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What's new in Office Project 2007

Project Server 2007

Updated: March 12, 2009

Updated: 2009-03-12

In this article:

The Microsoft Office Project 2007 family of products provides a range of software tools that support a variety of approaches to work management, levels of process maturity, and business goals. On one end of the spectrum, Microsoft Office Project Standard 2007 provides enhanced desktop tools for small teams or individuals tasked with managing projects, but who are not necessarily project managers. These individuals or companies are not positioned to build a Microsoft Office Enterprise Project Management (EPM) competency, or simply lack business justification for it, yet they still need tools for managing work. The projects they manage are not complex and the most efficient approach is to use ad hoc scheduling and tracking processes. In this case, Office Project Standard 2007 provides simple, intuitive tools that enable operational control with minimal overhead.

At the other end of the spectrum, Office Project 2007 provides the tools to build an EPM competency that integrates software tools and technologies with their people, processes, and organizational policies and governance. When these elements are developed and aligned with business objectives, they enable capabilities for managing work, time, resources, and budget. This form of project management is critical for executives who want operational efficiency. Project provides the visibility, insight, and control to help bridge the strategic and operational worlds, while leveraging existing software systems.

Office Project 2007 addresses the needs of sophisticated project management organizations that require centralized and strategic financial control in addition to support for rigorous project management methodologies. Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 delivers key performance enhancements for large organizations that manage complex programs and portfolios with a globally distributed workforce.

This article examines what is new in Office Project 2007. It will be useful to executives, project managers, resource managers, and IT Professionals who have experience with previous versions of Microsoft Project and who want to know what is new or has changed. There are several new features in Office Project 2007 and there are a number of existing features that have been improved. Both new features and improvements will be explored.

Office Project 2007 family

The Office Project 2007 family includes the Project client applications, Project Server, the client and server APIs, and the necessary infrastructure such as Microsoft SQL Server and Windows SharePoint Services. The Office Project 2007 family offers redesigned and extended Project 2003 core client and server applications to take advantage of improvements in the Windows platform. The core Office Project 2007 family is described in the following list.

  • Microsoft Office Project Standard 2007 continues to be the desktop application for stand-alone project management. As with Project Standard 2003, Office Project Standard 2007 cannot be used with Office Project Server 2007.

  • Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007 is the desktop client application for Enterprise Project Management, and it is the primary application for use with Office Project Server 2007. Office Project Professional 2007 now includes an active cache on the client side that reduces the amount of data sent over the network between the client and the server. Office Project Server 2007 requires Office Project Professional 2007 as the standard desktop client. Project Professional 2003 cannot be used with Office Project Server 2007 because of changes in the platform architecture.

  • Office Project Server 2007 is built by using the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 and provides improved functionality, security, reliability, and extensibility. The Office Project Server 2007 architecture has an efficient multi-tier design that includes the new Project Server Interface (PSI), Microsoft Office Project Web Access, discrete business objects, server-side events, a common data access layer (DAL), queuing services, multiple databases, and close integration with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. In Project 2003, the scheduling engine is available only in the client. Office Project Server 2007 now also includes a scheduling engine to enable project updates without requiring the use of Office Project Professional 2007.

  • Office Project Web Access provides Microsoft ASP.NET applications that use the Project Server Web services through Microsoft Internet Explorer and Project Server Web Parts in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. You can install Project Web Access front-end components and the Project Server application-tier components on the same or separate hardware; the front-end and application tiers can be load-balanced for increased scalability and performance.

  • The Project Server Interface (PSI) is the new managed-code API for Office Project Server 2007. The PSI replaces the Project Data Service (PDS) in Project 2003 and provides a complete API for Office Project Server 2007. The PSI also provides functional parity for the XML-based PDS methods in Project Server 2003, which enables easy porting of solutions built with the PDS. Office Project Professional 2007 and Project Web Access interact with Office Project Server 2007 only through PSI Web services.

  • The Office Project 2007 databases can be built on Microsoft SQL Server 2000 with Service Pack 4 or on Microsoft SQL Server 2005. Office Project Server 2007 takes advantage of some of the new features in SQL Server 2005, such as security enhancements and improved Analysis Services and Reporting Services.

  • Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is more closely integrated in Office Project Server 2007 than in Project Server 2003. Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 provides the administrative and user interface framework for Project Web Access, the infrastructure for user management, single sign-on, team collaboration, and integration with Office Project Server 2007 reporting features.

Office Project 2007 feature list

Office Project 2007 delivers project management tools for small ad hoc teams or large organizations with mature management processes and methodologies. These tools are made up of many new and enhanced product features that have been designed in response to feedback from partners and customers. The new and enhanced features address specific needs and scenarios, and they enable EPM capabilities. The rest of this section discusses these features.

Desktop features

Office Project 2007 includes many new and enhanced client-side features for managing project plans and schedules. Office Project Standard 2007 is designed as a stand-alone tool for individual contributors who can be — but might not be — project managers. Office Project Standard 2007 makes it easier to create and maintain single project plans and provides enhanced desktop reporting, which enables a contributor to more effectively communicate project information.

Office Project Professional 2007 includes all of the enhancements found in Office Project Standard 2007, but also includes features for professional project managers and for organizations that adopt the Microsoft EPM solution. Office Project Professional 2007 includes performance enhancements for connecting to Office Project Server 2007 over a wide area network (WAN).

Communicating and tracking project plans

Office Project 2007 helps users plan and communicate faster and better than ever. For smaller teams with established project management practices and methodologies, there are enhanced desktop tools in Office Project Standard 2007. Using Office Project Standard 2007, a project manager can make a project plan to communicate a timeline, key deliverables, and resource and budget requests. Improved Gantt charts and background cell formatting create professional-looking reports of the project schedule. Additionally, the new financial features in Office Project 2007 help the project manager accurately plan for costs and budgets over the life of the project.

Office Project 2007 enables users to find problems in a project and easily model alternative solutions to the problem. For example, if a scheduled resource becomes unavailable, the project manager can easily adjust the schedule with powerful what-if planning. By using the new multilevel Undo feature, the project manager has the flexibility to try new options and scheduling assignments. Additionally, the Recalc Change Highlighting feature highlights all of the values in the project that were changed by the most recent edit. This makes it much easier for the project manager to determine how changing an assignment affects tasks, dates, costs, or any other value. Furthermore, the View Task Drivers feature enables a project manager to isolate the root cause of schedule delay. This feature exposes the logic in the Microsoft Project Scheduling Engine by showing the user the calendars, assignments, and predecessor tasks that influence the start date of any task.

Following are new and enhanced client features.

Feature Description

Multilevel Undo

  • Unlimited levels of the Undo command

  • Allow what-if experimentation with scheduling changes

  • Easy-to-use drop-down list of Undo actions

  • Programmable model to allow undo use by add-ins

Visual Reports

  • Easily export Project data to Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Office Visio 2007 to produce charts, graphs, and diagrams of things such as resource allocation or project status against plan

  • Define custom report templates to share with other Project users

  • These templates and reports can be previewed from a dialog box in Project

  • Publish report templates to shared folders and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

Change Highlighting

  • Highlights changes to a schedule that have been caused by Project calculations

  • Visible indicators provided for all tasks affected by calculations

Task Drivers

  • Provides quick access to factors that affect task dates

  • Enables easy browsing of the critical path in a project plan

Cost resources

  • New resource type

  • Enables multiple planned and actual costs to be defined by task across time

  • Supports integration with accounting systems

  • Custom fields can be rolled down to the assignment level to allow better task reports of costs in a given cost center, type, or category

Budgeting

  • Defines a budget at a high level (program or project) so that the project manager can allocate funds and track costs against the budget

  • Supports budget variance reporting

Calendars

  • Named calendar exceptions

  • Definition of recurring exceptions and different work weeks

  • Hijri (Arabic) calendar support

Calendar View enhancements

  • Updated look and feel familiar for Office users

  • Supports daily, weekly, and monthly views

  • Monthly preview pane puts schedule in context

Gantt chart view enhancements

  • 3-D texturing of Gantt bars supported

  • Enables you to call out important dates, costs or tasks by changing the background color of cells in the table portion of the view

  • Enables you to highlight categories of cells, such as critical tasks, external tasks, highlighted tasks, marked tasks, noncritical tasks, milestone tasks, summary tasks, and changed cells

Desktop OLAP cube

  • Create customer reports or archive Project values with data exported from Project into an Access database and OLAP cubes

  • Five cubes are generated:

    1. task timephased

    2. task non–timephased

    3. resource timephased

    4. resource non–timephased

    5. assignment timephased

Multivalue custom fields

  • Custom fields support multiple value selections

New templates

  • Over 25 new templates, including:

    • Annual report

    • Hiring forecast

    • HRIS implementation

    • Marketing event planning and execution

    • Performance reviews

    • Strategic merger or acquisition evaluation

    • Vendor evaluation and consolidation

    • Insurance claim processing

    • Internal readiness training

    • ISO 9001 management review

Right-to-left support for Arabic and Hebrew

  • Project now supports right-to-left display throughout desktop application

Following are new and enhanced client/server features.

Feature Description

Active cache

  • Improved performance and reliability when connecting to server

  • Seamless online/offline experience similar to caching in Outlook 2003

  • Allows quick access with Project desktop over a wireless or slow connection

  • Only available in Office Project Professional 2007

Deliverables

  • Task pane provides visibility into key deliverables in related projects

  • Supports publishing key tasks and deliverables in a project

  • Enables linking of deliverables from related projects to tasks in a project plan

  • Linked deliverables indicate changes in other projects but do not change project plan without project manager's involvement

  • Only available in Office Project Professional 2007

Resource substitution

  • Improved support for in-progress tasks

Team Builder

  • Improved skills and resource searching

  • Create filtered views that are specific to Team Builder

  • Use filtering and searching when accessing Team Builder in Project Web Access

Server features

Office Project Server 2007 redefines the Microsoft EPM Solution. Office Project Server 2007 has been re-architected to provide enhanced EPM capabilities for managing programs and portfolios in large-scale, distributed environments. Office Project Server 2007 enables organizations to track billable and non-billable time independent of progress reporting. Office Project Server 2007 provides performance enhancements in the form of asynchronous data transfers, separation of access and business logic, and a new logical database design that isolates cube building and reporting functions.

Extensibility

Following are new and enhanced server features related to extensibility.

Feature Description

Project Server Interface (PSI)

  • Comprehensive support for creating, reading, editing, and deleting projects, resources, tasks, assignments

  • Provides access to Office Project Server 2007 data by using ADO.NET recordsets

  • Supports programmatic access to Office Project Server 2007 administrative functions

Server-side events

  • Over 200 Before and After events supported

  • Enables non-Microsoft applications to "listen" for changes to data in Office Project Server 2007

  • Supports development of business processes using Office Project Server 2007 data and methods

Windows Workflow Foundation integration

  • Built-in support for workflows

  • Server-side events and PSI methods are accessible within Windows Workflow Foundation

  • Supports non-Microsoft business process applications

Project management

Following are new and enhanced server features related to project management.

Feature Description

Server-side scheduler

  • Enables scheduling of projects on the server, rather than having to make round trips through Project Professional

Queuing

  • Transactional queue based on SQL Server

  • Used to increase availability and reliability of Office Project Server 2007 for high-volume or high-load transactions

  • Jobs can be monitored and priority can be modified by users

Server-side filters

  • Server-side filters enable Office Project Server 2007 views to be filtered on the server instead of on the client

  • Provides faster performance and reduced network traffic

Activity plans and project proposals

  • Activity plans are designed to track work with minimal tasks or maintenance projects

  • Proposals are similar to activity plans but must go through a workflow approval process, either a manual workflow or integrated to Windows Workflow Foundation

  • Simple, Web-based user interface for creating project proposals and activity plans

  • Takes advantage of all Office Project Server 2007 features, including reporting, timesheet, and project workspaces

  • Supports calendars, limited dependencies, server-side custom fields

  • Supports server-side scheduling but not leveling

Programs

  • Supports master projects to be saved and published to Office Project Server 2007 while protecting report accuracy

  • Program hierarchy available in Office Project Server 2007 reports

  • Program portal and program/project workspace hierarchy can be provisioned by project managers

  • Program portal supports cross-project views of issues, risks, and documents

  • Programs (tasks in master projects plus inserted projects) can be viewed within a single Project Center view

Commitments

  • New feature in a project workspace that allows key deliverables with finish dates to be identified for projects

  • Can be created before any tasks exist in the project

  • Office Project Professional 2007 users can view commitments and link them to tasks in their project plans

  • Are available in Office Project Server 2007 reports

Custom fields

  • Unlimited number of custom fields

  • Can be defined through Project Web Access or PSI

Calendars

  • Support for named calendar exceptions

Multiple currencies

  • Supported in each installation of Project Server

  • Currency is set for each project.

Resource management

Following are new and enhanced server features related to resource management.

Feature Description

Resource plans

  • Enables resource demand to be specified independent of assignments in a project plan

  • Supports start date, finish date, and units of resource allocated to a project

  • Allows project summary resource assignment to pull from the resource plan or project assignments

  • Resource plans are available in Office Project Server 2007 reports

Team resources

  • Allows assignments to be published to a team

  • Team members can view and take ownership of assignments published to the team

  • Team capacity and demand can be viewed in Office Project Server 2007 reports

Resource editing

  • Enterprise resources can be defined through Project Web Access or PSI

  • Supports availability, rate tables, custom fields, and standard fields

Reporting

Following are new and enhanced server features related to reporting.

Feature Description

Reporting database

  • Denormalized database created with project, resource, task, and assignment data in Office Project Server 2007

  • Provides fast access to large volumes of Office Project Server 2007 data

  • Simplifies development of reports from non-Microsoft applications

Cube-building service

  • Redesigned to support incremental updates versus full rebuild, which enhances performance

  • Supports all project, task, resource, and assignment fields

Report Center

  • Supports integration with SQL Server Reporting Services and Excel Services in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007

  • Lists available reports in Project Web Access

  • Reports can be viewed from Project Web Access

  • Supports upgrade to Office SharePoint Server 2007 Report Center

Infrastructure

Following are new and enhanced server features related to infrastructure.

Feature Description

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 integration

  • Project Web Access has been redesigned and implemented on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

  • Project Web Access views provided as Web Parts

  • Authentication integrated with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

  • Backup/restore integration with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

Forms authentication

  • Shared logon for Office Project Web Access and Project Professional

  • Authentication integrated with Windows SharePoint Services 3.0

  • Supports a variety of forms-based authentication schemes

Team member experience

Following are new and enhanced server features related to team member experience.

Feature Description

Timesheet

  • Supports integration with general ledger systems

  • Supports accounting rules and is capable of compliance with Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA)

  • Enables reporting of project and non-project work

  • Time can be reported at a summary (project) or detailed level

  • Timesheet categories can be created by an administrator or a user

  • Timesheet categories do not create projects, and they allow time reporting independent of time or statusing reported against a project

  • Supports prior-period adjustments

  • Timesheet data is available in Office Project Server 2007 reports

  • Timesheet data can be imported into Office Project Server 2007 tasks

  • Supports single entry (timesheet, task statusing)

  • Supports access through a Web browser, Outlook, or non-Microsoft applications that use the PSI for access

Non-working time

  • Supports reporting non-working time as calendar exceptions or as an assignment

  • categories of non-working time can be centrally defined by using a Web browser

  • categories of non-working time do not create projects

  • Time entered into non-working time categories is available in Office Project Server 2007 reports

  • Supports access through a Web browser or Outlook

Assignment owner

  • Enables individuals other than the assigned resource to provide status updates on an assignment

  • Supports changing the assignment owner to allow assignments to be switched to new individuals

Task statusing

  • Enables comments to be exchanged between a team member and project manager

  • Comments are persisted

  • Supports import from timesheets

Task updates and previews

  • 100 percent server-based

  • Supports previewing an updated schedule by using a Web browser

  • Updates made to Office Project Server 2007 without round-trips to Office Project Professional 2007

Status reports

  • Web-based status-report requests and forms

  • Supports report aggregation and routing

  • Supports exporting of status reports to Word 2003 and Word 2007

Office Project 2007 project management capabilities

This section discusses how Office Project 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 features are used by people who are not primarily project managers, or by teams managing project-based work without established methods and practices.

Teams and tasks

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 helps teams easily get started with ad hoc collaboration and communication. Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 provides built-in task tracking features in the form of project workspaces. Users can quickly create a team workspace to help build and communicate shared task lists, collaborate in creating documents, and track key issues and risks. When team processes mature, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and Office Project 2007 together provide a simple upgrade path to project management.

Individual users can use Office Project Standard 2007 to read and create custom reports based on the project task lists in Project workspaces. This ad hoc method works well for companies that are not ready for EPM, but still need tools for managing their work. Teams or organizations that want to take the next step with project management can upgrade workspaces to Office Project Server 2007 so project tasks, documents, and issues are visible and connected to users across an organization. Following are key features for this area:

Feature Description

Project tracking list

New list type in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0. The project tracking list extends the standard task lists with custom fields and a DHTML Gantt chart. Finish-to-start dependencies are supported. The tracking list is designed to support communication of key dates and deliverables to a project team.

Import from project tracking list (Project client applications)

Supports importing the tasks from a Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 project tracking list. This feature is designed to support printing and custom reporting of a project tracking list.

Import from Project tracking list (Project Server)

New feature in Office Project Server 2007. Supports importing a Project tracking list into a Office Project Server 2007 project. This feature is designed to support migration of ad hoc team projects to managed projects.

Office Project 2007 EPM capabilities

This section discusses Office Project 2007 features in terms of EPM capabilities. Many organizations use EPM as a strategic business tool in a global or WAN-connected environment. Organizations are at various stages of process maturity, but are developing competencies that would be enhanced by adopting EPM.

Office Project Server 2007 delivers a work-management solution built for the enterprise that connects people and information. The benefits of adoption are summarized in the following list.

  • Connect people and teams to project information   Office Project Server 2007 connects people and tools with project information through integration with Office SharePoint Server 2007. Office Project Server 2007 delivers accurate and timely project information to decision makers, provides project teams with visibility into commitments made to executives and dependencies across teams, and lowers costs and reduces time for project managers to gather updated status from teams and deliver reports to executives.

  • Enable work management   Office Project Server 2007 enables organizations to manage all their work and people in a single system. Office Project Server 2007 supports the reporting and tracking of status on all the work within an organization, including project proposals, in-progress projects, and maintenance work. Office Project Server 2007 also enables people to report all of their time, including time off, non-project time, and project time. By providing a flexible solution for managing work and time, Office Project Server 2007 enables project managers to make better business decisions by understanding how their employees spend time on their work.

  • Support enterprise deployments   Because client/server connection performance is dramatically improved from previous versions, Office Project Server 2007 supports distributed teams working in multiple languages and multiple currencies on some of the world’s largest projects. Office Project Server 2007 provides built-in support for custom workflows and integration with line-of-business systems.

Quick start with project portfolio management

Office Project Server 2007 enables organizations to quickly get started with a project portfolio management (PPM) solution that solves billing, invoicing, and resource management challenges. PPM can help organizations to:

  • Use resources more effectively.

  • Track consultant time for billing purposes.

  • Enhance knowledge management and team collaboration during the entire lifecycle (proposal, execution, close) of an engagement.

Typically, successfully implementing PPM requires established process maturity and organizational readiness. With Office Project Server 2007, organizations can start quickly with PPM by using simple, Web-based tools while their project management processes mature. The benefits of using these quick-start tools are summarized in the following list.

  • Working on opportunities   Office Project Server 2007 enables organizations to quickly alert executives to upcoming projects by using Web-based project and resource plans. Teams can use the features in the Project workspace to identify key dates and create shared deliverables.

  • Using the timesheet   Office Project Server 2007 delivers a new time-tracking application that can be integrated with general ledger systems. Users can report time at any level in the project. The new timesheet system supports the reporting of non-working time and non-project time.

  • Managing the pipeline   Office Project 2007 provides a rich set of reporting and decision-making tools that enable executives to track the status of key projects, manage resource usage, and make decisions about proposed projects.

Following are key features for PPM:

Feature Description

Timesheets

Enables an organization to track time posted to the general ledger system Timesheets support accounting rules, fiscal periods, financial audits, and prior-period adjustment.

Outlook integration

Users can leverage existing knowledge of desktop applications to view project assignments and report time.

Project workspace

A Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 site that provides a place for collaboration and communication.

Web-based projects

A simple, Web-based user interface for creating project proposals and maintenance projects. Web-based projects use many Office Project Server 2007 features, including reporting and timesheets.

Resource plans

Provide information about high-level resource allocation for proposed or anticipated projects, task-only projects, and for projects where assignments do not accurately reflect resource distribution.

Resource Center

The portal site for resource managers or functional managers. These users can view their assigned resources and resource-specific attributes, review availability, assignments, and access the resource reporting cube.

Report Center

A real-time reporting database with all project data (including data from project workspaces such as issues and risks) in a report-friendly format. The server builds several cubes for rich analytics by using Portfolio Analyzer. To leverage these data sources, Office Project Server 2007 uses Reporting Services to provide enterprise reporting, including report authoring, scheduled report delivery, and a variety of report output formats. Office Project Server 2007 integrates with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 to provide a Report Center with dashboards, scorecards, and key performance indicators (KPIs).

Managing portfolios

Office Project Server 2007 enables organizations to quickly understand how work and resources align to business objectives. Office Project Server 2007 provides a comprehensive view into how time is being spent, and can help improve the process for proposing and evaluating projects. Furthermore, organizations can get better insight into key strategic projects, in addition to inventory active maintenance and development projects. Key benefits include:

  • Defining the portfolio   Build or customize the metrics, reports, and categories for a portfolio.

  • Integrated statusing   

  • Portfolio reporting and review   Business intelligence (BI) and reporting features of Office Project Server 2007 can be used to track the health of a portfolio, evaluate project proposals, and assess the alignment of projects and resources to business priorities.

  • Maintenance work   Build a simple project to capture maintenance work on a completed application. Timesheets enable actual work to be tracked; reports enable planned versus actual time to be viewed.

Following are key features for managing portfolios:

Feature Description

Project proposals

Enable a functional manager or other user to establish a rough project outline. This proposal's details can then be elaborated, providing the key project deliverables and resource demands.

Resource plans

Provide information about high-level resource allocation for proposed or anticipated projects, task-only projects, and for projects where assignments do not accurately reflect resource distribution.

Team resources

A new work resource type in Office Project 2007. Gives a roll-up of total utilization in resource usage view. Team resources can be used on projects like regular enterprise work resources. Other enterprise work resources can be associated with the team resources.

Edit resources

Edit resource data by using Office Project Web Access.

Resource Center

The portal site for resource managers or functional managers. These users can view their assigned resources and resource-specific attributes, review availability, assignments, and access the resource reporting cube.

Report Center

A real-time reporting database with all project data (including data from project workspaces such as issues and risks) in a report-friendly format. The server builds several cubes for rich analytics by using Portfolio Analyzer. To leverage these data sources, Office Project Server 2007 uses Reporting Services to provide enterprise reporting, including report authoring, scheduled report delivery, and a variety of report output formats. Office Project Server 2007 integrates with Office SharePoint Server 2007 to provide a Report Center with dashboards, scorecards, and KPIs.

Task statusing

Team members can status tasks without downloading an ActiveX control. Task statusing can be done by using Project Web Access and Microsoft Outlook.

Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server 2007

In addition to the portfolio management features and capabilities that are available in Office Project Server 2007, Microsoft now offers Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server 2007. Office Project Portfolio Server 2007 integrates with Office Project Server 2007 to provide organizations with an end-to-end project portfolio management solution. The bidirectional gateway enables administrators to link multiple Microsoft Office Project Servers to Office Project Portfolio Server 2007, providing executives with a consolidated view of all projects within the organization.

Office Project Portfolio Server 2007 provides the following advantages to your EPM deployment:

  • Gain visibility and control   Consolidate all investments (for example, projects, programs, and applications) within an enterprise repository to help ensure executives gain visibility, insight, and control over all portfolios. Define multiple workflows to standardize, communicate, and enforce the portfolio governance framework across the organization.

  • Objectively prioritize and evaluate competing investments   Use best practice techniques to objectively prioritize the organization’s business strategy, automatically derive prioritization scores, and build charts that effectively evaluate the competing investments from varying angles.

  • Optimize budgets and align investments with business strategy   Embedded best-practice portfolio analytical techniques help analysts to optimize budgets and recommend portfolios that best align with the organization’s business strategy. This objective process enforces a rational rather than emotional approach to portfolio selection, helping ensure that the selected investments are aligned with the organization’s strategic priorities and will maximize return on investment.

  • Tightly integrate with Office Project Server 2007   Office Project Portfolio Server 2007 integrates with Office Project Server 2007 to provide organizations with an end-to-end project portfolio management solution. The bidirectional gateway enables administrators to link multiple Office Project Servers to Office Project Portfolio Server 2007, providing executives with a consolidated view of all projects within the organization.

Learn more about Office Project Portfolio Server 2007 and the Microsoft Office system at Microsoft Office Project Portfolio Server 2007 (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=78276&clcid=0x409) on Office Online.

Managing programs

Office Project Server 2007 provides support for large organizations by using programs to manage large projects and subprojects in geographically dispersed sites. This includes the ability to track and report on projects in multiple languages and currencies. Using the Program Center in Project Web Access, a program manager can create a new top-down program, assign dates, define commitments, and even define any required custom fields. This program can be built from scratch, or built from a previously submitted proposal. Key features and capabilities include:

  • Building top-down or bottom-up   Users can build a program at a high level, including the committed deliverables and required resources. Alternatively, details can be progressively added as users move from Web-based projects to Office Project Professional 2007.

  • Program-level reports   Program dashboards capture high-level status. Users can view high-level indicators of a problem, view the details of the specific problems, or view details on the causes of — and proposed solutions for — problems.

  • Managing change   Commitments provide a means to track and report dependencies. Changes can be modeled in Project Web Access and Office Project Professional 2007. Changes to plans can be communicated across the program.

  • Integrated statusing   Team members can update projects and the program by using their productivity tools, such as Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Visual Studio®.

  • Integration with line-of-business systems   Office Project Server 2007 can reuse information that’s already in line-of-business systems — for example, by synchronizing with the Human Resource department resource pool — and can push information to line-of-business systems — for example, from the timesheet to the general ledger.

Following are key features for managing programs:

Feature Description

Master projects

Enables large programs to be broken down into a hierarchy of projects that can be scheduled, tracked, and reported.

Commitments

Communicates key project dates. Uses the Project workspace to store the dates, and enables:

  • Key deliverable dates for projects to be defined and reported.

  • Program dates to be communicated down to sub-projects.

  • Dates and dependencies to be managed between projects.

Project Center

Supports display of master projects. It enables views that range from a top-level program to the detail tasks in a subproject, while supporting real-time calculation of KPIs.

Report Center

A real-time reporting database with all project data (including data from project workspaces, such as issues and risks) in a report-friendly format. The server builds several cubes for rich analytics by using Portfolio Analyzer. To leverage these data sources, Office Project Server 2007 uses Reporting Services to provide enterprise reporting including report authoring, scheduled report delivery, and a variety of report output formats. In addition, Office Project Server 2007 integrates with Office SharePoint Server 2007 to provide a Report Center with dashboards, scorecards, and KPIs.

Task publishing

Enables the project manager to decide which tasks to publish and when. When multiple project managers are publishing tasks from the same project, it is easy for each project manager to see —at the task level —what other project managers are doing.

Task statusing

Team members can submit task status without downloading an ActiveX control. Tighter integration with Outlook and Visual Studio enables team members to work in the tools they are familiar with, while providing up-to-date status on tasks to the project manager.

Task updating and preview

New server-side scheduling engine supports updating of projects without the need to round-trip through Microsoft Office Project Professional 2007. Project managers can preview and accept updates from a browser or they can define rules to automatically accept updates. Projects are recalculated and published directly from the server, which enables organizations to monitor projects in real time.

Extending the Project family

Office Project Server 2007 provides a rich set of tools for customers and partners to extend the Microsoft EPM solution. The new tools dramatically lowers the costs of developing EPM and PPM value-added solutions by providing a rich set of open Web services and a server-side programming model that build on the Microsoft platform (ASP.NET, Windows Server™ 2003, SQL Server). It supports rapid application development by using Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. Extension opportunities include:

  • Timesheet integration   Office Project Server 2007 delivers a time-tracking solution designed for integration with general ledger systems. Customers and partners can customize the Office Project Server 2007 timesheet to import accounting codes and cost categories from the general ledger system and then export reported actuals captured by the timesheet application to the general ledger system to track project costs.

  • Line of business integration   Office Project Server 2007 supports integration between line-of-business systems such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) in Human Resources and Finance, customer relationship management (CRM), and directory services. Customers and partners can synchronize existing repositories of resource and project information by using Office Project Server 2007.

  • Business process automation   Project Web Access is hosted in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 and provides an extensible Web Part framework. Office Project Server 2007 provides server-side events, a rich set of Web services, and integration with a new Microsoft workflow engine. Customers and partners can design business process solutions that integrate Project Web Access, custom UI, and custom business logic.

  • Proposals   Office Project Server 2007 includes a project-proposal process that illustrates how the new EPM platform can be used to integrate project management and business processes. Extensions of this business process might include project stage workflow in which a review and approval process is required to move the project between stages (for example, idea, proposed, approved/rejected, milestone 0 to milestone N, closed) and in which resource requests have additional controls based on cost and availability to work.

  • Reporting   Office Project Server 2007 provides Web services, a rich reporting database that is optimized for banded reports, in addition to high-performance, enhanced online analytical processing (OLAP) cubes that enable custom views and reports to be designed and delivered by using Office Project Server 2007. The reporting database is closely synchronized with currently published projects and resource capacity and contains data that was previously unavailable without considerable custom coding, such as multiple baselines and timesheet data. Customers and partners can use this data to develop a wide range of custom reporting by using SQL Server Reporting Services, Analysis Services, and Excel Services in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and the Office Excel 2007 client application (or other end-user reporting tools). Because Office Project Server 2007 has new features supporting project proposals and programs, reports that track the project pipeline and program commitments and dependencies are likely to be popular customizations. Additionally, partners can continue to develop custom program and portfolio dashboards (by using custom KPIs).

  • Custom project management tools   Office SharePoint Server 2007 introduces the ability for partners to add project management tools to Office Project Server 2007 (extending the desktop-only capabilities of Project 2003). The Project Server Interface, node consistency, and server-side formula field calculation enable partners to build rich scheduling and calculation extensions. Example extensions include earned value calculation enhancements to support projects conforming to government procurement and monitoring rules, costing enhancements to support construction projects, and buffer scheduling enhancements to support alternate project management methods.

  • Project Server eventing service   The eventing service provides a mechanism to extend Office Project Server 2007 by adding new business logic. Developers can write event handlers that check business rules and cancel an operation through a pre-event (for example, before a project is published), or extend Office Project Server 2007 and integrate it with other applications such as workflow by using a post-event (for example, after a project is published).

Following are key features for this area:

Feature Description

Project Server Interface

A set of APIs that are invoked by using Web services or by managed or unmanaged code

Server-side events

Office Project Server 2007 provides a secure infrastructure for registering pre-event and post-event code, implemented as managed code.

Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) integration

Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 provides a workflow API that is available to client and server applications. This API sits on top of the WF workflow engine and supports both bespoke and document lifecycle–integrated workflow.

Reporting database

When projects are published, resources created, custom field data changed or timesheets submitted, data is transformed and moved into the reporting database. The reporting database is continually updated, providing near real-time access to operational data.

Reporting cubes

The Office Project Server 2007 administrator can control the scheduling and creation of cubes that contain pre-aggregated views of project data. Custom fields can be selected for inclusion to the cubes as both measures and dimensions, offering full flexibility for custom data. The cube processing provides events that allow for customization of the cube.

Reporting Services integration

The Office SharePoint Server 2007 Report Center or SQL Reporting Services can be installed to provide an infrastructure for report and model definition, in addition to a run-time report environment.

Conclusion

Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides the tools to build an EPM competency that integrates software tools and technologies with their people, processes, and organizational policies and governance. The Office Project 2007 family offers work management solutions for a wide range of teams and organizations, offering simple steps for ad hoc project management or a complete program management solution that includes business intelligence and scorecards for executives.

Download this book

This topic is included in the following downloadable book for easier reading and printing:

See the full list of available books at Downloadable content for Project Server 2007 .

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