HMS Software has released a new solution area for those who wish to create a collaborative project management environment and who have already adopted SharePoint for their collaboration platform and Microsoft Project desktop as their scheduling tool. This portal contains numerous resources showing how to link TimeControl, Microsoft Project and SharePoint.
The combination of SharePoint and Microsoft Project desktop already gives much of the functionality that a collaborative project environment requires. The combination of functionality allows for planning, scheduling, issue tracking, team communications, document management and more. There is, however, a gap when it comes to tracking tasks as they move forward:
HMS Software’s TimeControl is already integrated with both Microsoft Project desktop and SharePoint. TimeControl’s integration with Project dates back to 1995 making it one of the longest standing relationships with Project in the world. TimeControl’s interface can also be provisioned directly into a SharePoint site. The product’s design has catered to this functionality since SharePoint 2002. TimeControl also integrates with Microsoft Project Server for those organizations which eventually graduate to Microsoft’s EPM solution.
This new solution area on the www.timecontrol.com website contains numerous resources that showcases TimeControl working with both SharePoint and Project.
Resources on the website include Webcasts, Factsheets, PowerPoint presentations, a White Paper, screen shots, and links to other online resources. There is even a link to the free TimeControl Hosted Trial site.
The new TimeControl Solution Portal is available for free at: www.timecontrol.com/solutions/projectsharepoint/.
As you may have seen over on my EPM Guidance blog, Microsoft has now shown Project 2010 and Project Server 2010 at its Project Conference in Phoenix last month. HMS was in attendance at both the Project Conference and the Ignite Airlife immediately preceeding the conference. HMS is one of the longest standing partners of Microsoft Project. Our link between TimeControl and MS Project dates back to 1995 and we’ve maintained a continuous relationship with Microsoft since then. With my participation for five years on Microsoft’s EPM Partner Advisory Council, I’d already seen much of what Microsoft had intended in both Project and Project Server and, while nothing we saw in Phoenix was a big surprise for me, it was nice to see the version I’d spent so much time on coming close to fruition.
Some people have asked us already what the future of TimeControl and Microsoft Project will be and since the announcement of Project and Project Server 2010 is quite fresh, it’s a good time to make sure our existing and prospective clients are up to date.
First of all, TimeControl will have a link to both Project Server 2010 and Project desktop (meaning Project Standard and Project Professional) 2010. We will be releasing updates to both the TimeControl 5 and TimeControl 6 families closely following the release to market (RTM) of Microsoft of Project 2010. Microsoft will be releasing Project and Project Server 2010 simultaneously along with the rest of Office 2010 in “the first half of 2010”. Our release will happen shortly thereafter. HMS already has access to the “Technical Preview” version of Project and Project Server so we’ve been able to work on the link since late in the summer.
If you’re wondering if TimeControl’s relevance will change with new functionality in Project Server 2010, the answer is no. TimeControl’s position as a full timesheet application will be just as critical as it is now. The timesheet in Project Server 2010 has definitely improved and we think users will like it but as soon as you consider using a timesheet for both the updates to Project and for use as a financial system for example for payroll, the functionality of TimeControl for things like payroll rules, multiple rates, rate tables and more become essential. Plus, remember that TimeControl can link directly to Project Standard and Professional. We’ll be publishing an updated factsheet on TimeControl closer to the release of Project 2010.
One of the things that users of the new link will enjoy will be a huge improvement of performance on the TimeControl to Project Server link. Microsoft has updated the code in their PSI module that will make moving timesheet and task update data back to Project Server way easier than it’s been so far.
Stay tuned in the new year as there will be a number of announcements on the new link.
TimeControl includes a number of links to project management tools and a number of different methods of connecting to them.
If using Microsoft Project Standard or Professional, the link is to a desktop tool and that’s always going to be on-demand but what about if you’re linking to Microsoft Project Server, Primavera or Deltek’s Open Plan? Now the link is typically server-to-server and could be scheduled or on-demand. With Project Server, incoming links can also be triggered by the TimeControl “OnPublish” event that is included with the system. Primavera can also be set up to automatically link data to TimeControl when a new project is created. Here’s the best practice that’s most commonly applied:
First for incoming changes in data, this is a link that is meant to keep the TimeControl charge and activity code information up to date with the changes that may exist in the project files. It’s most typical to create the incoming links as scheduled or automatic events. If the link is with Project Server, then the “OnPublish” event module that is part of the installation is perfect for this. If the link is with Open Plan or Primavera then a regular scheduled link moving information on a server-to-server basis is ideal.
How often should the links happen? As often as the project is likely to be updated. For most projects a weekly link will probably be fine. If your week-ending day is Friday, then a link on Thursday night might be appropriate. Some projects are highly dynamic and need to be updated multiple times per week or even multiple times per day. Create as many scheduled events to do this. A scheduled link can be daily or weekly and you can pick the day and/or time when you’d want it to occur.
For project updates that will move timesheet information back to the project management tool, we recommend making most of these links “on-demand” for the project manager. That means that the project manager will pull the data from TimeControl to their project management tool when they are ready for it. You can make the link automatically scheduled of course but we had an image of a project manager working on his project late one night and suddenly “poof” everything changes as the automatic link moves the data in from TimeControl. Most project managers will want to bring in the data when they’re ready to see the project advance.
There may be exceptions of course. Some projects such as regular maintenance projects aren’t really managed the same way and an automatic link to update those files from TimeControl may make more sense. You have the option to do both.
With TimeControl, you get the ability to make your links as automatic or as manual as you wish and each situation can be different.