Co-Authoring in MS Professional and Integration w/ Planner

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    • #417200

      We’ve been looking at adding the MS Professional Subscription($30/mo) level for our team members that need Project. At that sub lvl we can use the desktop app and we can see it integrate w/ the O365/Online version. Mostly seems to work, albeit clunky for sure but there are a couple of items that really are causing trouble at the desktop and even online lvl:
      1) Co-authoring. MS docs claim co-authoring as a capability but when we use the desktop version or pwa project, it requires a checkout and thus it’s locked for one user only. Is there a way around this and how to do so to allow 2 or more users to modify a project? We see that this works in the stripped down online version of project(non-pwa) but that won’t help us on our larger, more complex projects.
      2) In the desktop app there is a “Planner” button for tasks that ostensibly links a task to a Planner task. When we try this in the desktop version, it always throws an error, even though we have projects in Planner that we can see from the desktop app but upon the action to actually link to Planner, it always throws the error “The link could not be created”.
      3) We may have a misunderstanding of the integration with Planner but our want with this is that when you link a task in MS Project, it creates a task for that Resource so they can see it in Planner and thus update the task in Planner and have it reflected back in Project. I suspect we have an overly ambitious expectation of this feature(even if it did work for us). This gets back to how our resources/team members can update information on a task(add comments, attach docs, etc) but NOT have the subscription for Project. I want to spend the subscription on project authors/maintainers but have resources be able to update tasks as they are accomplishing them. Those resources already have O365 subs but want to be able to have them interact w/ Project at a task level(but obviously not authoring/editing projects).

    • #417202
      Avatar photoLarry Christofaro

      I have good news and bad news:
      Bad news first. MS Project and Project Online doesn’t do co-authoring and doesn’t connect to Planner as you are thinking. All you can do is connect a task in Project to a Planner schedule.
      Good news is that Microsoft now offers Project for the Web, which is more the solution you are asking for. It has co-authoring and the same functionality as Planner and more (so it replacing Planner). It doesn’t have the portfolio capability that Project Online has, at least out of the box, but is their future direction.
      Hope that helps…

    • #417204

      Thanks for following up. This pretty much confirms what we had gathered on our own.

      Now, the Project for the Web, as a standalone product, appears to have such a low level of functionality, I cannot gather why anyone would purchase it over some of the existing Gantt products out in the market that are at a lower cost/mo/user. Frankly, when we were evaluating it, one of my team members remarked “it looks like some HS Comp Sci end of semester project”. I get that this is the future direction that MS is taking but I am not sure how they’ll get anyone to pay $10/mo/user for that product. All we see here are the Gantt/tasks/resource allocation and dependencies. Are we missing something here? The product appears to be woefully inadequate for everything but the most basic projects.

    • #417206
      Avatar photoLarry Christofaro

      MH, well put and I don’t disagree with you. I can tell you that the Microsoft Project scheduling engine has been or is being duplicated to Project on the Web and that future direction is to convert all key functionality that currently exists with the desktop product. I’m going to assume that key functionality means what is required to convert the majority of users. Step one primary functionality includes co-authoring, integration with O365 and teams, Planner functionality, and the general base product. More to come, will be great, and currently weak…got it.

      I think the product has a lot of promise and Microsoft has good intentions on it’s future. The problem is that they are not saying much about near-term plans so it is what it is. Outside of that you need to make the best decision that meets your needs today.

    • #417210

      I may be wasting my time posting this here but if, by chance, some of the Microsoft team reads this, I want to put this out there:

      1) In developing any product, whether it be Project or any other product, the end user of the product is not necessarily the decision maker on whether or not to purchase/continue to purchase a product. In the case of Project, in many cases the decision maker(s) are the leadership team, not the PMs. And that leadership team has some vested interest in the product in that they likely want to use it to see what is going on with their projects at the 50,000ft level. We currently use Jira and have used Wrike for project management and I will tell you that one of the key problems with both of those products is that they are horrible at giving the PM tools to create a dashboard for the leadership team to get a good, easy window into what is going on with their projects. And what happens is, at some pt in the process, the leadership team sees that they aren’t getting the data they want out of their new shiny project management tool and then start questioning why they’re paying for that tool. And eventually it leads to trying something new in hopes that it can deliver that dashboard the leadership team wants. Wash, rinse, repeat.
      2) Although web tools are nice for collaboration and sharing data, they are either lacking in functionality or they make it really hard to do anything of a complex nature. Compare creating dependencies in many of the Gantt tools(Smartsheet and Wrike, I am looking at you) vs. how they are created in the desktop version of Project. This also plays into item 1) above; if it’s too hard for leadership and/or infrequent users to get around and do anything, the product is DOA for the customer.
      3) I will pay more for my power users(the PMs and other heavy project management users) for a subscription but I don’t want to pay for every end user that simply needs to update a task. One of the things that kills my interest in your product is if I have to pay the same subscription fee for a PM user as one of the developers that just adds notes and status to a task.
      4) MS Planner is actually a very interesting tool. It’s clear they looked at Jira and said “wouldn’t it be useful to develop a product that gives 90% the functionality of Jira and have it live right inside of Teams”. I find that appealing for many of our small projects(let’s say a marketing project to get a new brochure out). Not really appropriate for a heavy hardware or software dev project, but really, that small marketing project is likely 80+% of the projects going on in any company.

    • #480354

      As the discussion is about Excel co-authoring, so I also want to contribute some informative detail regarding this Excel feature. Check out this informative post on Co-Authoring, I am quite sure those who are unaware of this feature will get great help.

      source: How Is Excel Co-Authoring Different From Shared Workbook?

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