What is Microsoft Project Online?

Microsoft PPM is a powerful, cloud-based service offered through Office 365.  Office 365 Project is a solution for Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) as well as every day work and centralized management.

Project Online Professional provides features to manage the tactical day-to-day activities of managing a project schedule.  The PPM solution also provides portfolio analysis features, allowing companies to select the optimal portfolio that aligns with their strategic objectives.

Efficient Frontier in Microsoft Project Online

Let’s dive into the various areas of the Office 365 PPM solution:


Project Management

Microsoft Project helps project managers execute projects with a highly robust scheduling engine.  This scheduling engine enables dynamic project schedules that provide realistic and accurate timelines.

microsoft project project planning

Built-in Templates

Project also provides access to built-in templates based on industry best practices.  This helps new project managers start their project planning process in the right path.  No need to create schedules from scratch.

Project Planning

The scheduling features of the desktop application Microsoft Project help simplify a project managers workflow.  From timeline views and Gantt charts to prepopulated pulldown menus, the process to create a project plan is greatly simplified.

Out-of-the-box reports

MS Project includes a myriad of reports that report on cost information, resource work, use charts and graphs, and much more.  The content pack for Power BI and Project Online provides a great start for some amazing reports and dashboards.

Multiple Timelines

Use the timeline feature to create multiple graphical views of your projects.  You may include all project activities or just some high-level milestones, then share them with team members and other stakeholders.

Roadmap View

Create a high-level view of overall project timelines and share it with others.

microsoft project online out of the box reports

Portfolio Management

Align your portfolio with the business objectives to get the results executives and program managers are looking for.  Advanced reporting via Power BI and Excel support decisions with key metrics.

microsoft project online portfolio optimization

Portfolio Optimization

Project Online helps executives model different portfolio scenarios using varying cost and resource constraints.  Weighing project proposals against a set of strategic business drivers helps ensure portfolios are in alignment with business priorities.

Evaluate Project Proposals

Use Project Intake features to capture and evaluate project ideas from the organization.  Use a standard process guided by a business workflow to ensure a solid business case and appropriate approvals.


Resource Management

Be in the know about how resources are utilized and resource allocation.  Project Online provides simplified time and task management where teams can enter task updates from anywhere.

Resource Request

Resource Engagements may be used to request and lock in resources during resource planning.  Ensuring projects are staffed with the correct skill set and resource managers are in the know.  Resource leveling ensuring your utilization report present no surprises.

Heat Maps

Use visual capacity vs. demand heat maps to quickly identify overused or underused resources.  Use the information gained to optimize assignments and project resource.

microsoft project resource planning

Modules of the Microsoft PPM Solution, Project Online

Microsoft Project Professional

Project management in the cloud through desktop client and web browser. Keep your projects, resources, and teams organized and on track. Easily and efficiently plan projects, track status, and collaborate with others from virtually anywhere.

  • Virtually anytime/anywhere access through web browser
  • Project scheduling and costing
  • Resource management
  • Publishing projects to the cloud
  • Each subscription license allows for up to five concurrent installations of the Project desktop application

Project Web App

Project Web App which is part of Microsoft Project Server and Project Online, is a robust Web application that you can use to do everything from analyzing portfolios and managing proposals, to entering time in a timesheet and updating task status.  Project Web App is made up of three main areas:
the Quick Launch, the ribbon, and the content display area.

  • The Quick Launch lists the main views and pages that you are able to access. You can click these links to navigate to different areas of the program. Some pages in Project Web App do not include the Quick Launch. For example, when you fill out a form, you must complete and save the form, or cancel out of it, in order to see the Quick Launch.
  • The ribbon is the toolbar that you use to perform actions on what is currently in the content display area. There may be multiple tabs on the ribbon, to change between different sets of actions. Each tab contains groups of related buttons that you can use to interact with the page content.
  • The content display area contains information about your portfolios, projects, and tasks. This is the main focus of each page, and it is where you enter and review data.

Project Online

Project Online is a service available as a component of Office 365.  Project Online is a cloud-based project and portfolio management solution for portfolio and resource managers.  You can manage your portfolios, programs and resources for optimal outcomes. Includes all of the Project Online Professional functionality, plus:

  • Virtually anytime/anywhere access through the web browser
  • Resource management
  • Portfolio selection and optimization
  • Demand management
  • Enterprise resource management
  • Out-of-box portfolio reports

Project Online Target Audiences

FeatureDescriptionProject for the Web
BaselinesSet project baselines to monitor current performance against past performance.
Calendar ViewTrack important project and task deadlines and milestones on a weekly or monthly calendar view.
Critical PathVisually track the tasks that represent the longest path through the project.
DeadlinesEstablish and track important project and task Deadlines.
DependenciesSet and visually track dependencies between tasks.X
Gantt view
Visual track and understand project dates, dependencies, and assignments on a hierarchical timeline view (Gantt view).
X
Grid view (Task list view)Plan and manage projects using a hierarchical grid view of tasks.X
Master ProjectsGroup smaller related projects under a single master project.
* You can show multiple Project for the web projects in a visual, interactive roadmap view using the Project Roadmap feature in Project for the web.
X
MilestonesEstablish and track important project and task milestones.X
Network diagramView tasks, dependencies, and the critical path of your project in a Network Diagram view.
Task Scheduling
Use task start and end dates, effort, lead & lag times, and dependencies to get an accurate schedule of project dates.
* The first release of Project for the web does not support lead and lag time.
X
Team PlannerTrack the allocation and capacity of all project team members including non-project work and non-working time.
Timelines
Visual track and understand project dates, dependencies, and assignments on a hierarchical timeline view (Gantt view).
X
Inactive TasksUse inactive tasks to track work without affecting resource availability or allocation and without affecting the project schedule.
Summary TasksPlan, manage, and track deliverables and phases using summary tasks.X
Task Inspector
View factors that affect the scheduling of a task, such as a changed start date or error messages.
Task Path analysisSee how one task connects to other tasks by highlighting its task path throughout the project.
* In Project for the web, you can analyze task durations and dates by hovering over the task in the Timeline (Gantt) view.
The first release of Project for the web does not show you driving versus non-driving tasks.
X
Resource Leveling
Resolve resource conflicts or overallocations by automatically leveling the assignments.
Work, Generic, and Material ResourcesAdd resources to a project, such as work resources like people, generic resources like carpenters, and materials resources like computers and cement.
* The first release of Project for the web supports work resources.
It does not yet support generic and material resources.
X
Project Costing and BudgetingCompare planned progress and budget against actual time and costs.
Resource CostingTrack and manage the resource costs of your project.
Custom Reports
Build custom reports for projects, programs, portfolios, and resources.
* With Project for the web, you can build custom reports for projects, programs, portfolios, and resources using Power BI.
Editing and creating reports requires a Power BI Pro subscription.
Viewing reports requires the Power BI Desktop or a Power BI Pro subscription.
Microsoft provides a pre-built set of Power BI reports for Project for the web. Users can customize these reports or build additional reports using Power BI.
X
Out-of-box reportingUnderstand project, program, portfolio, and resource data pre-built reports.
* With Project for the web, you can build custom reports for projects, programs, portfolios, and resources using Power BI.
Editing and creating reports requires a Power BI Pro subscription.
Viewing reports requires the Power BI Desktop or a Power BI Pro subscription.
Microsoft provides a pre-built set of Power BI reports for Project for the web. Users can customize these reports or build additional reports using Power BI.
X
PDF and XPS OutputSave a Project file to a PDF or XPS file.
Auto-completeGet suggestions for task or resource names, and dependencies as you type.X
Filtered ViewsFilter project plans by any value in the plan.
Graphical IndicatorsUnderstand task status, assignments, and more with graphical indicators.
Multi-level UndoUndo multiple changes at the same time by using the Undo menu.
* Multi-level undo is available in Project for the web using Ctrl + Z.
X
Sorting and GroupingGet focused views of your project, tasks, and resources using custom sorting and grouping.
Custom fieldsAdd custom fields at the project, task, and resource level to track data important to your enterprise and projects.
FormulasCalculate and capture important data using formulas across tasks and projects.
* You can add formula fields to the Project and Project Task entities in the Power Platform.
These fields will not be visible in the Project for the web application, but are available for reporting and other uses via PowerApps, Microsoft Flow, and Power BI.
X
TemplatesCreate templates for common projects including templatized project plans, teams, and assignments.
.mpp import / export
Create new projects from existing .mpp files or create an .mpp file of an existing project.
Excel import / exportCreate new projects from Excel files or create an Excel file of an existing project.

Microsoft Project Online Licensing Matrix

project-online-license-matrix