Microsoft Project for The Web (Project Plan 1) touted as the ‘New Project’ has experienced good levels of adoption since its launch in 2019 and has been a welcome addition to the Microsoft 365 platform. The solution is evolving and is being shaped by the user community.

Recently, Microsoft has announced a raft of enhancements that will introduce some much-requested functionality as well as some positive licensing changes. So here are the top incoming / recently landed features and changes.

1) @mentions and Conversations in Project Teams app

A feature that has literally been rolled out within the last couple of weeks is the ability to hold task level conversations and @mention colleagues within  the Project app in Microsoft Teams. 

To enable this, simply ensure that your project is added to a Teams Channel. 

 Microsoft Project: @mentions and Conversations in Project Teams app

Furthermore, you can also initiate further actions against the conversations, for instance, you can initiate a task within the Microsoft ecosystem or within third-party solutions including Jira. 

 Microsoft Project: @mentions and Conversations in Project Teams app | Wellingtone

2) Allow Microsoft 365 users to provide progress updates on their assigned tasks 

A feature that has been frequently requested is the ability for users to provide task status updates. The good news is that users with Microsoft 365 licenses will soon be able to mark their Project for the web tasks complete and change the percent complete for their tasks, without a Project license. 

You can read about this feature announcement here. 

3) Guest user Access 

A typical scenario we see is organisations working collaboratively with third parties on shared initiatives. This requires users to collaborate and to facilitate this guest users need to be added to the M365 tenant where Project resides, and the necessary licenses need to be assigned and the appropriate security measures are taken. 

This common request is now scheduled to be addressed with a new update that’s due for release by April 2022. Through this new feature, Project owners will be able to add guest users & assign tasks to them. Guest users can also view projects shared with them. 

You can read about this feature announcement here. 

4) Microsoft Project: Add Checklists to Tasks 

Ardent users of Microsoft Planner have since the release of Project for the Web been asking for a key feature from Planner to be ported to the new Project and it’s now available! 

Users can add checklist items against tasks & mark them complete as they are completed. This will make it easier to keep track of ‘to-do’ lists for each task.  

You can read about this feature announcement here. 

Microsoft Project: Add Checklists to Tasks

Task Checklists within Project for The Web

5) Microsoft Project: Charts view

Another Planner feature will soon be available within Project, specifically the ability to visually assess the progress of your work through chart view. 

You can read about this feature announcement here. 

6) Add Labels to Tasks

A hotly anticipated feature was the ability to add labels against tasks, as you can do within Planner and thankfully this functionality has now been added to Project. Users can now add up to 25 different coloured labels against their tasks in Project for the web to make it easier to identify task types by colour. As expected, the labels are renamable.

All labels to tasks in Microsoft Project

Task Labels in Project For The Web

7) Templates in Project for the Web

Something that most organisations and PMOs want, is the ability to define and provide Project templates. Currently, users can ‘copy’ existing plans, that act as templates, however, the ability to provide pre-defined templates is coming and should be here by May 2022.

You can read about the Project Plans and included features here.

8) Microsoft Project Plan 1 Extensibility  

Up until very recently, if you had been granted a license for Microsoft Project Plan 1, you would only have been able to access the planning/schedule interface of Project. However, as announced recently, users of Project Plan 1 will now also be able to access the Power Apps ‘Project App’, meaning that they will be able to collaborate more so than previously.  

As an example, through this new extensibility team members will now be able to view, add, update or delete data within RAID logs and much more. This change significantly extends the capabilities available to base tier users whilst also reducing the cost of entry to the solution. 

You can read about the Project Plans and included features here. 

9) API Support for extensibility

Microsoft is introducing API support to create, update and delete Projects, Tasks, Task Dependencies, Resource Assignments, Team Members and Project Buckets. 

In short, this will make it possible to create a connected PPM solution. As an example, you may have a CRM solution that captures Sales Opportunities that you want to convert into Projects once they have been won. Through the API support, you will be able to automate the process of transferring key data from the CRM solution into Project for The Web. You could also provide task updates outside of the standard Project for The Web scheduling interface and quite literally the possibilities are endless! 

You can learn more about the API here. 

The Future Microsoft Roadmap

Based on the discussions we’ve had with the Microsoft Project Product Team; we’re excited by the planned capabilities and the overall vision generally.

As members of the Microsoft Technology Adoption Program (TAP) we get early visibility of new features, so if you are not already subscribed to our PPM Intelligence newsletter please sign up as we’ll be pushing out regular updates on the future roadmap of Microsoft Project for The Web as and when we receive them.

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