Project Server includes a COM add-in for Outlook that enables Outlook users to see their task assignments and report their status. This information is submitted to Project Server for project manager approval and is eventually incorporated into the project plan as actual work. The Outlook integration add-in allows team members who would rather work in Outlook than in the Tasks Center in Project Web Access to see their assignments and keep the project manager up-to-date on their status.
In this section we’ll illustrate how a team member works with his Project Server– based EPM task assignments in Outlook.
Rob Young, a team member at A. Datum Corporation, has task assignments in several active and upcoming project plans. Rob has previously installed the Outlook integration add-in from Project Server. The add-in adds a toolbar and a new tab, Project Web Access, to the Options dialog box (Tools menu) that Rob sees:
Rob clicks the Import New Assignments button on the Project Web Access toolbar in Outlook. After he enters his Project Server login information, he sees that a new task assignment is available for him to import into Outlook.
Rob checks his appointments for the week of August 18 and sees the multi-day appointment that is a task assignment in the Active Directory West project.
Rob double-clicks the multi-day appointment. Between the Appointment and Scheduling tabs in the Project Web Access Appointment dialog box, the Outlook integration add-in adds the Project Web Access tab. Rob clicks that tab.
Here Rob sees the key information for this assignment—the task and project it is part of, and his timesheet view.
If Rob wants to, he can display this and his other tasks in Project Web Access by clicking the Go To Timesheet button. However, the timesheet grid for the task that’s visible here is fine for his reporting needs.
Rob records his recent actual work on this task and verifies that the remaining work is zero.
At this point his actuals are recorded locally but haven’t been submitted to the project manager. Rob takes care of this next.
Rob clicks the Update Project Manager button in the Project Web Access Appointment dialog box.
The add-in submits Rob’s actuals to Steve Masters, the project manager of the Active Directory West project. This update will remain in Project Server until the project manager approves it, and then it will be recorded in the Active Directory West project plan.
As far as the project manager is concerned, the actual work submitted through Outlook is essentially the same as actuals submitted through Project Web Access. For handling assignment details, the Outlook integration add-in makes Outlook a reasonable substitute for Project Web Access for resources who prefer to work in Outlook.