Author: editor@mpug.com

Cloud Middleware Connects Project Server to Workflow and Finance Systems

A Microsoft Gold-certified partner has introduced a new set of connectors intended to help users of Project Server and Project Online perform data integration with their work management and financial management systems, thereby eliminating double-entry of data. FluentPro Software has introduced FluentPro Integration Hub, which serves as a cloud-based middleware service to connect Microsoft’s Project applications with applications from Oracle, SAP, Salesforce as well as Microsoft Dynamics and BizTalk Server, among others. Integration Hub is hosted on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform. Users can choose bi-directional and unidirectional data flows and partial or full sync of data entities. The application will be especially helpful, said FluentPro CEO Anton Kravtsov in a prepared statement, “when it comes to integrated project planning, management as well as the cost management. We promise that you obtain complete information availability and transparency for decision makers. The software is available as a subscription service.

FluentPro Releases Reporting Tool for Project Online

A new project and portfolio management platform has been released specifically for small and medium businesses. Built on Microsoft’s Project Online service, PPM Express, from FluentPro, is intended to help people within those organizations collaborate more effectively on their projects. The Gold-certified Microsoft partner develops a number of other applications for use by project teams, including FluentPro PMO for Microsoft Project 2013, a program intended to accelerate set-up of a project management office. PPM Express includes 15 out-of-the box dashboards and reports to communicate project status among executives, managers, team members and other stakeholders. “In our city council we have about 20 active projects and seven project managers. With PPM Express we spend minutes to get status reports done instead of hours,” said user Alex Johnston, a senior project manager at an unnamed organization. “Our director loves dashboards.” The program “assures full visibility of portfolios and projects, ability to set standards for project management and facilitate proper management of resource utilization based on actual data from your projects,” added CEO Anton Kravtsov, in a press release.

i2e Consulting – Project Planning Pro

Project Planning Pro is produced by i2e Consulting.   Product Summary: This app lets users manage Microsoft projects on their Mac and iOS devices.           Capabilities: Import and export plans using Email, DropBox, BOX or iCloud Users can share plans as XML, CSV or PDF files Accommodates four types of tasks links: finish-to-start, start-to-start, finish-to-finish and start-to-finish Provides bird’s eye view of Gantt charts for easy navigation Have experience using this software? Tell MPUG readers what you think! [WPCR_INSERT] Buy or try today! Where to buy? Buy it now!      

PMI Expands Business Analysis Focus

PMI, the Project Management Institute®, will be developing a new standard for business analysis akin to what it already provides for project management with its PMBOK®. The not-for-profit organization expects to release the new foundational standard in 2017 to provide a “definitive body of knowledge” for people doing business analysis of projects, programs and portfolios. This work follows on PMI’s introduction of Business Analysis for Practitioners: A Practice Guide and its certification, Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA). The new publication will become part of a family of similar guides that includes the PMBOK Guide, The Standard for Program Management, The Standard for Portfolio Management, and the Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3). “As the role of business analyst becomes more essential to organizations, PMI will continue to expand its line of business analysis products and resources to meet the needs of BA professionals all over the world,” said PMI President and CEO Mark Langley in a prepared statement.

Project Online Gains New Apps

Microsoft will be building out capabilities in Project Online. The company recently announced that it had acquired the rights to several apps and add-ins from two of its top Project partners, Sensei Project Solutions and Projectum ApS. From Sensei Microsoft is taking three apps: • Task Master, for entering timesheets and updating tasks statuses from iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices; • Project Dashboard, an app for the iPad that helps the project manager stay updated on projects; and • Portfolio Dashboard, an app for both iPad and Project Online, which provides reporting based on industry best practices to give the user visibility and insight into a portfolio of projects and resources. “Sensei has been a tremendous partner to us and has fully embraced the add-in model for our Office 365 based Project and Portfolio Management solution,” said Sajan Parihar, worldwide leader of Microsoft’s Project & Portfolio management business, in a press release. “Their add-ins and apps provide great value to our joint clients, and we’re excited to bring them more broadly to organizations and users around the world.” Kenneth Steinness, CEO of Sensei, said that the apps sold would be released under Microsoft’s branding “and we will discontinue them as Sensei apps. ” However, he added, “We do have several apps left and plenty more being developed at the moment. ” Microsoft has also acquired Projectum’s cloud-based add-ins, Project Financials and Project Snapshot. The first allows the user to work with time-phased cost data and can be used to manage project costs, benefits and forecasts. The second lets project managers create snapshots of project-level information such as budget, actual cost, key performance indicators and more. At this year’s worldwide partner conference, Projectum was selected as the 2015 Microsoft Project and Portfolio Management Partner of the Year, acknowledged for its excellence in innovation. Sensei won the same award in 2014. “To a great extent, Microsoft’s success as a company depends on our ecosystem of partners, and the solutions, they bring to market, noted Marianne Steensen, managing director at Microsoft Denmark in a prepared statement. “We are excited that a Danish partner [received] such an acknowledgement globally. They help set high standards for innovation and for creating valuable solutions for our customers.”

99 Tip-Mania! Microsoft Project Management Tips

99 Tip-Mania! Microsoft Project Management Tips

  We’re featuring some of your favorite MPUG experts — alongside new authors — in a Microsoft Project 99-tip extravaganza to help you do your work faster and better.   3 Tips on Managing Projects and Clients By Eric Uyttewaal The 1%-10% rule, paying attention to out-of-scope elements and how to prevent clients from micro-managing your projects. 5 Tips to Transition to SharePoint with Ease By Robert Bogue Transitioning from email to SharePoint as a primary communication hub is easier than you might think. These guidelines will help get you up and running. 6 Tips for the Perfect Project Plan By Paul Naybour These tips will increase the chances that you’ll implement a successful project. 7 Essential Project Performance Measures By Stacey Barr A project is intended to make an impact on the business, so project KPIs need to examine impact at some point in time Here are essential measures. 6 Tips on Microsoft Project Templates By Bonnie Biafore Working with Microsoft’s Global template or Project template? Remember these tips. 5 Tips for Planning How to Pass Your PMP Exam By Cornelius Fichtner To pass your PMI PMP or CAPM exam, be a planner and apply good project management best practices in the process. 5 Common Agile PM Transition Pitfalls to Avoid By Mark Layton Any well-intended Agile PM transformation is at risk of slipping back to old ways if certain challenges and pitfalls are not addressed and avoided. 3 Task Tips By Eric Uyttewaal 3 handy task tips involving conversion factors for Hours per Day, keeping current durations and an exception to the rule against using constraints. An Exam Prep Tip: What Would PMBOK Do? By Cornelius Fichtner As you face your Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, remember to answer exam questions from the PMBOK perspective. Filter for Tasks Taking Place Outside of 8 to 5 By Ismet Kocaman If you want to identify which tasks don’t start at 8 a.m. and don’t finish at 5 p.m., here’s how. The Most Important 24 Hours Before PMP Exam Day By Cornelius Fichtner Two tips for making sure you are fully ready for your PMP exam day. Disconnecting a Project from a Shared Resource Pool By Ellen Lehnert To disconnect a project from an external resource pool, follow these two steps. 5 Questions to Ask for Assembling Your First Agile Team By Mark Layton Pulling together an Agile project management team? Here are five questions to guide your decision-making. 4 Handy Microsoft Project Scheduling Tips By Eric Uyttewaal The “4D-1D” approach, the power of Microsoft Project as scheduling software, a caveat about Auto Save and working with Project Server schedules offline. 5 Tips to Follow When You’re in the Hot Seat By Andy Kaufman You’ll make mistakes as a project manager; but how you respond in turn can make all the difference. Here are 5 tips worth remembering. Show Physical % Complete on Your Task Bars By Ismet Kocaman Here’s a handy tip for showing how much of your task is done in Microsoft Project. 5 PMP Exam Tips By Cornelius Fichtner These 5 PMP exam tips will help you prepare to tackle your project management test with greater confidence. 5 Tips for Becoming a Better Project Manager By Chad Lyne These tips will help you plan better meeting, manage stakeholders more effectively and be a better project manager every single day. 3 Tips: Autofilter, Entry Bar and the Timeline View By Ellen Lehnert These three tips will make your Microsoft Project work more effective. Use Your Mouse to Change the Duration Value By Ismet Kocaman A quick tip to help you increase or decrease the duration value of a cell in Microsoft Project. About Adding Columns in Project 2013 Tables By Nenad Trajkovski How come you can add a column to some tables and not others? No, it’s not a bug… Display Project Info and Task Count without Project By Ismet Kocaman Here’s a useful way to display project information and task count without running Microsoft Project. Finish to Finish/Start to Start Dependencies with Lag By Nenad Trajkovski This tip explains Lag with Dependencies other than Finish to Start, like Finish to Finish and Start to Start, in Microsoft Project 2013. Get a Quick View of a Custom Field Formula By Ismet Kocaman If you’re working with Project 2010 or Project 2013, use this subroutine to display the formula in a custom field. 4 Tips for Working Smarter in Microsoft Project By Ellen Lehnert These Quick Access tips will streamline your Project work in small, simple ways. Quick-check the Revision Number and Last Saved Info By Ismet Kocaman Here’s how you can see the revision number and “Last saved by” information of a Project file without opening it. Inactive Tasks and the Five-minute Fix By Angelo Arcoleo A simple five-minute addition that lets you see in the Task Detail form of Microsoft Project which tasks are inactive. Slack in Microsoft Project 2013 By Nenad Trajkovski How come you can have individual items with slack in your schedule, but then have total slack for the whole project show zero? 3 Project 2013 Tips By Bill Raymond Short, handy Project 2013 tips from an MVP. 2 Keyboard Shortcuts for Microsoft Project By Ismet Kocaman Two quick tips to speed your keyboarding activities in all versions of Microsoft Project. 8 Scheduling Tips for Project 2010 By Amjad Iqbal These quick tips will help you understand more about scheduling activities in Project 2010. Cropped and resized tools image courtesy of Janne Moren via a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) license.

Agile Companies Report Better Project Outcomes

Truly agile organizations have learned to apply a hybrid approach to get their projects done. Their project management approaches use a blend of practices, including not just agile, but also lean, extreme, and even waterfall. Yet only six percent of companies rate themselves as having a “high” level of agility. Another 45 percent say they’re of “moderate” agility. The rest appraise themselves as “low.” Those are some of the findings from the Project Management Institute (PMI) in its latest “Pulse of the Profession” report. The PMI research team conducted a survey among 1,397 project management professionals and leaders around the world. Respondents said that the three most important characteristics of an agile organization were: Flexibility and adaptability (selected by 73 percent and demonstrated “often” or “always” by 44 percent); Openness in communication (chosen by 68 percent and demonstrated often or always by 58 percent); and Openness to change (specified by 66 percent and demonstrated often or always by 46 percent). The survey found that project teams that consider themselves “more collaborative, communicative and flexible” have better outcomes on their projects. As the report noted, 81 percent of projects performed by organizations where the project teams are good at all three of those activities met the original goals vs. 53 percent in companies where project teams don’t perform well in those areas. The three most apparent that PMs point to as proof of agility in an organization are: Quick response to new opportunities (selected by 49 percent); Shorter cycles for production, review and decision-making (chosen by 39 percent); and Elimination of functional silos (picked by 36 percent). The three main barriers to increased organizational agility take these forms: Slow decision making and a cultural mindset that doesn’t support agility (both selected by 42 percent); Lack of executive engagement (37 percent); and Lack of communication between departments (35 percent). “Agility allows a company to react quickly to internal logistical changes and unforeseen shifts in the marketplace,” said PMI President and CEO Mark Langley in a prepared statement. “It’s a critical competency for any organization whose core business is affected by the variability and volatility of evolving technologies and economies.” The report is available for download on the PMI website.

Project Managers Invited to Help Transform Education

The Project Management Institute Educational Foundation, the non-profit arm of the global membership organization for project managers, is inviting PMs to participate in a sizable initiative: transforming education to help schools implement project-based learning. The foundation recently gave a grant to an education non-profit, Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21), which develops resources to guide schools in adopting 21st century learning and instructional practices. The funding helped P21 develop a set of free, online resources to teach the practices of project management to educators. The “toolkit” as it’s called, is intended “to bring project management into community conversations about school transformation,” the site explained. It provides tools, definitions and explanations of unfamiliar subjects, and links to other resources that will help project managers, other professionals and existing stakeholders “to better understand their communities, connect to existing dialogues and reform efforts, and navigate the complex world of education.” The toolkit also provides educator resources, including links to projects that can be used in the classroom and to successful programs already running in schools and districts. Project-based learning is a teaching method in which students build their knowledge and skills by immersing themselves into a complex problem or challenge — an “inquiry” — using project management techniques. As a recent article on the P21 website noted, a project in a history class might ask students to “investigate how slavery impacts the lives of black citizens in their towns.” Answering that inquiry would require multiple kinds of the “21st century” activities encompassing collaboration, creativity, communication and critical thinking. In a statement about the toolkit project Michael DePrisco, who heads up academic and educational programs for PMI, said that “The skills that young people need to be successful in the 21st century world of work are unquestionably inherent to project management… We understand the value that project-based learning adds to the classroom, and equipping teachers and students with project management skills better ensures that they know how to expertly manage those projects.” The toolkit is freely available online.

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