also possible to use named instances on a SQL 2005 and Analysis clustered server?
    Is the NLB clustering method changed for the view processing / session services? Or are these completely redesigned?

    Love to hear some more!! and thanks very much for your time responding to all of this!

    Hi Frank - P12 does work well with SQL2005 and it's possible to use named instances. Our cubes were built using DSO 8 (from Analysis Services 2000) but the updated version of DSO 8.5 supports our cubes building in AS 2005 as well. We are still testing most of those scenarios but we are having good results so far.
    Our NLB has been redesigned but we have a very good story for migrating your server solutions from Project Server 2003 to P12. So the work that you are doing now should transition well to P12. Once we get closer to releasing Beta 2 I'll post some migration tips and notes. Hope this information is helpful.
    -Lidiane


    Frank

  • Jack Dahlgren,

    You are correct re Monte Carlo.  I should have said that in my initial post as that is what I am asking for.  I am aware of the 3rd party projects, but my hope is to see this brought into Project itself at some point.  The add-ons feel just like that to me: add ons.  A built in solution would work better.
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