Microsoft’s Office 365 PPM tool, known as Project Online is a very flexible tool in that it is fully configurable to support your organisations PPM requirements. An intro to some of the configuration options can be found in my getting started guide I wrote a few years back: https://pwmather.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/getting-started-with-projectonline-round-up-ps2013-office365-project-ppm-sharepointonline-pm-sp2013/
In this mini series of blog posts we will look at an option for supporting a simple project hierarchy of projects and programmes – known as programs across the pond. Due to the flexibility Project Online offers, there are several ways this can be done – there is no right or wrong way. The right way is the way that works for your organisation. In this example we will use custom fields to support projects and programmes, these will be at the project level, task level and also the issues and risks lists. But you could do this with Enterprise Project Types (EPTs) with different project site templates and custom fields but for the purpose of this blog post we will just use the fields and all projects are under that same EPT. In this series of posts we will look at the minimum required PWA configuration, the SharePoint configuration and then finish off with some simple example reports making use of the configuration changes we implement.
Firstly we will look at the PWA custom fields then the Project Site columns. In PWA navigate to PWA Settings > Enterprise Custom Fields and Lookup Tables. I created a new lookup table to hold the following values to determine the level, I called this Project Plan Type:
I created another lookup table called Program to list the programs used in the organisation:
As you can see, I just created two test / example program values just for the purpose of this blog post. Next I created two project level custom fields, one call Program linking to the Program lookup table and one called Project Plan Type linking to the Project Plan Type lookup table:
These are used to tag the projects with the correct project type and associate the projects to the correct program.
I also created a task level field called Escalation Level and linked that to the Project Plan Type lookup table:
This task level field is used to escalate / highlight tasks or milestones from the project plans up to the program level if needed.
These are the only fields I need to add to support my simple project / program scenario.
Next up I will configure a Project Center view to support my projects and programs, in PWA Settings navigate to Manage Views and create the new view/s as required. In this example, I copied the default Summary view, called it Programs. I then edited this new Programs view to include the two new project level fields – Program and Project Plan Type. I then added a grouping to group by Program then by Project Plan Type and sort by Project Plan Type:
Which results in – these are just test projects for the purpose of this blog post:
This view enables us to easily see the project and program data as well as aggregate the data to the summary grouping rows where applicable.
I then updated the Task Summary Project view to include the new Escalation Level field so that this new field can be used in PWA. It could also be added to an Enterprise Global view so that it was available by default in a Project Desktop client view/s. The updated view can be seen here:
Next, ensure the two new Project level fields are present on a Project Detail Page (PDP) so that users can set the values as needed.
We are now able to capture the schedule data required to support this simple scenario for projects and programs. The details for each project are managed as normal in the “2_Project” type projects, any tasks or milestones that need escalating to the program would be tagged correctly and viewed in reports. Program level activities are managed in the “1_Program” type project, all of the program level summary details such a Status Summary as seen on the PDP image above are added to the program project. In the next post we will look at how we can support this on the Issues and Risks lists on the Project Sites.