This week Microsoft made some key announcements at Microsoft Ignite 2019, which included our beloved Microsoft Project.
NOTE: Some images in the post are originally from https://pwmather.wordpress.com/. All credits to Paul Mather.
The key announcements were:
- Project Home
- Roadmap, the first capability of Portfolio
- Modern Project, a new easy-to-use, web-based project management experience especially targeted at accidental project managers
- Connectivity between the Project desktop app and new Project service (after first release)
I have already posted about it before, so you can find more info here:
The Project Home service is described by Microsoft as below:
- It has been already released in 2018.
- Introducing modern work management with Microsoft Project.
- It all starts with Home, a new service that allows you to see and manage all your projects in one place.
- From Home, you can easily create projects using the new project management service.
The Roadmap service is described by Microsoft as below:
- the first release of Roadmap will be available early next year.
- The new Roadmap service will give you a cross-functional, big picture view of all the work in process.
- With Roadmap, it doesn’t matter whether your teams are using Microsoft Project or Azure DevOps (formerly VSTS).
- You can create timeline views of multiple projects — complete with key dates and milestones — so that all the work is visible.
- And in future releases, Microsoft will add support for Planner and third-party services like Jira, making Project your one-stop-shop for managing work across the organization.
- Roadmap is the first capability of Portfolio, a set of program and portfolio management services designed to be simple, visual, and intuitive.
New Project Management Service
The new Project Management Service is described by Microsoft as below:
- First release during 2019.
- Versatile by design, this new service is designed to support any role, skill level, or project type.
- These new Project services are born in the cloud, so teams can always access the same data — no matter where they are or what device they’re using.
- You’ll be ready to move to the new Project when you’re sure it meets all your needs.
Modern Work management
- Project Online will continue to get security and performance improvements.
- The new services above are not Project Online and will work side-by-side.
- When you’re ready to make the transition, you can start creating and managing new projects in the new Project service while continuing to manage existing projects to completion in your Project Online.
- With this side-by-side approach, you won’t need to worry about data migration.
- This side-by-side approach may not work for some organizations, so we also plan to offer migration tools for standard deployment and guidance for setting up Project Online projects for fast and successful migration.
- And in cases where migration is particularly complex, our ecosystem of Project partners will be standing by, ready to help you.
Microsoft has provided a very nice Q&A
You can access it here:
I’m also adding the Q&A content here, just in case:
What is your vision underlying the next chapter for Project?
Our vision is that teams work the way they want, executives get the results they need. Similarly, our mission is to empower companies to achieve better results by aligning investments with projects and resources, working with agility and flexibility, and collaborating globally—all using intuitive, consistent
tools in the Microsoft Cloud.
How will the new Project compare with Project Online in features?
The new Project service gives us an opportunity to re-design. Rather than re-building feature by feature, we are focused on providing capabilities that meet the changing needs of work management. Our north stars are to enable you to:
Get the big picture
Gain visibility across the enterprise into all work, no matter the size or complexity, from tasks to portfolios, across multiple services
Work the way you want
Collaborate on work using the right methodologies and tools to match project type and preferred work style
Get started quickly with easy-to-use tools for all types of work, modern web experiences, and familiar Office 365 apps
Model your processes across functions and systems
Integrate workflows, business processes, sales, and financials on one platform
Focus on business, not technology
Minimize business risks with a cloud platform that helps you meet rigid compliance, security, performance, and scalability needs.
How we build out Project over time will be based on carefully tracking feature usage and customer feedback to ensure we are providing features that meet real customer needs.
Are you changing the name Project?
Microsoft Project is a venerable brand representing a set of products important to our customers: Project desktop app, Project Server, Project Online (or Project web app), and now the new Project service (or simply Project).
The Microsoft Project product family is an important part of the Microsoft Platform and the M365 solution. And the new Project service (or simply Project) will encompass the upcoming capabilities, including the following and more continuous innovation down the road:
- Roadmap, the first capability of Portfolio
- A new easy-to-use, web-based project management experience especially targeted at accidental project managers
- Connectivity between the Project desktop app and new Project service (after first release)
All these capabilities are or will be part of the new Project service built on the Microsoft Common Data Service for Apps platform and deeply integrated with Office 365.
What are the benefits of the new platform
Microsoft Common Data Service for Apps is a connected platform that empowers our customers to innovate.
It provides these benefits:
- Build and consume solutions for web and mobile with PowerApps
- Automate and integrate business processes with Microsoft Flow
- Put all your data to work with Common Data Service
- Gain insights from your data regardless of where it lives with Power BI
- Customize, extend, and build all the apps you need
- Seamless Dynamics 365, Office 365, and Azure integration along with connectors to more than 200 data sources
Do you have plans to offer the new Project service in the government community cloud (GCC)?
Yes, we are committed to offering the new Project service in GCC. You can contact your Microsoft representative for more information.
Since you announced a new Project service, what does it mean for Project Online?
First, we want to clarify that the existing Project Online subscriptions are not going away. All the new capabilities available through the new Project service will be available to you through your existing Project Online subscriptions.
Project Online service, also known as Project web app, will continue to receive key performance & security improvements that so many of you depend on. We remain deeply committed to providing the full support you need and expect, so you can continue to use and invest with confidence in Microsoft Project.
However, going forward, innovation will focus on the new Project service. We are committed to providing visibility into our release roadmap, so you can start planning your transition. We will help you understand the new Project service and when it will best support your business needs, so you can transition as soon as it makes sense for your business. Until then, we will also help you continue using Project Online in the best ways to ensure a smooth transition to the new Project service in the future.
We will also help you evaluate the feasibility of a direct migration from Project Online to the new Project service. Feasibility will depend on the complexity, customization, and size of your existing environment, including configuration, add-ons, custom code, and integrations.
I currently use the Project Online service. Should I continue to use it or start using the new Project Service when it is available?
You can continue to use your existing Project Online service confidently while we assist you in planning your transition to the new Project service. You can start your move as soon as it makes sense for your business.
As a user of the existing Project Online service, you will want to know when the new Project service is ready to provide the project management functionality you need to run your business. Aligning your move with the availability of relevant functionality will help ease your users’ transition. We will provide assistance to help you evaluate your current needs. We will be working closely with our vast Project partner ecosystem to ensure they’re ready to help.
When you are ready to move we recommend utilizing a side-by-side transition strategy. This requires no data migration and ensures you can continue to use the functionality you need to manage your existing Project Online projects to completion
- Side by side – no data migration
- Continue managing existing projects to completion in your Project Online environment.
- Create and manage new projects in the new Project service as soon as it meets your business needs.
There are other options available if a side-by-side migration is not feasible for you:
- Use Microsoft native migration tools when they are available
- We will help you evaluate the feasibility and benefits of the native migration tool. Our native tools will work best for standard deployments (e.g., no custom code or integrations. Feasibility & benefits will depend on the size & complexity of your existing environment, such as Custom configuration, Add-ons, Custom code, Integrations
- Where more help is required beyond native migration tool, work with MCS and a Certified Project Partner to determine the best strategy to move your Project Online custom apps and code to the new Project service
- For the most complex deployments, you can enlist a certified Project Partner. We will be providing readiness to our Partner community so that they can develop migration services offering to take your most complex deployments from Project Online to the new Project service
What level of support will you offer when existing customers are ready to transition?
For many of our customers, we believe our recommended side-by-side transition approach would be feasible and eliminate the need for data migration. Should that not be a feasible approach, our high-level plan is to provide native migration tools to move project data from your existing Project Online environment to the new Project service. The feasibility of data migration will depend on the complexity, customization, and size of your existing environment, including configuration, add-ons, custom code, and integrations. If your existing environment is more complex, we will help you determine the best way to transition from Project Online to the new Project service. We will be working closely with our vast Project partner ecosystem to ensure they’re ready to help.
We are targeting the first half of 2019 to provide more details about transition, after the first release of the new Project service is made generally available.
Are there firm deadlines to move away from Project Online?
There is no date to limit the functionality of Project Online at this time. We know that many of you depend on Project Online. Therefore, any decision on the date to limit functionality will be carefully made taking into account customer feedback and usage data on the new Project service to help ensure your business continuity and success.
We will provide regular updates on this topic, just as we will provide regular updates on our release roadmap.
When the new Project service meets your needs, we do encourage you to start creating and managing new projects in the new Project service, while continuing to manage existing projects to completion in your Project Online environment.
If you are using the existing Project Online service, we understand the important business value it provides you. We will continue to provide key performance and security improvements for Project Online.
What is the future of Project Server?
We recognize that many customers are using Project Server and many need to continue to use it for some users or geographies due to compliance and other requirements. We’re targeting general availability of Project Server 2019 for the end of 2018 (dates subject to change).
The majority of improvements we will make to the performance and security of the existing Project Online service and Project Desktop App will be incorporated in Project Server. There may be cases where the performance or security improvements are not applicable because they are unique to Project Online. In those cases, we will not add these improvements to Project Server. Also, the timeframe when the improvement is made will determine in which version of Project Server the improvement will be included.
How does the new Project service fit with Planner, Teams, and Office 365 broadly?
Office 365 offers powerful tools and services for collaboration, communication, content management, and much more. Microsoft Common Data Service for Apps is a powerful, extensible platform for business processes and functions. By building core project management functionality on Common Data Service for Apps we can leverage the power of this platform and deepen our integration with Dynamics 365 while still providing the power of Office 365 in the context of your business processes and functions.
Planner will remain the right starting point for individuals and teams collaborating on tasks. Planner is not a part of the new Project service, but Planner will be integrated into the new Project service. Planner Plans will also be available in Project Home, Roadmap, and for reporting across all work.
Microsoft Teams will continue to be the central hub for teamwork on the Microsoft platform. We will be investing in ensuring that the new Project service is deeply integrated with Teams.
Why are you moving away from SharePoint platform?
We are not moving away from the SharePoint platform per se. Office 365 offers powerful tools and services for collaboration, communication, content management, and much more. Microsoft Common Data Service for Apps is a powerful, extensible platform for business processes and functions. By building core project management functionality on Common Data Service for Apps we can leverage the power of this platform and deepen our integration with Dynamics 365 while still providing the power of Office 365 in the context of your business processes and functions.
What do I have to buy to get the upcoming capabilities?
Upcoming project, program, portfolio management capabilities will be available through Project Online Professional & Premium subscriptions. Project Online Professional subscriptions remain targeted at Project Managers, while Project Online Premium subscriptions remain targeted at Program and Portfolio managers. This means that existing subscribers will not have to purchase anything additional, and will simply have these capabilities when they are released
What are the opportunities for partners with the new platform?
Existing Project partners, and any other Microsoft partner interested in expanding their business will benefit from this series of new investments. The adoption of Microsoft Common Data Service for Apps as the new platform moving forward opens a renewed set of opportunities for partners enabled by PowerApps, Flow, and the Common Data Service. We’re excited about the expansion of opportunities for partners, including training, app development, configuration services, adoption programs, and the ability to offer custom applications on AppSource, etc. We expect to see our Project Partner community transforming their current IP in the light of the new platform. You can learn more by joining our Yammer “Project Partners WW” group.