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Q and A on the Future Vision of Project

What is your vision underlying the next chapter for Project?

 

Please see the Project Announcement Here for details on the new Project strategy.

 

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

 

Start fast

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:

 

  • Home
  • 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.  

 

15 Comments
Microsoft

Sounds very exciting.

Can't wait to see the integration with Flow and PowerApps.

Regular Visitor

when is the new project service available? dates?

Microsoft

It makes sense moving forward adding a whole new set of capabilities to an already powerful stack of tools and services. Can't wait!

 

One clarification about the Premium licensing that should be made by Microsoft is around the statement "Project Online Premium subscriptions remain targeted at Program and Portfolio managers." This causes a little confusion among customers and their understanding of how many licenses they need and for whom. In other words, only a single Premium license is necessary for provisioning PWA instances which provides the licensed Essentials users with full Program and Portfolio Management capabilities yet the statement implies multiple users will need the Premium license. Moving forward is that subscription/pricing model changing in any way with the new Project being built on the CDS for Apps platfom?

Microsoft

@Leon Gallegos There are no immediate plans to change the licensing Leon. 

Occasional Visitor

Dear @Howard Crow!

 

Our company is evaluating whether we should use Project for our project management, workflows, time tracking and reports with our Office 365 subscription. The last few days I've been trying out the Project Online service through the Office 365 suite, but I've read that Project will transform into a separate service. I have a few questions:

- It is stated on the initial announcements page that the Home service is generally available today, but I have not found the service anywhere. Is the service available at https://project.microsoft.com/en-US/ Home, or is it the previous Project Web App service?

- Should we start implementing our workflows in this service or wait until the new Project service is fully generally available?

- What was the reasoning behind naming the new service plainly Project? It is very hard to search for any questions/solutions with search engines.

- Is there some sort of onboarding available or planned for new customers (including workers, management, HR)?

- Is the new service based on SharePoint or is it based on a specific, custom solution?

 

Thank you very much in advance for your response. 

 

Regular Visitor

Can you comment on how this new offering competes against or compares to Dynamics PSA?  Many of us who are using PSA for smaller projects may see this as a more enticing offering, but we need to understand the vision for these two products and how Microsoft is thinking organizations will use each.

Microsoft

@Gábor Szabó One thing to note is that the new service will also be integrated into the Office365 Suite. https://project.microsoft.com/en-US/  is the new Home page - so you are in fact looking at the correct, new experience already. 

 

The question of when to move to the new system is a case by case basis based on requirements. For highly mature PMOs, the existing PWA functionality might be more appropriate for a while as it will have richer portfolio management, but this maturity is fairly rare. 

 

As for the name, we are simplifying all of our naming as more and more of our customers move to the cloud. it did not make sense to call it Project Online when all of our customers are moving online. 

 

The new service saves projects into the Common Data Service for Apps (or CDS for short). SharePoint will remain a critical part of the service as the place to store documents and collaborate because Project will be integrated with Modern Groups.

 

 

Microsoft

@Chris Eaheart This is perhaps too long a conversation for a comment thread :-) Project has the power of the industry standard Project scheduling engine that runs most projects today. So there are a large amount of capabilities just there, plus Roadmap and much more to come.

Regular Visitor

Ok, let's say someone is coming in new to the MS ecosystem.  Small consulting firm.  No investments in any existing MS products.  Projects tend to be small - 3-4 weeks.  They are Gantt-based - there are dependencies.  They also change often - tasks move around, etc.  PMO is not mature at all, and also overburdened. 

 

I see two products: Dynamics PSA and Project.  I was told that "Dynamics PSA is better for smaller projects" at Ignite 2017, so we went that direction.  However, I don't feel like Dynamics PSA is modern - at all.  We are hardly invested in the product - the project managers hate it.  Slow.  Cumbersome.  Rollouts are not well communicated.

 

If both of these systems are based on the underlying CDS (they are) and they can both be used for small projects, they seem to be in direct competition with one another.  Help me distinguish when I should use each?  (Aside from the fact that Project has only been announced and not fully released)

Regular Visitor

Understood - where can we have these types of conversations?  This has been something that I have been trying to get the answer to for some time.

Contributor

@Howard Crow - Can you please point me towards a resource that would explain where resource/capacity management fits in with the new vision?

Microsoft

@Ian Bruckner we will be integrating with the Universal Resource Scheduling service from Dynamics 365. This provides us with best-in-class resource management.

Microsoft

@Chris Eaheart I think the simple answer is for your scenario the new Project service is our guidance. feel free to PM me if you need a contact to have a deeper discussion with. 

Contributor

Thanks, @Howard Crow - Looks clever, and I'm surprised I haven't seen that before. How/when do I need to start preparing to shift to that instead of the existing capacity management solution in Project Online?

 

And for clarity - the licensing for Universal Resource Scheduling service is all included in the cost structure of present-day Project Online?