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

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    PWA now stands for Project Web App


    For the Project 2010 release, we have changed the feature formerly known as “Project Web Access” to “Project Web App”. We have made this change to maintain consistency with other Office 2010 Web Apps and to reflect the increasingly rich feature set included with PWA beyond simply accessing data.

    Luckily for everyone, you can continue to just say PWA.


  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Change the month the fiscal year starts on


    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.

    1. On the File tab, click Options.


      If you’re using Project 2007, click Options on the Tools menu.
    2. On the Project Options dialog, click Schedule, and then find the fiscal year drop-down list.


      For Project 2007, on the Options dialog box, click the Calendar tab.

    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.

  • 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: Working with Text


    Project 2010 makes it easier to work with text in your project plan. In this post I’ll cover how:

    • The “Add New Column” interface allows you to easily add and insert columns
    • Autocomplete saves you time and keystrokes when entering text data
    • Text wrapping lets you see all the relevant details without having to manually resize rows

    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:

    • Click Insert Column from the View tab in the ribbon
    • Right click on any column header and choose Insert Column or press the Insert key on your keyboard
    • Just type directly into the column labeled Add New Column to the right of your other existing columns.

    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:

    • Rename the column by simply double clicking in the column header and typing in the header. This works for built-in and custom fields.
    • Click the column header and then drag to change the order of columns
    • Change the field type by right-clicking on the custom field header and choosing Data Type:


    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.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    New Add-In for Project 2007 - Import tasks from Excel


    From Jim Corbin.  The technical article Importing Project 2007 Tasks from Excel Using a Managed Code Add-In is now published on MSDN. There is an associated download that includes the complete C# and VB.NET code, using Visual Studio 2008 (Beta 2) with Visual Studio Tools for Office.


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  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Now free on CodePlex: Earned Value management application for UN/CEFACT standards


    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 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 let us know what you think!






  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Microsoft Project Conference 2012 Call for Content Now Open


    Microsoft Project Conference 2012

    Microsoft Project Conference 2012 is the premiere Microsoft-led event to share Project and Portfolio Management best practices and connect with your peers from around the globe. Project Conference will be held in Phoenix, Arizona on March 19 - 22, 2012. Do you have best practices you would like to share on Microsoft’s Project Portfolio Management (PPM) offering? Do you have success stories you would like to share with attendees? Are you passionate about Microsoft Project & Project Server? If you do and are interested in presenting next March, you are invited to propose content for delivery at Microsoft Project Conference 2012!


    1. Propose titles & abstracts at
    2. Complete all the required fields carefully so we can better evaluate your entries.

    Deadline for Submissions: October 14th, 2011
    Acceptance Timeline:  Notifications will be sent out by November 15, 2011

    Project Conference hosts a mix of audience including audiences including Microsoft PPM practitioners, IT Professionals and Developers, as well as Decision Makers and Business Managers.

    Breakout Sessions
    Breakout Sessions are the main content delivery modality at Project Conference other than the keynote sessions. These breakout sessions are lecture-style presentations located in rooms seating anywhere from 100-400 people and are 75 minutes in length. They typically include slides, demos, and a Question & Answer period, and they are recorded and distributed in the MyPC virtual event platform.

    Content Tracks

    • Business Values & Insights will showcase customers across industries and experienced partners, all sharing success stories and PPM best practices. 
    • Product Session will showcase production information, how to best enhance your project portfolio performance, and solutions that enhance out of the box capabilities and provide integration with line of business applications.
    • Deployment and Administration focuses on deployment, configuration, administration best practice as well as developer sessions on how to extend the out of the box desktop and server products to fits your specific business needs.

    Travel & Expenses
    Complimentary passes will be provided for all selected speakers.  Any travel costs including airfare, hotel, etc. will be the responsibility of the speaker.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Project Conference Speaker Team at All proposals will be responded to by November 15, 2011.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Announcing SharePoint Lifecycle Management Solution with Project Server 2010


    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:

    • Business Decision Maker/Technical Decision Maker white paper containing a business evaluation of how Microsoft Project Server 2010 can be employed to help manage your SharePoint Lifecycle through enhancement requests and project proposals.
    • Technical white paper contains step-by-step instructions on how to install and customize the SharePoint Lifecycle Management solution, along with basic instructions on how to use it.
    • Project Server 2010 sample databases and templates that can be used to illustrate concepts. The sample dataset requires a farm that has a working installation of Microsoft SharePoint 2010 with Project Server 2010 fully configured (please refer to Project Server 2010 Tech Center); and the Dynamic Workflow and Workflow Visualization web part solutions from Microsoft Project 2010 Solution Starters.

    For an overview of the solution, please watch this recent recording from Tech.Ed last week:

    SharePoint Lifecycle Management Solution with Project Server 2010

    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

    Christophe Fiessinger
    Senior Technical Product Manager, Microsoft Project

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Add a custom bar to your print legend


    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.                            



  • Microsoft Project 2010

    EPM 2007 Timesheets with Project Actual Remaining Work


    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.

    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.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Microsoft Project @ PMI Global Congress 2011



    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:

    1. October 24th at 3:45 PM, Leveraging Project 2010 with Office 365 for Project Management Success with Dux Raymond Sy (Innovative-e, Inc.)
    2. October 25th at 12:30 PM, Quickly Automate Microsoft Project Server 2010 Governance Workflows with Ben Chamberlain (UMT)
    3. October 25th at 3:45 PM, Making Life Simple for Small and Mid-sized PMOs: A Pre-Configured Microsoft Project & Project Server 2010 Solution with Greg Bailey and Tad Haas (SharkPro Software)

    PMI® Global Congress 2011—North America
    October 22–25 2011
    Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center
    Dallas/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! 

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution Webcast Series


    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?

    • Work Smart - Save time by sending your prospects to a recurring live webcast versus having to deliver the demo yourselves
    • Educate  - Customers will receive a comprehensive overview of each solution and be able to get answers to initial questions
    • It's Live - Send your customers to a live webcast rather than to a recording or click-through demo
    • Better Together - Show the value of integrating the EPM Solution with SharePoint Server and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server

    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 Management
    Microsoft 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.

    Registration and Schedule


    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.


    Registration and Schedule


    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.


    Registration and Schedule


  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Add a Buffer Task using a Manually Scheduled Task


    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.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    HOW TO: Setting Up RBS Security for Vendor Resources


    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

    Security Design

    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

    Questions and Answers

    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

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Dealing with organizational resistance


    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:

    • Set some expectations. When you tell your organization that you’re going to roll out Project Server, that’s not going to mean the same thing to everyone. Some may have no idea what to expect, while others may have had previous experience with Project Server, or may have heard about other implementations and challenges that their peers in other companies have encountered. Be specific about what Project Server means for your organization. It may mean people will be filling out timesheets for the first time. It may mean project managers will have a more formal reporting structure. By communicating these expectations before Project Server is actually rolled out, you’re giving people a chance to let the ideas bake, voice their concerns, and get some clarity on what these expectations really mean for them.
    • Explain the benefits. Personally, I think this one is (arguably, of course) the single most important way you can prepare your organization and avoid some of that rollout pushback. Think of it this way…you’re rolling out Project Server, and for the first time, you’re asking full-time salaried employees to fill out hours spent on tasks in a timesheet. Something some of your employees may not have done since their summer jobs as fry cooks during high school. People are going to complain, not fill them out, and get their hours in late every week. That’s just the nature of rolling out timesheets. (Did I really just say all of that out loud?) But if you tell them WHY you want them to fill out timesheets (because it helps to accurately predict how much time will be needed for tasks in future projects, for one), and what benefit it offers THEM (maybe it means fewer status meetings with managers, or more evidence of getting work done on time or early come annual review time, that sort of thing), you’re bound to encounter less resistance. I’m not saying people won’t complain, because they will, but at least this way they might be less inclined to complain as loudly.
    • Provide training. The reality is that for many people, Project client and Project Server are really difficult to learn. Even just pointing them to resources like the Up to speed video series or the Project Map can be enough to ease some of the anxiety about learning a new tool. If you can afford full-on in-person training, even better. The more prepared your teams are, the more successful your EPM solution will be.

    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?

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Ask a Project PM: Resource Leveling


    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!

    Ask a Project PM: Resource Leveling
  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Display the Project Summary Task by Default


    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.

    1.    Go to Start - Run and type regedit.
    2.    Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\MS Project\Options\View
    3.    Right-click on View and go to New - DWORD Value
    4.    Set the name to Show Project Summary
    5.    Click off Show Project Summary
    6.    Double-click on Show Project Summary
    7.    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.


    -    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.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    The New Project Blog


    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

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2010: Introducing Millions of Colors


    image 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 image 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.




    Project 2007 image
    Project 2010 image
    Project 2010 + Customization image(Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should)

    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:


    To this:


    Or 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.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Gridlines Galore


    You may know you can update the formatting of the current gridlines you see in Project, but did you also know that you can add additional gridlines? While in the Gantt chart, go to Format - Gridlines and you can see in the list of "Lines to Change" everything that you can format. To get the line to show up, just set Type to something besides blank. I wanted to callout a few useful lines that aren't on by default:

    - Project Start, Project Finish, and Status Date: This is especially helpful in large projects to help keep track of where you are in it.


    This gives you:


    - Gantt Rows: This draws a line between each gantt bar and helps with readability. If you draw a line between each gantt bar, this gets a bit overwhelming so I recommend setting the interval to 3 like this:


    This gives you:


    This is especially helpful for large print-outs.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Impress the family: Make Thanksgiving Day a success with Project 2010


    Brian Kennemer over at Deltabahn, a Microsoft Partner specializing in Project Server deployment consulting, recently updated his Thanksgiving dinner project plan and we wanted to share it with you all. You can download the .mpp file here. This is just a guide, but a great example of how flexible the tool can be and how it can be used to improve everyday activities. If you don't already have a copy of Project 2010 be sure to download the trial here, give it a try, and tell us what you think! And you can learn more about the US holiday on Wikipedia.

    Start with the Resource Sheet view in Project 2010. You may want to track your cooking tools and supplies along with the overall budget. Here's a generic view where "Helper 1" could be your partner, a friend, or even one of the kids.

    Inactive Tasks is a great way to think about the unexpected and plan for surprises. Maybe your brother/sister decides to bring a +1 or the kids invite their friends from college.

    Notes in Task Information is a great place to keep all your important information in one place. Copy over your planning notes from OneNote and add comments on what to do differently next year.

    Special thanks to Brian ( for sharing his Project plan with us. Whether you're a seasoned Thanksgiving veteran or hosting Thanksgiving dinner with the family for the first time, a well crafted project plan can help you minimize the stress of organizing such an important event. You can use Project to plan larger scale catering events, festivals, or even a wedding. Unfortunately, you may be on your own with the in-laws. Microsoft Project can only do so much.

    We encourage you to share your Thanksgiving plans and experiences with us in the comments. And, if you have other ideas on what we should plan with Project or a template of your own, please share as well. You can "Like" us on Facebook and share your thoughts there, too. Check out an earlier post by Heather on where to find great templates for Project. Good luck and Happy Thanksgiving from all of us on the Microsoft Project team to you!

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Roles for Project Web Access


    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

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Visual Project Planning and Reporting


    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:  There were some Visio based reports shipped with the Project 2007 client.  This article goes into detail as to how that was done.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Reporting Database Documentation Published


    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:

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Actual Work Best Practices Documentation Now Available


    One of the most important aspects of any Project Server implementation is the ability to accurately record and report on actual work values when they are submitted by resources. The desire to ensure that the integrity of actual work, or “actuals”, is maintained within Project Server is one of the most critical customer requests. When implementing a Project Server based solution for time tracking and progress reporting there are a lot of questions that come up like:

    • What’s the best way to have my resources report time for their assignments?
    • How do I make sure that the resource-reported value and the project plan stay in sync?
    • Where should I retrieve data from if I want to integrate Project Server with an external billing or ticket tracking system?

    Admittedly the breadth of configuration options available in Project Server can create some confusion and lead to solution configurations that are not optimal for the maintenance of actual work values. To help ease the process of recording and reporting on actual work we’ve created the Best practices for submitting and reporting on actual work (Project Server 2010) documentation. To give you a quick preview of what the document contains here are the primary tenets of best practices for actual work integrity:

    1. Use single entry mode
    2. Protect user updates with protected actuals
    3. Use submitted work from timesheets, instead of project plans, for timephased reporting
    4. Use administrative time categories to track non-project work

    You can find more details for each of these best practices in the linked document.

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