Editor’s Note: Projects for the People

Every IT department, every company and every professional in every line of work has to deal with project management at some point.

Lafe Low

proj·ect [n. proj-ekt] noun

1. a major undertaking, especially one involving considerable money, personnel and equipment.

2. a series of tasks done by many employees that you better keep track of or you’ll go way over budget and well past your agreed-upon timeline.

With apologies to Noah Webster, that last definition should scare you if you’ve ever been responsible for managing a project of any scope or scale. You know how complicated it can be—and how essential it is that you do it right. Project management is an entirely separate skill from your fundamental meat-and-potatoes IT and people-managing skills. It will require all of your technical, logistical, political and diplomatic savvy. As with many other skills, though, you can automate your project management tasks and timelines.

Microsoft Project Server 2010 is a major platform for helping keep a lid on multiple projects. This is one platform that you’ll not only deploy and use for you business unit leaders, but also for yourself. Your organization will use it to track marketing initiatives and product development, and you can use it to track an Exchange or Office upgrade.

Project Server has been around for a while, but gets a major facelift with Project Server 2010, with unified project and portfolio management, business-driver prioritization, capacity planning and Web-based project editing. It’s no small deal working with a multifaceted platform like this, so Microsoft will also be releasing a series of Role Guides specific to certain roles. These will help your business users get to work with Project Server in the way that best suits their function—whether it’s operations, marketing or product development.

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Lafe Low

Lafe Low is the editor in chief of TechNet Magazine*. A veteran technology journalist, he’s also the former executive editor of 1105 Media’s* Redmond magazine. Contact him atllow@1105media.com.