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Project 2010: Introducing the Team Planner

Project 2010: Introducing the Team Planner

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Hello--I’m Jon Kaufthal, Program Manager on the Project team. A key focus of mine for our upcoming Project Professional 2010 release is the new Team Planner, and I’m excited to introduce you to Team Planner today.

The main idea behind Team Planner is combining the power of the Gantt chart with the simplicity and familiarity of the Outlook calendar. Team Planner lets you:

1. Easily see your team’s work laid out over time

2. Quickly spot problems

3. Drag and drop to resolve those problems

So, what does this look like in practice? Let’s imagine you start with this in Gantt:

clip_image002

To switch to Team Planner, you can click the View tab in the ribbon and then choose Team Planner. At that point, you’ll see this:

clip_image004

A few things to notice here:

1. Each team member’s work is represented in a single row, making it easy to glance across the timescale and see who does what when

2. Overallocations are highlighted in red

In the example above, you can see that Jon is double-booked for part of that first week of October. Luckily, we seem to have at least two good options for how to deal with it.

First, we could move the task in time. In this case, it’s OK for the “confirm speakers” task to happen two days later, so I can simply drag it over to the right a bit. Once I do that, I see:

clip_image006

Notice that the row has shrunk down, and the red is now gone. The work remains assigned to Jon, but moves out to happen two days later.

Alternatively, Brian has some free time and is equipped to do this task as well. It looks like he’s out from Wednesday through Friday of that week, but he has two days open at the beginning of the week. Since that’s all that’s needed for this task, we can simply drag it down one row and a few days to the left. Once I do that, I see:

clip_image008

So we’ve now reassigned the task to Brian, and it’s beginning a few days earlier.

These are just a few basic examples to illustrate the power and simplicity of Team Planner. Making these sorts of schedule adjustments in Team Planner is a simple visual process, letting you focus your attention on keeping your plans on track.

There’s much more to cover in Team Planner, including:

· The unassigned and unscheduled zones

· Automatically resolving overallocations

· Updating your status directly in the view

· Customizing the look and feel of the view: colors, sizing, hiding sections, filtering, grouping

· Seeing/editing more details through tooltips, right-click, double click, and split views

…but I wanted to stick to the basics for this first post. Let us know what you think!

Jon

  • "combining the power of the Gantt chart with the simplicity and familiarity of the Outlook calendar"

    how does  that relate to Outlook? It is still just a gantt chart as far as I can tell. Looks nicer, might be a bit better to use, although the presence of the ribbon hints in the opposite direction (http://blog.schauderhaft.de/2009/01/08/the-ribbon-sucks/). But it looks still completely unfamiliar for a user of Outlook.

  • Great!

    Wish You and Yours team all the best.

    Hieu Ho Trung

    Email: hieu@tttcompany.com

          hieuhotrung@gmail.com

  • Jens, thanks for your comment/feedback.

    I don't want to make too much of the Outlook calendar analogy, but they key things Team Planner has in common with the Outlook calendar include:

    -Rectangles visually represent the time commitment

    -The item's name is shown directly on the rectangle (unlike the default Gantt view)

    -Many such rectangles can show up side-by-side in the same “row” (this might be a column in Outlook)

    -You can glance at a time period and get a quick natural sense of how "full" it is, where there may be gaps or too much happening, etc

    -Drag and drop to make changes

    -Double click for a form to edit item properties

    Obviously there are differences too. But at a high level we believe the interaction model will be one that Outlook calendar users are comfortable with.

    Regarding how it differs from Gantt—here’s a side-by-side view that may make it more visually apparent: http://www.microsoft.com/global/project/2010/en/us/RichMedia/secondary/microsoft_project_professional.html  

    Re the ribbon: without getting into too much debate here about the merits of the ribbon, we're excited about its potential to simplify Project's interface. A great deal of customer feedback and usability research has gone into the ribbon overall, as well as the specific organization of the tabs/commands.

    For some more insight into why the ribbon came to be, I'd recommend Jensen Harris' blog:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/tags/Why+the+New+UI_3F00_/default.aspx

    http://blogs.msdn.com/jensenh/archive/tags/Ribbon/default.aspx

    In terms of some of your specific concerns--I hope you'll see the 2010 version of the ribbon as a step in the right direction.

    Project and all Office applications now allow you to customize the ribbon tabs to match your preferences. Here's an external site with an overview: http://www.brighthub.com/computing/windows-platform/articles/45280.aspx

    The old "Office button" has been changed to the File tab, and the experience you see when you click it is completely new for 2010. We call it the Backstage view--more details here:

    http://blogs.technet.com/office2010/archive/2009/08/17/evolving-the-backstage-view.aspx

    I'll share more details about Project's Backstage view in future posts.

  • Update: For an in-depth overview and demo of Team Planner, see here: http://www.microsoft.com/video/en/us/details/fc291069-a6ad-41db-a8fd-7d5cfbb2ad07

  • Hi,

    I'm exited about the new team planner in MS Project 2010 but i'm wondering if the following is possible:

    - I'm using a consolidated project plan with a 5 imported projects which make use of a shared resource group

    - the team planner then gives per resource the overview

    - what I'm missing is an extra column with the name of the project for which the resource is allocated.  Can this be added?

    Kind regards,

    TOm

  • Team planner is a great concept, end users love it, and agree with the outlook comparison - in effect as easy as outlook for non-PMs.  An outlook share, and a sharepoint export would be ideal.

    I do see a possible bug where I have some resources 100% on a task, but do not show up on the planner.  Its inconsistent, a lot of tasks do show up, and I cannot see why.  They do show up for the first resource only.  I'm afraid to use it because people will miss tasks.

  • I really like team planner.

    For it to be a collaborative tool, it would be ideal to be able to easily drop this into SharePoint.

    I work with 3 other PMs and we share the same resources.

    It would be helpful to be able to point multiple project files to the team planner view, so that we can see the resource allocation for all of my team's projects and easily be able to identify where we are overlapping resources.  Right now, I have to consolidate our project files into one huge file to view this, which makes updates difficult.

  • Team Planner is GREAT!

    We have used MSP over the past decade but have always been hampered by the lack of effective "Resource Management" tools.  Team Planner appears to address our need - the ability to easily see who is doing what and when.  Also the ability to easily spot under or over-allocations and correct the problems by time shifting or resource reassignment.

    We use a Resource Pool with 10-30 individual projects all sharing resources at any given time.  It is a very dynamic environment and one where our employees have to remain billable (in addition to meeting customer schedules), so resource management is critical.

    One last important aspect remains - Is there a way to identify projects, say tag them as "Bid" and "Active" so that at any time we could filter out the "Bid" projects and only look at "Active" ones (that we have PO's from customers for)?

    Any suggestions, Jon?

    Nice work on MSP 2010!!

  • Tom, Peter, Shiloh, Don--thanks!! The team and I really appreciate your kind words, and we're excited that you're finding Team Planner valuable.

    Tom:

    There's no simple way to add a column to show a project for each resource. If you're thinking of this at a per-task/assignment level, the "Task Path" at the bottom of the hover tooltip may help. If the resources are always just working on a single main project, you might consider adding a resource custom field to track this, and then you can group the resources in Team Planner by that field (let me know if you need more detail on where to find these features).

    Peter:

    Here's some info about our SharePoint and Outlook sync:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/project/archive/2009/10/19/project-2010-introducing-sync-to-sharepoint.aspx

    http://blogs.msdn.com/project/archive/2009/12/11/project-2010-exchange-integration.aspx

    As far as not seeing assigned work--that certainly sounds odd. Do you see the work shown for those resources in the Resource Usage view?

    Shiloh:

    Some info on SharePoint sync above, but I understand you probably want something that looks and feels more like Team Planner vs just a task list. As a manual workaround, you might consider a static screen shot of Team Planner shared using the Sharepoint image viewer web part, maybe in conjunction with a sync'ed task list.

    In terms of multiple files: this should work fairly well/cleanly if you're using Project Server, or a shared local resource pool (see http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project/HA102148711033.aspx). If you're sharing resources across projects, either of these is a best practice. If you're already doing that, please provide some more detail. Otherwise it sounds like consolidating in a master project is the right way to get the detail you need - though as you note that may be tricky to update among 3 PMs.

    Don:

    Glad to hear Team Planner is helping address this longstanding need for you!

    Not sure if you're using Project Server or not. If so, I would probably use a Project custom field for this, and then customize your Project Center grouping/filtering/sorting to make it easy to only focus on the relevant projects. You might also want to drill in to resource management in Project Server 2010 to understand how you can plan for resources without making assignments in Project. See here:

    http://blogs.msdn.com/project/archive/2006/12/06/resource-management.aspx

    and

    http://blogs.msdn.com/project/archive/2007/02/21/resource-plans-explained-i-hope.aspx (2007 post)

    If you're not using Project Server--maybe the simplest option is just to use file folders/file naming conventions to distinguish between "Bid" and "Active"?

    Hope this helps--thanks for your feedback!

  • Is there a way to get Team Planner to show all tasks for all Resources (emplyees) for multiple projects and not just a single project?

    Email back plz: eltawil.blackberryATgmail.com

  • Hi Jon,

    I've been testing Project 2010 beta and I must say that the Team Planner is really wonderful. It's exactly what I missed in 2007!

    I do have some questions though:

    - When I open multiple project files, the Team Planner seems to aggregate all these project into one. That results in a view in which multiple resources are listed twice with exactly the same projects listed. Is there a way to prevent this?

    - As someone else already noted; it's listing tasks which it shouldn't list. In my case; summary tasks are displayed. The tooltip says I should delete any resources linked to that task to prevent it from showing up; but there are no resources linked.

    - Is it possible to customize the text which displays in the bar of an activity? It now shows the activity title, which is great; but we'd like the project name to display also.

    Apart from these things, I'm planning on starting with 2010 as soon as possible; for us it's a big improvement on 2007. I have to plan for multiple team members which all work across multiple projects at the same time and that was a genuine hell in 2007 I must say. Good to see that things are improving!

  • Hello,

    Is there a way in Team planner to filter some tasks? I have tried using the Flag field for example. The filters work in gantt views.  I am flagging some tasks that require traveling and would like to get a Team planner view of travel tasks (excluding non-travel task). Although I can create a new filter, in the team planner view the filter doesn't seem to work.

    Thanks!

  • Hi, I like Jasper above manage multiple resources across multiple projects. The team planner is a great new addition but each task needs to have the project name displayed as well so that a quick glance shows what project each resource is assigned to rather than just the task name as many of my projects have identical tasks. Will this get added sometime soon?

    Steve

  • Thanks everyone for the feedback!

    Since there were a few questions about working across multiple projects, let me address that first. Two main ways to work with resources across multiple projects:

    1. Use an MPP resource pool (Project client without Project Server) – see “Resource Pool” on the Resource tab in the ribbon

    2. Use Project Server for managing your enterprise resource pool

    In both cases, you can get a single view in Team Planner showing your team’s work across multiple projects. To get a sense of what this looks like for Project Server, see this video: http://www.microsoft.com/showcase/en/us/details/a1c40e7a-b640-48c5-948c-49ceac892359 - you can jump to the relevant segment starting 39:22 and going through through 41:48 (2.5 min).

    Ahmed: see above

    Jasper:

    1. Thanks! Glad to hear it’s helpful.

    2. We haven’t seen the behavior you describe with resources showing up multiple times. Do you see duplicate entries if you switch to the Resource Sheet view?

    3. We still haven’t tracked down the issue with listing tasks which shouldn’t be listed. Perhaps this is fixed in the final (RTM) version. Can you recreate this issue and describe it with a simple example (eg, task A assigned to resource 1)?

    4. Unfortunately you can’t customize the text to show something like the project name—but this is helpful feedback for future versions. Note that you do see the project name in the tooltip (“Task Path”)

    Jaques:

    There’s no way to directly filter tasks in Team Planner, other than “filtering” in time by scrolling/zooming to focus on a particular time period. We focus on letting you filter resources and then see all of the relevant tasks for those resources. A few “workarounds” you might consider:

    -Manually color in the tasks that you want to focus on (right click on one or multiple tasks and click the arrow next to the paint bucket icon)

    -Inactivating tasks from the Gantt (right click – Inactivate task) will hide them in Team Planner

    Steve:

    See my comments above. As I mentioned, you can see the project name in the tooltip, but no way to see it directly without hovering. We did make one improvement for the “quick glance” scenario that you’ll see in the final (RTM) build though: tasks from projects other than the current one now appear lighter than “regular” tasks (same color, just lighter, similar to what you see when hovering on a task).

    Thanks again for the feedback. Hopefully many of you will tune in for the launch tomorrow! www.the2010event.com

  • Some updated links:

    1. 4-minute video overview of Team Planner and how it can help you more easily and effectively manage your team's work: http://www.microsoft.com/showcase/en/us/details/9f5161a1-4237-47a9-9707-d0cd03fc7b2d

    2. Self-paced demo/online course on Team Planner: http://www.microsoft.com/global/project/en/us/RichMedia/demos/keystone/player.html?course=teamplanner

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