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

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Visual Reports – Where Did My Field Go?

    • 1 Comments

    One of the more common questions I get around Visual Reports is “I selected a field (% complete, duration, some text custom field, etc.) to add to my report and it doesn’t show up in Excel – why isn’t it there?”. The field probably is there, it just is in a different spot.

    Visual Reports are built off a data structure called a cube. Cubes have 3 kinds of data types – dimensions, measures, and properties.

     Dimensions are anything you can pivot the data on –ex. tasks, resources, time dimensions, any custom field with a lookup table.

    Measures are anything the rollup can be calculated on –  ex. work, cost, actual work.

    Properties are everything else, they are just associated with tasks or resources and provide supporting information – ex. % complete, duration, text fields. Percent complete is a good example of a property since it is a number so it seems like it could be rolled up but unfortunately two 50% complete tasks do not equal a 100% complete summary.

    If you can’t find your field, it is probably a property. To add those to a pivotTable in Excel you can’t go through the PivotTable field list that you are used to. You have to first add the resources or task dimension to the report. Then right-click a resource/task, select “Show Properties in Report”, and select your field.

    image

    That will give you this:

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    So to recap:

    image

    Note that you have to be using Excel 2007 or later to display properties. For more information on Visual Reports, check out this help article.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Change the font and color of text on the Gantt chart

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    Many people know how to use bar styles to change the color of the bars on the right side Gantt chart. But I bet you don’t know how to use text styles to change the text on the left side of the Gantt Chart, and other sheet-like views. Let’s take a look at this.

    Here’s what my project looks like before applying text styles.

    image

    And here’s what my project looks like after applying a green font, underlined, for milestones, with red for critical subtasks.                                                  

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    A big difference. To apply the text styles:

    1. On the ribbon, click the Format tab.
    2. Click Text Styles

      image

      Note   If you’re still using Project 2007, click Text Styles on the Format menu.    
    3. In the Text Styles dialog box, select the type of item you want to format, and then use the other options in the dialog box to suit your fancy. In the picture below, “Milestones Tasks” are highlighted.

      image 

    Now, don’t get carried away.  More than two colors will invite negative reactions from others who are looking at your project. You don’t want them scratching the eyeballs trying to figure out what’s important and what’s not.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Use Twitter, Facebook, and other social media to help manage your project

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    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

    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

    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:

    • Search on known hashtags There are a number of hashtags known to Twitter users that refer to project management. For example, the hashtag #pmot is used for tweets about “project management on Twitter.” Other useful hashtags for project managers are, #projectmanager, #pmp, #project, #msproject, #project2010, and #pm.

      Tip      Since project management professionals will likely be using these same hashtags, using them in your own tweets becomes a good way to create professional relationships, or to get involved in project management organizations that you might not have been aware of.
    • Create team hashtags Your team can decide on its own hashtags for the projects they’re working on. For example, If your team is working on a project involving a local park, such as a public trail system, your team could decide on a hashtag to use across Twitter, such as #TrailCentralPark. Obviously, hashtags used in this way would work for projects where security is less of a concern. For a more secured use of Twitter, look at the next section about Twitter lists.

    Twitter lists

    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.

    1. On the Twitter timeline, click New List on the right side of the page.
    2. Give the list a name, and then select whether the list is public or private.
    3. Click Create list.
    4. On the next page, search for people by their Twitter name to add them to the new list.
      Tip    You can also add people to the list by clicking the List button which appears when you click a user’s profile.

    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.

    Advanced Twitter search

    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.

    1. Go to Advanced Twitter search Web site.
    2. Click Advanced Search.
    3. Specify the conditions of the search.

    Here are some particularly useful criteria you can use as a project manager.

    • Word      Type the word of phrase you want to search on, such as a product name that your company (or your competition) manufactures.
    • Hashtags      Type a hashtag that references your company, product, or your competition.
    • Attitude       Specify whether you want to search for phrases within tweets that have a negative or positive attitude. (And, no, I don’t know how they do this.)
    • Language       Use this criterion to search for tweets in different languages that contain your search phrase (such as your product name that you are marketing across different languages or countries).
    • Question     Use the “Question” criterion to search for tweets that contain a question. This is useful for, say, searching on a negative attitude toward you company or product that asks an exploratory question, like “I don’t understand what’s wrong with the Park’s new trail design.”

    Facebook

    There are a couple reasons why Facebook can become an important part of your team’s project management.style.

    •  Learn from experts about project management methodology   The advantage of Facebook over forums for learning methodology is its global impact. These days, most if not all project manager experts have a Facebook page. This means that you can create professional contacts quickly to get questions answered or to jump to a suggested site. You might call this a one-stop investigation of your possibilities.
      Here are a few of Facebook pages where you can learn about methodology:
    • Connect with other project managers    One of the lessons of any kind of social networking is the feeling that you’re not alone. Imagine! People are not only listening to you, they have the same problems as you. Now, that doesn’t necessarily make the problems go away, but at least you can find a few more people (OK, a few thousand more) to help you figure out what is wrong with your project.
    • Get questions answered about Microsoft Project     If you ask questions about Microsoft Project by visiting its Facebook page. Project MVPs as well as writers on Project are among the faces that can you help use Microsoft Project.

    Blogging

    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.

    • Major milestone announcements     Blogs are a great way to keep your team informed of not only the major phases that are coming up. They are also a good time to recognize the good work your team has accomplished as milestones are passed.
    • Keep it interesting    OK, a few pictures isn’t going to hurt anyone. From a project management perspective, one way to keep blogs interesting is pictures of a product in various stages, or of people who are making a product that aren’t usually in the company newsletter.
    • Everyone needs to blog    If only one person is writing blogs, then a sense of team is lost, as well as a sense of team investment is also lost. After all, it isn’t the project manager who is making a product. Highlighting those who are making the product adds a face and voice that keeps people on track and motivated.
    • Use all the features of a blog     Make sure you are using comments fields, as well as tags and ratings features of blogs. These features allow a project manager to understand the different perspectives that individual team members bring to a project. And often it is the fresh perspective that can send a stuck project on a new track to success.
    • Public or private blog     Decide early whether you want to use external blogging sites or internal blogs. Many products are available internally. SharePoint Workspace 2010 contains a blogging feature that your organization can use to create a blog that is private to your team.

    Other ways to use social networking in project management

    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.

    • SlideShare.net     Slideshare is a social network site that contains PowerPoint presentations and other documents that users create and upload. Searching on “project management” will find thousands of presentations about project management methodology. Click here, for example, to find information on how to get started using Microsoft Project.
    • YouTube     For the project manager, YouTube offers hundreds of videos on project management methodology. Videos on Microsoft Project can also be viewed there.
    • LinkedIn     As a social networking site for professionals, LinkedIn will help you find experts in project management and Microsoft Project. For example, the Project Users Group on LinkedIn has hundreds of project management professionals you can contact with questions and advice.

    Oh, and we can all use a few thousand more friends, can’t we?

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Work offline from Project Server

    • 2 Comments

    There are a number of reasons why you might want to work offline from Project Server.

    • One, you might want to work on a project while flying across the country (but don’t take your eyes off the instrument panel).
    • Two, the network you are using goes down unexpectedly while you’re are in the middle of managing an important project.
    • Three, you want to share a project in Project Server using e-mail. Let’s look at these more closely.

    Work on a project offline

    Step 1: Check out a project

    1. Start Project Professional 2010 and connect to Project Server.
    2. On the File tab, click Open .
    3. In the Open dialog box, click Retrieve the list of all projects from Project Server.
      The Open dialog box displays a list of projects in Project Server.
    4. Click the project you want to open, and then click Open
    5. After the file opens, set Project to work offline from the server.
      1. On the File tab, click Info.
      2. On the right, click Manage Accounts, and then click Work Offline.

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    6. When you have finished working on the project offline, close Microsoft Project.

    Keep in mind, that when you open Project Professional again to continue working on the project offline, you need to select the server to which it was initially saved, and then click Work Offline in the Login dialog box.

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    Note    If you do not select the server to which the project file was initially saved, you will not be able to open the project file.

    Step 2: Synchronize changes with Project Server

    1. Start Project Professional.
    2. In the Login dialog box, select the server to which the offline file was initially connected. Do not click Work Offline.
    • Note    If you do not select the server to which the offline file was initially connected, then you will not be able to open the file.
    • On the File tab, click Open.
    • In the Open dialog box, double-click the project name to open it from your computer
    • On the File tab, click Close.
    • When prompted to check in the file, click Yes.

    Your project file is now synchronized with the version on the server.

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    Work Offline unexpectedly

    If your computer becomes unexpectedly disconnected from Project Server, you can continue to make changes to your project plan. The next time your computer is connected to Project Server, the changes you made to the project will be synchronized to the server.

    Do the following when you want to save your changes back to Project Server.

    1. Start Project Professional.
    2. In the Login dialog box, select the server to which the project was initially saved. Do not click Work Offline.
      Note    If you do not select the server to which the project was initially saved, then you will not be able to synchronize the project with Project Server.
    3. Close Project Professional.
      If you are prompted, save and check-in the project.

    Share a project

    You can save a project from Project Server for sharing. When you do this, a Project .mpp file is created that you can send to team members as an e-mail attachment or to a file server. Use this method to share a file (rather than working on a project offline) when you want multiple people to work on the same file. When you receive the file back from them, you can synchronize the changes with Project Server.

    Step 1: Save a project for sharing 

    1. Start Project Professional and connect to Project Server.
    2. On the File tab, click Open .
    3. In the Open dialog box, click Retrieve the list of all projects from Project Server.
    4. On the File tab, click Save & Send.
    5. On the right, click Save Project as File.
    6. Click Save for Sharing

      image 
    7. Note    The Save for Sharing command is available only if the project has been saved to Project Server.
    8. Click Save As
      Save As button
    9. Type a name for the project file. You can either type a new name or use the name that matches the name of the project on the server.

    After saving the project with the new file name, you can send the file in e-mail to team members, who can open the file and make changes.

    Note    Changes can only be made by team members if they have Project Professional 2010.

    Step 2: Synchronize the shared file with Project Server

    Once the file has been returned to you, you can open it and synchronize the changes with Project Server

    1. Start Project Professional and connect to Project Server.
    2. In the Login dialog box, select the server from which the shared file was initially created. Do not click Work Offline.

      Note    If you do not select the server from which the project file was initially created, then you will not be able to synchronize the shared file with Project Server.

    3. On the File tab, click Open.
    4. In the Open dialog box, double-click the project name to open it.
    5. On the File tab, click Save As.
    6. Select the name of the original project from which the shared file was created.
      If the shared file name matches the original project name, then the project name will be displayed in the Save to Project Server box.
    7. Click Save. The shared file will now be synchronized with the original project.
  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Getting started with Project Web App

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    Office.com has a great set of Help content to get you started using the version of Project Web App that comes with Project Server 2010.

    In addition to this getting started content, Office.com has a lot of other content to help you use Project Web App. For more information, see the Project Server 2010 Support page on Office.com.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Wrangling with the Timeline

    • 1 Comments

    The new Timeline in Project 2010 has become an very popular way to present Project information quickly and attractively. Problem is, you can get a little carried away putting all your tasks on the Timeline, and then have trouble selecting only a few tasks to copy into another program, like PowerPoint or Word.

    Here is what you can do to copy selected tasks on the Timeline for copying and pasting.

    1   Make sure the Timeline is displayed. On the View tab, click the Timeline checkbox.

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    2      Add the tasks you want to the Timeline. A quick way to do this is with the Existing Tasks command. But first, make sure you’ve clicked in the Timeline to make this command available.

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    3     Now, here’s the fun part. Click and drag the mouse over the tasks you want to copy. If you do this correctly, a blue highlight band will cover the tasks, highlighting all the tasks that get in its way.

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    4    Once the tasks are highlighted, you can click individual ones to un-highlight them.

    Tip  You can also highlight the cells you want to copy by clicking a single tasks, and then holding down the Ctrl key on the keyboard while clicking the other tasks. Try it.

    5   Now the only thing left to do is click Copy on the Task tab (or hit Ctrl + C on the keyboard) and paste into your favorite presentation program.

    image

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Out with the old menus and in with the new ribbon

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    Can’t find your favorite Project 2007 menu commands on the new ribbon for Project 2010? Now you have a clever tool that maps the old menus with the new look. Click here, and then click the Project Guide. An interactive guide will start that displays Project 2007. Choose a command on any of the menus, and the guide will rotate to display Project 2010 and highlight where the command migrated to on the new ribbon.

    Below shows what the experience is like when you click a command on the Project 2007 side of the tool.

     Project 2007

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            Project 2010                                                       image

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  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Using Alternate Domain Accounts to Connect Project Client to Project Server

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    There are many reasons why you might want to connect the Project client to the server using an account other than the one that you typically use. In 2007 this was a relatively straightforward task accomplished using the “Enter User Credentials” option on the login box that opened when you opened up Project 2007. However in 2010 the login box now only allows you to select the server that you wish to connect to. That leaves you with a couple options for connecting to the server using a different account including using the “Run as Administrator” option from the context menu. However, in order to connect to the server using an alternate account and maintain the ability to use all features of the Project client (like creating and linking deliverables) you will need to change some settings in Internet Explorer:

    Open the following dialog starting from the IE main page:

    Tools > Internet Options > <zone> > Security > Custom Level

    Where <zone> in the security zone in which the PWA is loaded, this can usually be determined by going to the PWA home page and looking at the bottom of the Internet Explorer window:

    clip_image002

    After clicking on the “Custom Level” button you should see a long list of security settings. You are looking for a setting near the bottom called “User Authentication” which you should set to “Prompt for user name and password” as shown here:

    clip_image004

    After you’ve accepted this change you can safely attach the Project Client to a server using any valid domain account and perform all expected functions. After you are done you might want to consider returning the setting to the original value as IE will now prompt you for credentials any time you connect to a site within that zone regardless of its association with the Project Server.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Introducing Inactive Tasks in Project 2010

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    Inactive Tasks is a powerful new feature in Microsoft Project 2010 Professional that allows you to cut tasks in your projects, while maintaining a record of these cut items. Inactive Tasks allows you to quickly and effectively:

    · Manage Scope: As project begins to go over budget or over schedule, inactive tasks should be used to manage the scope of the project and retain a record of the tasks that you cut. Later, if there becomes additional funding or more time, you can re-activate some of the inactive tasks to fill the remainder of the budget or schedule

    · Perform What-if Analysis: You may want to experiment with different combinations of adds or cuts to your project. Inactive Tasks gives you the ability to quickly test multiple options by temporarily inactivating certain parts of the project without losing the original data.

    How to Inactivate a Task

    There are several ways to inactivate a task:

    · In the Tasks tab of the Ribbon, click Inactivate

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    · Right-click and choose Inactivate Task in the context menu

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    · In the General tab of the Task Information dialog, click the Inactive checkbox.

    · Set the Active field to “No”

    You can also perform one of the steps listed above to re-activate an inactive task.

    Appearance

    In Task Sheet views, an inactive task will appear crossed-out in semi-transparent gray text. In the Gantt Chart, the task will be outlined and filled with solid white. The task will retain its original duration, start, and finish values. If you do not want your inactive tasks to appear in the task sheet views, you can filter them out. To do this, in the Views tab of the Ribbon, select the Filter “Active Tasks”.

    clip_image006

    Inactive tasks will not appear at all in the following views:

    · Timeline

    · Team Planner

    · Network Diagram

    · Relationship Diagram

    · Calendar

    Behavior

    Inactive tasks will no longer be taken into account by the scheduling engine. Assignments to inactive tasks do not roll up to the task or resource summaries. Inactive task do not affect resource availability and will not be taken into account by Leveling. Baseline values that have already been taken are retained, but any new baselines taken will not include data for inactive tasks. Tasks with actuals cannot be inactivated.

    Project Server and Inactive Tasks

    Inactive tasks will appear in the Schedule WebPart on PWA, however they will be read-only. Inactive tasks are not published, so inactive task assignments will not appear on a team member’s task list.

    Tips and Tricks

    Links

    Inactivating a task that is linked to other tasks has some interesting effects because it is no longer taken into account by the scheduling engine. In a schedule from start project, if you inactivate a task with successors, the successors will be scheduled as if that link does not exist.clip_image008

    It is important to be aware of this behavior when inactivating a task in a chain of tasks. In the example below, notice how Task 3 is re-scheduled now that Task 2 is inactive.

    clip_image010

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    If you wish to retain the link between two tasks after inactivating their connecting task, you will need to add the link manually. In the example above, we would add Task 1 to Task 3’s predecessors.

    clip_image014

    Capturing changes to the Project

    Using the Created field (that existed in Microsoft Office Project 2007) and the grouping feature, you can quickly see which tasks have been added and which have been cut since the start of your project. To do this, click “Add New Column” and type “Created”. Then in the Views tab of the Ribbon, select the Group “Active v. Inactive”.

    clip_image016

    Summary Tasks

    To cut large sections of a project, try inactivating a summary task, which will automatically inactivate all of its subtasks.

    clip_image018

    Later, you can re-activate the entire summary task or selected subtasks. If you activate any of the subtasks, the summary task will also automatically be re-activated.

    clip_image020

    Risk Management/What-If Analysis

    Projects often have external dependencies that add risk to completing successfully on time. You can use inactive tasks to represent these risks. To see the effects if the risk is realized, you can activate these tasks and see the overall effect on the project. When planning, you should use inactive tasks to schedule both with and without the risks to see the range of time when the project should finish.

    Notes

    · The Inactive Task feature is available in Microsoft Project Professional only. Inactive tasks will appear read-only in Microsoft Project Standard 2010.

    · The Inactive Tasks feature is not available while in 2007 compatibility mode.

    · If you save to a previous version, the inactive tasks will be deleted completely from the project plan.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    How do you Prioritize and Select Projects?

    • 1 Comments

    Project wants to get feedback on how you prioritize and select items; such as projects and tasks.  As we plan for future product improvements, we want to learn more on the following topics:

     

    ·         What items do you prioritize? And what tools do you use?

    ·         How many items do you typically prioritize?

    ·         What information do you require to prioritize?

    ·         Who is involved in the prioritization process?

    ·         What are the challenges on your current process?

    ·         How do you decide which items to work on when you can’t do everything on your list?

     

    For those of you familiar with the Portfolio Analysis feature:

     

    ·         Do you have suggestions for future directions?

    ·         What needs do you have for which the feature falls short?

    ·         Would you like to see better integration with SharePoint for this feature? Please explain.

     

    Send any feedback to projrep@microsoft.com

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Microsoft Project 2010 has Launched!

    • 4 Comments

    Today we are launching the latest release of Microsoft Project. This event is an exciting one for my team and for me on many levels. Following Office 2010 RTM on April 16, today represents the culmination of over 3 years of development for the most innovative, the most advanced and the most integrated version of Office and Project we have ever released. It takes an incredible set of people to deliver on the kind of challenges that a new version of Project and Project Server represent. I would like to first thank my team, the Microsoft Project Business Unit, for their relentless efforts, their innovative spirits and technical depth, and more importantly for their unwavering passion in driving this complex project to completion. I also wanted to recognize and thank the myriad of people who contributed directly or indirectly to this product, our customers, our partners, our MVPs, our TAP team, the Project planning and marketing organizations, our Field, our support and services folks, all of whom have had a great influence in shaping Project 2010.

    Project 2010 is the most significant release for Project in over a decade and delivers new innovative capabilities across the Microsoft Project family of products: Project Standard 2010, Project Professional 2010 and Project Server 2010.

    · Project 2010 features the simple and intuitive Microsoft Fluent user interface and dramatic ease-of-use enhancements for both occasional and professional project managers.

    · Project and portfolio Management are now unified in a single server to provide end-to-end capabilities – a consistent Web interface, common data store, and centralized administration.

    · Project Server 2010 is built on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Enterprise Edition bringing together the leading PPM software with the powerful SharePoint business collaboration platform.

    · Project 2010 integrates with familiar Microsoft technologies such as Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Office Outlook, Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, providing powerful work management capabilities delivered through familiar and connected tools.

    In summary, 2010 represents significant investments on both our client and server. The fresh, simple and intuitive features of Microsoft Project 2010 will enable teams and organizations of all sizes to analyze, select, plan and deliver the right projects. On the client, we have focused on improving the experience and capabilities, adding groundbreaking views such as Timeline and Team Planner and new concepts like our Fluent user interface, while allowing new users familiar with Office tools to fully leverage the power of Project Standard and Professional with minimal ramp up time. On the server, Project 2010 is a revolutionary new release of Microsoft’s EPM solution built on the Project Server 2007 foundation and fully integrated with SharePoint 2010. By centralizing all aspects of project and portfolio management on a single, unified platform, fully leveraging the advanced features and capabilities that SharePoint Enterprise offers, we are delivering with Project 2010 the most comprehensive, integrated EPM solution on the market today.

    As I talk to Project customers worldwide, it has become clear to me that over the past few years Project has become a mission critical tool in the enterprise application fabric. With 20 million users worldwide and over 10,000 named accounts on our EPM solution, it is no surprise that when we set out to define the 2010 areas of investments, we decided on quality as our top business driver and we prioritized every step of the way accordingly. Consistent with our original goal of making 2010 a “no brainer upgrade” for our EPM customers, the Project engineering team put a few stakes in the ground early on in the release:

    · Upgrade from 2007 will be smooth and easy: we are taking an incremental approach to changes to our database and our web services, as such we are offering a predictable and robust upgrade experience from Project Server 2007.

    · Compatibility with 2007 is top of mind: compatibility with partner and customer solutions was the main driver for this goal, we ensured that Project 2010’s web services are backward-compatible with 2007.

    · Driven by customer feedback: Any area that received significant investment was driven by direct customer feedback. We worked with our partner ecosystem, Field, MVPs and, of course, TAP customers to refine or improve key areas in Project and PWA.

    · Reduce barriers of adoption: From ensuring a consistent experience with SharePoint to removing technical roadblocks such as our previous dependence on ActiveX controls, we’ve worked towards making PWA even easier to deploy, adopt and use.

    · Test the product broadly, deeply and early: By putting a new structure in place to leverage our early adopters both externally (TAP) and internally (internal “dogfooding”), Project 2010 is the most real-world tested version of Project at release time. Our TAP program has allowed us to discover a total of 1439 issues, 825 of which were discovered unique and fixed.

    · Benefit from Project 2007’s technical feedback: Thanks to the close technical relationship between Project 2007 and Project 2010’s codebases, we’ve been able to roll-up every single fix (Service Pack, Cumulative Update) from 2007 to 2010. At our release on April 16, Project 2010 already had 3+ years of customer feedback baked into it.

    These guiding principles have not only shaped the final product, but have had a profound impact on how the Project team designs, develops and tests software for the 2010 release and for releases of Project to come.

    Today we are marking the official launch of Office and Project 2010, for those who follow the news around Project however, you have been able to see, hear or even experience the new innovations we are bringing to market in 2010, through one of the many events the Project marketing and product teams have organized following Project Conference 2009 in Phoenix, Arizona last September. With over 1200 registered attendees, 250 partners and a representation of 731 companies from 49 countries and 47 states, Project Conference 2009 was one of the most successful and impactful to date.

    The buzz and anticipation created during the event was incredible and led up to the unprecedented success of our Project 2010 Beta program. Additionally, the Project 2010 Beta campaign website garnered a significant number of visitors and a very high level of interest from existing as well as new Project users.

    Finally, the Office 2010 launch today is your opportunity to participate and learn. Please join us at www.the2010event.com to see Project 2010 in action. As you document and share your launch experience, please remember to “tweet” and “RT” and to utilize #join2010 hashtag. Visit www.microsoft.com/project as your one-stop-shop to learn more about Project 2010 today and to download the free trial.

    Thank you for reading this post, I hope you will enjoy the launch activities and events surrounding the release of Office and Project 2010.

    Ludo.

    Ludovic Hauduc – General Manager – Microsoft Project Business Unit

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2010 Virtual Launch Event – May 12th

    • 9 Comments

    virtual_launch_homeWork management solutions for individuals, teams and enterprises.

    Hear how Microsoft® Project 2010 increases productivity through simple and intuitive user experiences, reduces costs and drives efficiency through unified project and portfolio management, and delivers a powerful work management platform through familiar and connected tools.

    The future of productivity is now playing. See it today at www.the2010event.com.

    Join the Project 2010 Live Q&A

    What: Project Server 2010
    When: 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm (PST), 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm (EST)
    Date: May 12th
     
    What: Project Professional 2010 Live Q&A
    When: 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm (PST), 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm (EST)
    Date: May 12th

    Meet our speakers:

    Keshav Puttaswamy is the Group Program Manager of the Microsoft Project development team. He is responsible for leading the team that defines the product vision, specifications, and drives the release for the Microsoft Project family of products. Keshav joined Microsoft in 1996 as a Program Manager. In his 6 years in that role, he designed features for the Project client, Project Central, as well as the first version of Project Server. He was the Lead for the Project 2003 release and the enterprise project management (EPM) features in 2007 before stepping into his current role. Keshav holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and Economics from Dartmouth College.

    Christophe Fiessinger is a senior technical product manager for Microsoft Project. He works on the enterprise project and portfolio management solution (EPM) and is responsible for technical readiness, specifically IT Professional. Christophe promotes the value of EPM by speaking at global Microsoft conferences like TechEd, SharePoint Conference, and Project Conference. He is a major advocate for enterprise deployments of Project Server, speaking on topics such as architecture planning and design, deployment and upgrade, administration and operation. He holds a MS from Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS from Toronto University.

    Eric Zenz is a Senior Program Manager Lead in the Microsoft Project development team.  Eric currently leads the Project 2010 client program management team and is responsible for driving ease of use and integration into the application.  Over his eight years with the team, Eric has also been responsible for Project Server’s deployment features and its integration with Office SharePoint Server.  Prior to joining Microsoft, Eric served as an Associate at Wilshire Associates in Los Angeles.  Eric holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of Southern California.

    Jan Kalis is a senior technical product manager for Microsoft Project. He has more than 16 years of experience in the IT industry. Before joining Microsoft, Jan was the founder of a company specializing in computer training and custom development for Microsoft Office. Jan has worked for Microsoft EMEA (Europe) in various customer-facing roles and is passionate about customer satisfaction and Microsoft Project. He has been involved in many Microsoft Project deployments for multi-national customers in the telecommunication, financial, and manufacturing industries and the public sector. Jan has written four books, three of them on Microsoft Project.

     **** Updated 5/11 - I added links for the Q&A's. The links are still getting populated so if they take you to a page that doesn't reference the event but is more a generic landing page, check back later.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2010 Availability

    • 3 Comments

    Project 2010 is now available through multiple channels.

    See these posts for more information:

    Project 2010 Professional/Standard and Project Server 2010 are read for download on MSFT Volume Licensing

    Project Server 2010 Download is Live on MSDN/Technet

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Assignment Units in Project 2010

    • 16 Comments

    If you are an experienced project manager then it’s likely that you are familiar with the Assignment Units field. For those who aren’t, Assignment Units determines the rate at which a resource is assigned to work on a task. This field is set to 100% or the Resource’s Max Units (whichever is the lesser of the two) by default, although it can be less or more depending on the needs of the project manager. In Project 2007, and previous versions, when this value differs from 100% we show it next to the resource name in the Gantt chart. For Project 2010 we’ve made some changes to the way that the Assignment Units field is calculated. Primarily, these changes were made in response to customer feedback about the way calculations were impacted when resources entered overtime work. For this release we’ve clarified the definition of the Peak field and the Assignment Units field which previously had some functional overlap but now fill more defined, separate, roles. As a result of these changes the Assignment Units field is no longer automatically modified to be greater or less than default value of 100%; as a consequence the field does not show up in the Gantt chart as often as it used to. This has led to some confusion which I’m hoping to clear up with this post.

    For an example of this, see the two screen shots below in which all the three day, fixed duration tasks were increased to 30 hours of work (up from the initial 24 hours of work) after the resource had been assigned to the task:

    Project 2007 SP2:

    clip_image002

    Project 2010 (Auto Scheduled task and Manually Scheduled task):

    clip_image004

    In Project 2010 we still show Assignment Units in the Gantt when the value is directly altered from 100%, but we have changed the product behavior so that changing scalar work after making an assignment on a task will no longer automatically alter the Assignment Units field as it did in previous versions.

    To understand the new behavior let’s have a short look at the intent and purpose of Assignment Units. When a resource is initially assigned to a task in Project there are three important values that characterize the assignment: duration, assignment units, and total work. The equation that governs the relationship between these three values is one of the core project scheduling functions, sometimes called the “iron equation of scheduling.” It’s defined:

    image

    In this way a resource with the standard 8 hour/day calendar assigned at 100% to a 3-day task would be calculated:

    image

    Thus, the assignment would have 24 hours of total work.

    But as it turns out, in previous versions of Project we were using the Assignment Units field to track two slightly different aspects of the resource assignments on each task:

    · Keep track of the workload initially assigned to the resource as detailed above.

    · Show the maximum workload experienced by or assigned to the resource.

    Because the field was being asked to do two different things users could experience inconsistent behavior around the extending of task duration in versions of the product prior to 2010. To help resolve this inconsistency we’ve leveraged the Peak field which already handles the second function leaving the Assignment Units field free to track the workload as initially assigned. Here’s an illustrative example:

    Let’s say that we have a three day, fixed duration task and let’s assign this task to Steven who’s working with the standard 8 hour/day calendar. When we make the assignment we see that Steven has 24 hours of total work for the assignment. This is how it will appear in Project 2007:

    clip_image010

    And now in Project 2010:

    clip_image012

    So far, things are about the same.

    Now let’s increase the scalar work on the task to 30 hours, that is, change the value for Work in the table on the left from 24 to 30 hours. In both versions we see that the work is distributed evenly (according to the default flat contour) across the three day assignment. Remember, the task is fixed duration not fixed units, so the work assigned will change to accommodate the new increased workload. In Project 2007 the value for Assignment Units increases to 125% to accommodate the change in total work on the assignment:

    clip_image014

    In this example, any increase in the duration of the task would result in work being defined according to the Assignment Units value consistent with 10 hours/day. This is not consistent with the desired behavior for Assignment Units which is to maintain the value at which the resource was initially assigned to the task. According to our iron equation, and customer feedback, the subsequent edit of scalar work should not have caused the Assignment Units value to be altered.

    In Project 2010 we see that the Assignment Units field has remained at 100% which was the workload initially assigned to the resource while the Peak field has changed to reflect the maximum workload on the resource of 10 hours/day:

    clip_image016

    There are two assertions that we have made in the conceptual framework around the scheduling engine that are now better served by the new differentiation between the Peak field and the Assignment Units field:

    · Overallocation should only be indicated when the resource is directly assigned more work than a can be completed at the Max Units allocation. Many users used the Assignment Units field as displayed in the Gantt chart as an indicator of overallocation. This was not always accurate.

    · Increases in task duration should maintain the initial assignment allocation.

    Here are a couple examples that demonstrate these points:

    Overallocation

    Take the previous example’s three day task. Let’s say that Steven worked on the task and entered actuals as shown below. For the first two days he worked 8 hours per day, but on the last day he worked 10 hours to ensure that all work on the task was completed. Here in Project 2007:

    clip_image018

    Note two things here. First, the value for Assignment Units is calculated based on the maximum effort expended by the resource on the task, which in this case is 10 hours on the last day of the assignment. Because of the increase in the value for Assignment Units the relationship between assigned work, duration, and assignment units is not valid for the first two days of the assignment. Additionally, this Assignment Units value will now appear in the Gantt chart seeming to indicate an overallocation even though the Project Manager did not assign Steven to more than 8 hours/day initially. This violates our first scheduling assertion.

    Now let’s examine how Project 2010 handles the scenario:

    clip_image020

    Here we see the Peak field is still 125% which is consistent with the additional actual work on the last day of the assignment. However, the Assignment Units field remains 100% and will not show an apparent overallocation for the resource consistent with the initial allocation. The scheduling assertion that overallocation only be shown when created by the Project Manager is maintained.

    Additionally in Project 2010 we’ve added new UI elements that help users more easily identify when a task contains a resource overallocation. The primary element to demonstrate this condition is the red “overallocation indicator” shown next to the task name in the grid:

    clip_image022

    We’ve also provided the Task Inspector which provides more information regarding issues with the assignment, and guides the user to possible solutions:

    clip_image024

    Increased Duration

    Continuing with the previous example Steven enters 10 hours for the last day of the assignment as previously described and then the Task Duration is extended by two days, the new work would be determined based on the Assignment Units. While this is the correct conceptual behavior we see the following in versions leading up to and including Project 2007:

    clip_image026

    The two new days are assigned at 10 hours per day. It’s unlikely that the Project Manager expects Steven to work at the same rate as he did on Wednesday, so extending the assignment at the rate of 10 hours/day is not expected given the Project Manager’s initial assignment of 8 hours per day. Additionally, the new work has been assigned in a way that will make it impossible for the built-in tools, like resource leveling, to resolve the overallocation and difficult for new/novice users to correct the issue. Simply changing the Assignment Units field back to 100% will not fix the problem; it will just scale the work contour.

    In Project 2010, we see the following behavior:

    clip_image028

    This is more in line with what the Project Manager might expect and consistent with our conceptual framework. New work should be assigned at the original workload, and the resource should not appear over allocated. In this case we see how we are not more consistently following the Iron Equation when it comes to assigning new work to the resource. Here’s the breakdown:

    image

    Where the Peak field captures the max (or “Peak”) assignment value of 10 hr/day for the Wednesday of the assignment.

    Common Questions

    A couple common questions have cropped up around our new behavior in this area, and I’ll try to address them here.

    “Allocation units no longer display in the Gantt!”

    Actually it does. You can still set it manually and it will show up in the Gantt. As previously mentioned some users were relying on the appearance of the Assignment Units field in the Gantt to indicate overallocation on a task but this was not the intended use of the Allocation Units field and was potentially inaccurate way to determine overallocation. Instead we’ve provided the overallocation indicator and the task inspector for this purpose.

    “Why not show the peak field in the Gantt instead of assignment units?”

    The display of the Allocation Units in the Gantt chart was meant to inform the user when they have a resource assigned to a task at a value other than 100%. If we show the Peak field in the Gantt there is potential that it would show up even when the user had initially assigned the resource at 100%. One example would be when accepting actual work updates from my tasks.

    “How is VBA based on the old behavior impacted?”

    Any script that relied on the Assignment Units field showing the maximum value for the assignment on a task should be altered to reference the Peak field for this information instead. Also, note that edits to the duration or timephased work or actual work for the assignment will no longer impact the Assignment Units field. If you want that field to change when any of these values are altered you must now explicitly set the Assignment Units field directly but also note that changes to the Assignment Units field directly will impact the assignment work (fixed duration) or task duration (fixed units) the same way they did in Project 2007.

    “What about fixed units tasks?”

    The only difference between the fixed duration tasks as described in this post and tasks that are defined as fixed units is that when the scalar work on a fixed units task is changed the duration of the task will change to accommodate the additional work. Here’s a demonstration of the “increase scalar work on the task to 30 hours” example from above but using fixed units tasks instead of fixed duration. First Project 2007:

    clip_image032

    And now Project 2010:

    clip_image034

    Because we are working with fixed units tasks, edits to the scalar value for work will not impact either the Assignment Units field or the Peak field. However, if timephased work entry will behave consistent with the behavior observed in the examples for fixed duration tasks.

    Hopefully this clears up some of the questions around the changes made to the Assignment Units behavior in Project 2010. We feel that the end result is more in line with what users expect from the product, and will resolve some longstanding complaints around overallocation and task extension.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Deleting summary tasks

    • 2 Comments

    One nice thing about summary tasks is that changes to them get reflected (or “rolled down”) to their subtasks. This is fine if you want to move summary tasks around, because all the subtasks move with them. But if you want to delete a summary task, then all the subtasks (and any subtasks under those subtasks in a more complicated outline) are also deleted.

    In a simple project, you might notice the unattended deletions, but it is easy to miss this kind of mistake in a more complicated project. If a complicated project is organized using three phases, for example, deleting one phase can delete one-third of your Project’s tasks. Yikes! That’s no way to handle scope issues.

    The solution: Demote the subtasks to the same level as the summary tasks, then delete the summary task.

    image

    To demote (or outdent) tasks in a outline:

    1   Select the tasks you want to demote.

    2   If you’re using Project 2007, on the Project menu, point to Outline, and then click Outdent.

         If you’re using Project 2010, click the Outdent  image  button on the Task tab.

    3   Delete the former summary task.

    Note   Keep in mind that if you have a complicated outline with more than two levels of indented tasks, make sure you’re starting at the lowest level subtasks before you start deleting summary tasks.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2010 reaches RTM!!!

    • 7 Comments

    On Friday we reached an exciting engineering milestone – the release-to-manufacturing (RTM) for Project 2010, Office 2010, SharePoint 2010, and Visio 2010.

    RTM is the final engineering milestone of a product release and a major achievement for all of the internal teams who worked so hard to get to this point. We couldn’t have done it alone though – we would have never reached this milestone without the incredible active participation from our customers and partners. A big thanks to everyone who tested the early releases and gave us feedback along the way.

    Signup for our virtual launch event in less than a month on May 12th. For information here: Microsoft Project 2010 Resources and Content – April 2010

    Eligible Volume Licensing Customers with active Software Assurance (SA), will be able to download the English products via the Volume Licensing Service Center starting April 27. Customers without SA will be able to purchase the new products through Volume Licensing from Microsoft partners starting May 1. You can expect to see Office 2010 in retail stores in June, and can pre-order Office 2010 at http://store.microsoft.com/OfficePreorder today to receive Office when it ships in June.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Microsoft Project 2010 Resources and Content – April 2010

    • 3 Comments

    The virtual launch of Project 2010, Project Server 2010,  Office 2010, and SharePoint 2010 is right around the corner on May 12th (wohoo!!!!).

    In preparation for the launch, we’ve released tons of content to the web for all audiences. To find out about all the information available, check out Christophe’s post.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Clean up the Gantt bars

    • 3 Comments

    Sometimes the details aren’t so important. When people are assigned to tasks, their names by default appear next to Gantt bars. But if the work units are set to a value less than 100%, then this value appears next to the person’s name, as well. Now, this might be OK. But there are times when this can be distracting, like during a meeting where you’re presenting your project to stakeholders, and you’d rather not field questions on what the percents mean.

     

    image

     

    If you want names to appear on the bars, but without the work units appearing, you need to do two things.

    First, you need to format the Gantt bars to display people’s initials rather than their full names. Second, in the Resource Sheet view, you need to replace people’s initials with their names. Ok, that’s a little weird, but that’s the only way. Let’s look at the steps.

     

    First, format the Gantt bars to display initials

    1. In Project 2007, click the Tools menu, and then click Bar Styles.

    In Project 2010, click the Format tab, click the arrow under Format, and then click Bar Styles.

            image  

            Tip    You can also just double click in the blank part of the bar chart to display the dialog box.

    2. In the dialog box, click the Text tab, and in the “Right” row, select the “Resource Initials” field.

     

    image

     

     

    Second, replace the people’s initials with their full names

    1. Switch to the Resource Sheet view.

    2. In the Resource Initials column, replace the initials with the person’s full name.

     

    Now people’s names will appear in the Gantt Bar view, without their work units.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    How do You Report?

    • 8 Comments

    Project wants to know how you report. As we plan for future product improvements, we want to learn more about how you report on your project’s status today.

    · What tools do you use?

    · How often do you report on your project’s status?

    · What data do you care about?

    · How do you share your reports?

    · What do you find difficult with your current process?

    Please send any information you’d like to share to projrep@microsoft.com Screenshots of the reports you use are very useful too – feel free to blur out any confidential data. For example, we just care to see that your report contains late tasks, we don’t need to see the actual tasks that are late.

    To learn more about Project 2010 reporting improvements, check out this post.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Who Doesn’t Manage Projects?

    • 0 Comments

    Ludovic Hauduc, the general manager of Microsoft Project, recently had the opportunity to talk about how the Project 2010 release is aimed at more than project managers.

    To most people, Microsoft Project is only for project management pros. Project 2010, which will ship with Microsoft Office 2010, aims to erase that perception and appeal to millions of Office users worldwide.

    For the full article, click here.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

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

    • 2 Comments

    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.

                                 image            

    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.

                            image

    Your "custom" bar format will now appear on the print legend.                            

     

                         image

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Video Walkthrough of the Out of the Box Sample Proposal Workflow

    • 17 Comments

    Out of the box, Project Server 2010 comes with a “Sample Workflow” which highlights many of the new features found within Project Server 2010 Workflows. The Sample Workflow was designed to help our customers not only just understand what our new workflows can do, but also give customers and partners the initial building blocks to create their customized workflows.

    The below videos is a step by step walk through of our Sample Proposal. It will show the end user experience, and highlight the different areas an admin must setup in order for this workflow to fully function.

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/showcase/details.aspx?uuid=d2edf819-8e66-43fe-81cd-14a83a83cde3

    http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/showcase/details.aspx?uuid=d8231d5c-bd22-4c8a-a951-590c0a92895a

    In addition to the posted videos, attached to this blog you will also find the Visio Diagram of the workflow. Please feel free to use this diagram to assist in traversing the workflow, and as a template for when you are creating your own custom workflow Visio diagrams.

    The source code for the Sample Proposal Workflow has been posted within our SDKs.  Please download the SDK to get access to the source code.  Once you have downloaded the source code, you should be able to modify the workflow logic and upload your own modified version of this sample proposal.

    If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments of this blog.

    Thank you,

    Sam Chung

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2010: Introducing Delegates

    • 1 Comments

    In Microsoft® Office® Project Server 2007, the timesheet surrogate feature exists to allow one timesheet user to give the management of their timesheet to another user — send updates and so forth. This is great for timesheets, but there are many other parts of Project Web App where you may want to delegate your duties to another user or users but you can’t because a delegation feature doesn’t exist. Based on this need, the delegates feature was born in Microsoft Project Server 2010. This feature simply allows one user to act as another user, no matter the permission level difference of the one user compared to the other. As an example, a team member can be a delegate for an administrator which means that when the team member becomes the delegate, they have all privileges that the administrator has.

    Let’s begin by talking about the security settings that control the delegates feature. Next, we’ll talk about how you create and administer delegates. After that, we’ll talk about delegates from a reporting and programming standpoint and finally we’ll talk about a few things you need to consider.

    The Delegates Security Settings

    There are a number of security permissions that control whether or not the delegates feature is enabled, whether or not a given user can be a delegate or act as a delegate and who has permission to create delegates. By default, the delegates feature is turned on globally, but the feature has not been enabled for any user or group except for administrators. Therefore, in order for the "ordinary" user to participate in delegation, you need to enable it for the various groups or users that you wish. Let’s first look at the Project Web App Global Permissions.

    clip_image002

    Here in the Resource section, you can see the following permissions:

    · Manage My Resource Delegates   Allows a user to set up delegates for other users.

    · Manage My Delegates   Allows a user to create a delegate for themselves, but relies on someone else to pair up the delegation to another user who will do the work.

    · Can be Delegate   If a delegate has been created, it allows the user to go to the “Act as a Delegate” page and act for another user.

    · Manage Resource Delegates   Turns on the delegates feature.

    At the user or group security level, similar global permissions can be set. As mentioned earlier, except for the administrators group, all others do not have the ability to create and become delegates.

    clip_image003

    There’s also a category permission you need to be aware of. The category permission, found in the <section name> is called “Manage Resource Delegations”.

    clip_image005

    Note: By default, in the Administrators group for the My Organization category, this permission is enabled if you have a brand-new Project Server 2010 site and disabled for upgraded sites. What this means is that for upgraded sites by-default and by-design the delegates feature does not work.

    So how does all of this work? Actually, it’s quite simple. Once you become a delegate, Project Server 2010 authorizes you to connect to the server but then switches your context so that you now are working as the user you’re the delegate for. Let’s walk through the setup of a delegate so that you can see what needs to be done.

    Delegate Setup

    Now that you have the security settings set up, it’s time to create your delegates and to act as a delegate. Let’s suppose you manage resource Mary, and Mary has told you she is going to be out of the office for two weeks. You also know she has time that needs to be reported while she’s gone. There are two ways to handle establishing the delegate. If policy permits, Mary can set up her own delegate for you or if not, you as her manager can set this this delegate. In our example, let’s assume you’re going to manage Mary’s work for the two-week period — you can’t find another team member to do this for you – and so you’re going to setup the delegate. To do this, you go to Personal Settings and click Manage Delegates (if you have the Manage My Resource Delegates permission, you can find the Manage Delegates option on the Server Settings page).

    clip_image006

    Next, you go to the ribbon and click New.

    clip_image008

    Now you can set the period for the delegation and also the fact that you’ll be the delegate for Mary:

    clip_image010

    Once the delegation is created, and as long as the current date is within the delegation period, you are now able to work on behalf of Mary. To start working as Mary, go to Personal Settings and click Act as a Delegate. Here you can see that the delegate isn’t active though your delegate is available:

    clip_image012

    You select the delegate and click the Start Delegate Session button. At this point, you are now working as Mary and you see the same UI, tasks, timesheets and other things that Mary would see. As well, you have the same permissions as Mary. Thus, if you started out as a Project Manager and Mary is a team member, while working as Mary, you have Team Member privileges. To help alert you that you are working as someone else, all Project Web App (PWA) pages are branded with a status bar as shown below.

    clip_image014

    To switch back to your account so that you are no longer a delegate, you can click the status bar where is says “Click here” or go to Personal SettingsAct as a Delegate. Here, you simply click the Stop Delegate Session button on the ribbon.

    clip_image016

    Working with Delegates

    To help you find the delegations that you own or manage, filtering can be applied. On the Manage Delegations page, click Filters on the ribbon to see something like this:

    clip_image018

    In this picture, you can see that you the manager have two different periods when you may act as Mary.

    Reporting and Programming

    There is no reporting available within PWA to show you, for example, when a user started and stopped a delegate session. The Unified Logging Service (ULS) log does, however, have entries to show you this sort of detail. For instance the following ULS log entries show the beginning and ending point for a delegation:

    3/01/2010 09:18:34.80 w3wp.exe (0x0A04)0x1374 Project Server      General 5z1a Medium PWA:http://pserver/pwa, ServiceApp:PSERVER_ProjectServiceApplication, User:DOMAIN\user, PSI: PWA.UserDelegationActivateDelegationCalling ActivateDelegation for delegationUid 77a5b19b-2b67-4b3c-8b49-c191994ac2df.   

    3/01/2010 09:40:34.98 w3wp.exe (0x0A04)0x1374 Project Server General 5z1c Medium PWA:http://pserver/pwa, ServiceApp:PSERVER_ProjectServiceApplication, User:DOMAIN\user, PSI: PWA.UserDelegationDeactivateDelegationCalling DeactivateDelegation for userUid a0672aff-c177-4908-b190-d9e24076f3ea.        

    In many organizations that enable delegates, you will want to be able to tell what a user has done while acting as a delegate. Though Project Server 2010 does not have built-in auditing, you can consider using Project Server’s built-in events to help you with this. Project Server 2010 has added ten new UserDelegation events you can use to determine when a delegate session is Activated, Activating, Changed, Changing, Created, Creating, Deactivated, Deactivating, Deleted and Deleting. You may find ways to use these events as well as other events to meet your needs.

    Notes and Things to Consider

    Here are some things to consider about delegations.

    1. Be careful about security elevation. Delegations work well for peers (those who have similar permissions) and from “managers” to “subordinates. But, you should probably avoid having someone like a team member act as a delegate for a manager, for example. You should also avoid having users act as administrators. If a user isn’t already an administrator but needs to act as one, you should probably consider just making them an administrator.

    2. When you are acting as a delegate, you cannot manage delegates. This prevents, for example, users who don’t have permissions to create delegates from doing so while acting as another user who has permissions to do so.

    3. Not all PWA functions work with delegation. Here’s a short list of things that may not function properly while you are a delegate for another user:

    a. Issues, Risks, going to Project workspaces. When you navigate to a project’s workspace, you are using your security context and not the delegated user’s context. If prior to activating the delegate session you have access to the project workspace, you will be able to do so while acting as a delegate. But, the delegate session does not grant you permissions to the workspace.

    b. Project Detail Pages. This is the same thing as point ‘a’. Essentially, whenever you leave the realm of Project Server 2010 pages and you’re in SharePoint 2010 pages, the delegation is not in effect.

    c. Project Professional. The delegate session does not apply to Project Professional. Thus, if you are a team member prior to the delegate session and now you’re acting as a project manager, you will still be unable to use Project Professional to work with projects.

    4. As noted earlier, if you upgrade from a previous version, delegates don’t work by-default even for the Administrators group. You will need to add the “Manage Resource Delegates” permission to a category (such as My Organization) that’s been placed on a group or user (preferably group).

    5. In Project Server 2007, timesheets surrogates are used to delegate timesheets from one user to another. Surrogates have been removed from PWA 2010 and delegates is the replacement.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Tips and Tricks: Mark a single task on the Calendar

    • 1 Comments

    In my last Tips and Tricks blog I introduced the Calendar view in Project, a very familiar and popular way to present task information for instant reporting. Here is another trick you can do on the Calendar— format single tasks differently than other tasks.

    The trick is to first “mark” a task on the Gantt Chart, and then in the Calendar, specify that marked tasks be formatted in a specific way.

    1.  On the Gantt Chart, add the Marked column (right-click a column and then click Insert Column).

    2.  For each task that you want formatted differently, click Yes in the Marked column.

    image

    3.  Now, switch to the Calendar view.

    4. If you’re using Project 2007, click Bar Styles on the View menu. (If your using Project 2010, click Bar Styles on the Format tab.)

    5.  In the Bar Styles dialog box, select the “Marked” task type, and then choose a type of formatting for tasks that are marked. Here is an example of a single task that has been marked in the Gantt Chart and then formatted red in the Calendar.

    image

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2010: Project Permissions

    • 3 Comments

    Other Users Need Access to My Projects

    Consider this scenario. As a project manager you create your project and now you’re ready to let others collaborate with you and so you ask yourself “how do I let others get access to my project?” By default, users who are added as resources to the project or who have tasks in the project have some level of access to it. But, these users may only have read access to the project and what about someone who is not directly associated with work on the project? How do you change permissions so that, for example, these users can read, write and publish a project?

    How to Accomplish this in Project Server 2007

    In Project 2007, giving access to another user who was not directly associated with your project would have likely meant making a request to the Project Server administrator to accomplish this task for you. To give access to your project, the administrator would have likely added the project to a security category and then added the category to your user account or to a group in which you belong. This was a lot of work and as the project manager you were at the mercy of the server administrator to do this work. What this typically meant was that there was usually a lag between the time when you wanted other users to help you with your project and when they actually got access to do so.

    So, how has Project Server 2010 made this better?

    How to Accomplish this in Project Server 2010

    In Project Server 2010, the new Project Permissions feature allows users or groups that have been granted the “Manage Basic Project Security” category permission to grant users and groups access to the projects they own. To access the Project Permissions feature do this:

    1. As a user who is a member of at least the default Project Managers group, go to the Project Center.

    2. Select the project you want to add, remove or modify permissions on.

    3. Click on the Project Permissions button on the ribbon.

    clip_image001

    On the permissions page, if no permissions have been granted, then the ribbon and page looks like this:

    clip_image002

    Here, you click the New button and you are taken to the Edit Project Permissions page. Now suppose your goal is to allow the following:

    1. All Project Managers can access your project.

    2. All Project Managers can open your project using Project Professional or Project Web App (PWA).

    3. All Project Managers can Save changes to your project.

    4. All Project Managers have the ability to view your project in the Project Center.

    Here are the options on the Edit Project Permissions page you’d select:

    clip_image004

    As you can see, you can add either users or groups to your Project Permission and in this case, you’ve added the Project Managers group. You can also enable one or a combination of seven different permissions and you’ve enabled the three that will give your users the access they need. What do these permissions do and how do things work? Let’s Talk about this.

    Key Point: Project Server 2010 provides the Project Permissions feature to allow self-serve security on projects.

    Project Permissions – How it Works

    How do Project Permissions work and what do you need to know about them? Are there cases where they won’t give you what you want? Or, are there other things you need to consider? Let’s begin by looking at the basics of the Project Permissions feature.

    Mini-Categories

    At a high level, Project Permissions are like mini security categories with the differences being the following:

    1. These categories can be controlled by non-security administrators (at least those in the default Project Managers group).

    2. These categories cannot be controlled by server administrators nor seen by them on the Manage Categories administrative page.

    3. They apply only to the given project.

    4. There are only seven project level permissions you can grant access to.

    5. You cannot deny any of the given permissions. You only explicitly grant access on the given permission.

    For more detailed information about security categories, please see the following article:
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms422445.aspx

    Key Point: Project Permissions function like security categories.

    The Seven Permissions

    Here’s is a list of the seven available permissions along with a short description of each:

    Name

    Description

    Open the project within Project Professional or Project Web App

    This gives the user or group read access to the project from either Project Professional or PWA. The assumption is that the user or group already has rights to connect from Project Professional or PWA.

    Edit and Save the project within Project Professional or Project Web App

    This gives the user or group write access (can save changes) to the project from either Project Professional or PWA.

    Edit Project Summary Fields within Project Professional or Project Web App

    This is a variation of the previous permission. This gives a user or group the ability to change the project level properties on a project and to save them, but it does not give them rights to edit the entire project.

    Publish the project within Project Professional or Project Web App

    This gives a user or group the right to publish a project. This assumes the user can also open, edit and save a project.

    View the Project Summary in the Project Center

    This gives a user or group the ability to see a project in the Project Center view. This assumes you already have permissions to a use at least one Project Center view

    View the Project Schedule Details in Project Web App

    This allows a user or group the ability to drill into a project from the Project Center so that they can see the details of the project. The assumption is that you can go to the Project Center or you know the project’s URL so that you can see Project Schedule view.

    View the Project Site

    If a workspace has been published for the project, then this permission allows the user to get to the workspace page in order to see documents, issues, risks and other items associated with the project. It does not imply that users will be able to edit any of the entities in the various lists.

    Key Point: There are seven permissions you can set for a given project.

    Project Permissions Dependencies

    There’s a reason why the Project Permissions are listed in the order that they are. This is because in some cases, a given permission may be reliant on the previous permission in the list. For instance, let’s say you want to allow a user the ability to publish a project. To do this, the user also needs to be able to open, edit and save the project. Thus, the project permissions you would select for your user would be “Open the project in Project Professional or Project Web App”, “Edit and Save the project within Project Professional or Project Web App” and “Publish the project within Project Professional or Project Web App”. What if you selected just the “Publish the project within Project Professional or Project Web App” permission and not the others permissions? Well, your user wouldn’t be able to open the project in order to invoke the publish command and therefore, the permission would be dormant.

    Key Point: The permissions page does not enforce relationships among the permissions. You have to set any related permission a user or group may need.

    Project Permissions and other Server Permissions

    Because Project Permissions are category permissions, they are additive to other permissions a user or group may already have. It also means that if a user or group has been denied access on a given permission elsewhere, they will still be denied the permission no matter how you set up the Project Permissions on your project. An example of this is a user who has been denied the Save Project to Project Server global or category permission. In this case, even though you give your user the right to edit and save the project, they will still be denied the ability to do this because the deny permission overrides any explicit allow permission given elsewhere.

    As another example, suppose your user has been denied access to the Project Center view. This deny will override your wish to allow your user to view the project summary in the Project Center and they will still be blocked.

    Key Point: Project Permissions don’t override explicit Deny permissions set elsewhere.

    Other Considerations

    If you consider the various Project Permissions available, you’ll notice that many of them are “Project Manager” centric. That is, they represent tasks such as saving and publishing a project that a member of the project managers group would normally perform. What this implies is that Project Permissions work well for peers who are also have similar permissions. But, Project Permissions become less effective as a user’s permissions are reduced. Here’s an extreme example to illustrate this. You have a user who only has the Log On global permission. As a project manager, you create Project Permissions for one of your projects and you specify that this user can view the project in the Project Center. This user logs on to PWA, but they still don’t have access to the project. This is because they don’t have access to any Project Center views. Now, if this same user were a member of the team members group, then by-default, they would have what they need to see the project in the Project Center. So, what’s the lesson here? Setting Project Permissions doesn’t provide an automatic path in PWA or Project Professional to projects.

    Key Point: Project Permissions are great for users or groups who are peers but are less effective for users or groups who have fewer rights.

    Using Project Permissions

    There are a couple of points to understand about what you may see on the Permissions page. Here’s an example of what this page may look like after you’ve created and saved several permission sets:
    clip_image006
    So how do you interpret what you see here? Well, this means that there are at least three different unique permission sets. On the first one, the Project Managers security group has been given the Open Project, and Save Project to Project Server permissions. On the second one, team members 11 – 14 have the View Project Summary in Project Center and the View Project Site permissions. On the last one, team member 5 has been given the View Project Summary in Project Center permission. When you edit and existing or create a new permission, you can add multiple users, but when you’re finished, each user and group will appear as a separate row in the list and each appears with their own permission set.

    If you edit multiple users or groups, and if they don’t have the same permissions, then all permissions for those users are reset and you have to select new ones. As an example, suppose you select TM11 and TM5 from the list and click Edit. On the Edit Project Permissions page, you’ll see both users, but in the permissions section, no permissions will be selected. Before you Save, you will have to select at least one permission for these two users.

    Key Point: The Permissions page shows you each individual user or group and shows the permissions for that entity. Editing users or groups with dissimilar permissions resets the permissions.

    Summary

    Project Permissions in Project 2010 make it so that project managers and others can easily grant users or groups the right to perform specific actions on the projects they own. This feature reduces the Project Server administrative burden and makes it much easier for project managers to manage this chore by themselves.

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