What's new in Project Web App?

The version of Project Web App that ships with Microsoft Project Server 2010 includes an improved user interface and several robust new features. Together, these updates provide an intelligent business application that supports integrated project and portfolio (portfolio: A list of projects within an organization that may share common management of scope, budget, or resources.) management capabilities, scalable collaboration for both small teams and enterprises, and an extended platform that integrates with related Microsoft technologies.

In this article

Improved user interface

Project Web App offers a significantly updated user interface, including the Ribbon and a streamlined project editing grid.

Introducing the Ribbon

Project Web App now uses the Ribbon, which helps you to quickly find the commands that you need to complete a task. Commands are organized in logical groups that are collected together under tabs. The new versions of Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010, and the Microsoft Project client program are also using the Ribbon, providing a seamless interface across all programs.

Enhanced project editing interface

With a new grid-based project editing interface, you can now update project data in the same grid and Gantt Chart view (Gantt Chart view: A predefined view that displays project tasks on the left side of the view, and graphical bars corresponding to the task's durations on the right side of the view.) that you use to review your project data. Data entered into the grid is validated upon entry, and the overall experience is much more streamlined. This updated grid is used throughout Project Web App, including the Project Center, task updates, preview pages, the Resource Center, and resource assignment (assignment: A specific resource that is assigned to a particular task.) views.

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Integrated project and portfolio management

Changes in integrated project and portfolio management include end-to-end demand management and portfolio analysis solutions, and the ability to manually schedule tasks and effectively schedule using a top-down (top-down estimating: An estimating method that uses the actual costs of a previous, similar project as the basis for estimating cost totals of a current project. This method is often used when there is limited information about the project.) approach.

Manage project proposals

The new demand management functionality in Project Web App enables you to implement an end-to-end proposal (proposal: A suggested project plan, initiated in Project Web Access. Proposals provide better high-level analysis, and enable you to apply your business processes to track potential projects.) submission and approval process that uses templates, a Web-based proposal submission form, project lifecycles, and business strategies. Once a proposal is approved, you can easily create a project schedule based on the proposal and assign resources (resources: The people, equipment, and material that are used to complete tasks in a project.).

Analyze proposals for your project portfolio

Project Web App offers new portfolio analysis features. You can now analyze project proposals using business drivers, high-level cost constraints (constraint: A restriction set on the start or finish date of a task. You can specify that a task must start on or finish no later than a particular date. Constraints can be flexible [not tied to a specific date] or inflexible [tied to a specific date].), and high-level resource constraints before you make approval decisions.

User-controlled scheduling

In Project Web App, project managers can maintain control over their project plans (plan: A schedule of task start and finish dates and resource and cost data. A baseline plan is the original plan that you save and use to monitor progress. An interim plan is a set of dates you save during the project to compare to other interim plans.) and minimize unexpected changes using manually scheduled tasks. Factors such as task dependencies (task dependencies: A relationship between two linked tasks; linked by a dependency between their finish and start dates. There are four kinds of task dependencies: Finish-to-start [FS], Start-to-start [SS], Finish-to-finish [FF], and Start-to-finish [SF].) and calendar (calendar: The scheduling mechanism that determines working time for resources and tasks. Project uses four types of calendars: the base calendar, project calendar, resource calendar, and task calendar.) changes will no longer automatically adjust task dates when user-controlled scheduling is enabled.

Top-down summary tasks

At the beginning of the planning phase, project managers may only have some high-level information on key deliverables (deliverable: A tangible and measurable result, outcome, or item that must be produced to complete a project or part of a project. Typically, the project team and project stakeholders agree on project deliverables before the project begins.) and major milestones (milestone: A reference point marking a major event in a project and used to monitor the project's progress. Any task with zero duration is automatically displayed as a milestone; you can also mark any other task of any duration as a milestone.) of their projects. Using Project Web App, projects can be divided into high-level phases (phase: A group of related tasks that completes a major step in a project.) based on the overall timeline and budget (budget: The estimated cost of a project that you establish in Project with your baseline plan.). This means that dates for individual work items do not necessarily need to line up exactly with dates for the high-level phases.

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Scalable collaboration

A major goal in developing this version of Project Web App was to provide teams with tools customized for their size and maturity. To achieve this goal, improvements were made to help simplify submitting and approving timesheets (timesheet: In Project Web Access, the timesheet is a page where resources can record their progress on tasks and send updates to the project manager.) and task status. In addition, user delegation was added to support an uninterrupted collaborative experience.

Single entry mode for timesheets and task status

Project Web App offers a new unified mode for entering time and task progress. If your organization chooses to use this single entry mode, you can complete your timesheet and inform your manager of your task status with a single view.

Approval Center for timesheets and task status

In addition to being able to enter time and task progress in a single location, those with the appropriate permissions can now approve timesheets and task updates in a single view.

User delegation

The new user delegation feature in Project Web App enables one user to act as another user, regardless of permission-level differences. For example, if an administrator has a planned vacation and needs someone to fill in for her while she's away, she can identify a team member as her delegate, and that team member will have all of the administrator’s privileges.

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Extended platform

Project Web App offers an extended platform, including departmental custom fields, the ability to create multiple OLAP cubes that have department support, and end-user reporting that uses Excel Services.

Departmental custom fields

Departmental custom fields, or departments, enable you to define, at a resource, task, or project level, which fields are required or not required. This helps to filter information displayed throughout Project Web App, so that information is focused on what is applicable to each department. While this is not a security feature, it can help to simplify the interface for Project Web App users.

Multiple OLAP cubes with department support

Project Web App enables you to build more than one OLAP cube. In addition, you can now filter cube data by department.

Business intelligence with Excel Services

In this release, Excel Services is integrated with Project Web App to make it easier to create business intelligence views. As part of this integration, blank data-connected spreadsheets and out-of-box views are provided. The data available for reporting has also been expanded to include timesheet custom fields, project properties, and portfolio planner and optimizer data.

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