Project goes agile!


*** Update 8/3/2018 - There have been some UI changes in this feature set - all functionality remains but names and navigation changed to aid use of these features - see https://support.office.com/en-us/article/use-task-boards-in-microsoft-project-online-desktop-client-1b9b44d7-fd8e-4b3b-ab94-2b97deb9945b#bkmk_makeyourprojectagile for details. ***

 

Today sees the announcement from the Project team of the new agile capabilities in the Project Online Desktop client, which, along with the recently released Planner integration gives project managers a broad choice of working style when managing their projects – using an agile approach with Scrum and Kanban, or a hybrid approach with these mixed in with the more traditional waterfall approach.  For full details please see the blog post at https://blogs.office.com/en-us/2017/10/30/introducing-new-ways-to-work-in-microsoft-project/ and the “Use agile in Microsoft Project” feature article.

Project-agile-1-v2

For more information on the Planner integration see “Streamline cross-team work with the newly integrated Project Online Desktop Client and Microsoft Planner.”

Some of you will already have seen the agile capabilities if you are in the Office Insiders channel – and the features will be coming to our monthly targeted channel (aka first release) over the coming days, and then for our customers in the deferred channels you will see these features next year.  We are also renaming our release channels – and what we had called Deferred will be called Semi-Annual channel – and you will see the features next July 2018, and the First Release for Deferred will be called Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) and you will see the new features a few months earlier in March 2018.

Technically the best way to think of these new features is as a new set of templates, views and columns available to allow more flexible options for managing your projects.  For example going to the normal Gantt chart view you can add the column ‘Agile' which is a Yes/No field.  When set to ‘Yes’ then these tagged tasks will show if you switched over to one of the new agile views – Scrum or Kanban.  Same tasks – just displayed in a different view.  In the Scrum views you can set a task to be delivered in a specific sprint – in Kanban you would choose to categorize the task as Backlog, Next up, in progress – or your own categories.  You can also show the columns such as the sprint or spring start/finish dates in the other project views – but be careful when looking at dates.  If you are planning in scrum then best to use manually scheduled tasks and not use (or at least don’t show in your working view) the project start/end dates.  The specific sprint has its own configured date range which isn’t tied to any of the scheduling dates.  If you entered scheduled dates then these would not affect the sprint – likewise changing the sprint will not change the scheduled dates – hence the suggestion to keep with just one of the other.

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One other support tip is for adding sprints – as this has raised a few questions with the early users.  You do this via the Adjust Sprints option – where you can generate new sprints through to a custom date, for example – and here I’ve also changed a couple of the lengths to 3 weeks over the local holiday period at the end of the year.

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One final point – this feature is only released for the Project Online Desktop Client – basically the client that comes with the Project Online Professional or Premium subscriptions – so you will not be getting these features with Project Professional 2016 (sometimes referred to as the perpetual license, or msi install product) or indeed Project Professional 2013.  You will also not be able to use these features when connected to Project Server 2016 even if you are using the subscription client.  As the server does not know how to handle the additional information in the plan we block the functionality unless you are just working with mpp files or are connected to Project Online.

Comments (9)

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  1. Mustaq says:

    very nice feature. Much required and awaited. Is adding the same feature on Project Server 2016 – On-Premise is scheduled?

    1. Hi Mustaq, there are currently no plans to add this feature to Project Server 2016 or the Project Professional 2016 client.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

      1. Nelson L Atwell says:

        Seems like MS should start planning for this then. Traditional waterfall is quickly becoming obsolete, so if MS Project doesn’t also want to be obsolete, Agile should be included in all versions.

        1. Hi Nelson, I certainly don’t see waterfall becoming obsolete any time soon – with many customers using a hybrid of waterfall and agile. I’m not aware of any software company that would add new functionality to all of their versions – as that can stifle innovation as we help our customers on their digital transformations.
          Best regards,
          Brian.

  2. Hi, I am in the UK and downloaded the Project 2016 client from my Project Online Pro subscription but I don’t see the Agile Icon – is the new feature restricted right now?

    1. Hi Gordon, it should not be country specific – as long as you are in one of the channels where it has already released you should see it. Insiders and Monthly should see it – if you are in one of the slower release channels then you may not see the features until March for Semi-Annual (Targeted) – which was First release for Deferred or July for Semi-Annual, which was the deferred channel. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/mt465751.aspx is a good reference and shows November 2nd Monthly release as having the Agile features – build Version 1710 (Build 8625.2121).
      Hopefully this explains why you aren’t seeing the features. Other reasons could be if you are connecting to on-premises Project Server – which does not support these new features.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

      1. Omar Quesada says:

        Hi Brian,

        My Project Professional 2016 version is 1711 (build 8730.2127 Click-to-Run) in a Monthly Channel, and is connected to a Project Online subscription.

        I don’t have yet the agile functionality, based on your nov.28 replay – if I understood correctly, I should have on the agile functionality already.

        Something else I should do in order to get the agile functionality?

        Thanks in advance.

  3. Robert Kapaska says:

    I currently operate Microsoft Project 2016 (msi) on my laptop (Windows 10 OS). I would like to utilize the Agile features of Microsoft Project Online subscription. Is there a conflict running both version on my laptop?

    1. You cannot run both together Robert – but if you run the Project Online Desktop client you wouldn’t need to still use Project Professional 2016 – as the subscription version does the same thing and more.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

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