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What's New in Microsoft Project 2003
Two Editions of Microsoft Project 2003
Microsoft Project 2003 is still available in two editions : Microsoft Project 2003 Standard edition and Microsoft Project 2003 Professional edition. The only real difference between these two versions for this release is that Project Standard is no longer able to connect to Project Server. In order to save and publish projects to Project Server 2003, you must have Project Professional.
Project Standard is best for project managers who are managing single projects or projects that do not share information about resources, while Project Professional and Project Server are the best choice for organizations that manage many projects that share resources, or for organizations that need to gather status information from their resources and share it via the Web with other members of the organization.
Using Project Server and Project Professional, a project manager or others on the project team can publish relevant documents and issues for discussion to Windows SharePoint Services, linking the documents and issues or risks to specific projects, tasks, or resources. The documents and discussion issues might relate to the goals of the project, specifications for completing tasks , change orders, budgets , and so forth. Furthermore, resources and others can also post issues and documents for review by the project team.
Project 2003 can read Project 98, Project 2000, and Project 2002 files, and it can save to these formats as well. However, you don't have to save in the Project 2002 format for a Project 2002 user to be able to open the file, because Project 2002 can open, work with, and save Project 2003 files. Of course, the Project 2002 user will not see features or field data that Project 2002 doesn't support, but in general those features and fields are simply hidden and remain unchanged when you open the file in Project 2003 again to work with it.
When creating filters that use fields that have value lists assigned, the value list choices now appear in the filter dialog box so that you can pick from the value list when creating the filter.
The Project Guide now has a new wizard to assist users with formatting views to optimize them for printing. This set of guide pages ensures that the view you see will be printed in a way that makes it easy to read.
There is also a new feature called Copy Picture to Office. This wizard helps you optimize the creation of an image file that is a snapshot of what you see on the screen. But this wizard goes further than just asking what format the image should be. It helps you pick which fields should be visible, which rows should be shown, and more.
Project 2003 also uses the new Assistance Center help features that, when connected to the Internet, will search an online database of help topics and articles on the Microsoft Web site before it searches the local help information. In this way, the Office 2003 family of applications gives its users access to updated and current content via the Web.
The Template Gallery on the Microsoft Office Web site now contains Project templates. The gallery is available as a sidepane in Project 2003 and makes the searching for and downloading of templates fast and easy.
The Watson error reporting tool has been improved to provide Microsoft with more helpful information about system or application crashes. This tool, when the user chooses to send the report to Microsoft, will send information directly to the product team about how the application crashed. During the beta testing of Project 2003, huge numbers of bugs were fixed based on information sent to the product team from the new Watson technology.
Project Server 2003
Project Server 2002 introduced a new wave of features to Microsoft Project users to allow for Enterprise Project Management (EPM). Project Server 2003 has built on that wave by improving and stabilizing the features introduced with Project Server 2002, as well as adding some important new abilities of its own. There are many changes and new features in Project Server 2003. Below we will cover the major changes, but this by no means covers all the changes. On the installation CD for Project is a document called WhatsNew.doc. It contains a complete listing of all the changes. Review this document for more detailed information about the new features of Project Server and Project Standard/Professional.
One of the most obvious changes in Project Server 2003 is the integration with Windows SharePoint Services. This replaces the SharePoint Team Services integration in Project Server 2002. Windows SharePoint Services (WSS) provides a much more robust and complete solution for document, issue, and risk management. Risks have been added in a way similar to issues, which allows users to capture information about risks to the projects in Project Server. The document management features are a big change in WSS. WSS allows for document check-in and check-out , as well as versioning of documents. While it may not compete with full featured document management systems, it does provide the features that most organizations will need for managing their Project- related documents.
Project Server 2003 also adds the capability for administrators to more tightly control the reporting periods used to collect status from resources. These time periods can be defined and then locked down so that resources can be stopped from editing status for past time periods. This is an important feature for organizations that integrate Project Server with accounting for timesheet systems.
Project Server now has integration with Active Directory that allows administrators to let a user's membership in Active Directory groups control their membership in the Project Server Enterprise Resource Pool or in Project Server User Groups. Once the integration is set up, when a user's Windows account is made a member of a specified Active Directory group, Project Server will automatically add them to the Project Server group that is linked to that Active Directory group . The same works for the Enterprise Pool. This can help streamline the administration of users and resources in Project Server.
Resource managers no longer need to have a copy of Project Professional in order to add resources to specific projects. Project Server 2003 adds a browser-based version of the Build Team dialog box. It allows resource managers to assign resources to projects directly from the Project Web Access interface. In some cases, this can reduce the number of Project Professional seats an organization needs to purchase.
There have been huge improvements in the programmability of Project Server. There is now a full timesheet API that allows for full programmatic access to the timesheet submission and approval process. This will allow developers to create customized timesheet applications that work directly with Project Server's own methods but that are customized to the needs of the customer. Likewise, there is also a full Enterprise Custom Field API that allows developers to programmatically create and edit enterprise custom fields and outline codes. The PDS now also allows for the programmatic creation and editing of Enterprise Resources and Enterprise Projects.
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