The new version of Microsoft Project is under development with Project server 2006 or Project server 12. Currently it is in beta and very few people got access to it. Microsoft didn’t talked about the new features but as Project Conference 2006 is underway Microsoft exposed the new features and Here’s a laundry list of information that I had just read.
ROLLING WAVE PLANNING SUPPORT
You can define a resource plan on a project to support rolling wave planning. Basically, you tell Project to control resource availability to a certain date using the project plan. After that date, use the resource plan. This allows you to reserve resources without having to plan the project to the nth degree upfront.
Project Pro now supports multilevel undo including macro support. Multi level undo feature is added to Project Pro and Standard. Also, there’s two new VBA commands which allow you to add your macro activities to the undo stack.
Local cache by opening a project in Pro, disconnecting the server, saving the project, restarting the server and then showing how the automatic sync detected the connection and began pushing data to the server without user intervention. This was greeted with applause.
MASTER PROJECTS IN PWA
You can now expand master projects in place on PWA. No need for Project Pro.
SEPARATE REPORTING DATABASE
Separate reporting database from the published database. This reporting database contains userviews which eliminate the need for SQL gymnastics to get to custom field informaiton and SharePoint data like issues, risks and deliverables.
Introduction of a new feature called Deliverables. These are cross project links that allow you can publish for your project so that other projects can link their projects and task to without creating hard, date changing dependencies. Now, you can see changes, but each project manager controls when and how the change will occur in their plan. Also, deliverables are populated into the reporting database so that they can be reported on.
UNLIMITED CUSTOM FIELDS
You can now create unlimited custom fields at all levels. About timephased data! The specific use we’ve seen is for cost. A new Cost Resource type is created which allow you to assign to a given task which enables you to track costs in a timephased manner.
PROJECT SERVER INTERFACE (PSI)
The Project Server Interface, which is a collection of web services, replaces the PDS. All of the features are using the PSI for doing it’s activity. This means you no longer have to go to the database to do certain activities.
EVENTING AND AUTHENTICATION
A rich eventing system also added that allows better integration to workflow engines. We’ve added unified authentication with SharePoint as Project Server is now a SharePoint application.
SERVER SIDE SCHEDULING
The scheduling engine has been moved to the server. Now, task updates on server and rules can run without ProjPro interaction.
MORE CUSTOM FIELDS STUFF
Lookup tables are separated from custom fields to make it easier to share lookup tables. We’ve also enabled custom field editing in PWA. Lastly, multi value capability is enabled on custom fields.
These features seem great and looks to me that Microsoft really cares about customer feedback. The new version Project and office is looking strong and will help users to easily and efficiently management and create documents/projects in future. I will be posting more about the new features in coming days as project conference goes on.
EPM/SharePoint Consultant & Project Server Trainer
Mob: +92 345 4257573,