Getting Started with Microsoft Project Online

Management wants you to start reporting across projects, as well as have a better understanding of resource management and conflicts. You did some research and found that Microsoft Project Online has all the resource planning and robust reporting via Power BI and robust views to meet the need. And since you’re already using Microsoft 365 Project, it’s a no-brainer.

Microsoft says you can stay organized, focused, and in charge. Tackle anything from small projects to large initiatives. You may or may not be a project manager, but now you can be the boss of any project with a powerful, easy-to-use app.

We’re here to tell you it’s true. But without all the gimmicky marketing wordology. Yes, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft SharePoint, and the plethora of Microsoft products part of Office 365 are great. Unless you know how to use them, what’s the point?

This particular article is going to focus on some very useful items with regard to Project Web App. So here we go!

What is Project Web App?

Welcome to Project Web App! Need a project management tool? Project Web App, which is part of Microsoft Project Online, is a robust Web application that you can use for so much. From managing project requests and project proposals, to optimizing portfolios of projects and programs, to entering time in a timesheet. YES YOU CAN!

This video and article gets you grounded with Project Online and Project Web App. It can be daunting. And we want to help you acclimate to this new PPM Solution!

For Project managers

Project Managers are the group of users that create and maintain project, resources and tasks. They also assign resources to the various tasks of a project, as well as track work and overall project status.

If you are a project manager, you are probably going to first want to either create or import a project in Microsoft PPM. To do this with Microsoft Project Professional, you first create a connection to Project Web App in Project professional. You then either create a new blank project, or, you can import a project into the system.

In Project Web App you can use an Enterprise Project Type (EPT) to create a new project. You can click Create or import projects on the Get Started with Project Web App Web Part, or you can use the EPT in Project Center.

Then there’s the Quick Launch. On it you click Projects. Then on the ribbon, click the Projects tab to gain access to all the powerful tools used in Project Center. Clicking the New button exposes the available options to create a new project. You can create an Enterprise Project, create a SharePoint Task List, or use Project Professional.

As a project manager you may also be interested in resource management. Or perhaps setting up timesheets to track team members time and update task progress approvals. And of course to not forget status reporting via reporting and dashboards. Leveraging Power BI opens up a world of reporting that is truly incredible.

This and much more is possible in Project Online.

For Team members

Those who actually perform the work of the project are known as team members in Project Web App.

Most team members will start out viewing the project schedule. This helps to see where their work fits into the overall schedule. It’s often helpful to get some insight into the “big picture”. As a team member, you would use the Project Center to view the overall project schedule.

Then again, you may want to fill out your timesheet or enter the status of your assigned tasks. Team members would click on Tasks or Timesheet in the Quick Launch to view their assigned work.

And remember, although a team member may be very task focused, there will be times when you need to interact with document, deliverables, issues and risks. These items are all available within the project site. The project site is accessible by clicking on the project name in Project Center, then on the Project tab, in the Navigate group, click Project Site. You can also click directly on documents, issues or risks button in the Navigate group.

For Portfolio managers

Portfolio managers are the people who help guide project requests through a process of comparing proposals against business needs, financial constraints, and other factors in order to select the optimal portfolio of projects.

How this process starts out is often very different between organizations. Workflows and approvals, business needs, project reporting metrics, are very customer-centric. All of which are used in the setup of a project intake and governance process (via workflow) in Project Web App. This includes creating business drivers, impact statements, then ranking business drivers to come within an acceptable consistency ratio.

For Site administrators

If you want to know who configures Project Web App, it’s typically your site administrator. Many times, however, organizations will have an outside vendor help out in this area since it is so specialized.

Nonetheless, these individuals are responsible for setting up a wide array of configuration options in Microsoft Project Online Server Settings. These would include custom fields, lookup tables, views, security, Project Detail Pages (PDP) and much more!

A good starting point for site administrators is the Project Web App Settings page. To access this page, click Settings, in the top-right corner of the Project Web App site, and then click Project Web App Settings.