The Changes Compared to the Previous Version 2013

The changes in Microsoft Project Server 2016 compared to the previous version 2013 mainly affect the following areas:

  • Resource management: new “Resource Engagements” functionality
  • Views: Multiple timelines
  • Navigation: “Tell me what you want to do…”, as in all Office 2016 products
  • Web add-ins: You can now also enter data in standard fields in Project Professional. 

Resource Engagements

The version of Microsoft Project Server 2016 focuses on resource management. This section is about coordinating and committing resources between the project manager and the line-of-business team manager. 

Up to now, Microsoft Project has included the Resource Plan function for team leaders, but its benefits were limited. The new version introduces the Resource Engagements function which is designed to support better collaboration between project managers and team managers.
 
The Resource Plan has been moved from Project WebAccess (PWA) to Project Professional and exhanced with new functions. The plan allows project managers to view and edit their resource requests and commitments for their current project. The requests need to be entered separately and in parallel to the project plan.

Heatmap for Resource Requests

Project Web Access (PWA) now provides team managers with new views including an overview of all the resource requests they have received across all projects. They can agree to resource commitments within this view. This is a big step forward making project collaboration much easier.

Evaluation: View of Actual Resource Workload is Lacking

However, team leaders still do not have an overview of the actual workload of their resources because they are not able to plan for absences and line-related activities – in other words, activities not related to the project – in this view. Team leaders will need to continue doing this in team projects using Project Professional.

Team leaders can add new resource engagements to an existing project without requesting them beforehand. However, they cannot make resource reservations for upcoming projects that do not yet exist within Project Server.

TPG TeamManager already solves these problems with better functionality.

Learn more about TPG TeamManager

Multiple Timelines

Only one timeline has been available in Project Server up to now. As of version 2016, you can define multiple timelines, gaining a compact time-related overview of your project. Each timeline can have its own timeframe, enabling you to show the overall project as well as detailed subsets of it in the same chart.

“Tell me what you want to do” Function

Like the Start menu in Windows, all new Office programs allow you to enter a term and see the corresponding list of commands. This helps you find and execute the command you want very quickly.

Web Add-Ins with Writing Capability

This function is particularly interesting for developers. It enables them to create web add-ins that not only read standard fields in Project Professional but write to them as well. As a provider of solutions based on Microsoft technology, this gives us new ways of implementing features you need.

Reporting with Power BI

Microsoft Power BI allows you to access Microsoft Project Server data directly, without the need for Excel. That means you can create dashboards with drill-downs that provide an excellent basis for decision-making. Find out more about these options in our TPG company seminar on Reporting.

Note: Microsoft is driving its cloud business forward intensively. Therefore, changes in Project Online are available that you will not find in the latest on-premises version of Project Server. You can find information about the > Project Online Roadmap here.

MS Project Server 2016 – Technology & Support

  • As of version 2016, Project Server is a true service of SharePoint 2016. It can simply be activated with the relevant license. You no longer need to install it separately. 

  • The Project Server database is merged with the SharePoint content database. This means you have less administration work when backing up and restoring it.

  • This version includes significant improvements to the performance of data queries using oData. It is designed to reduce download times by up to 80% when working with large amounts of data.

  • Up to version 2019, there are on-premises versions of SharePoint and Project Server. New functions will initially be made available in the cloud versions and subsequently to locally-installed versions using the same code basis. The focus in the near future is on hybrid environments using a mix of cloud-based and local installations.

  • Migration of Project Server: SharePoint and Project Server 2010 users must migrate to 2013 before they can migrate their environment to Microsoft Project Server 2016. Using the same method, the migration to Project Server 2019 can be done in another step.

Why Consider Changing to Project Server 2019?

If you are still working with an earlier version of Project Server, you should know the end dates for mainstream support and the chargeable extended support of your versions. The deadlines are:

  • Project Server 2010: expired since October 2015 (Extended Support until October 2020)
  • Project Server 2013: expired since April 2018 (Extended Support until April 2023)
  • Project Server 2016: July 2021 (Extended Support until July 2026)

> Find more detail on the support dates here.

If your IT department makes a point of using only products for which support is still provided, you should consider changing even to the most recent version – Project Server 2019.