I talked about the Future of Work Management and the Project Service last year, when it was announced at Ignite 2018. 

 

Since then there haven’t been any public statements – until recently! Some of you with Project Online subscriptions may have seen an announcement regarding the forthcoming Project Service, within the Office 365 Message Centre where Microsoft stated:  

 

‘We are pleased to inform you that the new project management experience, as a part of the new Project service, will be rolling out to your tenant, starting in October 2019.’ 

 

It has also been publicised on the Microsoft 365 Roadmap portal: 

 

Project Service Announcement – Microsoft 365 Roadmap Portal.

 

We’ve been working closely with Microsoft for some time under NDA and have been hands-on with the Project Service, so based on what we have seen thus far and what we know of the wave one release we’re able to provide some insights around how this may or may not affect you. 

 

Target Audience / Users 

 

Microsoft and Wellingtone, recognise that lots of work happens below the official corporate project radar.

 

Works takes place at all levels and across every area and it might be referred to as Project Management, Task Management, Campaign Management to BAU and everything in-between.

 

Quite often, this work is managed by ‘accidental Project Managers’, outside of Microsoft Project Online, the full feature rich PPM solution. 

 

Microsoft continue to invest heavily on work management solutions to align with different user needs, with the end vision being an interconnected PPM & Work Management Platform. 

 

At one end, we have To Do & Planner for small informal task management and at the other end of the scale, Project Online and Microsoft Project to manage corporate projects, programmes and portfolios.  

 

At launch, the new Project Service will fill the work management gap between these solutions. It will help small teams to work more effectively; particularly those that are not mature enough to use solutions such as

 

Microsoft Project Online and those that have outgrown Planner.  

 

The Project Service will initially offer a lightweight user experience, with Project Online remaining the preferred solution for those requiring a feature-rich PPM experience, incorporating enterprise resource management.   

 

Example of Project in New Project Service

 

Another Choice for Project Online Users & Subscription Changes 

 

Importantly, the new Project Service will not require an additional SKU (license), as it will be made available to existing Project Online Professional and Project Online Premium customers.  

 

Aside from the exciting news regarding the forthcoming arrival of Project Service, further changes are incoming and will be outlined in greater depth in a future communication.

 

However, as a preview – the name of Project Online subscriptions will be changing to better align with the naming convention of Office 365 plans as follows: 

 

  • Project Online Professional will become Project Plan 3 
  • Project Online Premium will be become Project Plan 5 

 

According to Microsoft, this update will be effective at the end of October 2019 and there are no actions for customers to take or costs to be incurred. 

 

Next Steps 

 

As outlined previously; the evolution of Project is great news for everyone who wants to work smarter, with the key takeaways being: 

 

  • Microsoft are investing heavily in the PPM/Work Management platform within Office 365 and extending the number of solutions available to support teams and work at all levels. 
     
  • More for less; the Project Service will be packaged as a part of Project Online Professional and Project Online Premium subscriptions, so current subscribers can take advantage of the new capabilities at no additional cost. 
     
  • Microsoft Project Online continues to be the solution of choice for those teams and organisations that require a fully featured & robust PPM solution. 

 

We will continue to provide advice & practical guidance on the exciting additions to the Microsoft Project platform as they develop and grow.