There is a vast number projects being managed in the world and many Project Managers may not be aware of how they could use Project to help them manage these projects. Templates are a way to help Project Managers get started with Project. The goal of the templates is to give you an idea of how you may want to structure your project. Each template suggests milestones, dependencies, and generic resources to give you a starting point. Obviously, you may change the proposed work breakdown structure to fit your needs.
In Project 2007, we have added about 25 new templates to cover additional project scenarios. To give you an idea, these are some of the new templates that will available in Project 2007:
These templates are well structured to help you understand what tasks can occur concurrently and see what the critical path of the project is. We have also made sure that the generic resources match a skill that will help you define what type of resources you will need for the project. In addition, we added a number of notes to tasks to help you understand why a that task is needed or important related information.
Here is a sneak peak at the Vendor RFP Solution template:
(Click to enlarge)
Note that the durations for all tasks are marked as estimates (have a question mark). We did not attempt to estimate task durations as they will widely vary for each project.
If anyone has template suggestions, it would be great to hear (though new ideas would not likely make it into Project 2007).
I apologize to readers for the delay in posting a new topic. The last few weeks have been busy for us in the product team as we start to get our Beta 2 build completed. The release will be in late spring and I’ll have a dedicated post on how that will work, for those interested in learning more. I have received a couple of questions about it but the details are still not finalized.
This week I would like to show you two new features we have introduced in Project 2007 that will improve Project Managers’ productivity by giving you the ability to efficiently see how changes you make effect the rest of the project plan. In addition, Project 2007 gives you the ability to see what’s driving a task. That is, for example, if you want to understand why a task has pushed out the schedule, you easily can.
Project 2007 provides you with an option to view how the changes you make to the schedule impact the rest of the project. Change Highlighting illustrates all that is impacted by your change.
In the example below, I am using one of the new Project templates we are shipping with Project 2007, “Strategic Merger or Acquisition Evaluation”.
I changed task 17 ‘Define Selection Scenario…’ to have duration of ‘4 days’. After changing the duration value, everything that also changed as a result of my extension of the task duration got highlighted: the finish date for my task, the following task that dependent on task 17, the inner and outer milestone summary tasks.
This feature gives you incredible power to validate the change and helps you answer questions that were harder to answer before: Did this change cause a schedule slip? What other tasks will get impacted by the change? Should I make the change?
The highlighting will persist until you make another change or save the project. Since Project 2007 offers multiple levels of undo, you can use both features combined to do many “What-if” scenario analysis with your projects.
Another question you may be faced with when reviewing your project schedule may be what is causing my task to be scheduled when it is as opposed to on an ealier date? This can be especially problematic if you are managing a project with thousands of tasks. You may end up spending hours trying to trace back the dependencies, review resource availability, calendars etc. Project 2007 now does the work for you! When you select a task, you can select to view the Task Drivers pane and the information that you need to find out what is driving that task is displayed to you on a pane on the left of the project. You can easily turn on this pane by selecting the ‘Task Driver’ option on the Project menu (new in Project 2007).
I am using the same project I used above. Once I opened the ‘Task Driver’ pane for task 17, I get all the information I need to see “what are the factors causing the task to start when it is”. In addition to predecessor tasks, you also get a link to the calendar of the resource(s) assigned to the task. This is very helpful if your task is being delayed due to the resource being on vacation.
Both Change Highlighting and Task Drivers will be the first couple of new features you will immediately notice in Project 2007 and that I personally have become dependant on for my projects.
The screen shots I used are from our latest build but since the product is still the Beta phase there may be some changes to the final version.
For those of you who already read Treb Gatte's blog, this is no big news. We have started a new program to test migration from Project Server 2003 to Project Server 2007. Our main goal is to get a good range of test coverage for mitigration to make the process as smooth as possible to customers. We have our own data sets for testing these scenarios but getting real customer data is invaluable to us.
There is some work involved to participate but those who do will have the benefit of getting the results of the tests directly from us. If you are interested in learning more details about the program and how to enroll, please read the full article on Treb's blog: http://spaces.msn.com/evildoctorporkchop/
Treb is also a Program Manager in the Project team. He is responsible for IT governance, Server Side reports among other initiatives.
Many of you have asked me about how to get access Project 2007 Preview version. We are currently planning on releasing a Beta this Spring. This release will be public and you can register to receive a copy at the Microsoft Office Preview site.
Keep in mind that this is a Beta release and there will be no product support for it. Having said that, the product is excellent! I highly recommend signing up. You will get a great preview of what’s coming up.
All versions of Project 2007 will be available through this Preview program (Standard, Professional and Server). If you have any specific questions, please feel free to send me a message.