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More Microsoft Project 12 features popping up

New MS Project 2006 features revealed at Project Conference held last week are making their way through the web. Bill Raymond posted a list of the top 10 on his blog here: MPA Blog. I'm interested to see that the first item:

Project Professional has some nice scheduling enhancements, but the client will remain mostly the same as Project 2003.

is really not a feature at all, but a recognition of the relative lack of any new features. Of course there is one greatly anticipated feature on the client and that is multi-level undo which people have been asking for for more than a decade. The rest of the features on Bill's list are all related to Project Server in one way or another.

This isn't that surprising though since the audience at the conference (according to Larry Duff's blog) was overwhelmingly people who make their living from Project Server. The ordinary desktop user doesn't spend money to go to a multi-day conference about project. Indeed, since the release of Project 1998 they can mostly make due with the skills they have as not much has fundamentally changed. I suppose there must be some who advocate for the single user with a single copy of project, but they are few and scattered and do not seem to have Microsoft's ear. I am somewhat concerned that the overwhelming feedback that Microsoft gets from those with an economic stake in developing and selling solutions based on Microsoft Project is what is setting the direction for future innovation (or in the case of the client, the lack thereof). More than once I've seen consultants grin sheepishly when I have referred to Project Server as "the Consultant's Full-Employment Act".

Of course to counter my argument is this example from the "I hate MS Project" crowd titled "why-ms-project-sucks-for-software" which seems to point that Microsoft has the right priorities - only he doesn't know it yet. Some of his concerns - particularly those of integration with other software development tools are on Microsoft's radar and are being addressed... the only issue being that it requires a suite of MS software rather than the diverse collection of tools he lists.

Maybe the average user does want a highly complex, integrated solution which requires extensive infrastructure? Or then again, maybe not.


Comments (2)

Hoping to see at least the ability to identify a critical path AFTER leveling resources (if not full critical chain capabilities).

My personal peeve is when you past in a chuck of text - say cut from a word document representing tasks filled out in a data entry form, Project writes over the existing tasks. You have to INSERT the number (or more) rows to make a place for this text.

This is not the case if you are cutting and pasting tasks from another project.

My sense is, that the developers of project don't actually use it is ways we here in the field do. There are dozens of other little nits like this that woudl improve the lots of us desktop users.

I know the server side featurs are useful to some folks, but without a continuosly improving desktop tool the competition will be passing by real soon. This won;t happen of course, since the suite of products is tightly integrated into Office, but it sure does annoy me when really simple improvements can't get in the product - UNDO was just one.

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