Please find highlights from Erik Van Hurck’s course – Project for the web: How It Works and What You Can Do With It – being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions, such as those steps included in product demonstrations, or there may be addition to expand on concepts. You may watch the on-demand recording of this webinar at your convenience.
Microsoft Project for the web is a powerful tool for managing projects within an organization, but did you know that it can be further enhanced with the Power Platform? In a recent webinar titled “Extending core P4W functionality,” presenter Erik van Hurck discussed the benefits of integrating the Power Platform with Project for the web, including the ability to harness historical data and perform advanced resource management solutions. With the Power Platform, the possibilities for extending your solution are virtually limitless. In the previous article of this webinar review, we summarized “Extending Microsoft Project for the web with Power Platform Cloud Solutions.” In this article, we look at an example of what a solution would look like to enhance your Project for the web environment using the Power Platform.
As a project management consultant, I often work with clients who are looking for ways to streamline their project management processes and make them more efficient. One solution that I frequently recommend is using Microsoft’s Power Platform in conjunction with Project for the web. This combination can provide a range of benefits beyond just the basic project scheduling capabilities of Project for the web.
By utilizing the Power Platform, we can tap into historical data with the Power Hub, enabling trend analysis based on the flow of past projects. We can also perform advanced resource management solutions that go beyond the capabilities of Project for the web alone. With the Power Platform’s extendability, the possibilities are virtually limitless.
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At my consulting firm, we’ve created our own product called Power PPM that sits on top of Project for the web. As it’s part of the dataverse, it’s also part of the broader Power Platform, allowing us to build custom apps to meet our clients’ specific needs. With Power PPM, we can create portfolios and programs, and manage risks and issues. We can also create roadmaps and OKRs, as well as manage changes and status reports. These capabilities give Project for the web an added boost of power and versatility.
Of course, there may be costs associated with extending your solution to its fullest potential, but the ability to harness the full power of the Power Platform can ultimately lead to significant cost savings and greater efficiency in your project management processes. As a consultant, I believe that it’s important to explore all possible solutions and tools to find the one that best fits your organization’s unique needs and goals.
Extending Project for the web with PPM Solution: Features for Project and Portfolio Management
One of the main benefits of using the Power Platform with Project for the web is the ability to extend the core functionality. This includes adding a business case, financials, a risk register, actions, and KPI logs. Additionally, program schedules can be added, and different projects can be linked together if necessary. These soft links require careful management of tasks and project ownership.
The Power Platform can also be used to create a portfolio kanban board, as well as program finances. These features allow for a more holistic view of project management, providing valuable insights into resource allocation, budgeting, and scheduling.
Let’s take a closer look at some screenshots of the application. The top middle part of the screen shows the native part of Project for the web – the schedule. However, by integrating the Power Platform, additional features can be added, such as program schedules, financials, and risk registers. The screenshots also show how the Power Platform can be used to create a portfolio kanban board and program finances.
With the Power Platform integrated, we can create a more comprehensive project plan, including a business case, financials, and a risk register. We can also link different projects together and view program schedules and finances in one place. To see these features in action, let’s run through a scenario of creating a project.
Managing Projects in Microsoft Project for the web with PPM Solution
As an administrator, you have full access to all the portfolios, programs, and projects in your environment. You can create a project plan that includes a business case, financials, and a risk register, and you can link different projects together and view program schedules and finances in one place.
The Power Platform allows for a comprehensive view of project management, including risks, actions, issues, decisions, and resources. Additionally, there are settings, CRM, and training courses available to tailor the application to the needs of your organization.
There are different types of projects available, such as to be determined, grow, running, and transform. These can be aligned with your organization’s needs, as they are just tables that can be configured to your liking.
By navigating to make.powerapps.com, you can access a number of tables or solutions available for the Project for the web environment, including KPI values, type, structure, program links, and portfolio links.
The information page of any project in a native Project for the web environment allows you to add a name, a calendar template, a project manager, and a scheduling mode, as well as estimations on how big the project is and estimated complete for actuals. There is also a tab available that brings you back to the familiar Project for the web application, where you can navigate to the grid, board, timeline chart, and people. You can add a summary, a task, a milestone, and dependencies, increase duration and add milestones, and navigate to a timeline to see it all in action.
If you click on “tasks” there is a tab available that brings users back to the familiar Project for the web application. Within this tab, users can access the grid, board, timeline chart, and people. This allows for seamless navigation to add a summary, task, milestone, or dependency, just as they would in any Project for the web environment. Users can easily increase duration, add milestones, and view the changes in the timeline chart.
Extending Project for the web with PPM Solution from Projectum
Projectum’s PPM solution for Project for the web aims to simplify project management by providing a new form called Information Advanced. This form offers new values and justifications to help users keep track of necessary information more efficiently. It is a read-only visualization that allows users to interact with the data and link between the values.
The Information Advanced form is integrated with a business link to programs and portfolios, which enables users to navigate between the summary and the schedule quickly. Users can view the entire program, including budgets, start and finish dates, and projects, with just a few clicks. The form also includes a risk grid that helps users identify and escalate potential risks.
So what you see is that the information is actually stored in two tables: the project table and the tasks table. So the tasks and the project table have their values. And we’re leveraging that on a program level. Currently, we have type and we have owner in here, but we’ve also made it possible to add additional columns, such as cost columns and risk number columns, that can also be added here. Moreover, we have the ability to interact and link between the values, making it more user-friendly. However, currently, this is a read-only visualization.
Let’s say you have a project in Project for the web and you need to extend its schedule by 10 weeks. No problem! Simply go to your schedule, adjust the timeline accordingly, and you’ll see that this change equals 50 days. Once you’ve made the necessary adjustments and since this project is part of a larger program, you can easily view the program’s budget, start and finish dates, and other projects that are included in the program. This way, you can see how your project fits into the broader scope of work.
In Projectum’s PPM solution for Project for the web, navigating between different pages and sections is easy. For example, when looking at the input example, navigating to the schedule allows users to view the first program and all available projects. However, if changes are made to the schedule at the top level, such as extending the duration, it’s important to know if those changes will be reflected throughout the program.
Financials Section in Projectum’s PPM Solution: Adding Values and Tracking Performance
Projectum’s PPM solution allows you the ability to add additional values to projects. In the financials section, for example, users can create calculated fields that automatically update daily or can be manually recalculated at any time.
The financials are driven by a grid that includes KPEX, OPEX, and benefit options, and can be totaled by year, quarter, or month. Multiple currencies are supported, and actuals can be added and saved in a separate table.
The data is stored automatically, and users can navigate back to the summary page to view the updated financials. By adding a benefit budget to a quarter, users can calculate the ROI, which is displayed in a locked field. Once the ROI is calculated, it can be used to track project performance and make informed decisions.
In addition to that, we have a field called “Team” where we can create a list of individuals who will work under a specific role. We can assign each team member a specific rate and specify their start and finish date, which will be reflected in the project schedule.
Managing Risks, Actions, Issues, and Decisions with PPM Solution’s Custom Field – “RAID”
Another custom field added by PPM solution is the RAID field which stands for Risks, Actions, Issues, and Decisions. Under the rate value, there is a risk grid where users can add additional risks to the project. For example, the risk of losing internet connection can be added, with an impact level of extreme. The user can assign this risk to a specific person and add actions to mitigate it, such as assigning someone to bring coffee without sugar.
Each risk, action, issue, and decision can have its own process flow aligned with approvals. Users can track the status, target date, and completion date of each value. The drag indicator displays the current status of the risk grid, and the user can navigate to the top to view the overall status, which is color-coded. The RAID field is stored automatically and can be extended or assigned to different team members.
The Lessons Learned feature in PPM solution allows users to document their experiences and insights gained throughout the project lifecycle. Another valuable feature is the KPI status, which provides an overview of risks and costs, and helps track project performance.
Users can create a new risk report by providing details such as status ID, date, etc. The report can be saved and closed, and the values will be stored automatically. Users can then update the report as necessary, creating a new risk log for each update.
In conclusion, integrating Microsoft’s Power Platform with Project for the web can provide project management teams with a range of benefits beyond the basic scheduling capabilities of Project for the web alone. The Power Platform enables historical data trend analysis, advanced resource management solutions, and more. With the ability to add a business case, financials, a risk register, actions, and KPI logs, as well as create portfolios, programs, roadmaps, OKRs, and manage changes and status reports, the Power Platform can enhance Project for the web’s power and versatility. While there may be costs associated with extending the solution, the benefits can lead to significant cost savings and greater efficiency in project management processes.
Is Power PPM Sandbox available for training and practice?
- There is no availability for anyone to just jump in. However, we do have a partnering network worldwide, and they do tend to have environments available that they can showcase together with their consultants. If you want to have a specific demonstration, we can spin up a trial for you.
Can you show actual costs as well as budget?
- Yes, we can show budget, actuals, and ETC, as well as forecast in the financials section. We can leverage financial applications to push values into the actuals of our financial grid using Power Automate. Organizations that have a link with an SAP or other financial solution can use this feature.
Do you need Dynamics to use Power PPM or Project for the web?
- No, Dynamics is not necessary. Power Apps can live fully separate from a Dynamics license.
What can we do on top of Project?
- We can create programs, portfolios, and different entities linked up to projects. We can also create reports, either real-time reports linked up within the Power App itself, or linked to Power BI. Additionally, Power Hub can be used to grab information and store that into a SQL environment.
Do you envisage the Universal Resource Scheduling app being better integrated into Project for the web by Microsoft, or is there still a place for third-party add-ons to enhance that capability?
- Universal Resource Scheduling is part of Project Operations, and you do need to have a Dynamics license for that. However, there is still a place for third-party applications to leverage resource management outside Dynamics.