Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Office Roadmap for Project: New features rolling out or in development

Hi Folks,

I've been a couple of weeks ago to the European PPM Partner Forum in Amsterdam. First of all, it was a great opportunity to network with the partner community. I had for example a great chat with Allan Rocha, a fellow MVP. I also had the opportunity to talk with Jean Donati who is leading for Microsoft the engineering product team. But as you might know, what happens in Veg... sorry Amsterdam stays in Amsterdam so I can't really blog about what we heard. I can just tell you how excited I am about the new features which are coming soon...
But... I can talk about what Microsoft already communicates about. The best channel is to refer to the Office Roadmap. If you filter on Project, you'll see some interesting things.

In development:

  • External user support for Project Online: often required, you'll be able to add users to Project Online who are not part of your organization, meaning subcontractors will be able to collaborate with the project teams through the SharePoint sites and do timesheets.
  • Label and progress in timeline view: the timeline view has already been improved in 2016 desktop version with the multiple timeline. Now you'll be able to define custom labels for your timeline's bars and show the progress (I guess in a similar way than the team planner).
  • OData improvements to include timestamps for project entities: OData is being improved every week (performance). But a common request was to report on the projects last published dates or some similar timestamped data. It will now be possible.

Rolling out :

Among the various features currently being rolled out, the following one is particularly interesting.

  • Team tasks enhancements: the team task assignment was already a pretty nice feature. You could create teams and add users to teams. Then in your project, you could assign tasks to teams. Finally, any user from the team could take the task in his timesheet. The limitation was that it was a 1:1 workflow: as soon as a member of the team takes the task in his timesheet to self-assign himself on it, then the task was no longer available for other team members. I usually deployed this feature in an Agile context: you have a team of developers and you assign workpackage to the team, no matter who does it since all the developers have more or less the competencies to do the task. But quite often, the reality is different: a first member will start the task and a colleague will finish it for any reasons. Now the team assignment will be a 1:n workflow: once taken a first time, the task remains available for other team members.
Looking forward to see more? Me too! Don't hesitate to comment this article with some feedbacks!

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  1. Guillaume - an observation from new users of Project Online - the colours used in the Resource Capacity display from the Resource Centre are very pretty but too alike to allow people to appreciate the workload for different resources, their observation is that they would like more distinct colours to better differentiate the information displayed.

    1. Hi Dominic, thanks a lot for your comment. I would suggest that you post an idea on