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Demand Management and Ideation in Microsoft Project Online

Let’s imagine you are a program or project manager who is using Project Web App (PWA) to manage projects and proposals, and you would like to collect proposals & requests as well as project ideas from the different people in your team or even across the organization. One way to do that would be to collect these proposals in email, face to face conversations, etc., and then you’d have to manually enter them in PWA one by one. The problem with this way is that it’s time consuming, and not easily scalable to a continuous and seamless agile process. Plus, the proposals are submitted in different formats, which creates further overhead in converting them to the projects in PWA.

Now, what if you could have everybody enter their requests and ideas into a SharePoint list tailored to your needs (using specific list items to capture the request), and then you could convert a subset of those list items to projects in PWA? That’s what many of our customers asked us, and we are delivering it both online and on-premise with Project Online and Project Server 2013!

All you need to do is to create a custom SharePoint list (either under PWA or in a PWA subsite), where these proposals are entered. In this example I entered two requests: New Windows Phone App and New Windows 8 App:

Microsoft Project Online Ideation

(SharePoint Custom List with columns such as Description, Submitter, Budget Cost, Budget Estimate, Risk, and Rating)

Then, you can select an item in the list, and click on the “Create Projects” button:

Microsoft Project Online Ideation

(In the Items ribbon there is a new button: Create Project)

And this brings up the “Create Projects in Project Web App” dialog which lists the data captured in the Ideas & Requests list and how it maps to PWA equivalent custom fields; for instance: Budget Cost maps to Total Cost, or the Risk choice list maps to Risk Rating. Note that, you can set the default mappings, by navigating to the SharePoint list settings, and choosing Project Server settings options.

Once you are satisfied with the mapping the next step is to choose what process will be used to evaluate and execute these requests. In Project Server 2010 we introduced the notion of Enterprise Project Type (EPT) that enables different projects to be driven by different workflows and in this new scenario we will choose the New Product Development EPT.

Microsoft Project Online Ideation

Once you are satisfied with the field mapping and process selection click “Create Projects” which will convert the SharePoint list items into projects in PWA. You will next be notified that the projects have been successfully created in PWA:

Microsoft Project Online Ideation

Next navigate to PWA’s Project Center and you’ll now see the projects listed:

Microsoft Project Center

Let’s select the New Windows 8 App and you will noticed is associated to a five phases workflow specific to New Product Development EPTs:

Microsoft Project Online - phases

All the information captured in the list item is also transferred to the project’s custom fields as show below:

Microsoft Project Online

From now onward the requests & ideas and following the process defined and typically will go through an evaluation phase using the out of the box Portfolio Analysis capabilities of PWA before the execution phase.

An end to end process online or on-premise without any customization nor a single line of code!

Last year we released this popular solution Announcing SharePoint Lifecycle Management Solution with Project Server 2010 to help SharePoint IT teams manage farm requests and it required a custom solution to enable this scenario but now with the new Project this is all out of the box, flexible and supported by Microsoft.

So, go ahead and sign up for the Project Online and try out this new scenario that will help you define end to end processes using SharePoint item lists and SharePoint designer (see Demand Management, Now with SharePoint Designer) to manage demand, requests, ideas, etc.!

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