Microsoft’s outlay towards research and development has gradually risen with each financial year with the mission “to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more”.
An area of real focus in recent years has been the drive towards the Modern Workplace through Office 365 and as announced at the recent Microsoft Ignite 2018 event, there is a new vision for Modern Work Management with Microsoft Project. This will be through the introduction of three new services; Home, Project Service and Roadmap.
As a long-term Microsoft Gold PPM Partner, we’re excited about the future roadmap for many reasons, but here are two that standout:
- More for less; The Project family is growing, and all three services will be packaged as a part of the Project Online Professional and Project Online Premium subscriptions, so existing subscribers can take advantage of the new capabilities at NO additional cost when they are available.
- Continuous improvement; Project Online will continue to evolve through performance & security improvements; some of which we’ve already seen i.e. faster project creation!
Project Home is available NOW, and in its current state of evolution provides Project Online users with a consolidated view of recent items (Projects), just as the Office 365 home page displays recent items. Furthermore, users can pin their favourites so that they can be displayed prominently.
On the vision roadmap, there are plans to extend Project Home to show end users a consolidated list of recent projects, irrespective of which solution they are being managed in, i.e. Azure DevOps, Planner & Project Service.
The new Roadmap service is being made available in Q1, 2019; and will provide a high-level view of work streams, programmes or “mini-portfolio”. The great thing about Roadmap is that it will show you a consolidated view of the work, regardless of which solution the task list or projects are being managed in, with immediate support for Microsoft Project Online, Azure DevOps (formerly VSTS) and Project Service (when available). Future releases will see support for Planner and even third-party services like Jira.
As you can see, the Roadmap service allows you to create ‘swimlane’ timeline views of multiple projects complete with key dates and milestones, so that all the work is visible.
From a futures perspective, Roadmap is the first capability of Portfolio, a set of programme and portfolio management services designed to be simple, visual, and intuitive.
The new Project Service is scheduled for release during the first-half of 2019 and isn’t simply a new version of Microsoft Project Online. It’s a new service that will be built on the Microsoft Common Data Service for Apps and will offer a new interface and user experience for both Professional and Accidental Project Managers.
The Project Service will make available features such as ‘co-authoring’; something that is already available across other Office 365 solutions. Available too will be a new Enterprise Resource Management experience, whilst Project Managers will of course be able to continue using Microsoft Project Desktop alongside the new Project Service.
Keep Calm and Carry On
If you currently use Microsoft Project Online or importantly are about to embark upon an implementation then as the sub-heading suggests, Keep Calm and Carry On for a number of reasons as outlined below:
- Timelines; there are no definitive timelines for the new Project Service to be released so if you have a need for a robust and fully featured PPM solution; don’t delay the roll-out of Project Online.
- First release; when the Project Service is made available it will be the first wave release and our general recommendation would always be, don’t be an early adopter. Allow the solution to mature and become feature rich.
- Microsoft Project family; all this innovation will be available for you and your teams as part of your existing Project Online license, so start benefiting now especially as the existing solution will continue seeing improvements!
Wellingtone is working closely with the Microsoft Product teams to understand the timelines involved and to evaluate the new services before providing customers with tailored recommendations. If you have any questions, then please contact us.
On a final note it’s truly an exciting time for Microsoft Project with extensive investment in the roadmap to deliver the future of Modern Work Management!