The New Microsoft Project – What’s New?

Last week I got the chance to attend the Microsoft Project Ignite Training in Warsaw, Poland. Christophe Fiessinger and Jan Kalis went over from Redmond to explain the new features and business opportunities of the new Microsoft Project and SharePoint. Here’s an exec summary from my p0int of view:

  • The new version is a landmark release – THE big NEW thing is ‘Project Online’ – the SaaS version of Project that integrates with ‘Office 365’
  • Microsoft pushes it as ‘The new Project’ (and not Project 2013) – compare it to Apple, ‘The new iPad’, or Facebook (no one posts to Facebook 3.5.1, do you?)
  • ‘Project Online’ opens a market with 750 million users, in 88 countries with 32 languages and 24/7 availability at an SLA of 99.9%
  • PPM means ‘Project Portfolio Management’ and is the new term for Microsoft EPM (for those who know what EPM is)
  • The official shipping date is under NDA – but the RTM is signed off (view here) and some versions are available on MSDN (view here)
  • It will be a big-band release with Office, Exchange, Lync, SharePoint and Project

And here’s a high level summary of what’s new in version 2013:

  • Project Online – My interpretation of Microsoft’s vision: ‘Everything’ what’s possible on-premise should work online – with multi-browser support
  • Apps – An entirely new way to extend you PPM system – Desktop apps, SharePoint apps, Project apps, immersive-apps + part-apps + extension-apps is all new and brings tons of options
  • Newsfeed – New ‘Work Management Feature’ collects all SharePoint tasks and provides it in MySite – all your tasks in one single place
  • Lightweight PM – Timeline for tasks, due tasks, edit tasks from grid, open & sync SharePoint list in Project Professional brings again lots of options to use collaboration features for project management
  • Integration w/ SharePoint – Create projects from SharePoint, import SharePoint lists as a project, extend imported lists to regular projects givs you the possibility to use the system based on your maturity
  • PWA – Set baseline, Multi-level undo, optimized scheduling engine, tons of changes in backend (due to online)
  • Desktop – Planning horizon till 2149, desktop reporting, burndown charts, same scheduling engine than in PWA, Lync integration
  • Reporting – Project now bases on OData to better integrate, cumulative fields let you create burndown charts, localized reports & templates increase ways to standardize your reporting, PowerPivot/PowerView and a new timeline slicer in Excel let you create immersive reports
  • Extensibility – Microsoft now uses OAuth with a token-based security model, from now on there’ll be only 1 Project Server database (instead of 4)
  • Workflow – Out-of-the-box with Visio increases usability, Loop-backs possible, WF may switch between SharePoint and Project and SharePoint and…, WF are executed besides SharePoint in a dedicated WF management service
  • Time-Sheet – Auto-approvals based on rules with Enterprise Custom Fields accelerates your workflow and increases quality, new UI & Ribbon brings better focus

Let’s have a look at a brand new Project Web App of a Project Online version.

And last but not least: Project Online and Project Server is having exactly the same code base. This means, online issues (usually having a quite high pressure) will be fixed immediately and are going to be distributed with the upcoming CUs. I am looking forward to a quite stable version of PPM.

My personal conclusion on the new Project: The stronger integration with SharePoint as well as Project Online bring up lots of opportunities. This will be a chance for small and mid-sized companies and even for blue-chip enterprises. The big question in the end is, how good cloud solutions will be accepted by the market.

A more detailed overview is available at  ComputerWoche (a German online magazine). My colleagues Boris and Markus published each an article on SharePoint and Project.

Ingo Meironke, PMP – Manager at Campana & Schott@meiroTweet