Overview: Manage projects (Project Server 2010)
Published: January 27, 2011
Microsoft Project Server 2010 provides professional, part-time, and informal project managers with the tools that they need to plan and execute projects on the Web. New features in this area include synchronization with SharePoint lists, top-down project planning, and user-controlled scheduling.
In this article:
Create new projects
Microsoft Project Web App offers several ways to create new projects. If your organization uses a formal project proposal and selection process, you will want to read Overview: Set up and submit project proposals (Project Server 2010) and Overview: Analyze and approve project proposals (Project Server 2010) to fully understand the project proposal process.
If your organization does not use a formal selection process, you can create a new project by using a template, or by synchronizing with a SharePoint project tasks list. Projects often start as informal lists of work items that are shared among a team. Sometimes these lists are captured by using SharePoint Server. When that is the case, you can easily synchronize your SharePoint project tasks list with Project Web App, which provides a smooth transition from casual project planning to more formal project planning.
Depending on your organization’s project proposal practices, you can create a project or you can submit a project proposal for review.
You can synchronize a project tasks list in SharePoint Server with Project Server 2010.
Plan project work
In this version of Project Web App, you can plan projects by using a top-down method. That is, the tasks that fall inside a summary task do not have to use dates that line up exactly with the summary dates.
In a typical organization, when decision makers and stakeholders have selected and approved a set of projects, project managers are responsible for scheduling the specific work items in the project. During initial planning, project managers may start by sketching a set of high-level phases and key milestones based on business needs and delivery timeframe. At this point, the project manager may not have complete information about all of the work items and the time required for each one. For example, a project manager may know that he has up to five weeks to complete a certain phase in a project, but he may not have all of the information yet to schedule each task within that phase.
The top-down planning features that are included in this version of Project Web App enable that project manager to create a plan with a summary phase, "Develop Widget," that lasts for five weeks. Then, the project manager can enter known work items that span only three weeks, with additional work scheduled in the future, based on the available buffer time. Top-down planning also enables the project manager to enter subtasks that start before the official start date of the phase and that end after the official phase end date.
Use top-down summary tasks for initial project planning, when you do not have all of the details about the work items in a project.
Once a project is created, you are ready to start scheduling tasks.
Control project schedules
In previous versions of Project Server, schedules were controlled by using a highly structured, systematic approach that took things such as task duration, various calendars, number of resources, and other factors into consideration. Based on these factors, Project Server calculated the optimal schedule for the project automatically. Project Server 2010 supports this traditional, "automatic" scheduling method that you have seen in previous versions, but it also introduces a new "manual" scheduling method.
Manual scheduling is much less formal. With manual scheduling, projects may begin as simple lists of dates from e-mail messages, meetings with stakeholders, or even hallway conversations. Project managers rarely have complete information about work items when scheduling a project. For example, a project manager may only be aware of when a task has to be started, but not its duration until he has an estimate from his team members. Or, the project manager may know how long a task will take, but will not know when it can be started until he has approval from the resource manager.
When a task is manually scheduled, the Start, Finish, and Duration fields can be blank, or can hold text in addition to recognizable dates. For example, if you cannot set a date until you receive information from someone else, you might enter "Pending JohnT’s estimate" in the start date field until you can provide a date for the schedule. Dates for manually scheduled tasks will not be automatically filled in by Project Server 2010 as it performs its calculations.