A few weeks ago, preview versions of Microsoft Office products for 2016 were released. The release included Microsoft Office 2016 suite products, plus Project and Visio. All the products are available in desktop and office 365 formats for trials.
We shared the links to download/install preview of Microsoft Office and Project 2016 in this post a while ago.
Since then, I wanted to write my first hand review of Project 2016, so here it goes.
Installation of Project 2016
First things first, installation challenges.
Prior to installing Microsoft Project 2016 (this is the same for Office 2016) you will need to uninstall the 2013 version of the same product, as they can’t both be installed at the same time.
It’s easy to uninstall and then reinstall a new version, right? Not really.
Unfortunately, this isn’t as simple as it sounds particularly if you have ever had Microsoft Project 2013 office 365 version installed on your machine along with Project 2013 desktop version. At least in my case, I have tried every possible way of removing 2013 version, but Microsoft Project 2016 kept crashing soon after it started. Here, and may be few other places, described a solution to an issue but it never worked for me and eventually I end up installing to a fresh VM that has no traces of prior version.
What Project 2016 looks like
Project 2016 looks exactly the same as its predecessor:
Compatibility with Project Server 2013
It works with Project Server 2013.
You can configure your account to connect with the PWA instance in the usual way.
No changes in terms of design, or layout of tabs, or options within those tabs. So no learning curve there.
However, the first thing you will notice is the ‘Tell me what you want to do’ option on the ribbon.
This is not just an online/local search option which can bring you list of URLs or commands to match you search, it’s much more than that and quite intuitive to use.
For instance, I wanted to create/insert a milestone task in my project, so I did the following:
Considering the first option most relevant to my requirement, I clicked on the first one Insert Milestone, and result is below:
Not only does this help you list all the commands close to your requirement, it also performs the action.
In the past, I have seen a need to have an interactive tutorial or guide that would help the user with Project options while scheduling. This option can fill that gap to some extent.
Timelines were introduced in Project 2013, which were another way of presenting an attractive summary of your schedules.
In Project 2016, it has moved another step forward, you can now create more than 1 timeline within the same schedules.
Here is one I created below to depict Project and Project summary tasks:
To create 2 or more timelines, click on the timeline bar to insert another timeline:
You will now see the 2nd timeline bar to represent milestones of the project:
The much awaited option, though not visible yet but will be in either a final version or once you connect Project with Project Server 2016, is Resource Engagement.
A detailed description of Resource Engagement can be found here.
Microsoft Project is a great scheduling product. Combining it with Project Server can enable an organization to have a complete Project and Portfolio Management suite which can help increase the efficiency of project management activities.
In Microsoft Project 2016 the multiple Timeline Views option, and an option to manage Resource Engagement definitely adds great value to an already great product.
With Project Server 2016 coming soon, I am looking forward to upgrading Project and Project Server 2016 to many organisations.
Enjoy Microsoft Project 2016!