Microsoft Project Roadmap is now live and rolling out! This is available on one of my demo tenants, in this post we will have a walkthrough creating a roadmap. For those of you who might not be aware, Roadmap is a new feature added to Microsoft’s PPM offering, this was announced at Microsoft Ignite: https://pwmather.wordpress.com/2018/09/24/microsoft-project-the-future-ignite-ppm-pmot-workmanagement-projectonline-projectmanagement/ and: https://pwmather.wordpress.com/2018/09/26/microsoft-project-roadmap-product-at-a-glance-ppm-office365-flow-powerplatform-dynamics365-azure-azureboards/
Once this has been rolled to your tenant, it will need to be enabled, Brian Smith covered that already here: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/brismith/2018/12/07/project-online-getting-started-with-roadmap/. Once activated on your tenant, you will see a new option on the Project Home page:
For those of you not familiar with the new Project Home, see this post: https://pwmather.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/new-projectonline-project-home-office365-ppm-ui-ux-msproject-fabricui/
Clicking the Roadmap option for the first time will trigger Roadmap to be set up for the first time on that tenant, you will see the message below:
Once that has completed after a short while, you will see the following page:
This is the blank roadmap canvas ready for you to create your roadmap items. There is a prompt to do this, see the “Add a row” card. Click the Add row button, this will load a side panel on the right:
Specify a name for the row – this could be the project name, feature name etc., it is just your reference for that roadmap item row. Specify an owner for that roadmap row – this is the person who is responsible for that project or feature etc. Then select the connection, the row can either connect to a Project Online project or an Azure DevOps Board:
In this example, I will select Project Online. The panel then changes so you can enter the PWA URL:
Enter the PWA URL and press the green tick to validate it:
Now start typing the name of the project you want to link this row to:
Then click the project name to select it. After a few moments, the panel will update:
Click See Details to view the permissions of the Flow – Roadmap uses Microsoft Flow behind the scenes to sync the data from Project Online and Azure Boards into the Roadmap database. Click Continue, the panel will then update to show what services the Flow will connect to and the account it will use:
Click Connect, after few moments the panel will update to Add items, here you can search for tasks from the linked Project Online project / Azure Board project:
Start typing the task names then select them, the selected items will appear in the table below:
Note the Type column, “Phase” are tasks with a duration greater than 0 and “Key date” are 0 duration tasks. Click Add at the bottom once the tasks are selected. These items will then be added to the roadmap row:
Notice in the right hand panel, you can see the last time the project was updated – this is the last time the project was synchronised to the roadmap database using Microsoft Flow. This happens every 5 minutes but you can trigger it manually by pressing the update button. We will look at the Flow later on. In the right hand panel, you can also click the project name, this will link to the Project Detail Page for that project in Project Online. You can access this project panel by either clicking the row title or selecting the row then clicking the Details button above the timeline.
Key dates can be added to the timeline using the Add key date button:
Key dates can be anything from key business dates to dates when a product is due to ship, it is just a way to visualise important dates for the roadmap.
Multiple rows can be added, you can have different rows linked to different PWA instances or different Azure Boards. The row order can be changed using the Move up or Move down arrow buttons above the timeline when a row is selected.
All items on the roadmap can have a status set:
Give the roadmap a name by clicking the “Untitled roadmap”, this will open a panel for you to update the name:
You have other options on the page, zoom to change the zoom level of the timeline. Filter to filter for a specific owner. Go to date to scroll the timeline to a date and Members to share access to the roadmap. This is done via Office 365 groups, you can either link this to an existing group or create a new one:
Once linked to a group, you will see the privacy level below the roadmap title:
The roadmap then has all of the features the Office 365 groups provide such as File, Planner, SharePoint, Conversations etc. The group can be accessed by clicking the group name on the members callout:
Clicking the Project link on the top bar will take you back to the Project Home, here you will now see your roadmap:
You can create many roadmaps from Project Home, linked to different projects and different Office 365 groups. If you wanted another user to access your roadmap, copy the URL link once you’ve accessed the roadmap then send then the URL, just ensure they have been added as a member to that roadmap.
As mentioned earlier on, the roadmap feature use Microsoft Flow to sync the data with the roadmap database. For each row you create that is linked to Project Online or Azure Boards in a roadmap, a new Flow will get created automatically. These will run every 5 minutes to sync the data. Two rows in my example roadmap were linked to projects in Project Online, this created two Flows for me:
We can drill in and see the Flow:
There are many actions in this Flow to sync the data, the Flow does many checks checking things like the project last published time and will only sync if the project publish was greater than 15 minutes ago. I wouldn’t recommend changing this Flow unless you know what you are doing – there is no need to change this Flow, leave it be! If you do happen to break it by accident, disable the Flow from the Flow admin page then on the roadmap, try to manually update a project row that is linked to that Flow, it will display a Fix option:
Click Fix, the panel will then update to show the Fix button:
Click Fix and the Flow will be redeployed.
That’s it for this post – a great addition to the Microsoft PPM offering.