Overview: Manage projects

Microsoft Project Server 2010 provides professional, part-time, and informal project managers with the tools 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

Plan project work

Control project schedules

Create new projects

Project Web App offers several ways to create new projects. If your organization uses a formal project proposal and selection process, you’ll want to take a look at Overview: Setting up and submitting project proposals and Overview: Analyzing and approving project proposals to fully understand the project proposal process.

If your organization doesn’t use a formal selection process, you can create a new project using a template, or by synchronizing with a SharePoint project tasks list. Projects often start out as informal lists of work items that are shared among a team. Sometimes these lists are captured using SharePoint. When that’s the case, you can easily synchronize your SharePoint project tasks list with Project Web App, providing a smooth transition from casual project planning to more formal project planning.

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Create or edit a project or proposal

Depending on your organization’s project proposal practices, you can create a project or you can submit a project proposal for review.

Create a project from a SharePoint task list

You can synchronize a project tasks list in SharePoint with Project Server 2010.

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Plan project work

In this version of Project Web App, you can plan projects using a top-down method. That is, the tasks that fall within 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 off by sketching out 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 on all of the work items and the amount of 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 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.

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Create top-down summary tasks

Use top-down summary tasks for initial project planning, when you don’t have all of the details about the work items in a project.

Create a new task

Once a project is created, you’re ready to start scheduling tasks.

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Control project schedules

In previous versions of Project Server, schedules were controlled using a highly structured, systematic approach that took things like task duration, various calendars, number of resources, and other factors into consideration. Using these factors, Project Server calculated the optimal schedule for the project automatically. Project Server 2010 supports this traditional, “automatic” scheduling method that you’ve 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 needs 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 won’t 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 can’t set a date until you get 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.

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