Microsoft Project 2000 and Microsoft Project Central Extend Project Management to a Broader Knowledge Worker Audience

LAS VEGAS, Nov. 15, 1999 — Today at COMDEX/Fall ’99, Microsoft Corp. President Steve Ballmer announced Microsoft® Project 2000, a major upgrade to the world’s best-selling project management software. He also announced Microsoft Project Central, a new Web-based companion product that when used in conjunction with Microsoft Project 2000 delivers a flexible and scalable solution, which enables knowledge workers on teams of any size to manage projects collaboratively.

At a time when organizations increasingly are turning to team-based structures to accomplish their work, Microsoft Project 2000 is designed to make it simple for team members to help manage the multiple details of projects.
“Microsoft is delivering breakthrough collaborative technology to the knowledge worker with Microsoft Project 2000,”
Ballmer said.
“Project 2000’s new Web collaboration will increase teams’ productivity and accuracy. Even knowledge workers who don’t think of themselves as ‘project managers’ can benefit from the product because it improves their ability to manage details and work more effectively with others.”

Microsoft Project Central: Increased Team Productivity

Microsoft Project Central, the new Web-based companion product for Microsoft Project, significantly improves team productivity by including team members in the project management process without requiring them to become project management experts or endure lengthy learning curves. By delivering collaborative features on a Web-based platform, Microsoft Project Central allows team members to easily participate in project planning and tracking, leading to more accurate and up-to-date project plans. For example, team members can identify missing tasks or suggest new tasks and easily submit them to the project manager for inclusion in the plan. They can provide more accurate estimates for how long it will take to accomplish tasks, and they can reassign tasks better carried out by other members of their team.

By allowing team members to more actively participate in project planning, Microsoft Project Central increases the accuracy of information available to the project manager. As a result, the project manager can ensure that tasks stay on schedule and are completed efficiently and within budget.

Microsoft Project Central also provides the project manager with better reporting tools. For example, the project manager can request a status report, and Microsoft Project Central will take all the feedback team members submit and consolidate it into a single report, without the project manager having to cut and paste various responses. The project manager can also share project information with company executives who want to follow the progress of projects without having to become project management experts. Using Microsoft Project Central, executives can easily view the status of a single project or multiple projects throughout the organization from a single view and provide feedback on organizational plans.

“As companies increasingly depend on teamwork to achieve greater success, it is essential that all people in an organization have access to critical project information,”
said Kathleen Hebert, general manager of the Office Family Division at Microsoft.
“Microsoft Project 2000 and Microsoft Project Central meet this need by making it possible for groups, as well as individuals, to track projects from beginning to end.”

Flexible Analysis of Project Information

In addition to increasing team productivity, Microsoft Project 2000 provides users with greater flexibility for viewing and analyzing data, and for compiling reports. Extensive new grouping tools enable project managers to manipulate data to obtain the exact information they need, in the exact format they need. Also, a wide selection of new graphical indicators enables them to easily flag aspects of a project that are not going as planned.

Microsoft Project 2000 is easier to learn because it provides the same look that users of Microsoft Office are already familiar with. It comes with predefined templates that managers unfamiliar with Microsoft Project can use to quickly begin planning a new project.

Greater Organizational Efficiency

Microsoft Project 2000 now provides an easy way to manage organizationwide projects that span multiple teams, departments or workgroups. Faster performance makes Microsoft Project 2000 a more efficient tool for planning large-scale projects. In addition, features such as the Windows® Installer technology used in Office 2000 are designed to minimize downtime on projects and keep users up and running. Developers can use Microsoft Project 2000 as the basis for their own custom planning solutions, enabling organizations to address their specialized planning needs.

Beta Availability and Upgrade Guarantee

Microsoft is offering a free marketing beta version of Microsoft Project 2000 to the first 5,000 people who order the CD from the Microsoft Project Web site at . The CD includes Microsoft Project 2000, Microsoft Project Central and a Windows 2000 Deployment template for information technology professionals who want to get a head start in planning their deployment of the Windows 2000 operating system with Microsoft Project 2000.

After the first 5,000 CDs, customers can order the beta version for only the cost of shipping and handling (U.S. customers, $6.95 U.S.D; Canadian customers, $9.95 U.S.). Microsoft is expected to deliver the final version of Microsoft Project 2000 in the first quarter of next year. The product will come with one copy of Microsoft Project Central, with more user licenses available at an additional cost.

Customers who acquire Microsoft Project 98 between now and April 30, 2000, are eligible for the Microsoft Project Technology Guarantee. The guarantee enables customers who get Microsoft Project 98 to receive a free copy of Microsoft Project 2000 when it becomes available for retail sale.* Microsoft encourages customers who use Microsoft Project 4.1, 4.0 and earlier versions to upgrade to Microsoft Project 98 now to ensure that their file formats are compatible with Microsoft Project 2000 when the final product is released next year.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

* Customers who acquire Microsoft Project 98 between now and April 30, 2000, can upgrade Microsoft Project 98 to Microsoft Project 2000 for the cost of shipping and handling, plus applicable tax. Technology Guarantee requests must be received no later than May 31, 2000.

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