Microsoft Project 2010
The official blog of the Microsoft Office product development group. Learn how to manage your work effectively

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2010: Introducing Portfolio Analysis


    In Project Server 2010, a rich set of new Portfolio Strategy features are now available in the core Project Server product serving to more closely unify project and portfolio management. Those familiar with Portfolio Server 2007 will recognize many of these features, but will appreciate the enhancements made possible by rebuilding them on the Project Server platform. Highlights include:

    · UI is now SharePoint-based, making these features easier to use and provides visual consistency with the rest of the app

    · A gateway linking the Portfolio Server product is no longer required, everything resides with one product

    · Full API support now available for these features via the Project Server Interface (PSI), and some integration with the Reporting Database (RDB).

    This seamless unification of two products into one consolidated offering makes end-to-end project and portfolio management easier than ever. In addition to the core platform integration highlights, we’ve adding a brand new Resource Analysis feature that enables portfolio-level project scheduling and analysis based on organizational resource availability.

    For those of you unfamiliar with the Portfolio Strategy feature set, it essentially allows organizations to methodically select projects that will yield the most value for their dollar. By adding intelligent structure to how project investment decisions are reached, executives can minimize the irrationality and fog that comes from making “gut feel” disposition decisions based on limited data and analysis, or based on unqualified or unclear business goals. At a high-level, the feature set works as follows:

    · Organizations define and prioritize their strategic objectives, or business drivers.


    Drivers can be prioritized using the pair-wise comparison method to reinforce objectivity.

    · Costs and resource requirements are assigned to each project proposal, and a proposal’s impact on each business driver is rated, generating relative project value/priority score across a portfolio.


    The Resource Plan feature can be used to specify high-level project resource requirements to be fed into the new Resource Analysis feature.


    Portfolio analysts can review the project-to-driver impact ratings assessed by the project owners and make adjustments if necessary.

    · Portfolios are constrained by cost categories, time-phased resources requirements, and project schedule. The Portfolio Cost Constraint Analysis engine selects projects that yield the most value with the lowest cost, while the Resource Constraint Analysis feature chooses higher priority projects based on resource availability within a planning period’s timeline.


    Given a limited budget, the Cost Analysis algorithm will select a portfolio that maximizes strategic value while minimizing cost.


    The new Resource Analysis feature helps you identify gaps in demand vs. availability, favoring higher priority projects for selection.

    · Portfolio analysts can override the software’s decisions, and pull a variety of constraint levers to maximize value based on a given organizational reality. Projects can be forced in, cost reduced, dates moved, resources hired, etc., all in an effort to achieve a plan that maximizes strategic value based on dollars/resources consumed.


    The tool suggests project selection, but ultimately you are in control and can force in projects for specific user-defined purposes.


    One of the way the Resource Analysis feature allows you to resolve resource availability gaps is by moving project dates.

    · Final project investment decisions are reached and communicated to stakeholders via reports or through the web interface.


    New “Committed” fields help communicate the results of selection decisions to stakeholders.

    Again, all of this is done on the shared extensible Project Server/SharePoint platform in the 2010 version, and integrates seamlessly with the rest of the Project features, including the Demand Management feature set and project scheduling/execution.

    From strategy, to selection, to project planning and execution, Project Server 2010 unifies the end-to-end Project and Portfolio Management experience.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Please Send Us Error Reports


    Send Error Report message

    Before I came to Microsoft, I always cancelled the "Send error reporting to Microsoft".  I didn't know what was being captured or how it was being used.  Brief feelings of being spied upon would come over me.  So, my choice was always to cancel.

    Now that I work for Microsoft, I wanted to pass on the two major points I have learned about error reporting.

    First, it's very important information.  Whenever a Microsoft Office application encounters an error, the Watson error reporting application captures what was happening with the PC at the time of the error and what error was encountered.  It will then prompt you to send this information to Microsoft. 

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE send this data to us.  Basically, we capture the program call stack data for debugging purposes and the error description.  The data sent to us allows us to analyze which errors are occurring, how often and why. 

    Errors follow the Pareto principle where a small number of issues create most of the errors.  We use the frequency and severity as one of the inputs in deciding what goes into future service packs and product versions.  This data was instrumental in selecting fixes for the Project 2003 service packs.

    Secondly, we are not spying on you.  We do not capture personally identifiable information in this process.  So, you won't start getting marketing material as a result of submitting this information. 

    I recently watched a user get an error, saw Watson do it's job and then saw the user cancel the send process.  I asked why they cancelled it and basically, they didn't want to take the time to submit the info.  I also asked how often had they seen the issue and they said enough to notice. 

    As a result, we both lose as the user will continue to experience the problem and we will continue to not know about it.

    Sending in the data is the easiest way to make sure your issue is reported.  In the end, we will all benefit from a better product. 


  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Share a Schedule without revealing Actual Dates


    One of the questions I get fairly often is that people want to show their project schedules and get feedback on them without including real dates since their project hasn’t been officially scheduled yet. You know once you show someone a schedule with dates, that’s all they can think about and then you don’t get the feedback you want.

    You have three ways of doing this:



    The default timescale setting has it showing real dates. You can update this though by right-clicking on the timescale and selecting Timescale… Then in the dialog, for the tiers that are being displayed choose one of the circled items that uses relative time (ie. the first week of the project is Week 1) instead of calendar time:


    This will update my timescale to look like:


    The only other step you’ll need to do is to hide the start and finish date columns

    Date Format

    For date format (what controls how dates are displayed in the task sheet and throughout Project), Project doesn’t support a relative time format so you have two options which I’ve circled below. To update the date format, go to File – Options:


    You can select to just show time when how tasks line up is important to show.

    Alternatively you can choose one of the W4/4 formats. This date isn’t relative to the first week of the project but instead is based off the calendar (so the first week of January is week 1). Doing this format plus the timescale formatting I mention below will still essentially hide real dates from the people you are reviewing the schedule with. Just make sure to temporarily set your project to start on the first week of the year.


    Then when you know the actual start date of your project, you can use Move Project to adjust the schedule.

    Timeline View

    Last but not least, you can use the Timeline View. Say I have the following Timeline:


    To not show the dates, you need to go to the Format tab – Date Format and un-check Task Dates, Today and Timescale. This will get you:


    Now you still have dates on either ends, to remove those you can either crop the image or paste the Timeline into PowerPoint and delete them there.

    The only problem is that while you aren’t showing dates anymore, now the timeline is kind of meaningless if you want to show anything more than order and relative size of tasks. To get around this you can create dummy tasks to represent generic time intervals. For example, if I create a bunch of week long tasks I can get this:


    I also changed Text Lines to 2 since I just think that looks better. And here’s what I added to my project plan:


    You can choose whatever time interval makes the most sense for your project. Also, don’t forget to include weekends or else you’ll have gaps.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Migrating from Project Server 2003 to Project Server 2007


    Project Server 2007 is a major release that involves fundamental architectural changes.  It is vital that you plan the migration carefully and meticulously - and we have a migration guide in Beta1 (and are planning on an updated one in Beta2) that would help you with that.  We strongly encourage you to migrate your Project Server 2003 with the beta version for the migration utility and report issues if you have any.


    Upgrade versus Migration

    Upgrade is about changing your data in place (i.e. you have Project Server 2003, run upgrade and then you have Project Server 2007) and you can't go back to Project Server 2003.  Migration is about taking data from Project Server 2003, fixing things up and then saving it to Project Server 2007. At the end of migration, you will have Project Server 2003 and Project Server 2007. Project Server 2003 to Project Server 2007 is a MIGRATION process, not UPGRADE! 


    Some more FAQs:


    Q:   Is cross language migration supported? That is, could I migrate from Project Server 2003 English to Project Server 2007 French?

    A:  Cross language migration is not supported. We only support migrating across the same language. But after migration, appropriate language packs may be applied on Project Server 2007 to get a similar effect.  


    Q:  Can we consolidate data from multiple Project Server 2003 instances into one Project Server 2007 instance? That is, can I consolidate http://2003PWA/Dept1 and http://2003PWA/Dept2 into a single http://2007PWA/Single?

    A:  No, you can't do this as part of Project 2007 migration. If you have 2 Project Server 2003 instances, say http://2003PWA/Dept1 and http://2003PWA/Dept2, you need to migrate them to two separate Project Server 2007 instances (i.e. http://2007PWA/Dept1 and http://2007PWA/Dept2).    


    Q: I migrated a subset of projects to Project Server 2007. If there are users who are on Project Server 2003 projects AND Project Server 2007 projects, how do I manage Resource availability?

    A: There is no easy answer to this. In the period when you are operating 2 servers - you won't get an updated resource availability view in either Project Server 2003 or Project Server 2007. So, we recommend that you don't have Project in a side-by-side state for an extended period of time.  Alternatively you could build a custom solution that gets resource availability from the two systems and presents a unified view.  


    Q: Will "linked projects" and "master projects" get migrated?

    A: Yes, they will be migrated.


    Q: I have Project Server authenticated users in Project Server 2003. After migration, I find no way to login as those users. Did they get migrated?

    A: Yes, they got migrated. But you need to setup forms authentication for Project Server 2007 to enable their login (Project Server 2007 relies on the SharePoint/ASP.NET forms authentication infrastructure).  

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Copy custom views, filters, tables, and other elements to other projects


    After you start working with Project, if won’t be long before you get creative and start customizing views, tables, filters, reports, and so on. And it won’t be too long after that when you begin to think about leveraging your creativity by applying it to all your future projects. Welcome to the Project organizer.

    The organizer is a dialog box that allows you to copy Project elements between files, or between a file and the global template. What is the global template? It is a special Project template that is associated with every project file that you create.

    For example, suppose you customize the Gantt chart with cost columns, then rename the view “Corporate Cost Gantt.” And now you want to use the new Gantt chart in all future projects. Here’s what you do.

    1. For Project 2007, on the Tools menu, click Organizer.
      For Project 2010, click the File tab, click Into, and then click Organizer—but see note below for some differences.
    2. In the Organizer dialog box, click the Views tab.
    3. The list in the right box contains the custom views in the currently open project.
      Note    to see Project elements from other projects, you’ll need to open those projects first.
    4. The list on the left contains elements in the Global template (also knows as Global.MPT). Your job is to move the custom element from the right side to the left side.
    5. Select the custom view on the right side, and then click Copy. The custom view will be copied to the Global template and be displayed on the left side.
    6. Now, it get’s a little tricky at this point. If your “Corporate Cost Gantt” view contains columns that you’ve added, then you’ll need to copy over the associated table as the next step. The associated table is the one you specified when you created the custom view in the first place. Typically, this would be the Entry table for chart views. So your next step is to click the Tables tab, and then copy the Entry table to the Global template. Got it? (If not, leave a comment, and I’ll clarify some more.)

      Now all future projects will have the custom view available to them with the correct underlying table (so will all projects created in the past, in case you didn’t figure this out).


    Here’s a couple things to keep in mind.

    • For Project 2010, the organizer behaves a bit differently. By default, new views are are automatically saved to the global template file and thus are made available to future projects (as are new tables associated with the view). To change this setting, on the File tab, click Options, and then click Advanced. Find the setting in the Display section:


    Changes to existing view elements in Project 2010 are not automatically saved to the Global template with this setting. If you’ve changed the Gantt chart and want those changes reflected in future and past projects, then you’ll need to manually copy over the Gantt chart into the Global template, as well as the underlying table.

    • If you want to copy Project elements from one project file to another file (but not to the Global template), in the availability list, select the second file. The second file needs to be open to do this.

    • Task information cannot be copied over in this way. If you want specific tasks to be part of each project, save the current file as a regular template.
    • Values in custom value lists (i.e. lookup values) cannot be stored in the Global template. Use a regular template for this situation, as well.
  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Resource Management



    My name is Dave Ducolon and I am a Program Manager for Microsoft Office Project/Project Server.  It is my pleasure to write about and to discuss Resource Management and other related topics for the 2007 release. 

    Resource Management is at its best a hard job.  And at the core is Capacity Management and Planning.  As most of you know, the trouble is that while people or “work resources” are not a commodity such as bricks or lumber, neither are they fixed assets (ones with unlimited capacity).  And if that doesn’t make Resource Management difficult enough, work resources can be augmented with external resources such as consultants or subcontractors.  We on the Project team at Microsoft not only understand this challenge we experience it the same as anybody else that does project based work.

    In 2007 we have taken significant steps to help mitigate the inherant difficulties of managing resources whether they are People, Material or even costs.  Today I will give you an overview of how we see the Project 2007 system being used to accomplish this.  This is a brief, yes very brief overview of some of the Resource Management features that will help you manage your resources end-to-end.  In later posts, I will dive deeper into features.

    To begin with, it is best to model organizational capacity and then to work on tactical level assignments.  Generic resources, a legacy feature, are ideal to represent your organizational capacity as it pertains to resource capabilities.  Then as work gets approved you can allocate these generic resources to a new 2007 feature in Project Server 2007 called Resource Plans. 

    Resource Plans allow you to manage resource needs for a project without requiring any task level detail.  Then as the project and work become better defined you will be able to convert these Generic Resource Plan assignments into Resource Plan assignments for real employees.  At which time you will undoubtedly need to view availability and verify that individuals do not get over scheduled.

    Resource Leveling, a legacy feature, can be used to automate the task of managing allocations of work to individuals or you may want to make use of the Resource Availability graph, a legacy feature, in Project Server.  Regardless of which method you choose, you will undoubtedly move on into the execution phase. 

    For this phase Project Server 2007 delivers functionality that allows customers to separate the effort spent on a project and its tasks from the actual work performed.  Effort is normally what team members think of when they are reporting their progress on a task.  It is not uncommon to hear people say “I am 60% complete and should finish by Friday”.  This does not mean that they will use every available minute between the statement and Friday to complete the work and it also does not mean that they spent exactly 60% of the scheduled work for that task.  Instead it means they have spent 60% of the effort they feel is needed on the task and that the other 40% should be able to be accomplished by Friday.  Team Member Task tracking in Project Server has been able to capture that information since we first released Project Server back in 2000.  In 2007 we have delivered a separate timesheet that allows team members to report their actual hours worked whether that be on a Project or on a specific Task. 

    It is through use of these features that you will be able to more accurately plan, estimate, track and manage your resources time and thereby improve your ability to manage resources.  In my next Post, I will present and review the Resoruce Plan feature.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2010: Introducing Demand Management


    Demand Management is about capturing all work proposals in one single place, taking these proposals through a multi-stage governance process, making decisions on which proposals to approve and tracking progress on their execution until the work is completed. A key component within Demand Management is the Workflow governance model we have now implemented within Microsoft Project Server 2010.

    The "Proposals" feature in Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 helps capture demand in one place, but is not flexible enough and does not have a full-fledged governance workflow behind it. The "Builder" module in Project Portfolio Server 2007 is a flexible demand management paradigm, but does not have a familiar Project Server/Office SharePoint Server look and feel and also has some usability, scalability problems. The Demand management functionality in Microsoft Project Server 2010 is designed to be both flexible and usable.

    In project portfolio management (PPM), a project lifecycle is a long-running process that spans various governance phases. Typical demand management phases are create, select, plan, and manage (customers can create their own).

    The "Plan" phase is accomplished by the more familiar project management processes using Project Professional and Project Web Access. Workflow models the governance processes and provides a structured way for projects to proceed through the phases. Workflows, along with other key concepts, are captured and integrated within the demand management feature set, providing a rich and dynamic platform on which customers and partners can build custom solutions.

    The figure below shows the four typical phases of demand management and how they fit together. Within each phase are stages such as propose idea and initial review. Each stage can have an associated project detail page (PDP) in Project Web Access (PWA). The entire collection of stages represents a single workflow that can be linked to an enterprise project template (EPT). More details about these concepts given below.


    Governance Workflow

    A governance workflow is all about creating a rich life cycle for any proposal/demand that comes into the system. It includes defining the various stages through which the project goes in its lifecycle (for example, Proposal Creation, Proposal Initial Approval, etc), determining what information is required or locked at what stage (for example, budget cost should be locked down after the project is approved), including any manual approval/notifications steps as necessary and adding any business logic to update other Line Of Business Systems (for example, update the SAP system when the proposal budget gets approved).

    The Project Server workflow platform is built on the Windows SharePoint Services 2010 workflow platform, which in turn is based on the Windows Workflow Foundation. Workflow is a key component of demand management.


    A Project Server workflow runs on a Project Web Access site and helps to manage a sequence of activities or alternate sets of activities related to project management such as Check Project Custom Field Value and Publish Project.

    Project Server 2010 workflows use the Site workflow paradigm, which removes the restriction that a Windows SharePoint Services 2010 workflow can be started only on a list item. Project Server workflows are deployed to Project Web Access, and workflow instances can be run only as a project entity.

    The figure below shows the high-level processes for workflow creation, administration, and use.

    Note: Project Server workflows must be created in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010. Project Server workflows cannot be created from Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010.


    The administration of Project Server workflows is identical to managing any other Windows SharePoint Services 2010 workflow, thereby providing more consistency between Project Server and Windows SharePoint Services 2010 and reducing redundant work. Workflow instances are created when a project is created and are deleted when the project is deleted/completed/rejected.

    Unlike in Windows SharePoint Services 2010, a user does not start a workflow instance from the administration page that lists all the Project Server workflows.

    Enterprise Project Type

    An enterprise project type (EPT) represents a wrapper that encapsulates phases, stages, a single workflow, and PDPs. Each EPT represents a single project type. Normally, project types are aligned with individual departments, for example, marketing projects, IT projects, HR projects, and so forth. Using project types helps to categorize projects within the same organization that have a similar project life cycle. For a user, the EPTs appear in a drop-down list of project types when the user clicks New Project in Project Web Access.



    Phases represent a collection of stages grouped together to identify a common set of activities in the project life cycle. Examples of phases are project creation, project selection, and project management. Phases do not have any direct technical impact on the behavior of an EPT. That is, changing the order of phases does not affect how the system reacts. The primary purpose of demand management phases is to provide a smoother user experience where users have the option of organizing stages into logical groups.


    A stage represents one step within a project lifecycle. A stage is composed of one or more project detail pages (PDPs) linked by common logic or theme. Stages at a user level appear as steps within a project. At each step, data must be entered, modified, reviewed, or processed.

    At a technical level, each stage represents a step where data is manipulated before the workflow can move to the next step. For a single-stage workflow, very little programming is involved. The user enters all of the data in one PDP, and can then work on the project as she normally would. For a multi-stage workflow, each stage is separated by an activity (SetProjectStage) within a Visual Studio workflow diagram. The actual SetProjectStage activity acts as a marker between stages and sets default properties of the next stage. The activities that follow SetProjectStage outline the actions that must take place within the next stage.

    Note   The actual stage itself is not created within Visual Studio. The stage must first be created in Project Web Access. After the stage is created, you can link to that stage within Visual Studio.

    Project Detail Pages in Stages

    A PDP represents a single Web Part Page in Project Web Access. PDPs can be used to display or collect information from the user. You can create PDPs in much the same way you create any Web Part Page in a SharePoint site, where you can add Web Parts that provide the experience you want. You can add individual Web Parts from the standard Web Part galleries to create custom Web Parts.

    Project Server Web Parts and custom Web Parts used in demand management all contain custom fields. Web Parts can make calls to the PSI, query the reporting database, or integrate with external systems.

    The figure below shows the general hierarchy of the parts of demand management in Project Server 2010.


    Workflows are associated with the stages. From a programming standpoint, PDPs are not actually referenced within the workflow. The PDPs simply act as containers to hold or display data. The workflow can however, references custom fields in the Web Parts.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Add miscellaneous costs to tasks using cost resources


    Cost resources provide an easy way of applying miscellaneous or multiple costs to a task, like airfare and dining— in addition to the more commonly applied costs like people’s salaries or per-use costs, such as consultant fees.

    Cost resources don’t depend upon the amount of work done on tasks. Nor do they depend on any calendars used in the project, as do work resource salaries, or rate costs for material resources, such as computer time and rental machinery.

    Let’s look at this a little more closely since cost resources are created differently than the other costs, and they are applied differently as well.

    First, off to the Resource Sheet to create a few cost resources. In Project 2010, click the View tab, and then click click Resource Sheet.


                  In Project 2007, click the View menu, and then click Resource sheet.

    1. Add a couple cost resources, like Airfare and Dining. In the Type column for each cost resource, click Cost. In the example below, two cost resources have been added below a few people resources and material resources.


      Notice that the cost columns for the cost resources become unavailable for editing. This is because the actual cost value of the cost resource isn’t set in this view, as the other costs are. The cost value for cost resources are set as you assign or apply this cost resource to a task using the Assign Resources dialog box.  Let’s look at this now.
    2. Go back to the Gantt Chart (I assume you know how to get there).
    3. Select the task that you want to apply a cost resource to, and then click Assign Resources.
      You can open the Assign Resource dialog box in a number of ways: 
        image On the Resource tab, click Assign Resources.
        image  Right click on the task, and click Assign Resources.
        image  Double click a task to bring up the Task Information dialog box, and then click the Resources Tab.
        image  For Project 2007, click Assign Resources on on the Standard toolbar.
    4. Select the cost resource that you entered into the Resource Sheet, and then in the Cost column, enter the value for this cost resource as applied to the selected task. After you type a cost value, click Assign to assign the value of the cost resource to the task. Notice when you do this that the cost resource and its value appear with the other resource names on the Gantt bar (and, No, you can’t remove the cost resource name and value from appearing with the other resource names).


      Note   You can keep the dialog box open as you continue assigning cost resources to other tasks. Just click the new task behind the dialog box.

    Keep one important thing in mind as you use cost resources: You can reuse the same cost resource. That is, If two tasks require two different plane trips and thus two different airfares, simply use one value for the cost resource as applied to one task, and a different value for the same cost resource as applied to the other task. Make sense? If not, leave a comment, and I’ll try to clear up any confusion.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Cube Building Services Overview


    For our first feature discussion, I will introduce you to Project “12” Cube Building Services that represent a part of our offerings for Enterprise Project Management Reporting. It also happens to be the feature I own, so I am very excited to share with you the work we have done.


    Project Server 2003 ships a foundation to enterprise reporting and data analysis with the Portfolio Analyzer cube. In Project Server “12” we have expanded the idea to offer a rich set of data ready to consume, out of the box. The Cube Building Services offers an environment to truly provide business intelligence and insight to businesses using Project.  


    We have increased the number of cubes offered to 11 cubes and 3 virtual cubes. The cubes are built using the Project Server “12” Reporting infrastructure. This infrastructure includes a dedicated Reporting SQL database that contains all Project Server “12” data that has been published. This data is incrementally update at real time as data gets published, tremendously improving the performance for the cubes as well.


    The list of cubes offered are the following (this may be subject to change):

    1.    Project Non Timephased

    2.    Task Non Timephased

    3.    Assignment Non Timephased

    4.    Assignment Timephased

    5.    Resource Non Timephased

    6.    Resource Timephased

    7.    EPM Timesheet

    8.    Timesheet

    9.    Issues

    10. Risks

    11. Deliverables


    The virtual cubes offered are the following (also subject to change):

    1.    Portfolio Analyzer – backwards compatible with Project Server 2003

    2.    Project Timesheet

    3.    Project WSS


    During the Project Conference, one of the top questions I was asked regarding the cube schema was whether the Time dimension has a Week level and the answer is YES! In addition to the Time dimension, we’ll also offer a Fiscal Time dimension that will map to fiscal periods defined in the Project Server though it will not follow the traditional Time dimension hierarchy (Year > Quarter > Month…).


    The Cube Building Services in the Project Web Access interface provides a very centralized set of cube administrator pages.


    Cube Building Settings

    Similarly to Project Server 2003, this page helps administrator setup the cube builds and define the cube settings:

    ·         Analysis Services server name

    ·         Data range to be included on the cubes

    ·         Frequency to which the cubes should be updated


    Cube Customization

    The Cube Building Services in Project Server “12” has an easy to use interface to allow customization of the cubes by using Enterprise Custom Fields. For example, you can add Location custom field to your Assignment Timephased cube as a dimension.  That would allow you to analyze Actual Cost sliced on Location over a period of time. This is very simple example, but you can get the idea of the powerful analysis you will be able to do with this.


    We also offer an interface to add calculated members without having to write any custom code just the appropriate MDX formula. For example, for Profit, the formula would be something like [Revenue] – [Cost]


    Once the customizations are save, they will be added to the cubes the next time the cube is built.


    Cube Building Status

    This page has been added to help administrators verify the status of the building process and troubleshoot if there are any errors, such as the Analysis Services server name is invalid.


    Note: Project Server “12” also has an amazing Queue feature that allows great job management on the server side but I’ll save the details for a future post.


    The Cube Building Services has been built primarily in Analysis Services 2000 though it successfully builds in Analysis Services 2005 as well. For those of you who did have a chance to use these cubes in the Beta 1 release, this was not working at that point but it has been fixed. We will also support mixed configurations, the final support configuration document has not yet been finalized but our test team has been making good progress validating many of the scenarios we want to support.


    I would really like to hear how in depth you would like the topics to go into. I can really drill down on a few of them if there is interest. I will start new feature discussions with an overview post like this one to give you a background on the work done for the feature in P12. 

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Back to basics: Gantt Chart view


    The Gantt Chart view is the most commonly used view in Project. It lists the tasks in your project, and illustrates their relationship to one another and the schedule using Gantt bars. Let's look a little more closely at each portion of the view.

    First, let's take a look at the left portion of the view. This portion uses a table format, and is where each of the tasks, summary tasks, and subtasks in your project are listed. You can use this table to enter new tasks, indent or outdent your existing tasks, set task durations, and identify predecessor tasks.


    The right portion of the view illustrates the tasks, dates, and durations across a timeline. You can adjust the timeline units and change the formatting of the bars on the Gantt chart.


    For more information about the Gantt Chart view, see Work with the Gantt Chart view. For more information about other views in Project 2007, see Overview of Project views.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Contour your work



    A typical work week is rarely typical. Yet, you can plan for this with a Project 2007 feature called “work contours.” If you discover that there is a consistent work pattern in your organization where people are assigned to work more hours at the beginning of a task than at the end, you can have Project account for this using assignment contours. Or, perhaps a task requires more work in the middle of it than at the beginning to account for ramp-up time.

    No problem. After assigning a person to a task, switch to the Task Usage view from the Tools menu. The tricky part is double-clicking the person’s name assigned to a task and not the task itself. This brings up the Assignment Information dialog box (which is what you want since you’ll be adjusting an assignment and not the task itself).


    In the Work Contour list, select the type of work assignment pattern that makes sense for the work that will be performed on the task. Now, in the list of patterns, you may not know the difference between a “Turtle” and “Bell” contour, so it’s best just to apply different contours and see how the hours automatically “shape” themselves in the timesheet portion of the Task Usage view. The view should now look like this:


    In the image above, two different contours are used: a “Bell” contour and a “Front-loaded” contour, as you can tell by the icon on the left.

    On the right side of the view, Tom has his work hours shaped, or “contoured,” to reflect a front-loaded work pattern.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2010: Creating New Views


    In Project 2010, we’ve simplified the view creation process down to two steps.

    Step 1: Update your current view to something that you want to save. In this example, I’ve inserted a few columns and applied a group to the Task Usage view.


    Step 2: On the View tab, from any of the view dropdowns, click Save View.


    A dialog will pop up and you will be able to give your view a name.


    And once you click OK – your new view is now being displayed and will show up in the view dropdown list.


    So, what’s going on behind the scenes?

    A view consists of four elements– a screen, table, group, and filter. The screen is just the type of view (Gantt Chart, Task Usage, Calendar, etc.). The table defines which columns should be displayed. The filter and group settings also define what the view should show and how it should be displayed. All views have these defined, they just may be All Tasks and No Group. You can update the Table, Filter, and Group for a view through the View tab – Data group.

    When you click Save View, in the background Project is copying the current view settings to the new view and creating a copy of the current table with the new view’s name. This way as you farther insert/remove columns in your new view, other views aren’t being affected since different views can have the same table. Project doesn’t create new filters or groups when you save a new view, instead the existing ones are just applied to the new view.

    Another change for Project 2010 is that when you create a new view, table, filter, or group it is automatically added to your global.mpt file. This means that it will be available in all of your projects instead of just the current project you are in. If you don’t like this functionality, you can turn this off on the Advanced tab of the Project Options dialog. Also, note that you’ll still have to manually add items to the enterprise global just like in previous versions.

    Another advantage of having items saved to the global, besides that they’ll be available in all of your projects, is that you can go back to the global copy if you no longer want your local version. For example, in the first image in this article, notice how I’m in the task usage view but it is no longer the original task usage view I started out with – I’ve changed the columns and applied a grouping. If I want to go back to that original task usage view, on the View tab, Task Usage dropdown, I can select Reset to Default:


    Click Yes at the Warning.


    And then I’ll be back to the plain Task Usage view.












    Additionally, say I started with the view I just created, My Awesome New View, and made a bunch of changes to the formatting and such that I no longer wanted. I could click Reset to Default and get back to the original configuration I had when I first saved the view.

    Finally if I’m in the new view, My Awesome New View, and click Save View again, this time I’ll get the following dialog:


    And now I can choose to update the global version of My Awesome New View or save the updates as a completely new view.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Back to basics: Sharing your project with others


    You've spent hours in Microsoft Office Project 2007 hand-crafting a project plan that you're pretty sure must be glowing because it's so darned brilliant. All of the start and finish dates line up perfectly, your resources are balanced with reasonable workloads, and the costs are well within budget. People are talking about your Incredible Plan, and now Pete, your manager, wants to take a look at this work of project management genius. Your options for sharing your project plan with Pete depend on what he has available for viewing the plan.

    Scenario 1: Pete has Project 2007 installed

    As you might expect, this is the simplest scenario. You created your plan in Project 2007, and Pete has Project 2007 installed. If your organization is using Microsoft Office Project Server 2007, Pete can simply open the project from the server, or, if you're not using Project Server, you can send him the .MPP file as an e-mail attachment. If you think that Pete will want to make changes to your plan as he's reviewing it, you might consider checking the project out and saving it for sharing.

    Scenario 2: Pete has Project 2003 installed

    If Pete has Project 2003 installed on his computer, he can use a converter to open a Project 2007 file in Project 2003. He needs to make sure he has Project 2003 Service Pack 3 installed, which contains the converter. Once that's installed, Pete can open a Project 2007 file in Project 2003 as a read-only file. Here's a big catch though: if your plan relies on any of the features that are new in Project 2007, those features won't be available when Pete opens the file in Project 2003. So depending on how much of your plan's brilliance is being derived from the new Project 2007 features, you may want to go a different route.

    Scenario 3: Pete doesn't have Project installed

    Pete's a reasonable guy. He knows that the project managers on his team rely on Project 2007 for scheduling tasks and tracking resource usage, but he's just not into it himself. If he had Project installed, he wouldn't use it nearly enough to warrant the license, so he's chosen not to install it. In this case, you have to cater to his situation: you've got a project plan that he can't currently open on his computer.

    What's the solution for sharing the plan with him?

    · Project Web Access. If your organization is running Project Server 2007, you could publish your project plan, and then suggest that Pete view the plan by logging on to Project Web Access.

    · Trial version. If Pete doesn't mind temporarily installing Project 2007 for the purposes of viewing your project plan, he can download and install the trial version of Project 2007. Once activated, the trial version provides full functionality for 60 days at no cost.

    · Copy project data. If Pete really just needs to know the basics, you can copy your project data into another Office application, such as Excel 2007.

    · Soft copies. The next section talks about ways to provide Pete with your project information as hard copies, printed out on paper to put on the desk in front of him. For most of these options, you could also choose to provide Pete with soft copies, either attached to e-mail messages, shared on a network, or brought to him using other file sharing means (USB flash drive, burned CD, Windows Mobile device, etc.).

    Scenario 4: Pete hates computers

    Okay so not everyone is as in love with computers as you are, and Pete just happens to be one of those people who prefers good old-fashioned paper trails. That's just're a pro, you can handle this situation too. Your project plan is so brilliant that it glows even on paper.

    Best bets for providing Pete with a hard copy that effectively illustrates your project plan:

    · Printed view. If you really want Pete to see your project plan the way you do, you can print your view for him. For more great information about printing a view, check out the previous blog entry, "Back to basics: Printing your project."

    · Reports. Project 2007 has a number of reporting options: basic reports, custom basic reports, and (insert drumroll here) visual reports (which are particularly cool in a slice-and-dice kind of way). To meet Pete's printed-copy needs, you can simply generate a report on your project data, and then print it for him to review. To learn more about visual reports, check out this article about integrating with Excel, and this article about integrating with Visio. And again, I have to plug the previous blog entry, "Back to basics: Printing your project," because it has some great pointers to more content about printing reports.

    · Pictures. Another option for printing a view is to capture a picture of the view for printing. Using this option, you can limit which rows you want to share with Pete, and you can generate a picture with a resolution that is best suited for printing.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Changing Constraints Back to Normal


    Now you’ve done it. You created a number of tasks in Project 2007 using start dates that you entered manually. Or maybe someone handed you a schedule with many “Must Start On” constraints applied to tasks. Unless you have a good reason to use non-default constraints or manually entered dates on tasks, it is best to let project figure out the proper constraint and dates after you set up the relationship between tasks. Project will typically apply the “As Soon As Possible” (ASAP) constraint, for example, to tasks, because this constraint best reflects how most tasks are typically scheduled in the real world.

    So how do you clean up a project with messy constraints and switch them back to Project’s preferred ASAP constraint? You could hunt for them one task at a time. But that’s too much work. Or you could add a Constraint Type column to a view, and search for them that way, but a bunch of work still remains. A better solution: search for the problem dates or constraints, and then have Project replace them automatically.

    1. On the Edit menu, click Replace.
    2. In the Replace dialog box, set up a search criterion that says something like “Find all tasks that don’t have an As Soon As Possible constraint and change it back this constraint.” Now this is going to look a little backwards in the dialog box, but here it is:


    1. In the dialog box, I specify in the Look in field list, that I want to search only within values in the Constraint Type field.
    2. In the Test list, I specify a condition of “does not equal”, which applies to the value in the Find what box. What this means is that if a constraint value is found that is not “As Soon As Possible,” then the constraint needs to be changed to “As Soon As Possible.”

    I told you that it seems a little backwards, but that’s how it goes sometimes in software.

    Now, you don’t have to stop there. You can enter specific dates to look for in the Find what list, with a Test of “equals”, and replace those dates with an ASAP constraint.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2010: Introducing the Backstage view


    Hi, it’s Jon K again. In this post, I’ll introduce Project 2010’s new Backstage view. The Backstage view is the new experience seen when you click on the File tab in Project 2010. While the other ribbon tabs focus on things you do in your project (add tasks, edit resources, change formatting), the Backstage view is focused on things you do to your project as a whole—for example, save, print, and share.

    The Backstage view is new across all Office apps for 2010, whereas the ribbon was a part of other Office applications for Office 2007 but is also new for Project 2010. In this post, Clay provides some background on the thinking behind the introduction of the Backstage view. His comments there apply to Project  as well, so I recommend you take a break from this post and go read his post first if you’re new to the Backstage view. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

    OK, welcome back. When you click the File tab in the ribbon to enter the Backstage view, you’ll see a new list of tabs down the side: Info, Recent, New, Print, Save & Send, Help. Additionally, there are single-click “fast commands” for frequent options like Save, Save As, Publish, Open, and Close. Below these tabs you’ll also find a button to configure Project options.

    When you first click the File tab in Project, you’ll see Project’s Info tab:


    The Info tab is where you can get high-level status about your project and make related changes. A few things to notice:

    • The Backstage view is full screen. Since you’re not working with the content of your document, the Backstage takes over the screen and allows for more screen space to describe the relevant features
    • “Temporary” sections provide status about special conditions such as a Read-Only file as shown above.
    • The info tab also provides:
      • A convenient place to reference the location of your document, and copy it to the clipboard
      • A place to manage your connections to Project Server (if any)
      • A link to the Organizer, where you can move project elements
      • A thumbnail view of your project, which you can click to exit the Backstage view
      • A place to view and edit key properties of your project. For example, you can click on the Status Date to directly edit inline

    When you’re connected to Project Server, you’ll see a number of new Info tab options “light up” as shown here:


    As you can see, a number of Project Server-dependent features are now shown, such as:

    • A convenient link to your Project Web App home page
    • Date/time of your last publish to PWA, and a button to publish again
    • Buttons to check for updates, manage permissions, and work with the enterprise global

    The right-side pane now also lets you control the tracking method, edit custom fields values, and link to related information like documents, issues, and risks.

    I won’t go into as much detail on the other tabs here, but here’s a quick overview:

    • The Recent tab provides quick access to your recently opened projects, and lets you pin the projects you want to always keep on the list
    • The New tab brings together a number of ways to start a project, including:
      • Blank new project
      • Recent templates, local templates, and Project Server templates
      • New from existing project, from Excel workbook, or from a SharePoint task list
      • Templates from, which you can now navigate and open directly in Project without having to open a Web browser
    • The Print tab combines print preview with changing common print settings, providing a convenient all-in-one interface for printing. I’ll come back to this in a moment.
    • The Save & Send tab (this was called “Share” in the Beta) is where you go to publish to Project Server, sync a list to SharePoint, change your file format, save as PDF or XPS, send as an email attachment, and more
    • Project’s Help tab is similar to that of the other Office apps and is described here.
    • Finally, Options takes you to Project’s options interface, which we’ve redesigned for 2010 and perhaps we can cover that in more detail separately.

    The Print tab is a good example of the benefits of the full-screen experience in the Backstage. Where before you might have had to toggle between setup dialogs and preview, the new print experience lets you change the common settings and immediately see the impact in the preview. So you can easily change your printer, number of copies, page layout, date range, and the like and then hit Print once you’re ready. Here’s what this looks like:


    There’s more to discover, but I hope this overview gives you a sense of what’s new with the move to the Backstage view and why we hope you’ll find it useful.

    Finally, if you’re interested in programmatically customizing the Backstage view, see here.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Microsoft Project Professional 2010 and SharePoint Online in Office 365


    [Update February 7, 2012 – please check this recent white paper and videos on a similar subject: Leveraging Office 365 for Project Collaboration Success]

    We are pleased to announce out-of-the-box integration of Microsoft Project Professional 2010 with SharePoint Online in Office 365!  Extend the power of Project to your whole team—no matter their location!

    Project managers can collaborate with teams to share schedule details quickly with Project Professional 2010 and SharePoint® Online (Office 365) task list synchronization. Individuals throughout the organization can view the task list and quickly see task status and update progress in SharePoint Online—from virtually anywhere! Project managers can then easily synchronize and update the project plan from Project Professional 2010. Synchronization is bi-directional, providing greater flexibility for communicating with the team.

    Want to see how simple it is to keep your team in sync—from virtually anywhere?

    Read the related post Enabling Better Collaborative Project Management with Office 365 and Project Professional 2010.
  • Microsoft Project 2010

    You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers


    We've had a number of good questions come in.  I thought it would be helpful to share these and the answers.  Enjoy!



    Question: Which is true? 

    Case 1:  Does the assigned timesheet manager approve all tasks in the timesheet (for example, project tasks as well as administrative time tasks) OR

    Case 2:  Does the resource manager (i.e. the assigned timesheet approver) approve administrative time AND the project manager of the project the tasks originally came from approve the project tasks? 

    The Resource manager approves all timesheet data.  If the Admin timesheet categories require approval outside of timesheets, those are also approved by the timesheet manager.

    The current timesheet submitter/approver can change the value of the next person to approve the timesheet.  Using this setting, the PM can be sent the timesheet to approve.  As long as the PM doesn't have the category approval permission for that resource, the PM can send the timesheet back to the resource manager for final approval.  One manages actual work while the other manages compliance with company policies.

    Looking at Tasks

    Question:  I'm using Project Professional and I need to answer the following questions:

    • What work items/tasks are due by a given date?
    • What work items/tasks are slated for <x> milestone?
    • What work items/tasks are all assigned to <resource>?

    Items Due This Week/By this date

    In Project Professional, you can define a filter to show you this.  The filter will prompt you for a date so you can use this to see finishing by any date.

    • In Project Professionals, select Project, Filtered for, More Filters


    • Select New


    • Define the following Filter and click OK


    • You will then see this filter in your list of filters to apply.  Project, Filtered For, More Filters, Select the filter and click apply. Once you use it, it will appear in the earlier list so the number of clicks will be reduced.
    • When you apply this filter, it will prompt you to enter the date.  You can enter any date, not just the date for the end of the week.

    What work items/tasks are slated for <x> milestone?

    The way we do this internally is to define a task level custom field.  You would then assign a milestone value to each task. 

    Add a new task custom field to the Project.

    • From Project Professional, select Tools, Customize, Fields


    • Select the Task radio button,
    • Select a default task custom field that’s not used (in this case, Text 1)
    • Click Rename.  Your screen should look like this:  clip_image007
    • Name the field Milestone Group and click OK.
    • Under Custom Attributes, click the Lookup button.  This will enable you to add values to your dropdown. clip_image009
      • If you want to set a default value, you can select a Milestone value row, and click Set Default
      • If you want to change the display order, expand the display plus and select your option
      • If you want to be able to add new values on the fly, expand data entry options and select Allow additional items to be entered into the fields.
    • Click Close.
    • Your screen should look like this: clip_image011
    • If you need to see this for every assignment, then also select the Roll down unless manually entered radio button under Calculation for assignment rows.
    • Click OK.
    Insert the custom field into your Gantt view
    • You need to add the field to the view to enter the data.
    • You can either select a column header and right click, select Insert Column or you can press the Insert key.
    • You will get this dialog: clip_image013
    • Use the field dropdown to find your new custom field. You can start typing the name to find it.
    • Click OK.
    • Your screen will appear as this: clip_image014
    • You can click on the field, click the dropdown and select the value. 
    • If all of your tasks are in the correct order, you can drag down the value a la Excel style, to fill the cells below.
    Turning on Autofilter
    • To easily filter by Milestone, then select Project, Filtered For, Autofilter. 
    • Now, you can easily filter for a given milestone


    What work items/tasks are all assigned to <alias>?

    • If you have set up your resource names using the alias, you can use the default filter “Using Resource”. 
    • Select Project, Filtered For, Using Resource
    • Select the resource from the dropdown
    • If you want to filter on another aspect of the resource record, a custom filter can be easily developed.

    Added Bonus – Cumulative Filters

    By the way, all of these filters can be used together.  So, by applying all three filters, I can see for a given milestone, within Milestone 1, which tasks will be completed by X date.


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  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Publishing – Made Simple


    “What happened to my publishing options?” is one of the frequently asked questions from sharp-eyed project managers who have just upgraded from Project Server 2003 to Project Server 2007. The answer is complex enough to deserve this blog entry.

    My design needed to deliver in two areas:

    - Simplicity, our research showed that very few customers understood the nuances of each publish option, especially when combined with the even more hidden Tools/Customize/Published Fields options

    - Scalability, our larger customers were hitting bottlenecks because of the serialized nature of project publish.


    To address the simplicity I decided to strip project publish to its bare bones, changing from the two dialogs below:

    To the single option, placed next to the Save command:

    It doesn’t get much simpler than that - this should make the publish option much less of a dice throw for most of our customers – however “power publishers” will be asking for more functionality, you should read on to the Power Publishing section for more information.


    History Lesson: Project Server 2003 used a background service called “Views Notification” that was responsible for moving data from the Project client sql tables to the Project Server and Views sql tables in the database. This process was serialized on a single project and the whole process was single threaded, using a single cpu (although later service packs allowed it to be run on multiple servers), as you might expect publishing rapidly became a bottleneck on larger systems. It also had other issues in terms of manageability, capacity planning and availability but more on that in other blog entries.

    The new server architecture has radically changed how publishing works. Publish requests are placed on the Project Queue and are handled by a queue processor that:

    • Is multithreaded and multi-server and serializes per project rather than across all projects
    • Pulls data from the Draft database into the Published database through the MSP_*_WORKING_VIEW sql views
    • Invokes the corresponding Report Publish that handles the transformation of the data into a report friendly format into the reporting database
    • Optimizes (“folds”) multiple publish requests against the same project into a single request

    Even with all the additional work done by publishing (such as moving all custom fields, and serializing data from our internal binary formats) internal tests have shown sustained publishing rates of around 1,400 projects per hour for non-trivial projects on a farm infrastructure.

    And the Project Server 2007 queue infrastructure allows for much improved capacity planning and remote management as it exposes performance counters that the Windows System Monitor (fancy name for perfmon) and MOM can catch and track.

    Power Publishing

    The Project Server 2003 dialogs reflected the relative underlying complexity of the publishing process - much of that complexity was driven by the need to cope with the shared schema (now split across distinct databases) and the need to avoid the performance hit of a full publish. The server now publishes all changed information each time you request a publish operation.

    Changes are tracked using revision counters on our primary entities and their children (for instance Projects own {tasks, assignments, specific custom field values, calendars and local resources} – these counters increment each time the project is saved, deleted rows are tracked in our _SHADOW tables.

    The two main operations a power publisher wants to control are:

    • When a team member sees a specific task assignment (aka “Phasing”)
    • Who approves task progress (especially when the primary project manager is on vacation)

    Both these actions are now controlled through the task sheet where the settings are now visible and editable (Yay!).

    If you add the “Status Manager” and “Publish” fields to the sheet (as seen above) you can control the publishing process. Note that both these fields can be set as a group by filtering then using the mouse to drag the value down to more cells.

    Firstly – use the Publish Yes/No flag to control whether a task assignment is placed in the Statusing (“My Work”) system – this flag can be toggled at any time & the project republished to make it active. This empowers you to publish a project a phase at a time, allowing you to avoid bombarding your team members with future assignments.

    I made the flag at the task level because statusing is all about gauging progress against the whole task - assignment progressing is best managed in the Timesheet sub-system where work can be approved by resource managers rather than the project manager.

    In the reporting database the flag is actually stored on the assignment:


    There isn't a sinister reason for this, it just reflects the order in which we did the development work against a changing schema.

    Note that if you toggle Yes-->No then the assignment disappears from the Team Members My Work (any approved work doesn't get lost though!) so use this power carefully! Also be aware that if the line is already in a timesheet it won't be pulled back.

    Secondly - the Status Manager field has some strange rules (that echo those of project Server 2003) - it can be set to another pre-existing Status Manager on a task in the current project or the current user (ie the person with the project checked out and open) - this allows the value to be set even when the project is off line, and ensures that the Status Manager hhas (at least had) the ability to edit the project so that status data from team members can be applied once approved.

    So if you are going on vacation you'd ask your deputy to open the project, filter on an appropriate time window and set themselves as the status manager for the tasks that will be active while you are out. On your return you can easily find those tasks and reset them back.

    Phew! If you have any questions about other "mysteries of publishing", then please reply to this posting and I'll do a followup.



  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Hiding, showing, adding, removing, inserting, etc…oh, and DONUTS


    On Office Online, we’ve got this one article, currently called, “Hide or show a column (remove or add a column).” It’s a fine article, but, to be frank, the feature can be a bit confusing, so the feedback we typically get on it is pretty bad. Lots of frustrated comments, low ratings, the whole bit. We’ve tried changing the title, adding video content, being as upfront as we think makes sense. But people are still confused and/or frustrated, so I’m going to try to take a different approach here.

    First, let’s look at the mechanics of the issue. Project is not Excel. What I mean by that is when you enter information into cells in Excel, that’s basically as far as it goes. The information is there, in the spreadsheet, and that’s that. (Excuse the not-so-great cellphone pics, it’s all I had on me.)


    Project is different. When you enter information into columns in a Project view, you’re really entering it into a database. So the columns that appear in your view are really more like a window into the database.


    If you remove a column from a view, the information is still sitting back there in the database.


    If you want the information removed, you have to actually delete the information from the fields themselves. (Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything funky with the database, just put the column back in the view, click the column header to select the cells in that column, and then hit CTRL+Delete. Boom, your data is gone.)

    Okay, so now with that said, I’m pretty sure I can actually hear some of you out there groaning. “That’s stupid, if I delete a column, I want it gone. Why can’t you just make the thing do what I told it to?” To that, I’d like to respond with the following example.

    [Insert drumroll here.]

    Let’s say you have a column called Donuts. The company you work for is awesome, and HR does a donut run every Friday, so you use the Donuts column to indicate each resource’s donut preference. (Okay, it’s a bit of a stretch, but I need a break from writing about columns for resources or budgets or other completely logical project-related things.)

    Anyway so this Donuts column…it’s a custom text field, and you currently have it displayed in the Resource Sheet view. (On the Insert menu, click Column, then choose a text field, such as Text1, from the Field Name list.)


    You’ve gone through and asked every resource in the company what their favorite donut is, and entered it into Project. Amazing work. It took a while to get through all 350 resources, but you did it, and now you’re pretty darn pleased with yourself.

    So now let’s say on some Monday, you’re messing around in the view, taking columns out, putting in new ones, and rearranging things, to try to get better organized and make the view a little prettier. You accidentally remove the Donuts column and forget to add it back in. The end of the week comes along, and you’re getting ready to place your donut order. You go into the Resource Sheet view, and OH NO the Donuts column is gone!

    I’m going to say it again, because that’s pretty close to the end of the world: OH NO THE DONUTS COLUMN IS GONE!!

    Turns out it’s not actually the end of the world. You just have to add the column back into the view, and all of your data is still there. Whew. Crisis averted.

    Does that make my case? I mean really, if saving a weekly donut run doesn’t make my case, I’m not sure what would. But seriously…does that help you understand what the reasoning is behind the way that feature works? Or if it doesn’t, what would you suggest?

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2010 SP1 – Enhancements to Sync to SharePoint Task List


    Back in October of 2009, we introduced you to a new feature in Project Professional 2010 that allows you to synchronize tasks from a project file with a SharePoint task list called Sync to SharePoint (see the original post for details). One of the caveats of the feature was that you were limited to sync’ing manually scheduled tasks. Based on your feedback, we enabled synchronization of automatically scheduled tasks in Project 2010 SP1!

    Let’s see how this works. Here’s the initial task list:


    When you sync it to SharePoint you get the following. The tasks look manually scheduled here since essentially they are because SharePoint doesn’t have a scheduling engine like Project does.


    So if you update Task1 to be on Thursday instead of Wednesday, the other tasks won’t move out in SharePoint even though they are linked:


    But once you sync the task list back into the Project client, the schedule will get updated as one would expect:


    If you aren’t familiar with manually scheduled tasks versus automatically scheduled tasks, see this post. You can learn more about Project 2010 SP1 here.

    Thanks again for sending all the feedback and we hope that this update helps improve your SharePoint Sync’ing experience.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks for Project Show filtered tasks with other tasks


    Sometimes, when filtering tasks, wouldn’t it be great if you could see filtered tasks with all the tasks, at the same time? Maybe you want to view filtered tasks within the context of all tasks.

    For example, Knowing which tasks have deadlines and which don’t can help you prioritize tasks by deciding, say, where to re-allocate resources on the project as important deadlines begin to loom.

    Welcome to filter highlighting.

    Here are two task lists. The first has not been filtered. The second one has been filtered to show tasks that have a deadline—with the filtered tasks highlighted in blue.




    Here’s how to create a highlighted filter in Project.

    1. In Project 2007, on the Project menu, click Filtered For, and then click More Filters.
      In the dialog box. select the filter you want to apply (or create a new filter).
    2. Click the Highlight button.
    3. Note   In Project 2010, on the View tab, select the type of filter you want to highlight in the Highlight list:


    Presto! You’ll see the filtered tasks highlighted.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    New to Project? Try the Project Management Quick Reference Guide


    It can sometimes be a challenge for new users to find their way through Microsoft Project on their way to becoming project managers.  The Project team has just produced another Help product that will help you understand Microsoft Project-The Project Management Quick Reference Guide. This template can be downloaded and printed out for ease of use. Now you have another tool to help your organization achieve its project goals.

    Note that the guide requires Word 2007.  The guide was written for Project 2007 but it has a lot of information in it that also applies to previous releases.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2010: Introducing the Ribbon


    The Project 2010 user interface has been completely revamped this release based on the Office Fluent or “Ribbon” UI. The Office Fluent UI represents a dramatic departure from the overloaded menu and toolbar design model of previous Project releases. Project’s extensive capabilities are now organized into logical, easy to find groups that help you accomplish actions efficiently rather than choosing features.

    There are several design elements that comprise the Office Fluent UI.

    The Ribbon replaces menus and toolbars as the main location to find functionality organized to help you accomplish tasks. Here’s a brief breakdown of each of the tabs across the Project 2010 Ribbon.

    The Task tab is where you access commands associated with tasks in addition to commands that are consistently on the first tab in other Office applications. You can think of the Task tab as Project’s home tab.


    The Resource tab is where you access commands associated with resources.


    The Project tab includes commands that affect the entire project.


    The View tab is where switch the view you’re in, edit what data you see and how it is arranged, and setup combination views.


    Additionally, each view has it’s own contextual tab, Format, that contains commands used to format that views contents. For example, the Gantt Chart contextual tab contains commands related to bar styles in addition more generic view formatting commands such as text styles and column settings while the Task Usage contextual tab contains commands for editing the details displayed in the view.



    At the bottom of the application window is the new Status Bar. The right side of the Status Bar includes convenient controls for quickly adjusting the zoom level of the timescale and switching views.


    The left side of the Status Bar includes status items related to what you’re working with. For example, you can see whether the view you are in is filtered and if you hover over the text you’ll even see which filter is applied. Additionally, some of the items are interactive, such as the New Tasks item. If you click it, you can set the mode for new tasks.


    In the upper left corner of the application window is the Quick Access Toolbar, into which you can add the commands you use most frequently, eliminating the need to switch to the Ribbon tab on which they are located while creating diagrams.


    Finally, we have re-vamped the right-click menus and added minitoolbars. Minitoolbars are just what they sound like and they show up when you right-click any item. Pictured here are the task and resource right-click menus and minitoolbars.

    image  image

    Additionally, along with the rest of Office, Project’s file menu has been re-vamped to the Backstage View. We’ll post about what is unique to Project’s in the future but to find out more about it in general check out the the Office 2010 Engineering post on it – I’ve linked to the first post but there are a number of post about it on that blog.

    Note: The images are from a fairly recent build so if you are on Technical Preview, your ribbon will look a bit different.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Announcing Service Pack 1 for Microsoft Project & Project Server 2010


    Today, the Office Division announced additional details of the upcoming Service Pack 1 (SP1) here. Service Pack 1 is on track for release at the end of June 2011. It will be available for all of the Office 2010 applications, including Microsoft Project Standard 2010, Microsoft Project Professional 2010 and Microsoft Project Server 2010.

    It was about a year ago that we announced that Project 2010 had launched. A number of customers jumped right onto Project 2010 and have shared their experiences here. Since the release we’ve received tons of feedback on everyone’s experiences with Project 2010 through a variety of channels – events, this blog, forums, etc. To everyone who provided positive feedback, that’s great. We’re really excited that you are enjoying 2010 and that it is making you and your company more productive. To those of you who provided more constructive feedback, a big thanks to you. This feedback really helps us to improve the product and we funneled a number of your requests into SP1.

    In total, we fixed over 200 issues in SP1 for Project and Project Server. Additionally SP1 is a rollup of all the fixes we’ve previously shipped meaning it contains all of the cumulative updates that have been released to date. I’d like to highlight four of the bigger fixes we made that have all been highly requested by you. In the coming days, we will post additional details on each of these.

    Additionally, join us on July 6th for a webcast that covers SP1. We’ll be posting additional information about this on our webcast channel.

    And as always, for more information on Project visit


    Ludovic Hauduc – General Manager – Microsoft Project Business Unit

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Leveraging Office 365 for Project Collaboration Success


    Update 2/8/2012: You can view the entire video series on the Microsoft Project YouTube channel.

    Earlier this month our friends on the Office 365 team shared a link via Twitter to an article by technology writer Will Kelly. Entitled "Microsoft Office 365 for Project Managers", the article surfaced the project management potential in Office 365 and an interesting theme--the "democratization of project management data". Read more about it here.

    Today, we're excited to share a special series on how Office 365 adoption can transform your existing project management capabilities. Microsoft Office 365 provides an infrastructure for collaboration and information sharing. It offers a cloud solution for an organization of any size, whether that organization involves a small business or a small team with members spread across the globe. But best of all, it offers the ease and familiarity you'd expect from Microsoft and its Office products.

    Many enterprises have already had a great deal of success implementing a PPM solution via Project Server 2010. But how about options for smaller organizations or departments just getting started? Microsoft Project is perfect for helping project managers organize schedules and manage budget, resources and dependencies, but what about the rest of the team?  Effective project management begins with team collaboration.  It necessitates a secure and central location for all project documents and artifacts like a site provisioned in SharePoint Online, demands ease of mobile communication you'd find in Exchange Online and Lync Online,  and the great user experience provided by Microsoft Project and Office 2010 when working with project schedules and documents. By themselves, these tools are just tools, but together it opens the door to a unique collaboration experience that any organization can benefit from. And because we've built these products with the user in mind they just work, even across multiple platforms and devices. 

    We've called out a number of common pain points tied to project collaboration--document storage, effective communication, sharing a project schedule, and visual reporting for stakeholders just to name a few. But this represents a small sample of all the great possibilities Office 365 enables for project management and we'd love to hear more from users like you in the comments below or via Twitter and Facebook.

    Download the paper and accompanying video here.

    You can view the full video series on our YouTube channel as well.

    We’ll be featuring a great session around this very topic this March at Project Conference 2012 in Phoenix, AZ. Don't forget to register!

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