Monday, 22 March 2010 13:04

Project 2010 to tighten integration


The Microsoft Project 2010 family - due for release next quarter - will include improved collaboration features, increased integration with other Microsoft products, and user interface improvements.

Project management software is a $US2.8 billion category, and Microsoft claims to be the leader with around 20 million users.

Project portfolio management (choosing between possible projects) has become more important to organisations due at least in part to shrinking budgets, and Microsoft Project 2010 will unify project management and project portfolio management, Microsoft's director of Project, Seth Patton, told iTWire.

Microsoft first released Project Server around a decade ago (to take care of the collaborative side of project management), and Project Portfolio Server arrived in 2007 following an acquisition.

With the 2010 release, these two components will be combined as Project Server 2010, with a single interface, repository and infrastructure (built on SharePoint).

Among the features will be the ability to create dashboards to show project status at a glance, to produce reports in Excel, and to create business rules and workflows for projects.

There's more on Project Server 2010, Project 2010 and Project 2010 Professional on page 2.

Project Server 2010 will integrate with Visual Studio Team Foundation Server (for software development projects - there will be two-way synchronisation of summary information between Team Foundation Server and Project Server) and with Exchange Server (so Outlook and SharePoint tasks can be linked with Project Server as well as with Project).

Project 2010 itself has a revamped user interface that features the Ribbon introduced in Office 2007. Other changes allow more free-form scheduling, Patton told iTWire, as well as permitting the entry of information in a top-down or bottom-up manner.

New views include timelines (because executives don't always 'get' Gantt charts, Patton observed). Tasks can be dragged and dropped onto a timeline, and timelines can be copied and pasted into Office documents.

For simple projects, it will be possible to bypass the application and use a web interface instead.

The capabilities of Project 2010 Professional will include publishing task lists to SharePoint (for simpler collaborative situations that don't require Project Server). When tasks are marked as being complete in SharePoint, that status will be returned to Project Professional.

Project 2010 is scheduled for release in June alongside the rest of Office 2010, with a launch event planned for mid May.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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