Microsoft Project for the masses

I am excited to announce the release of Microsoft Project for the masses, A Simplified, Scenario Driven Approach produced by Innovative-e.  Microsoft Project for the masses is a whitepaper with associated artifacts (videos, templates and discussion forum) that clearly shows how Microsoft SharePoint, Project Professional, and Project Server can be utilized to solve a particular business problem scenario without the need for intensive efforts to custom configure a project management solution. The scenario is focused around mid-sized organizations (approximately 50-100 people) with complex resource and schedule management challenges but without formal project management processes, training, and tools. The intent of this initiative is to show how an organization can get up and running to solve a particular set of problems in the quickest manner possible. This is not intended to be a Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) ‘best practices’ guide. Rather, it is a practical approach to get quick wins for both management and all stakeholders. In this interactive whitepaper, you will learn how to deliver:

  • Highly transparent visibility into project schedules and resource loading
  • Portfolio view of all projects
  • Improved Resource/Staff Forecasting

Even with all the great technologies available to them today, many organizations struggle with some of the most important aspects of project and work management.  Recent surveys show that the most widely used technology tools for managing projects continue to be email, Word, and Excel.   Meanwhile, collaboration and project management tools including MS SharePoint, Project, and Project Server are being broadly implemented among large enterprise project management offices and also increasingly by smaller organizations and enterprise departments. 

One challenge often faced by organizations large and small when trying to adopt these technologies is the proper mix of process, technology, and people skills.  Some enterprises have the resources (i.e. budget) to define their custom processes, configure the technology accordingly, and develop training plans for the people who will use these systems.  However, many others may lack funding or a depth of expertise to build these custom project management systems and have dedicated resources (i.e. Project and Program Managers) to operate them.

Arguably the vast majority of people who manage projects and work do so as part of their other responsibilities.  Perhaps they are a manager in an IT organization, so in addition to product and people duties, they also have to wear the hat of project manager for their area of responsibility.  The terms ‘Casual Project Manager’ or ‘Accidental Project Manager’ are often used to describe this type of role.  That said; there is nothing ‘casual’ about their accountability for project(s) success. 

When modeling complex enterprise process(es) that may benefit from automation, the variables studied must be well-defined and somewhat limited in scope with clear boundaries.  To do this for the purposes of this paper, we have created a scenario that is specific to a particular type of situation and need. 

This scenario starts in late in the Demand Management phase and ends early in the Performance Management phase.  It does not require that a formal request process be included for implementation, but such a process is likely to become an addition once the planning process is fully implemented.  Typically, organizations will want to complete the Collaboration and Performance Management phases before they formalize the automation of the request portion of the Demand Management phase.   While there are aspects of Portfolio Management, this scenario does not include sufficient information to make strategic decisions at a total business level.

At the conclusion of this paper you will be able implement a basic Project Management Information System (PMIS) that provides components of Demand Management, Capacity Planning, Resource Management, Project Scheduling, Team Collaboration, and Portfolio Reporting using Microsoft SharePoint Enterprise 2010, Microsoft Project Professional 2010, and Microsoft Project Server 2010.   The scenario is designed for organizations that are looking to consolidate all of their Project Planning activity into a single system using standardized tools and methods.  The completion of this activity should position the organization to expand to Collaboration and/or Performance Management. However, it may not be necessary or desirable to move to these next stages.  So, the proposed scenario can stand alone.


  • Organizations that are moving from ad hoc project & work management processes toward the desire to view all projects in relationship to each other.  Existing tools might include:
    • Email
    • Spreadsheets
    • Time tracking (usually web based and sometimes tied to HR system)
    • File Share or possibly SharePoint for artifact management
  • Business or technical organizations that have multiple projects/programs utilizing the same resources.
  • Organizations who execute projects as their core business model

clip_image001clip_image002clip_image002[1]clip_image002[2]Microsoft Project for the masses - sample plan

Please check out Innovative-e’s site Microsoft Project For The Masses Community for additional information.

Last but not least do not forget to check out other existing white papers on Microsoft Project Portfolio Management offering on our Project site at

Christophe Fiessinger
Senior Technical Product Manager, Microsoft Project