Yesterday, as many of you will already know, Microsoft revealed some nice upcoming stuff like Office 2013, SharePoint 2013, Project Server 2013, Office 365 Preview (including all the new products I just mentioned). One particular thing I was really interested in was Project Server 2013. Lately, I did a lot of experimental work and did some research on Project Server 2010 and particularly the integration ALM and EPM. Therefore, Project Server 2013 is also in my ‘focus’ area right know.
That being said, I was really excited when I saw the new Project Server 2013. I was even more excited when I heard the news about Project Online . As Microsoft describes on their site, they position Project Online as:
”The flexible solution for project portfolio management (PPM) and everyday work, delivered through Office 365″
In fact, Project Online is a full blown Project Server 2013 as you can use on-premise, combined with the power and easiness of the Cloud aka Office 365. So no setup, no SharePoint installation (problems) etc.
What I want to show in this post is how to get started and get your first project up and running.
1. Create your account
First thing you have to do is create your account for Project Online. You can visit this link. You will see a new screen where you can enter your personal information. One thing to notice is that you have an overview of ‘what‘ you will get, on the right side of the screen (you also have other preview programs that you can subscribe)
Once your registration is completed, you will receive an email with some guidance. To start, you can point your browser to “https://portal.microsoftonline.com/admin/default.aspx” and sign in with your credentials (email@example.com). You will now be redirected to the administration page of your subscription.
On this area, you can perform any administrative action that you want. This can be creating users, change service settings, change some options,.. But the most important area is the one on the top-right. That’s the place to be for now.
2. Start with Project Online
If you click on the little arrow next to ‘Admin’, you will see the parts where you can perform the administration. By default, we are now on the ‘Office 365 Preview’ administration part. In the blue part, you have the ‘options/products’ available for your subscription. Let’s click on ‘Projects‘ to open our Project Online.
What you see now is the ‘start‘ page of Project Online. Comparing to Project Server 2010, this is definitely way more attractive. The central space is split in two parts, on top some interesting links to get started, and on the bottom some tiles. There you can see for example your tasks, your pending approvals and some quick access tiles.
On the left side, you have your menu, as you also had in Project Server 2010. This first thing I noticed is the small number of menu items. Project Server 2010 has a more than a dozen by default. But as you can see, there is a button/link called ‘EDIT LINKS‘. Use this menu you can easily modify the menu items on the left. One thing that is important for me (as an administrator), a direct access link to the ‘Server Settings‘ and (as a project manager) the Project Portfolio option. So I selected those items to be set by default:
3. Create a new project by using a SharePoint 2013 site
Now that we are all set, let’s create a new Project. On the ‘Home’ of Project Online, click on the green tile with the label “Create or import project“. You will now see a new popup window asking you for a name of your new project. One thing that you really have to know is that creating a Project using this way, will NOT create an enterprise project. What it will actually do is create a SharePoint site with a task list, and show this in your project list. Let’s illustrate this. I created a new project called ‘My great project’:
When you click on the ‘Create‘ button, it will create a SharePoint site linked to PWA (you can see this in the URL). This SharePoint 2013 site will contain a ‘Task List‘, and this task list will be used for tracking the progress of your project. When the Project is created, Project Online will automatically show the SharePoint site with the possibility to add tasks. On the left side, you also have some other options like adding risks, adding notes (using the OneNote web application, which is really awesome btw!). This is how it looks like:
People using Project Server 2010 will know this type as the regular ‘Project Site’. Only, there is no actual ‘Enterprise project’ now. When you go back to the Project Online place (by clicking on ‘Projects’ on top of the page), and then click on ‘Projects‘ on the left side, you will see the Project Center. As you will notice, you project will be available there. If you click on on the project name (as a link), it will open your brand new SharePoint 2013 Project Site where you can add your tasks.
One thing that you might have noticed is that it’s also possible to import existing SharePoint sites to be used for Project Creation. You can see this on the bottom of the dialog when you click on the green tile ‘Create or import project’. Really nice!
4. Create a new project by using an Enterprise Project Type
Another option to create a new Project is by using an Enterprise Project Type like you know in Project Server 2010. You can create your own EPT’s, modify it, add a workflow, add Project Detail Pages, … You can change and manage everything related to Enterprise Project Types in the ‘Server Settings’ section of your Project Online admin panel.
To create a new project based on your EPT, go to the project center (click on the left side ‘Projects’). In your project center, click on the ‘Project Ribbon’ on top of the page, and click on the ‘New’ button. There you will see the possible options to create a Project based on an EPT.
By default, you have 2 options:
1. Enterprise Project: This is actually based on an Enterprise Project Type. By default, there is no workflow attached to it. It’s just a basic starting point.
2. SharePoint Task List: This is the option that I just described. If you create a project by using the link on the Dashboard, it will use this option.
Let’s create a new Enterprise Project by clicking on ‘Enterprise Project‘.
You will see that by default, you have ‘more’ fields to complete that our basis project we just created (well, just Description field, but hey, you can customize the Project Detail Page). On the top left, click on ‘Save’.
As you can see, comparing with the previous project, it’s not opening a SharePoint Project Site, but it uses the Project Web App instead. There you can do everything with your project that you want, and that you used to do with Project Server 2010 PWA. Note that there is also a Project Site available (on the left side). When you open this, it will look quite similar as the previous one. Except there is one extra link on the menu bar: Project Details. When you click that link you return the Project Web App where all information related to your project is stored (split into several Customizable Project Detail Pages).
Now you have an overview of how to get started with Project Online and how to create your first project. I showed you the difference between a SharePoint Project site and an Enterprise Project and how you can create both of them.
Have fun! I’m really excited with this new release! Great job Microsoft!
Thanks for reading,