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

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Submit Feedback Directly to the Project Team

    • 39 Comments

    In an effort to enable more direct communication with our users, we have setup a Microsoft Connect site for Project.  You can now submit bugs that you have found in Project 2007 and suggestions for features you would like to see in future releases of Project directly to the Project team.  While we may not be able to directly respond to every submission, we do promise to read and consider every bug and feature suggestion we receive.

     

    Follow these steps to submit feedback -

    1. Go to http://connect.microsoft.com
    2. Click on “Available Connections”
    3. Select “Microsoft Office Project 2007”
    4. Click the Feedback link on the left.

     

    On the feedback page you can submit bugs and feature suggestions by clicking on the “Submit Feedback” link.  You can also search feedback submitted by other users and add comments, votes, and validations.  Vote on whether you agree with the bug/feature suggestion and use validations to indicate if you have experienced the same problem.

     

    Note, you don’t have to sign in to search existing feedback, but you must sign in with a Windows Live ID or Microsoft Passport account to submit new feedback or comments on existing feedback.  To log in, click the sign in button in the top right-hand corner of the page.

     

    If you are a part of the Office 2007 Technical Beta, you should continue to use the same bug submission tools you have been using.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project Server Data Migration - Cheat Sheet

    • 30 Comments

    Data Migration can be a long difficult progress. In Project 2007 we made a lot of investiments to make this process a lot smoother for users.

     

    This post provides a list of quick steps to migrate your Project Server 2003 data into Project Server 2007. I've done it several times and it works well. If there are any failures, the log gives you detailed information for troubleshooting the issue.

     

    This list doesn't provide a detailed documentation of the process or all the detailed steps or how to troubleshoot problems. For that, refer to the Beta 2 documentation.

     

    1)    Install Project Server 2007 and provision a Project Web Access site

     

    2)    Backup your clean Project databases (all 4 of them). If you run into problems you can restore the databases and start over

      

    3)     Get your Project 2003 database ready. Restore an existing Project 2003 database onto the same SQL server as the Project Server 2007. Or create a linked server on the Project Server 2007 SQL Server (SQL Server instance->Security->Linked Servers). Link it to the Project Server 2003 SQL Server. In the security tab choose ‘be made with this security context’ and give a SQL Auth account (Eg. user: sa   password:<whatever>)

     

    4)    Install Project 2007 Professional and choose the “install migration tool” advanced option in setup

     

    5)    Change the default Migration ini file that gets installed with Project Professional (you can find it at \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\ P12MIGRATION.INI.SAMPLE)  Add in the right values for Project Server 2003 databases, Project Server 2003 Linked SQL Server, Project Server 2007 PWA etc. ***Spend some time to make sure all your parameters are valid. There are detailed explanation of each parameter***

      

    6)     Run the migration tool from the command line:   "<drive>:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE12\p12migrationtool.exe" -c "<location>\p12migration.ini"

     

    7)     Look at the command line/migration log to make sure everything is fine. If not, do corrections and re-run migration tool - it should start from where it stopped last.  If there is a irrecoverable problem, make changes in Project Server 2003, restore the clean Project Server 2007 databases and retry migration.

     

    8)     If you have any local windows accounts (eg. <Machine\Brad Sutton>), make sure you use PWA->edit user functionality to edit those accounts so that they are valid.

     

    9)     Go to the migrated PWA site as an admin, edit each migrated security category, go to the “Views – add to category” section and add the ‘My Work’ set of views to the category. If you don’t add these views, migrated users will not be able to see any views when they navigate to the ‘My work’ page.

     

    10)  Go to PWA->Server Settings->Operational policies->project workspace provisioning settings and choose ‘Automatically create a project workspace…” option. This is the more common option.  If you don’t want workspaces to be created automatically, you need not do this.

     

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Visual Reports

    • 132 Comments

    Hello everybody.  I’m Heather O’Cull and I’m also a program manager on the Project team.  This week I decided to lock Lidiane out of her office and take over control of the blog to write about a new feature that I think is pretty cool – Visual Reports.

     

    Visual Reports is a new feature in Project Standard and Professional that allows you to report on your project’s data in Excel using PivotTables and PivotCharts, and in Visio using a new feature called PivotDiagrams (think fancy WBS charts).  Using Visual Reports you can now easily create eye-catching reports that are also informative off data from your project using formats that are familiar to your target audience.  To help get you started we are shipping Excel and Visio templates.  You can also create your own templates that you can share out to others to provide a consistency across everyone’s reports.

     

    Some background information for the technical people (non-techies feel free to scroll to the pretty pictures), Visual Reports works by first creating a local database (.mdb file) that contains data from your project.  From there we build a local cube (.cub file) and then hook the cube up to a PivotChart in Excel or a PivotDiagram in Visio.  These cubes are completely separate from the server cubes.  There are six different cubes to create reports off of – resource, task, and assignment in both summary and usage (time phased) flavors.  You can even save cubes or the database to then create reports off of in the future.

     

    And now for the pictures…
    (Click to enlarge)

     

    Pictured here is the main Visual Report dialog.  All of the templates you see listed in the dialog are templates that we are shipping to help get you started.  If I create a new template and save it in my templates folder it will also show up here.  You can even choose to include templates from another location such as a public share.  When you create or edit a template you can specify which project fields and custom fields to include in the template.

     

    Here is an example of an Excel template we’re shipping, the Resource Work Summary Report:

     


    (Click to enlarge)

     

     

    And the corresponding PivotTable:

     


    (Click to enlarge)

     

     

    Note, how using this chart you can easily see that Resource3 is over allocated and that Resource1 and Resource2 could potentially take over some of its work since they both have remaining availability.  If I wanted, I could customize this report to only show the data for a certain time period.  I’ve also customized the look of the chart a bit to help show off Excel’s new charting capabilities.  For more information on new Excel features check out the Excel 2007 blog.

     

    As I mentioned earlier Visual Reports works with a new feature in Visio called PivotDiagrams.  These diagrams are good for hierarchical data such as work breakdown structures.  You can customize the look of the nodes in the diagram by adding text fields, data bars, indicators, and background colors that are based off a value.  You can even use formulas to create calculated fields in Visio.  To learn more about this feature check out the Visio 2007 blog.  Here is an example of the task status report:

     


    (Click to enlarge)

     

     

    From here I could drill into Phase3 to see which tasks are causing it to slip.

     

    And for a little more background information, Visual Reports works with Excel 2003 or later and Visio Professional 2007.  You don't need to have .Net 2.0 installed to use this feature.  That was only a requirement for the Beta. 

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    New Templates in Project 2007

    • 21 Comments

    There is a vast number projects being managed in the world and many Project Managers may not be aware of how they could use Project to help them manage these projects. Templates are a way to help Project Managers get started with Project. The goal of the templates is to give you an idea of how you may want to structure your project. Each template suggests milestones, dependencies, and generic resources to give you a starting point. Obviously, you may change the proposed work breakdown structure to fit your needs.

     

    In Project 2007, we have added about 25 new templates to cover additional project scenarios.  To give you an idea, these are some of the new templates that will available in Project 2007:

     

    • Annual Report Preparation
    • Develop Skills Needs - Hiring Plan - Hiring Forecast
    • Finance and Accounting System Implementation
    • Human Resources Information System Implementation
    • Marketing Campaign Planning
    • Marketing Event Planning and Execution
    • Performance Reviews
    • Product Development Planning
    • Product Evaluation Post Launch
    • Six Sigma DMAIC Cycle
    • SOX Compliance and Technology Options
    • Strategic Merger or Acquisition Evaluation
    • Vendor Evaluation and Consolidation
    • Customer Feedback Monitoring
    • Financial Service Offering Launch
    • Internal Readiness Training
    • ISO 9001 Management Review
    • Managing Incoming Request For Quotes (RFQs)
    • Vendor Request For Proposal (RFP) Solicitation

    These templates are well structured to help you understand what tasks can occur concurrently and see what the critical path of the project is. We have also made sure that the generic resources match a skill that will help you define what type of resources you will need for the project. In addition, we added a number of notes to tasks to help you understand why a that task is needed or important related information.

     

    Here is a sneak peak at the Vendor RFP Solution template:


    (Click to enlarge)

    Note that the durations for all tasks are marked as estimates (have a question mark). We did not attempt to estimate task durations as they will widely vary for each project.

     

    If anyone has template suggestions, it would be great to hear (though new ideas would not likely make it into Project 2007).

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    How do I register to get a beta copy of Project 2007?

    • 11 Comments

    Many of you have asked me about how to get access Project 2007 Preview version. We are currently planning on releasing a Beta this Spring.  This release will be public and you can register to receive a copy at the Microsoft Office Preview site.

     

    Keep in mind that this is a Beta release and there will be no product support for it. Having said that, the product is excellent! I highly recommend signing up. You will get a great preview of what’s coming up.

     

    All versions of Project 2007 will be available through this Preview program (Standard, Professional and Server). If you have any specific questions, please feel free to send me a message.

     

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Data Migration Test Program

    • 3 Comments

    For those of you who already read Treb Gatte's blog, this is no big news. We have started a new program to test migration from Project Server 2003 to Project Server 2007. Our main goal is to get a good range of test coverage for mitigration to make the process as smooth as possible to customers. We have our own data sets for testing these scenarios but getting real customer data is invaluable to us.

    There is some work involved to participate but those who do will have the benefit of getting the results of the tests directly from us. If you are interested in learning more details about the program and how to enroll, please read the full article on Treb's blog: http://spaces.msn.com/evildoctorporkchop/

    Treb is also a Program Manager in the Project team. He is responsible for IT governance, Server Side reports among other initiatives.

     

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tracking changes in Project 2007

    • 13 Comments

    I apologize to readers for the delay in posting a new topic. The last few weeks have been busy for us in the product team as we start to get our Beta 2 build completed. The release will be in late spring and I’ll have a dedicated post on how that will work, for those interested in learning more. I have received a couple of questions about it but the details are still not finalized.

     

    This week I would like to show you two new features we have introduced in Project 2007 that will improve Project Managers’ productivity by giving you the ability to efficiently see how changes you make effect the rest of the project plan. In addition, Project 2007 gives you the ability to see what’s driving a task. That is, for example, if you want to understand why a task has pushed out the schedule, you easily can.

     

    Change Highlighting

    Project 2007 provides you with an option to view how the changes you make to the schedule impact the rest of the project. Change Highlighting illustrates all that is impacted by your change.

     

    In the example below, I am using one of the new Project templates we are shipping with Project 2007, “Strategic Merger or Acquisition Evaluation”.

     

    I changed task 17 ‘Define Selection Scenario…’ to have duration of ‘4 days’. After changing the duration value, everything that also changed as a result of my extension of the task duration got highlighted: the finish date for my task, the following task that dependent on task 17, the inner and outer milestone summary tasks.


    (Click to enlarge)

    This feature gives you incredible power to validate the change and helps you answer questions that were harder to answer before: Did this change cause a schedule slip? What other tasks will get impacted by the change? Should I make the change?

     

    The highlighting will persist until you make another change or save the project. Since Project 2007 offers multiple levels of undo, you can use both features combined to do many “What-if” scenario analysis with your projects.

     

    Task Drivers

    Another question you may be faced with when reviewing your project schedule may be what is causing my task to be scheduled when it is as opposed to on an ealier date? This can be especially problematic if you are managing a project with thousands of tasks. You may end up spending hours trying to trace back the dependencies, review resource availability, calendars etc. Project 2007 now does the work for you! When you select a task, you can select to view the Task Drivers pane and the information that you need to find out what is driving that task is displayed to you on a pane on the left of the project. You can easily turn on this pane by selecting the ‘Task Driver’ option on the Project menu (new in Project 2007). 

     

    I am using the same project I used above. Once I opened the ‘Task Driver’ pane for task 17, I get all the information I need to see “what are the factors causing the task to start when it is”. In addition to predecessor tasks, you also get a link to the calendar of the resource(s) assigned to the task. This is very helpful if your task is being delayed due to the resource being on vacation.


    (Click to enlarge)

    Both Change Highlighting and Task Drivers will be the first couple of new features you will immediately notice in Project 2007 and that I personally have become dependant on for my projects.

     

    The screen shots I used are from our latest build but since the product is still the Beta phase there may be some changes to the final version.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Migrating from Project Server 2003 to Project Server 2007

    • 18 Comments

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

     

    Upgrade versus Migration

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

     

    Some more FAQs:

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

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

     

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

    A: Yes, they will be migrated.

     

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

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

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Microsoft Office Announcement

    • 0 Comments

    A few days ago we have released the official names for the new version of Office: http://www.microsoft.com/office/preview/default.mspx

     

    Microsoft Office 2007 and therefore, Microsoft Office Project Server 2007, Microsoft Office Project Standard 2007, and Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007. The link above has all the information about the Office 2007 Suite packages as well as the pricing for all Office applications.

     

    You can also find some short articles about the new user interface for the core Office applications and the new file formats. Project has decided to stay with the core user interface have shipped in the past (menus and toolbars), so most of the information on that will not impact Project users though it’s an interesting read for users of Word, Excel and Power Point.

     

    It may take me a while to start referring to Project “12” as Project 2007, as we have been using the “12” codename for a while. They are both referring to the same product, so hopefully the transition won’t be too confusing.

     

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Cube Building Services Overview

    • 26 Comments

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

    1.    Project Non Timephased

    2.    Task Non Timephased

    3.    Assignment Non Timephased

    4.    Assignment Timephased

    5.    Resource Non Timephased

    6.    Resource Timephased

    7.    EPM Timesheet

    8.    Timesheet

    9.    Issues

    10. Risks

    11. Deliverables

     

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

    1.    Portfolio Analyzer – backwards compatible with Project Server 2003

    2.    Project Timesheet

    3.    Project WSS

     

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

     

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

     

    Cube Building Settings

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

    ·         Analysis Services server name

    ·         Data range to be included on the cubes

    ·         Frequency to which the cubes should be updated

     

    Cube Customization

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

     

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

     

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

     

    Cube Building Status

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Opportunities in the Project team

    • 14 Comments

    Many of you know that we have acquired UMT (http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2005/dec05/12-15PortfolioManagementToolsPR.mspx). Many of the members of the UMT development team have moved out here to Redmond to join the Project team. It has been very exciting to welcome everyone as they arrive from Romania. We are really looking forward to the work we’ll be able to do together.

     

    Since our team is growing, we have a number of new openings and an SDET Lead opening on the Project test team.  If you're looking for a new opportunity, we're looking for several Software Design Engineers in Test.

     

    Full Description:

    Come join the Microsoft Office Project Team to help make Microsoft live Project Management, make global Fortune 500 companies rely on it, and make 100 million people love it.

     

    Now is your chance to get in on the ground floor.  We have a number of both senior and entry level openings on the team and are looking for the best and brightest.  If you know Win32, C#, ASP.Net or other web-based technologies, if you're a team player, if you can rattle off the bugs you see in the software products you use, and want to do something about it.

     

    Successful candidates will need to be well-rounded; both technically competent and a strong tester in their own right.  The candidate will be a part of a highly trained team of application and server testers.  Project or Portfolio Management skills are a plus. If you know what a work breakdown structure is, or have working knowledge of the PMBOK scheduling field definitions and want to explore a new opportunity, I'd like to talk with you.

     

    If you have experience with software testing methodologies – If you understand and can describe in detail how to approach testing software at the unit, function, and feature level, if you can write test automation, if you can test a server technology and understand the complexities of server scalability, if you're always thinking of a better more efficient way to do what you do, I'd like to talk with you.

    -----

     

    Our Test Manager, Andy Seres, has done an excellent job with our test team. We have a group of very talented people who are making a huge impact in marking Project "12" a very high quality product. If you are interested in applying feel free to send me a message and I'll get you in touch with him. Thanks!

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Welcome to P12!

    • 36 Comments

    Welcome to the first office Project “12” blog entry! I am a Program Manager in the Microsoft Office Project team and will be coordinating this blog as a space for the entire product team in Project to communicate with anyone who is interested in Project.

     

    We are going to focus our blog discussions on the new version of Project, currently code named Project “12”. Our goal is to be able to share what’s new in Project “12” and hear your feedback and questions. There will a new posting at least once a week but I’ll try to regularly respond to comments and questions.

     

    I would like to get started by telling you how amazing the Project Conference 2006 was! For those who are not familiar with the conference, it is an annual event where we hold multiple sessions discussing how to solve some project management challenges using Project. This year, we also had a number of partners presenting on their solutions as well as best practices. It was the biggest conference ever for Project with about 1,600 attendees!

     

    Project “12” has some incredible areas of improvements in both the client as well as in the server. I hope to, over time, have some in depths discussions on separate features. For now, I would like to highlight a couple of client features that received a lot of applauses or “Oh my God” reactions from the conference:

     

    Multiple Levels of Undo: There was a post from Dieter’s Project blog about this feature. As he explained, it was an incredibly hard to implement feature but amazingly rewarding to see customers reaction! Project “12” will support multiple level of undo but we have gone beyond that and also support custom batching of VB code. What that means is that you can wrap any VB code with new functions that will become an undoable action. This is great if you have custom Add Ins or have extended applications running with Project.

     

    Task Drivers: Many of our customers had some problems finding out what happened to the schedule, so Project “12” has this new feature called Task Drives. A common question you may have when looking at your project schedule would be “why has a task moved to a certain date?” Now, you are able to select that task and see what is driving that task to be at the state it’s currently in.

     

    There is a very long list of really great client and server features in Project “12” but this is just to get us started.

     

    Dieter, the former Project Group Program Manager, has a Project blog containing a lot of great posts on new features as well as the conference. I highly recommend it if you would like to get more information now: http://blogs.msdn.com/dieterz/. Mostly, new posts will be added to this blog.

     

    Hopefully we’ll be able to build a good community on this blog.

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