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Office 365 PPM Project Online Roadmap

We all get excited about different things, I know a few people who get extremely cheerful when they see new concepts of the iPhone 7, and there are others (me) who get euphoric over sci-fi announcements, and if you didn’t know already there’s a new Star Trek TV series on the horizon!

But today, the aim is to get you excited about the Project & Portfolio Management Roadmap for Office 365! Just before I Delve in to some of the high level features I must stress that any screen captures and concepts are for illustration purposes only and that the capabilities are subject to change.

For those of you who are just discovering Microsoft PPM, the first version of Project emerged in the 80’s, see my recent post about Project Server 2016. Since then the Microsoft PPM suite has developed substantially and is already highly rated by Gartner, but as you’ll see through this article, it’s still evolving and we think you’ll like what’s on the horizon.

The full roadmap from Microsoft was showcased with a 64 slide presentation, so to keep things simple I’m going to summarise some of the key enhancements in a two part article, part one will highlight the following enhancements:

  • Agile
  • Out of the Box Reports
  • Financial Management

Part two will highlight the following:

  • Multi-device apps
  • Programme Management
  • Planner and Wunderlist

Agile

Agile as an approach is becoming increasingly popular within the project management community, especially as organisations strive to be flexible and responsive with a view to faster project / product delivery.

Recognising this some time ago Microsoft made it possible to synchronise Project Server (on-premise) with Visual Studio Online (VSO) or Team Foundation Server (TFS), allowing PM’s to work in their native tool ‘Project’ and developers in VSO or TFS. As part of the roadmap, it’ll soon be possible to synchronise with Project Online too.

Picture 12In addition to this connectivity between the Microsoft Online solutions, it’ll also be possible to connect with other tools such as JIRA.

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Something that has often been requested is an Agile template to replace whiteboards with lots of Post-it® notes, thankfully this template is on the roadmap too:

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Out of the Box Reports

I’m sure we all agree that reporting is vital, stakeholders need to know what shade of green your KPI’s are! To accommodate this Microsoft PPM has always offered users access to a large amount of centralised data which can be easily extracted and used to populate portfolio level reports through solutions such as SRSS, Excel, Visio and Power BI, have a look at my recent Project Reporting article to gain further background.

Going forward Microsoft will be providing a suite of out-of-the-box browser based reports as well as a Power BI content pack for PPM and a native app for portfolio reports!

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7Portfolio reports will also be available via native apps for Apple devices, including ipad:

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Financial Management

You’ve most likely heard the saying that “money makes the world go round”, although scientifically incorrect, it does highlight the importance of finance! Microsoft PPM already allows for a variety of project financials to be captured using a number of options. The one complexity has been capturing time-phased financial information for ‘budgets’, ‘forecast’ etc which generally requires multiple custom fields to be created, looking ahead capturing this information will be made easier through a selection of pre-defined PDP’s which can also be customised as required.

9Many organisations are geographically dispersed and need to manage finances in a multitude of currencies. Whilst Microsoft PPM has always allowed for the selection of project level currencies, true multi-currency support was not available, however this is set to change:

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Next Steps

As you can see there are a wave of new features on the horizon, actual availability dates are not yet known but we will keep you posted!

Next month we’ll publish part 2 of this article and continue the journey through the Office 365 PPM roadmap, however if you’re impatient and would like to see the full roadmap now please contact us.

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