Following the Microsoft tradition, the focus areas and key enhancements in Project have been visualized in a pie chart featuring four segments. The overall impression one gets following the apparent logic of the alterations is first of all a clearly traceable business orientation and, which is an equally important consideration, a marked emphasis on developing the SharePoint ecosystem. The above has so far resulted in a rethink in terms of UI and design, as well as a number of mergers with previously acquired wildcards (think Groove or FAST Search or PerformancePoint, and feel free to continue).
First off, the headlines for the look-and-feel part of the pre-announcement reveal nothing ground-breaking in the way that Microsoft is still sticking to the stated commitment of ensuring consistent user experience across devices and products. This certainly includes the Ribbon (which in Project is “more like Excel with scheduling”), new views (timeline view, long since overdue) and web-based project editing. Also, an interesting feature in this regard is user controlled scheduling.
The centripetal arrangement patterns are quite fascinating to observe, the center being enterprise users and enterprise content. Fundamentally important in the Project talk is the SharePoint reference. Project 2010 sits on top of SharePoint 2010, which by default implies SharePoint deployment in enterprise settings. Naturally, the 64-bit-only requirement holds as true as ever.
In understanding changes applicable to Project 2010 the key is deeper integration – remember the seamless user experience stipulation. This entails, on the one hand, integration with Office, Exchange and things like Visual Studio Team Foundation Server. On the other hand, there is the “strategic acquisitions coming into play” factor. This time it’s the emergence of unified Project and Portfolio unified management, which again aims at both simplicity and consistency.
Project 2010 will ship in three editions: Standard, Professional and Project Server.