Microsoft Reveals Product Roadmap for Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) at IGNITE

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+++ New “Project” Service Announced +++ Flashlights on the New “Home” and “Roadmap” Functionalities +++

By Dr. Thomas Henkelmann
(Last Update October 22, 2018)

During last week’s (September 24-28, 2018) IGNITE, the largest Microsoft event for customers and partners to receive information about future products and services, Microsoft announced a number of interesting changes and new offerings for the Project & Portfolio Management space.

In this article, you will read about the announcement of a new “Project” service, which is under development “from scratch”.

The two other new services unveiled at the INSPIRE event are called “Home” and “Roadmap”. They add new functionality to the existing Office 365 service “Project Online”. Below, we will describe what you can expect from them (status: end of September 2018).

We will update this article whenever Microsoft releases new insights. So come back regularly.

Video: Microsoft Project Server 2019 and Project Online – what you should know about a migration to these versions

In this webinar recording you can see the most important new features of Project Server 2019 in comparison with earlier versions and Project Online. From many best practice tips you will also learn what you should know about the migration of your PPM environment.
Watch Webinar here

1. A New “Project” Announced – Again?

This change might the biggest one revealed at the IGNITE event:

The announcement of a completely new Project & Portfolio Management service from the Microsoft cloud.

It will not be a product that adds to the current Project Online but an actual new development.

And it will just be called “Project”!

So far, there is not a lot of information, but the first pieces indicate:

  • co-authoring of projects,
  • no more publishing,
  • usage of the Dynamics 365 “Universal Resource Scheduling
  • and finally, a new scheduling engine.

Please also have a look at the official announcement from Microsoft.

The interesting question for many customers is – how will this affect my investment into Microsoft Project Server or Project Online (PPM)?

Unsure whether to migrate to Project Online? Find out the benefits and details of migration.

And there is lots of good news here:

  • Existing subscriptions for Project Online can be used for the new “Project” service
  • Microsoft will provide migration tools for the migration from Project Online to “Project”
  • Both services may be used side-by-side, either during a short transition period, in which all new projects will be started in the new service, or as mid-term solution until the new offering has all the expected and required functionality
New Project Online Services

The new services can be used with the existing licenses.

2. A Place Called “Home”

Let’s have a look at the new features and functionalities for this “Project Online”.

The new “Home” functionality is already available in most Office 365 tenants (depending on your update setting). It can be reached from the “Project” icon in the top Office 365 products bar.

new project announced

Figure 1: How to start the “Home” functionality from Office 365 tenants

You may also start “Home” by clicking on the Project label in your Office 365 application launcher area.

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Figure 2: Alternative way to start “Home” from the Office 365 application launcher

The third way to open “Home” is to directly navigate to https://project.microsoft.com.

Once you get there, the new “Home” is designed as a central starting point for all your Project Online activities. This is for now, as more services will follow for the future.

The “Home” page offers multiple convenient navigation areas, especially if you are working in more than one Project Online PWA site collection.

new project announced 3

Figure 3: The “Home” screen is a central starting point for all Project Online activities.

Starting from the top, you can create a new project by clicking the link under “Create New”. This takes you to the known selection of an Enterprise Project Type (EPT) from the default “PWA” site collection:

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Figure 4: Create a new project from “Home” in Project Online

The “Create New” always uses the EPTs from the “PWA” instance. According to the development roadmap from Microsoft, this will grow over time with the possibility to create other project types, e.g. an Office 365 Planner plan, an Azure DevOps (formerly VSTS, the cloud version of Team Foundation Server) project or a Dynamics 365 PSA project.

“Favorites” and “Recent” Sections for Quick Access

The next section “Favorites” shows your personal favorites with the possibility to open them in the corresponding Project Online instance (more on this in a minute). They can be added with a single click from the list of recently opened projects in the third section “Recent” at the bottom of the screen – no matter if opened in Project Web App or in Project Professional, with read-only or write access.

Special Download: Benefits of MS Project Server / Project Online to the MS Project Standard

Please click here to download the PDF and learn why you should prefer the server over the client version.

Please be aware that the “Recent” list is showing all recently opened projects from all PWA site collections (aka “instances”) in your Office 365 tenant. So, if you are working with projects from different instances, e.g. from your “Product Development” site collection and your “Marketing” site collection, you will find both of them in the “Recent” list.

The entire “Home” site is designed to become the central navigation start for all users to access their favorite projects and create new ones, independent from the complexity and source system of the project!

3. Work on Your “Roadmap”

Update October 22, 2018: Microsoft announced that the Roadmap Service will be available from November 14, 2018.

The next big enhancement expected for early 2019 is called “Roadmap”. The basic purpose is to create new programs and projects top-down, link them to the detailed planning when this is available and then track the progress and development.

A first graphical impression of the user interface shows different “bars” in swim lanes sorted by person responsible for the group of projects, each bar representing a program or project (please excuse the quality of the image – there is no better one available at this time).

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Figure 5: Swim lane chart of the new “Roadmap” feature

Key milestones can be added (the pins in the above Figure 5) and more fields are available, such as owner, description and dates.

Later again, the tasks or work packages from the detail schedules can be added to each project with dynamic updates coming from the schedule.

new project announced

Figure 6: Selected detail tasks from individual schedules in the “Roadmap”

The “Roadmap” product is – or better will be – connected to the “Home” feature described before and new entries for the roadmap can be created directly from “Home”.

The “Roadmap” is the first product in a complete family of enhancements to the Project Portfolio Management discipline. It has been developed with new technology independent from SharePoint Online. It relies on O365 groups including all benefits, such as shared documents, shared inbox, calendar etc.

Also, “Roadmap” builds on the Common Data Service (CDS), which enables the definition of one’s own data models and fully integrates with Microsoft Flow, a tool developing  into the “glue” between the different services, e.g. between “Home” and “Roadmap”.

Conclusion

At TPG, we are excited that Microsoft has significantly increased their investment in important areas like work management, resource management and program planning.

The commitment to our customers is that we will keep being abreast of all new developments around Microsoft Project and Portfolio Management solutions, as we have been doing for over twenty years now.

We will keep you informed as more information becomes available. And most importantly: All TPG products will be upgraded to support the new Project Service and other relevant tools still to come, wherever applicable, and they will be enhanced with new features to cover the use cases of our customers.

Is there anything else you would like to know about the pending enhancements? Please leave a comment below.

Final tip: Subscribe to the TPG Blog Newsletter now and never miss another blog post.

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