The Project for the web service from Microsoft is an intriguing project manager experience in the sweet spot between “back of the envelope” planning of Roadmap and Planner, best used perhaps for a sense of timing and high-level resource estimates, and the full rigor of project management with the comprehensive toolset of Project Online and its attention to details like costs, risks, issues, and resource workload management. Project for the web challenges the status quo for traditional users of enterprise PPM software with a simplified interface, easy to adopt, and an engine under the hood power users will love.
Project for the web looks little like the Microsoft PPM tools familiar to most. At first, you may be lost looking for the projects you’ve created using Project for the web. You may find them on the Project Home page, under either the Favorites section (if you’ve marked any as a favorite) or in with the recently used or modified projects.
You access Project Home by clicking the Project link in the App Launcher.
The link to the Home page appears as a “home” icon:
These out of the box views of Project for the web will no doubt be augmented soon by product offerings from Microsoft Partners, if such products have not been announced already. In the meantime, one can build one’s own applications to view, report on, and/or act on project data using the Common Data Service (CDS) and PowerApps. Here is a simple recipe to build a viewer for all the projects shared with you in Project for the web.
- Log in to O365 with credentials that can access Project Online and PowerApps.
- Launch PowerApps (powerapps.microsoft.com).
- Click Create then select Canvas app from blank.
- Name the app (e.g. “Pftw QuickView”) in the App Name* field, select the Tablet radio button, and click the Create (Skip the introductory tour if prompted). (Save the app (Click File, then Save) and autosave will begin to happen as you make changes moving forward.)
- On the Insert ribbon, select Vertical Gallery and a gallery screen will be added, populated with sample data. Search for the term “proj” in the data source dialog and notice the number of available CDS entities for Project.
- Select the Project entity from the list of data sources and the vertical gallery display should switch from sample data to values from your Project environment and now you have a view listing all the projects in your portfolio!
- All new projects created using Project for the web will generate an “Untitled project” project until the title is changed. If you want more detail than an untitled title, follow these steps:
- Rename the gallery you just created (e.g. “Gallery_MyPortfolio”).
- On the Insert ribbon, select Vertical Gallery and a new gallery screen will be added, again populated with sample data. Drag the new gallery side by side with the 1st gallery.
- Rename the new gallery (e.g. “Gallery_ProjectTasks”). Change the new gallery items to be [“Portfolio_MyGallery”.Selected.’Project Tasks’]. In our example so far, if you used the same naming suggestions given, the Items for the Gallery_ProjectTasks gallery would be Gallery_MyPortfolio.Selected.’Project Tasks’.
- You can make the viewer “prettier” and easier to understand by adding labels above each of the viewers and you can change the data fields that get shown.
- Press F5 to run the application to preview it works.
- Publish the application to share with whom you like if you like.
This has been a very brief overview describing one approach to viewing content in your Project for the web portfolio. Subsequent posts will show how to leverage not only the portfolio but also the Grid, the Board and the Timeline, as well as how to use Project for the web with robust project management techniques such as risk management.