We've recently published a new application that integrates with Project to support exporting your project plan in a format compliant with UN (United Nations)/CEFACT standard, a worldwide standard for cost and schedule project information.
What's Earned Value?
A project management/reporting standard that integrates measurements of project scope, schedule and cost. See more here.
What is the DCMA and UN/CEFACT?
DCMA (Defense Contract Management Agency) is the agency responsible for tracking earned value figures for U.S. Department of Defense and its contractors. DCMA requires the use of the United Nations (UN) Centre for the Facilitation of the Administration, Commerce and Transport (CEFACT) standard, a worldwide standard for cost and schedule project information.
How does it affect me?
Earned value can be a powerful tool for managing any project, and the UN/CEFACT standard is an important emerging global standard for earned value reporting. For many projects in the in the Defense industry, this standard is mandated as described above.
How does this tool fit in?
It guides users through exporting data from Microsoft Project 2007, captures additional user-specified details, and then translates this data into an output format consistent with the UN/CEFACT standards. By automating this process, this application will generate cost savings for DoD agencies and contractors by reducing the time and resources required to gather, analyze and format the data. Co-developed with our partner QuantumPM, the application is built on Microsoft Project's XML format.
How do I get it?
It's free, just go to http://uncefactexporttool.codeplex.com/. CodePlex is Microsoft's open-source hosting site. Making this tool available through CodePlex makes it easy for others to enhance the tool and adapt to any future updates to the standard.
How does it work?
See below for some screen shots, showing the tool's simple wizard interface.
See here for more details. Check it out at http://uncefactexporttool.codeplex.com/and let us know what you think!
I am excited to announce the release of SharePoint Lifecycle Management Solution with Project Server 2010 produced by Jornata. Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 provides a vast number of capabilities that empower both business users and IT to create solutions quickly. For this reason, many organizations consider implementing SharePoint as a central platform to address a wide array of business solutions. For those organizations, it is likely that they will need a good way to track, manage, and prioritize those business requests. The SharePoint Lifecycle Management Solution with Project Server 2010 provides a framework and guidance for managing SharePoint business requests and includes two white papers and a sample dataset.
This no-code solution includes:
For an overview of the solution, please watch this recent recording from Tech.Ed last week: http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2011/OSP202
Last but not least do not forget to check out other existing white papers on Microsoft Project Portfolio Management offering on our Project site at http://www.microsoft.com/project/en/us/articles-white-papers.aspx
Christophe Fiessinger Senior Technical Product Manager, Microsoft Project http://blogs.msdn.com/chrisfie
In Project 2010, we made a big update to AutoFilter in the client. Now from the column header you can sort, filter on, and group by the field. Essentially there are four zones:
AutoFilter is on by default in Project 2010. If you aren’t seeing it, you can turn it on by going to View tab – Filter dropdown – and selecting Display AutoFilter.
You can tell an AutoFilter is applied since the column header displays the funnel shape . Additionally, the Status Bar displays “AutoFilter Applied” and if you hover over it, you can see which fields are affected:
I get this question a lot: How do I change the month that the fiscal year starts on? First, to make sure you’re reading a blog entry that pertains to you, let me define a fiscal year. The fiscal year is the year-long period, at the end of which an organization’s accounts are completed and financial statements are prepared for stakeholders and for tax purposes.
Compare this to the calendar year, which is the more familiar time between January and December (though an organization’s fiscal year can correspond to the calendar year). In other words, calendar years appear on walls in homes and offices, often printed with pictures of cats, family members, flowers, art, and other interesting things. Fiscal calendars do not.
Here’s how to set the start of the fiscal year.
Now you’re all ready to do some serious accounting.
Note Your organization may have already set the start of the fiscal year for all projects, if you’re using Project Professional. If this is the case, you may not be able to change this setting if the project is published to Project Server. You can check with your Project Server administrator to find out for sure.
One more thing. If you’re new to Project 2010 and need some help finding your favorite features on the new ribbon, take a look at the Project 2007 to Project 2010 interactive mapping guide. It’ll help get you started.
Project 2010 makes it easier to work with text in your project plan. In this post I’ll cover how:
Before diving in, I should note that these aren’t the only improvements we’ve made to working with text in Project 2010. As detailed in previous posts, some other enhancements include rich copy and paste and support for millions of colors.
Just like previous versions of Project have let you add new tasks by simply typing in empty rows at the bottom of your project plan, the “Add New Column” allows you to add new columns just by typing in place.
Project’s default view contains the most commonly-used columns, like Task Name, Duration, Start, and Finish. But we wanted to make sure it was straightforward to add additional columns that are meaningful to you, whether you’re adding a built-in Project field like % Complete, or your own custom field like “Open Issues” or “Review Date”.
There are a few ways to add a column to your plan:
Instead of a dialog box, you get a streamlined experience in-place. The list of fields narrows down as you types, so that you start with something like this:
..and then as you type you’ll see the list shrink down:
…and end up with your new column inserted:
This experience applies both for built-in and custom fields. Let me explain that distinction a bit more for those unfamiliar with it…
Project has a mixture of pre-defined fields like Duration, and custom fields which you can define and use for your own purposes. By comparison, every column in Excel is “custom”, where you start with a blank spreadsheet and enter your own column names.
Since Project is for managing projects, we know you’re likely to use concepts like Duration and Start date, and so the application has logic built around these fields. Of course, sometimes you simply want to capture additional “metadata” about a given item—as an example, you might want to add a “Risk level” field for each task. That’s where custom fields come in. Custom fields also include many “advanced” features like different data types, formulas and indicators, and more. Covering these is outside the scope of this post, but for more info, start here.
The concept of the Add New Column is that you don’t need to know or worry about any of these details, and you can simply interact with your plan like you would an Excel spreadsheet. You just start typing! If you want to know the behind-the-scenes details, though, here’s some more about how this works:
Say you click in the Add New Column header and type “foo”. Project will now add a column called “foo” to your plan, and a “new” Add New Column will appear to the right in case you want to add more fields. Project will automatically use a text custom field, unless you specify otherwise, and Project will also automatically select the next available custom field number, so that you don’t need to worry about whether you’re using Text6 or Text7.
In fact, you can also just type into a task row underneath the Add New Column. In that case, Project will automatically infer the field type (such as date, number, text) based on what you’ve entered, and add an appropriate custom field column to accommodate that data so you can just keep typing. If you want to adjust things later on, you can always:
To hide or bring back the Add New Column, use the Display Add New Column checkbox under the Column Settings dropdown on the Format tab in the ribbon.
These specifics should help for users familiar with previous versions of Project, or those curious to understand the internal details. But our intention in the design of the Add New Column is that if you simply want to add a column of text, it “just works” with zero learning curve, so you can focus on the content of your plan.
Project 2010 also delivers a time-saver familiar to Excel users: autocomplete for text. In this example, I’ve added a custom field named “Rough Cost”. Since “Medium” appears in another task row, it’s automatically suggested here as soon as I type “M”. I can keep typing to ignore the suggestion, or if I want to enter “Medium” I just press the Enter key and move directly to the next line.
Autocomplete works both in the grid and in column headers.
Project 2010 automatically increases the height or individual rows to accommodate wrapped text, like this…
Type into the cell:
…and then press Enter:
If you prefer manual height adjustment, you can control this setting by right-clicking on the column header.
If we’ve done our jobs right, the Add New Column, Text Wrapping, and Autocomplete will seem so natural as to go largely unnoticed. But they represent some new ways in which Project 2010 brings the flexibility and familiarity of Excel together with the power of Project.
This post comes to us from Phil Smail, our Project Server Security Program Manager. He understands Project Server security better than anyone since he oversees the design of the implementation. So, Phil wanted to share the solution to a fairly common problem that we experienced internally. With that, here's Phil.
I was asked a question recently on an internal distribution list about how a Microsoft Group should handle their Project Server Security. At first the issue didn’t seem too complex but after a face to face meeting it became obvious that there challenges here but thankfully the Project Server security model was able to work around it. I feel it’s worth spending some time to describe the scenario as it may help others who face similar issues.
Don’t worry, all names are changed to protect the innocent!
This particular Microsoft group, let’s call them Microsoft Group Foo, has a lot of localization work that occurs through external vendors. It’s up to the internal Microsoft folks to assign those vendors to localization projects. Each Vendor has general work resource that can be assigned to these localization work, for example for Vendor A the resource will be called ‘General Vendor A Resource’. Now this is where things get complicated!
Each Vendor has a number of users (not assignable resources) in Project Server who are allowed to edit the project if the Vendor’s general resource is assigned to that Project. They should also be able to assign full time Microsoft folks to the Project as required. It’s not a concern for vendors to see what other vendors are working on the same project but vendors shouldn’t be able to see what other, non-related, projects that other Vendor’s are working on. Got that?
So let’s say we have a User, called Roderick, who is one of the Microsoft Employees. He needs to be able to assign a general resource per vendor to projects. This general resource should be represented by a generic resource with each vendor having their own generic resource. Therefore the Microsoft employee no longer needs to worry about who in the Vendor does the actual work
Now each Vendor has their generic resources but we need to add in the users for each vendor. Let’s say Vendor A has the user David and Vendor B has the User Heather. We know we have the parent-child relationship between the Vendor users and the Generic Vendor resource. It also makes sense for the Microsoft internal folks to have a parent child relationship with all the Vendors
The way we would represent in our security system would be by assigning these users/resources values within the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS). Both Users and Resources can have RBS values and therefore can all exist in the hierarchy. The RBS is useful as it allows us to use the RBS category rules. These rules allow us to get permissions to Resources and Projects that have some relation with our peer Resources or Resources below us in the RBS. This means we would put the generic Vendor resources below the Vendor users and the Microsoft internal folks above the Vendors in the RBS to allow them the correct permissions on the Resources and Projects
I figured we could represent the RBS structure as such:
Now what about the Categories that would need to be associated here?
First off David and Heather need to be added to a category that gives them Project Manager permissions. The Category rules are more interesting.
The rules they’d definitely need set are:
Project permissions: ‘A resource on the project’s Project Team is a descendant of the User via RBS’.
This rule would allow them to view all Project’s that the general Vendor Resource had been added to the Project Team.
Roderick, and all other Microsoft employees within that group should belong to another category which has the ‘Assign Resource’ permission and the following Category Rule:
Resource permissions: ‘They are descendants of the User via RBS’.
This rule would allow them to assign the general Vendor resources to projects
Now one tricky bit is for the Vendor users, for example David if they become the Project Owner, is how to assign Roderick to a project. The only option would be to create another category which includes David and Heather (and any other users). The would also be given the ‘Assign Resource’ permission. The resources in the category would be the list of Microsoft employees that could be assigned. Unfortunately there’s no way to assign a group as the list of resources so as the list of MS resources changes then this list would need to be manually modified.
So there you have it. An environment now where vendors can only see the projects that they’re assigned to, the Microsoft folks can assign the Vendor’s to projects and the Vendors can assign Microsoft people to those projects
Question: The obvious follow up question is how do we take this model further and prevent Vendors from seeing the work that other Vendors are doing on even if they’re on the same Project
Answer: Unfortunately this functionality is not available in Project Server 2007. The only solution would be to create sub projects for each vendor and aggregate into a master project
But let’s think about expanding this further. This solution could be used to support full time employees managing contractors who manage sub contractors! Assuming the contractors are longer term vendors and the sub contractors are short term resources it makes sense to make the sub contractors generic resources under the main contractors. This is super cool!
Question: I have sub contractors who are managed by multiple contractors. How do I cope with that in the RBS
Answer: Unfortunately the RBS based category rules do not support accessing RBS nodes in different branches. That is something we are hoping to improve in future releases. This is where another category containing those sub contractors resources would make sense
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.
From Christophe's blog:
Starting February 18th, 2009 at 11 am (EST) we will be running a webcast series every Wednesday that will show how the Microsoft Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution and related Microsoft technologies can be deployed to meet varying horizontal scenarios.
Why should customers attend the webcast series?
Please note these webcast are targeted at customers not partners.
Reduce Costs: Seven Steps to Optimize Project Portfolio Selection
Microsoft and UMT Consulting Group invite you to join this complimentary webcast to learn how Microsoft's Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution can help identify and select project portfolios that best align with your organizations business strategy whilst optimizing costs.
Registration and Schedule
Capital Planning & Investment Control for Government
Microsoft and Robbins-Gioia invite you to this complimentary webcast to learn how the Capital Planning & Investment Control (CPIC) Solution can help government agencies improve decision making, and effectively control investments throughout their lifecycle.
Registration and Schedule
Connecting the Worlds of Project Portfolio Management & Application lifecycle ManagementMicrosoft invites you to join this complimentary webcast to learn how integrating Portfolio Management (PPM) and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) processes helps to improve visibility across the entire development lifecycle and in turn connect two disparate worlds.
Growth: Transform Your Business with Innovation Management
You are invited to join this complimentary webcast to learn how Microsoft's Innovation Process Management (IPM) Solution can help organizations to manage the end-to-end innovation process with greater transparency, coordination and discipline.
Maximize Efficiency: Drive ROI by Enhancing Project & Portfolio Execution
Microsoft and Pcubed invite you to join this complimentary webcast to learn how Microsoft's Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution can help organizations to improve project and portfolio execution, eliminate costly overruns and enhance operational efficiency and agility.
A popular request for printing project plans is have the legend display a custom bar that you’ve created in your project to highlight specific tasks. For example, if you want your printed project to display pink bars tasks in your project to indicate proposed task cuts AND you want the legend on the printed report to display this custom bar, you need to do more than just format specific bars with a new color. You also need to create a custom bar style that matches the bar formatting. Let’s look at this more carefully.
1. Before you do anything else, format the individual task bars by right clicking on them and selecting Format Bar. (Or select multiple bars by using Ctrl + click.) In the example, I formatted two bars in pink to make them display more clearly. If you were to print the project at this point, the pink bars would print correctly, but the print legend would not indicate the significance of the new bar color.
2. Now it gets a little tricky. After formatting the individual bars, create a style for the new bar. On the Format Menu, click Bar Style. (If you’re using Project 2010, On the Format tab, click the down arrow on Format, and then click Bar Styles.) Note Keep in mind that normally you create a bar style to format specific types of tasks (like milestone or critical tasks) throughout your project without manually formatting all the bars. But in the case of improving the usability of the print legend, you need to create a new bar style as a type of workaround.
3. Go the end of the list of bar styles, and type a name for the new bar style, for example, “Proposed Cut”.
4. Click in the Appearance column for the new bar, and give the bar a new color, for example, “Fuchsia.” (OK, fuchsia not pink.)
5. In the Show For column, indicate which task types will be formatted with the new bar. In the example, I indicated that “Normal, Summary” tasks will be formatted with the new color. Entering “Normal,Summary” in the Show For column prevents the bar from appearing on other non-customized bars in your Gantt Chart.
Your "custom" bar format will now appear on the print legend.
Hello - Dave Ducolon here. I have blogged here before and am back to talk to you about the ability to capture actual remaining work in a timesheet and have that recorded in the project task to which you are assigned. This was a very popular user request and we were able to offer this functionality to users with the Project Server Infrastructure Update.
Now before you get too excited, this functionality is currently only available when Project Server sites are tracking time through the timesheet only. This may change but as of this writing (12/15/08) there is no ability to add the remaining work field to views unless you have EPM set to track time from the timesheet only.
So how does one use this? It is simple. You enter total remaining work into your timesheet and on save the information is automatically transferred to the the database table that supports the My Tasks page. The remaining work value is not stored in the timesheet database tables. Furthermore, the remaining work value is only read from timesheet lines with the "Standard" billing category.
Scheduling Calculation Order Note: The remaining work value is always set on the task assignment before (you import) the actual work from the data in the timesheet. If you try this emulating this change in Project Professional you’ll notice that the actual work ends up being deducted from the remaining work. So your remaining work value should also include the sum of any actual work that you are entering.
If you wish to automate some of these steps I encourage you to have a look at the posting on Codeplex from Christophe Fiessinger.
In summary here are the steps to use this new feature:
1. Turn on time entry by timesheet only - Server Settings\Task Settings and Display 2. Add the remaining work field to your timesheet view(s) - Server Settings\Manage Views 3. Initialize your timesheet - My Timesheet\Create 4. Enter the actual hours worked as normal in the daily or weekly columns 5. For each row of actuals take that total and add that to the amount of work you feel remains to complete the task and enter that into the remaining work field. Example: you have a 40 hr task and you work on that for 5 days at 8 hours per day but you feel that you still need 10 hours to complete. You should enter a timesheet line with 8 hrs on each day and a remaining work value of (8x5) + 10 which is 50. 6. Save (or Submit) the Timesheet. - remaining work will pass to the my tasks data set. 7. Navigate to my tasks - Home\My Tasks 8. Import timesheet - available from the Actions menu or the toolbar if you have that configured to display the actions menu options.
1. Turn on time entry by timesheet only - Server Settings\Task Settings and Display
2. Add the remaining work field to your timesheet view(s) - Server Settings\Manage Views
3. Initialize your timesheet - My Timesheet\Create
4. Enter the actual hours worked as normal in the daily or weekly columns
5. For each row of actuals take that total and add that to the amount of work you feel remains to complete the task and enter that into the remaining work field.
Example: you have a 40 hr task and you work on that for 5 days at 8 hours per day but you feel that you still need 10 hours to complete. You should enter a timesheet line with 8 hrs on each day and a remaining work value of (8x5) + 10 which is 50.
6. Save (or Submit) the Timesheet. - remaining work will pass to the my tasks data set.
7. Navigate to my tasks - Home\My Tasks
8. Import timesheet - available from the Actions menu or the toolbar if you have that configured to display the actions menu options.
I have outlined the shortest set of steps to achieve the required reporting of time for this scenario; however, this is not the only way to use this feature. It is simply the most direct.
I hope this clears up any possible confusion and helps make your use of Microsoft EPM that much more enjoyable.
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.
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.
While I’m no project/portfolio management expert, I do know a thing or two about common issues that people tend to encounter in this industry, particularly when rolling out a Project Server implementation. One relatively big issue is organizational resistance. You make this big investment in Project Professional and Project Server, because you know it’s what’s best for your business, and then, once you roll it out across the company, you hear little complaints coming in…”I don’t want to fill out timesheets,” “my Excel spreadsheet is working fine for me, I don’t want to learn a new tool,” and so on. No surprises there…the learning curve is steep for the tool itself, and for the formal process you’re trying to implement. We know that, you knew it when you rolled it out, no big shocker. So given all that, what can you do to ease the transition and help avoid the inevitable pushback from the people you’re asking to use this new solution?
Again I have to emphasize that I’m no expert, so I’m sure many of you out there have more informed suggestions that I hope you’ll share in comments on this blog post. I can, however, offer these suggestions, gleaned from a decade of documenting project and portfolio management software solutions:
These are just a few suggestions for ways you can prepare your organization for what’s to come. I’d love to hear other suggestions, or pointers to resources you find helpful in preparing organizations for new Project Server rollouts. What are your thoughts?
Now we all know that the finish date a project is automatically calculated by Project and might not necessarily be the due date. If the finish date is before the due date, you have some buffer, if the finish date is after the due date, you have a problem. Let’s assume you are in the first case - it is important to track this buffer and I’ve found manually scheduled tasks are useful for this since they won’t automatically move but they’ll warn you when there is a problem.
Let’s say you have this project (this will work for all projects, just make sure you have a milestone representing the project finish that all task chains are connected to):
My project finish date is January 9th but I actually don’t have to be done until the 13th so I have a few days of buffer. To represent that I add a new manually scheduled task with the Project Finish milestone as the predecessor and the end date as 1/13:
You can now easily tell that you have 4 days of buffer.
Now say that task 4 takes 3 days instead of 1 day. Your schedule will look like this:
Notice how the buffer tasks didn’t move but you get a warning that there is an issue. Now go in and for the Buffer task, right-click and select Respect Links. This will push the task out. Now you need to decrement the duration until the finish date is once again the 13th:
So you can now tell from task 4 slipping that you only have 2 days left of buffer.
I find that manually having to update your buffer task helps to make you more aware of when you are using up buffer. You can use this same technique on individual task chains, etc., if you want. Additionally, if you want to make sure you remember the deadline, you can set a deadline on the buffer task to make sure you always adjust the buffer back to it.
Learn more about this and other scheduling tips by attending the Microsoft Project Conference 2012 in Phoenix, AZ March 19th-22nd.
Well this took a little longer to get up here than I had anticipated, but at long last, here’s the first video in our interview series, “Ask a Project PM.” In this interview, Bonny Lau, Program Manager for Microsoft Project, fields your questions on resource leveling. Many thanks to those who submitted questions!
We've heard requests from some users that they want the Project Summary Task to be on by default. Currently in Project, you can turn this on but it is a per-project setting and not an application setting. (To turn this on go to Tools - Options - View tab) To turn it on by default for all new projects you have to edit the registry.
Steps:1. Go to Start - Run and type regedit.2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\MS Project\Options\View3. Right-click on View and go to New - DWORD Value4. Set the name to Show Project Summary5. Click off Show Project Summary6. Double-click on Show Project Summary7. Set the value to 1. Your registry should now look like the picture below and new projects will now have the project summary task displayed by default.
Notes:- This will only turn the project summary task on for new projects, existing projects won't be affected.- If you no longer want this on by default, you can either set the value to 0 or just delete the regkey.- This will only work for Project 2007.- This is a user setting not a machine setting.
You might know what hat you wear in your organization, but do you know your role-that is, when it comes to using Project Web Access? A good starting point might be the Project Web Access role guides, which are an overview of all the features available to you, categorized by your role in your organization. An executive, for example, will probably be more interested in reporting features than team members, who may be more interested in recording the time spent working on project tasks. And an administrator will probably be interested in making sure all the features are working correctly in order to keep everybody happy and productive.
These role guides can help you figure all this out. See a list of them all at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/projectserver/HA102513961033.aspx?pid=CH101477201033.
In case you weren't aware of this, you can use the WBS Modeler tool to visually model and plan your projects or to validate the current structure of your project. The tool uses Visio 2007 and Project 2007 to do this.
Ok, I haven't used this yet. I'm in the process of installing it now. One of my fellow PMs sent me the link so I'm passing it on to you. The documentation says you can generate Project schedules from a Visio WBS diagram. This sounds very cool and I'm looking forward to trying it out. If you've used this already or are going to, comment to the post with your experience.
There's also some documentation around how to do Visio based reporting on Project data using Pivot Diagrams. More info can be found here: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa827350.aspx There were some Visio based reports shipped with the Project 2007 client. This article goes into detail as to how that was done.
If you are interested in writing reports over the Project Server 2007 reporting database, Jim Corbin has published some documentation on the database. You can find it here: http://blogs.msdn.com/project_programmability/archive/2006/12/05/reporting-database-diagrams.aspx
We’ll be making a trip to Dallas this year and spending some time with the PMI community. Let us know if you’ll be there! @MSFTProject
Booth #301 will feature 8 kiosks and a theater filled with product demos and the experts from our amazing Partner Network. Booth #700 will offer hands-on labs continuing our success from PMI GC 2010, so be sure to sign up when you arrive to guarantee your spot. Microsoft is also giving out USB keys to all of our visitors and special prizes including the chance to win a free pass to Project Conference 2012 in Phoenix, AZ! Finally, please join us for three presentations at the product theater:
PMI® Global Congress 2011—North AmericaOctober 22–25 2011Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention CenterDallas/Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Hope to see you there!
Get a head start and a chance to win some great prizes (more info to come) by registering for Project Conference 2012 now!
There is more to ensuring the success of a project than collecting actuals and checking for resource overallocations. Putting faces on the people assigned to the tasks in your project is often forgotten in the maze of software functionality.
OK, tweeting, facebooking, blogging, and the rest may seem like unbillable downtime, even if the subject matter is work related. But workers and their executives are beginning to appreciate the extent to which non-work related social bantering improves morale, and thus productivity, just as much as feeling invested in a project does. Some might even see a dependency of the two on each other.
Social networking tools also help uncover hidden knowledge that has difficulty surfacing through normal conversations and e-mail. And when the hidden knowledge is surfaced, it tends to stay surfaced and not disappear when team members move on.
Tip Make sure your team is in agreement with which social networking tools are to be used. You might want to document how the team should use the tools, when to use the tools, and what type of content should be contained, and not contained, in posts. There is a much stronger chance of the tools being used when everyone understand some fundamentals about them.
Twitter isn’t just about people fritting away their time expressing life’s banalities (OK, it’s often this). You can also use Twitter as a project management tool. Here are a few ways you can use Twitter to help you manage your project:
Hashtags are those funny #keywords people use to help index the subject matter of their tweet. For example, if someone wants to write a tweet about the Bahamas, they might write “The #Bahamas are great this time of year!” Now, when other tweeters click on the hashtag, they immediately see a page full of the recent tweets that have used the same tag. This is a simple way that users can quickly filter for only tweets about specific subjects.
The advantage of hashtags is that the tweet that contains one appears in the list of hashtag subjects when the hashtag is clicked. This becomes a quick, community-driven way to promoter a Twitter account. The hashtag subjects appear in chronological order, but with the speed of tweeting, a popular subject is likely with your Twitter account is likely to appear at the top of the list.
Tip You can also search for tweets by typing the hashtag in the Twitter search box, or use social media management and search applications like TweetDeck.
So, how can you use hashtags in project management? Here are a few ways:
The Twitter timeline, which is displayed when you click Home after logging into Twitter) can get very cluttered very quickly, making it difficult to find tweets related to projects. Welcome to Twitter lists. Lists allow you to group Twitter users.
For example, if you want to group users of Twitter who work on public works projects, you could create a list and name it “Public Works”. You can then specify that the list be either a private or public list. Or, say you want to follow users who are tweeting primarily about project management topics, and you don’t want to pick them out of the thousands of other tweets you have on your timeline. In this case, you could create a list called “Project management.”
Do the following to create a list.
Be sure to let your team know about the list you created. Send them the URL of the list so they can see who you’ve added. The URL will resemble http://Twitter.com/YourTwitterPage/ListName.
You can search for tweets using different criteria, such as hashtags, keywords, date, a question, retweets, or attitude. The last criterion takes a bit of explaining. You can search whether the tweet contains a positive or negative attitude towards the keyword you are searching with.t
To try this search, do the following.
Here are some particularly useful criteria you can use as a project manager.
There are a couple reasons why Facebook can become an important part of your team’s project management.style.
Blogging about your project isn’t just about a project manager’s personal viewpoints and pictures of project-related activities (and maybe a few pics of a recent vacation and pet cat). There a number of ways blogs can be used to enhance the success of a project.
Social media for project managers doesn’t stop with the big three: Facebook, Twitter, and blogging. There are a host of other approaches to social media that can help build a project, and add a sense of purpose and team involvement to a project. Here are just a few more.
Oh, and we can all use a few thousand more friends, can’t we?
As I mentioned on Monday in this post, with SP1 the team member pages are now supported on Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. This means team members can now view the tasks they are assigned to and submit status and timesheets all through their preferred browser. Why the team member pages first? We heard from you that there was the most need for this and that the team member role is the most prevalent. Team members are defined as people who work on the project’s tasks.
For the remainder of the pages in PWA such as Project Center and Portfolio Analysis, you still need Internet Explorer 7 and up. If you are on a Macintosh-based computer, see this article for how to access the remainder of the pages and the Project client.
And here’s the proof – Firefox:
Chrome on Mac OS (Chrome on Windows 7 is featured above)
Special message from Project & Visio Director Chris Crane
This morning, Kirk Koenigsbauer – Corporate Vice President of the Office Division Product Management Group – kicked off the Microsoft Project Conference 2012 in sunny Phoenix, Arizona with an opening keynote address. This year’s event celebrates the success of Project 2010 and showcases how it continues to evolve in order to meet the changing collaboration and project management needs within organizations of all sizes. At the heart of that evolution is Microsoft’s focus on an integrated platform wherein customers are better able to respond to industry trends (i.e. devices and the cloud) and have an opportunity to realize the benefits of Project Portfolio Management (PPM) beyond IT and into all areas of a business including Marketing, Finance and Resource & Development (as seen in Revlon’s example below).
Since its launch in May of 2010, Microsoft Project has quietly climbed to the top of the Project Portfolio Management market with over 20 million users of the Microsoft Project desktop to date. That’s one license sold every 20 seconds! And, analysts agree with Gartner giving its highest rating to Microsoft in the latest Marketscope for Project and Portfolio Management.
But, you don’t have to take our word for it! Eighty-two of the Fortune 100 are Microsoft Project customers and Revlon– a global cosmetics company headquartered in New York City – is one such company. With an excess of daily meetings, the company found that the productivity of its employees plummeted and, with 1.3 billion dollars’ worth of sales in 2010 alone, it stood to lose a lot due to inefficiencies. The Revlon IT department was looking for a way to optimize its project planning, reduce the number of meetings and bridge the gap between developers and project managers by improving the transparency of project data.
Enter Microsoft Project Server 2010. Revlon implemented the technology in addition to the Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 and Project Server Integration Feature Pack. Bringing both into the organization produced a wealth of improved efficiencies including up to 30% less time in meetings, productivity gains of 2-5% and improved risk management through better data. Perhaps Jacqueline Shannon – senior planner in program management for Revlon – said it best, “I think Microsoft Project Server 2010 is an incredible tool because it promotes accountability, timeliness and structure allowing us to focus more on our deliverables rather than reporting on our deliverables.” For more information regarding Revlon’s use of Project 2010 check out this video: http://aka.ms/zdniuj!
Another reason customers, like Revlon, value Project 2010 is for its improved integration and continuous innovation with Microsoft technologies like Exchange and SharePoint providing people with a familiar user interface and connected platform that they can use to manage all their work from the simplest to the most complex projects.
Please check out the Microsoft Project 2010 Customer Success page for more case studies. For more information about the Project Conference and a transcript of today’s keynote, please visit the Project Conference virtual press room.
Enjoy the conference!
Director, Project and Visio Product Marketing at Microsoft Corp.
While Shakespeare said “Truth needs no colour”, we decided this wasn’t true for Project 2010. With Project 2010, no longer are you limited to 16 colors. We now support 32-bit color which simply put means you have millions of colors to choose between. How many million you ask – 16,777,216 colors. The human eye can only distinguish roughly 7-10 million colors so you’ll have to trust us on that number. Just know that orange, citrine, ultramarine blue, hot pink, etc. are all possible now.
With this functionality we have updated the look of all of the visual elements in Project 2010 but we have also made it easier for you to update the look of various elements. For example, to set the look of a Gantt bar, just right-click it and select the Bar Color command on the mini toolbar. The same is true for cells in the sheets, and bars in both the Timeline and Team Planner views.
Additionally, we’ve added a gallery with several new Gantt chart styles to choose from:
With a simple click of the image you like, these take your Gantt chart from this:
Or even this:
Additionally, we’ve considered the scenario where you are in a team meeting presenting your plan and no one is listening since they’re just trying to figure out why their task is light orange and someone else’s is dark orange. This is because some tasks are auto scheduled and some are manually scheduled (the ones with the black brackets on the ends are manually scheduled – for more info see this post). Well, your team members don’t need to know this so to simplify your meetings, you can apply a presentation style. Then auto scheduled and manually scheduled tasks will have the same look.
Note, if you are using the new colors and saving to Project 2007 or 2003 format, Project will map the millions of possible colors to the 16 ones that are available in those versions so the results may not be what you expected.
The Project blog has moved! If you’d like to stay informed on the latest Microsoft Project news and announcements, head over to the new Project blog. We also have a new RSS feed so you can stay up-to-date. You’ll still be able to access previous posts here, but as of today, no new posts will appear.
Special thanks to all our readers for tuning in and hope hear from you on our new blog at http://blogs.office.com/b/project/.
The Microsoft Best Practices Analyzer for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and the 2007 Microsoft Office System Best Practices Analyzer programmatically collects settings and values from data repositories such as MS SQL, registry, metabase and performance monitor. Once collected, a set of comprehensive ‘best practice’ rules are applied to the topology. This is a command line utility that administrators can run to get a detailed report of recommended changes that can be made to their environments to achieve greater performance, scalability and uptime. The below picture shows a snap shot of my staged server after running it:
One thing that you will notice is that it does indeed cover Project Server. There are a number of best practices that are specific to Project. For example, if there has been a failure with the cubes or if there are failed queue jobs the Best Practice Analyzer will warn you of these failures.
It is important to note that this tool is a read only. It will not make any changes to your environment. You should give it a try.
You can get a copy here: