Microsoft Office Project Conference 2007
Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft Corporation
Oct. 30, 2007
MIKE ANGIULO: Good morning. Welcome to day two of the Project Conference. I hope you had a good time last night at the party, and I hope you had some productive was it good? (Applause.) I thought that was a really cool setup. Hopefully you had some great sessions yesterday. I saw a lot of traffic down by the partner pavilion, which is awesome. We’re going to keep that open all day. Some of the sessions turned out to be standing room only, and we’re going to be repeating them to make sure you all have an opportunity to get into some of those most popular sessions. But without further ado, I would like to introduce to you this morning Steve Ballmer, the chief executive officer of Microsoft Corporation, who is going to be kicking off this morning’s keynote. At the end of the keynote, we will have a few minutes for Q&A, so start thinking about the questions. Right when it comes time to Q&A, get up to the microphones, and you’ll have an opportunity to ask Steve more about this business, or Microsoft in general. So, without further ado, please join me in welcoming Steve Ballmer. (Applause.)
STEVE BALLMER: Well, thanks. I’m excited to have a chance to be here today. It’s been about two years. I think January 2006 since I last had a chance to speak with this group, and at that time we had just launched what we called at the time “Project 12.” We had just done the UMC acquisition, and we brought so much additional product to market since then, and our customers and our partners, you’ve kind of gone places and done things that I’m not even sure we imagined with the products that we launched at that time. And so for me it’s fun to have a chance to be back here with you today, and to share a little bit about areas in which Project 2007 expands capabilities, particularly in the area of collaboration, and to have a little bit of a chance to talk about the future of Project, a couple of demonstrations, and then a chance for input, comments, thoughts, questions, discussions. I’ll say in advance, if we don’t get to something that is on your mind, I’m [email protected], and I look forward to hearing from you via e-mail at any time.
So with that, let me go ahead and kind of kick off. And I want to kick off with a discussion of what we refer to as the People Ready Business. This is both a development mantra, and a marketing mantra that we’ve adopted to kind of embrace the things that we think are important to our business customers. IT in a sense really grew up on the back of line of business applications, and the line of business platform. And then along trundled the PC starting about 25 years ago, and the PC was all about me, it was personal productivity, make me more productive. In a way, it had very little to do, by and large, with what was going on with line of business applications, and platforms, but there was a lot of investment in personal productivity. As both the PC grew, and mainframes got replaced increasingly by mission critical applications on UNIX and Windows platforms, there was a lot of work on the infrastructure that underpinned these things, trying to take out the cost and complexity of IT.
But the area in which we think there is the greatest opportunity for innovation today is the area that lies in-between that, and in some senses it’s an area that is most ripe with opportunity to really embrace this mantra of a People-Ready Business. This is the area between personal productivity on the one hand, and line of business applications. What happens, how does an organization deal with exceptions? Whoops, a bad invoice came in, how do we route it? What workflow does it take? Obviously, what people like to do is collaborate and communicate about that in e-mail. There is something going on in a mission critical application and people want to dig in, and investigate, and get insight, get data, and decide what to do. That’s about this area in-between.
A lot of what goes on in project management is about the area that is in-between. There are the formal project management workflows, and schedules that get set up, and those get setup increasingly, almost, if you will, as mission critical applications. And yet bridging between the world of personal productivity, and personal involvement, and what’s going on in terms of enterprise projects and activities is super important. And when we think about what we’re trying to do in some senses with the innovations in Project 2007 and beyond, we’re trying to make sure that we can do more to industrialize Microsoft Project to run enterprise applications more to allow people to feel like they can do personally project management on their own, but really a lot more to make sure that everybody in the organization can participate intelligently in ways that they understand from projects like Outlook and Excel and others in the mission critical projects in the business.
We use this mantra People Ready Business for a reason. We think at the end of the day the thing that’s been proven over the last 25 years of the PC is at the end of the day the benefit of information technology is really all about enabling people to do things they never could do before. To treating people like they’re your number one asset, to giving people the tools they need to get their jobs done, and certainly there’s no set of tools more important for the kinds of transformations that really drive business value than the kind of work that goes on around project management.
Now, when I talk to CEOs these days the thing that’s very much on their mind is creating new value, as opposed to two, three, four years ago, where it was mostly about cost reduction, today it’s about creating new value, new value comes from big new service offerings, big new products, transformational operations against supply chain. Big change, big change, big change drives value, and the kind of work that we’re all involved in here. Project management is key to doing big change projects, and doing them well. So making this really a better, and better area for People Ready Business is super important to us.
We have a fairly comprehensive view and approach to project management. We grew up starting many, many years ago with the product Microsoft Project, and that really targeted project managers, and the kinds of things that folks in this room know about, and do, and do on a regular basis. And what we’ve been trying to do as we expand and make even more complete our work in project management is to push. To push deeper into certain verticals, and certain areas in which project management is essential.
IT — IT itself is an area in which project management is mission critical. Information technology today, software is the third largest segment of employment in the United States economy. And giving IT the tools it needs to manage it projects is an important depth application. And I’m going to talk about that one particularly today. But, so is the PLM and the manufacturing area. How do we give the people who are doing product design and supply chain, at the Boeings and the Fords, and the General Motors of this world, the tools that they need. How do we give the major construction and architectural firms the tools that they need.
So you’ll see us push beyond the individual project managers, and people who have really been the backbone, we’ll also push innovation up into these various depth vertical areas, while at the same time we think it’s important for all of us that we permit a much broader set of people to participate in the enterprise workflow.
How do we let more information workers, executives, sales, marketing people, HR people actually participate intelligently where they need to, whether it’s in project portfolio selection, whether it’s in the actual project workflow itself. We need to make that easier. And we’ve had some initiatives that have pushed in that direction in the past, some have worked, some have failed miserably, but we still think that the opportunity exists. So we’re going to enhance Microsoft Project, make it better and better for project managers, build out rich vertical and depth solutions for the enterprise, and continue to make it, and variants of Microsoft Project, more and more appropriate to allow broad sets of people to participate appropriately in enterprise project management.
At the end of the day, kind of the fundamental thesis here is, we all are project managers, because we all manage work. And whether my personal project management system happens to look more like a formal project, or a task list that I might keep in something like Excel or Outlook, we need to make sure that we give rich tool sets to people at all levels in the food chain to help them do work management.
I get asked a lot in all contexts, does Microsoft actually use the products that we build. How do we use projects, how do we use project server, how do we use the project portfolio server, and I want to give you just a few examples inside Microsoft. And I would tell you that we still consider ourselves immature, at least less mature than we want to be, in formalizing some of the ways that we do work management. But, I’ll give you a few very good examples. And I want to start with one in our human resources department.
I don’t know kind of what your experience is, but I think in general folks would say HR departments are not bastions of serious project management. They’re not like IT, and they’re not like manufacturing and supply chain. And yet the woman who runs our HR department, who was a product development leader of Microsoft before I tapped her to come run HR, she sat down with me a year ago and said look, Steve, I’m struggling with a big issue here.
My big issue is I’ve got way too many transformation projects that we need to run in HR. We have some overhaul we’re doing on our comp system, and we’ve got work we’re doing on our promotion system, and we’ve got work we’re doing on the benefits system, and the college recruiting system, and da-da, da-da, da-da. I mean, literally she had this huge list of about 80 projects that she was going to have to do to transform the HR department, but more importantly the way HR impacts all of Microsoft.
She said, look, I’ve got to do this the old fashioned way, I’ve got to start by using some Microsoft technology. Then she said, I’m going to actually get the Project Server guys to help me, they immediately recognized this as a PTS, a Project Portfolio management type of problem. She brought that in, she laid out all of the projects, she prioritized the key initiatives, because almost every HR initiative comes along with an IT initiative.
She used the Project Portfolio Server to align these things with business strategies, and now we have 15 enterprise-wide projects with formal schedules that we’re using to manage our HR transformation projects around Microsoft. It just goes to remind us that in almost every aspect of a business there are big transformational change projects behind which the kinds of technologies we’re all so familiar with are quite useful. That’s an example.
Let me give you a second example in the Microsoft IT organization. These are important, because we find something north of 50 percent of all of the Microsoft Project we sell goes into IT departments, for IT projects. We’ve got 12 active Project server deployments in our own IT group. We have over 2,000 users of Project solutions in IT, managing projects and service delivery, delivery projects, and we’ve standardized on a corporate governance process for IT, for demand management, for portfolio and project selection, that uses Microsoft Project as its standard element.
In Microsoft services, we have today almost 9,000 people delivering enterprise services, either consulting, or support services, and by this time next year all of those people will be using project server as a standard way of capturing time and billing information, we will use that to do resource planning and resource allocation. We will connect to our SAP implementation, which will use the information for appropriate billing and charging purposes. So in our own services organization, our own IT organization, our own HR organization, we’re certainly using these technologies.
Perhaps most I don’t want to say most importantly, but most visibly we actually run our own R&D efforts on Microsoft project. Office, Xbox, Windows Mobile, Dynamics are all managed and billed using Microsoft project server, combined in some various and interesting ways with Microsoft Visual Studio Team Server, so that we can track work, bugs, specs, features, along with the schedules associated with them in one homogeneous way.
This to us is kind of life itself. And I won’t tell you that when we ship a product in five years instead of three years, I’m not going to tell you that’s Microsoft Project’s fault, but I am going to tell you that Microsoft Project can be an aid in making sure that we really keep well connected, and great visibility of where we are, what’s going to be ready, and what’s going go be ready when. But, perhaps most importantly, it lets us make the real time decisions of what features we have extra capacity to go invest in, where we need to reprioritize, et cetera.
I want to use that as a way to transition to another topic, which is the role of the PMO, the Project Management Office. Various people use this term in different ways. I think all of us think about IT organizations and the IT vertical, that depth vertical that I talked about, as having project management offices. Some other verticals are equally sophisticated, and you would have that kind of focus, serious, dedicated effort on project management. Certainly I had the pleasure of doing a tour of the Boeing plant up in Everett, Wash., where they do all of the twin aisle planes, including the new 787, and really the seriousness of effort that an organization like that puts into project management is unbelievable. And so we need to be able to support not only individual project managers, but the kinds of big, large teams that come together to support the biggest and most critical kind of integrated, complex transformation and engineering projects in the world. A lot of those are in IT, and it is increasingly important to connect the project management office with everybody else in IT, the IT administrators, the developers, when are things coming, what do they need to do to prepare things in a data center to be able to accept some new development project that’s coming. How do we improve the productivity of the project process, reduce the number of meetings to more automatically get status updates, to minimize data conflicts, to get to one view of the truth, if you will, to reduce the overhead by getting all reports and information from a single data source. And so really connecting up the management information, the development information, and the project information is important.
From a Microsoft perspective, that really means making sure that our project system, our Systems Center management tools, and our Visual Studio development tools all work extremely well together. This is a big area of investment in Project 2007. Project managers use Microsoft Project to create the project plan, and then store data in a central team foundation server, or centralized project servers. So sometimes people are working from Visual Studio, and sometimes from project. Developers need to get access to Project information from within the Visual Studio environment. We need to enable people to get at project data where they work, whether it’s in Visual Studio, or in Project, or in Outlook, or in Excel, or some place else. We’re driving to do the same thing from within System Center, so that somebody who is managing the data center can literally get Project Manager in the management console. And we want to enable people to roundtrip and update project information to Project Server from within Visual Studio and from within Systems Center themselves. So really letting IT have an integrated way of managing itself from development, from project conception through development, and on through deployment and operations is critical to us.
And I would like to show you a little bit of what we’re doing in this area, and to do that let me invite on stage with me Siddharth Bhatia, group program manager from the [Visual Studio Team System], and we’ll show you a little bit about what we’re trying to do end to end to help automate IT projects.
SIDDHARTH BHATIA: Thank you, Steve. (Applause.)
Thank you. I’m really excited to be here, and really excited to show you how the PMO can get true visibility into the actual work that the development team is doing, and then use that visibility to make early course corrections. And throughout this, you’ll see how the team can continue to be productive using the tools of their choice. So let’s get started.
We’ve got a company here, Fabricam Bikes. They sell bikes online, and the customer experience is that they can go ahead and come into a bike right here, and click on it and buy it. So that’s the customer Web site. Now, internally, what Fabricam has done is, they’ve created a scorecard that tracks their revenue, and their margins, and their costs, and they’ve set some indicators. And you can see it’s all red. It’s not looking very good at all.
If you look down here, we can see that
STEVE BALLMER: You work at Microsoft, right, not Fabricam?
SIDDHARTH BHATIA: That’s right, Steve. I work at Microsoft. Microsoft looks a bit better than this.
STEVE BALLMER: We’ve got a little green and a little red.
SIDDHARTH BHATIA: Okay. So you can see here that the quarter by quarter sales, they aren’t looking too good, nor is the forecast, which you can see by the dotted line here. So what the executives at Fabricam did was ask the team to come up with as many creative ideas as they could to improve the business. Now in the past what would happen is, the executives would take that list of creative ideas, lock themselves up into a board room, and spend hours debating what are the best set of ideas we should do here. But Fabricam actually has Portfolio Server installed, and so what the executives have done is, they have gone ahead and put in the key business objectives for Fabricam in the system. So expand into new markets and segments, reduce expense base, improve customer satisfaction score, these are key business objectives that are really important to Fabricam, and they’ve taken all of the creative ideas and ranked them against those business objectives. So, for example, the bug tracking database design, that makes
STEVE BALLMER: These are all the creative IT ideas.
SIDDHARTH BHATIA: That’s right, all the creative IT ideas.
STEVE BALLMER: Have better bikes isn’t on here.
SIDDHARTH BHATIA: Have better bikes isn’t on here, and we’ll see what happens.
STEVE BALLMER: Okay.
SIDDHARTH BHATIA: So I was saying, bug tracking database design makes a strong case for using the expense base, an now instead of those long board room meeting with just one click we can get a prioritized list of all of the projects, all of the creative IT ideas ranked against business value, and you’ll see bicycles is right there are the top.
So I’m going to continue this analysis, and what I’m going to do is add in a couple of constraints here around cost and resource budgets. And the reason why I’m doing this is because I want to set up a basis to do a cost/benefit analysis here. So what I’m seeing here is a list of ideas with those constraints. Portfolio Server has gone in and said, okay, if you’re going to do all of these creative ideas, it’s going to cost you US$72 million. It so happens we don’t have $72 million, we only have $36 million. So we’ll go ahead and put that constraint into the system, and continue the analysis. So now what Portfolio Server is doing is, okay, it’s saying you’ve given me that constraint, I’ll go back and calculate what that means, and how I should use that constraint. What it comes back with is the set of ideas that it feels provides the best value given that constraint. We can see that through the green check marks here.
STEVE BALLMER: You know it’s a Microsoft demo, because the number two most valuable thing for improving bike production is a software testing architecture upgrade. (Laughter.)
SIDDHARTH BHATIA: That’s right. That’s right.
So what we’re seeing here is, even though we reduced the financial constraint we had by half, we are still getting 71 percent of the value. And that’s fantastic.
Now there might be some projects that you have to do for some reason or another, and it is possible to go in and force those into the analysis. So in this way, Portfolio Server can return you the best ideas for your business through a combination of the scientific analysis, as well as some human insight.
So the stage we’re at just now is, we know the set of ideas that are the best to do for our business, and we want to go ahead and plan those out. Because there’s a connection between Portfolio Server, and Project Server, anything we want to plan out will show up right here in Project Server.
We’ll go ahead and drill into one of these ideas in more detail. We’re going to look at the associate accessories with bicycles one, which incidentally was the highest rank project in Portfolio Server, and this is all about changing the customer experience so that when the customer visits the Web site not only can they see bicycles to buy, but accessories along with it. And the theory is, they’ll buy the bicycle and a set of accessories, and sales should go up. So let’s take a look at that plan.
I’m now playing the role of the project manager. I’m looking at the associate accessories with bicycle project plans. I’ve gone ahead and broken that down into a set of phases here. I’ve made some resource assignments to my development team, and I’m going to make a few more resource assignments. I’m going to assign add accessories to Web site to (Paula Bento ?), deploy system and do scalability testing. And I’m going to go ahead and save that up into Project Server.
Now, at this point, in the past what I would normally do as the project manager is send the team a whole bunch of e-mail saying, hey, you’ve got new tasks to do. And I really hope that they’re checking their mail. And if they’re not, I’ll find out a while later, and I’ll have to go door to door, knock on their door, make sure the tasks are in their queue, make sure they’re prioritized appropriately, and that’s what I would have to do. However, Fabricam is using Project Server, and Project Server is connected to the development tools that the team is using. The team is using Visual Studio Team System. So let’s go ahead and take a look at what that looks like.
What we’re seeing here on screen is actually the development team using Visual Studio Team System to write code, to run bills, to create tasks, and to manage all of their work in one place. It seems some folks are surfing the net as well. I’ll have to get right on that.
STEVE BALLMER: But they’re using Microsoft Live Search, I notice.
SIDDHARTH BHATIA: Yes. That’s good.
STEVE BALLMER: Let them search.
SIDDHARTH BHATIA: All right. So we’re going to do something kind of cool here, we’re going to take a look into (Paula Bento’s ?) development environment. So we’re shifting into the development environment. Let’s take a look at Paula’s development environment here. And what we’re seeing here is, Paula has already got a notification that there’s some more work needed to be added to her queue. And if we drill into that, what we’re seeing here is the same three tasks that we saved in Project Server are right here in her development tools. And what’s really cool about this, this is all happening because there’s this strong connection between Project Server and Visual Studio team system, and because of that the work is flowing right into the development tools, and not only the three tasks that we saved in project server are showing up here, all of the tasks from Project Server that are Paula’s tasks are showing up in this list. In addition, there are a set of things here that you may not track in Project Server, like bugs, that are also showing up in this list. So Paula has access to all of her work in one place. She can prioritize that right in her development tool, and remain productive.
So let’s go ahead and say Paula has written some code now, and she’s about to check that code in. So we’ll actually go ahead and check this file out, and then we’ve written some code now, and we’ll go ahead and check that in. Right as we check in, in the normal flow of her work, she can go ahead and associate that code with the task that she was assigned, and check that back into the system. And what we’re seeing there is, again, the connection between Project Server, and VSTS taking effect.
If we go back to the plan, we’re now the project manager here. We’re switching back to being the project manager, we’re looking at associated accessories with bicycles, and I want to see how the plan is doing. So what I’m going to go ahead and do is see some project progress here. I’m going into collaborate, and I’m updating the project progress to see what’s changed in my plan. And what I’m seeing here is some real-time updates from the changes that Paula made right here in my plan. Again, this is happening because of the connection between Project Server and Visual Studio Team System. I’ve got a connected plan, it’s connected to the actual updates that the developers are making, and this completely changes the complexion of my status meetings. So earlier in the past, what I would have to do in my status meetings is, print out a huge copy of the project plan, go in, and go around the room and ask, are you done, are you done, are you done? Instead, I can come in with a connected plan, and I can say, look, I know you aren’t done, but what can I do to help. It completely changes the complexion there.
In fact, when I look at this system, I’m seeing that there are a couple of tasks that are done, but there’s one that isn’t, it’s the do scalability testing task. What I can do is see what kind of impact that can have on my plan. So if I take a look at the preview of the plan, if I brought those changes in, what I’m seeing here is that the do scalability testing task is a predecessor to the following tasks. So, in essence, it’s my critical path here, and I know that if it’s going to be late, the rest of my plan is going to be late as well.
So what I want to see is, is there someone who is better off doing this task, so I can get my project back on track? So I’m going to go back into the plan, I’m going to select the task. I’m going to see if there’s someone else in my pool who is capable of doing this task. Let’s pick on Jackie here, and look at her graph of remaining availability. What I’m seeing here is that the highest peaks are good. She does have some availability here in late October. So she may well be a great person to pick up that task. And I can go ahead and assign that to her.
Now, in the case schedule risk is not the only thing that’s important to track. You could have a project that’s doing very well, but there might be a set of bugs that are piling up that’s going to stop you from shipping on time. Now because of the connection between Project Server and Visual Studio Team System, you’re able to get a lot more visibility into exactly what your development team is doing. So what I’m seeing here is a set of data that’s coming from Visual Studio Team System about our development team. It’s all about seeing how my requirements are doing, and metrics around bugs, metrics around how tests are passing and failing, and in this way I’m able to react earlier, not only to schedule risks, but requirement risks, and quality risk as well.
So I just want to recap quickly on what we just saw here. We started out in Portfolio Server. We selected a set of ideas. We prioritized them against the business objectives. We picked the best set that was going to provide us business value. We planned that. We then tracked that and got actual updates from our development team. They were staying productive using their development tools right in their development tools they were sending us actuals. We then saw those actuals, and reacted to those, and we could react to the schedule risk much earlier. We can course correct much earlier because of that. And the net here is, if you’ve got Portfolio Server connected to Project Server, and you use the new connection we’ve built between Project Server and Visual Studio Team System, you’re going to have a direct and positive impact on your business.
And that’s all I have. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
STEVE BALLMER: That’s a fairly deep application of Project in the IT field. What I want to turn to now is the flip side, the other thing I talked about, which is to continue to broaden out work management and project management to a broader set of people, more and more people. And the more and more people that are involved, the more productive they ought to be, and the greater opportunity to make a positive influence, to build business for the folks in this room.
Today information workers who are trying to plan their own work basically wind up choosing typically between either Outlook, or perhaps even more typically Excel, which is really good for unstructured work, versus Microsoft Project. Excel is actually great for lists, for tasks, for milestones, for budget, but somehow we think there’s innovation required, some of which we got started on in Project 2007, and some of which will come from beyond, but we have to really take steps to bring Excel like simplicity together with project style power. And so what we’d like to do is to give you a little bit of a view of what we’re trying to do to broaden project management. Not everything you’re going to see in the demo is available today. Some of this is very early code for I guess what we just like to call Project Next, it’s the last one with 12, and this one is whatever it is, who knows, maybe it’s Project 13. That’s an unlucky number. Anyway, the next release. We’re going to show you some stuff that really gets at how we can do much deeper integration with Microsoft Office, better collaboration and editing, and so we’re going to try to pick up with some of the themes of broadening the use of project management in 2007, and some things that go beyond. And to help me do that, please welcome up on stage Alice Steinglass, a senior program manager from Microsoft. Alice. (Applause.)
ALICE STEINGLASS: Thanks, Steve.
The code I’m going to be showing today is very early in development. You’ll notice not all the pieces are there. For example, a lot of icons are still just orange dots. But I wanted to give you an early glimpse of some of the ways we’re continuing to build upon the innovations we did in Project 2007 to allow you to get started in Project more easily, to allow you to produce really great reports very quickly, and to help the project manager edit their projects online through Project Web Access. So let’s dive in and see what it can do.
Here we are in the new version of Project, or the upcoming version of Project. And one of the first things you might notice, in addition to this new ribbon UI at the top, is that there aren’t any dates. I don’t have a duration. I don’t have a start date. I don’t have a finish date. Today people often choose between the flexibility of a tool like Excel, which allows you to put in whatever data you want in whatever format you want, and the structure and power of a tool like Project, which allows you to use the power of the scheduling engine, and to create great reports both within your project and across your enterprise.
We want to bring you the best of both worlds by marrying the flexibility of Excel with the power of project, and part of that is letting me get started early in my project cycle, before I know any of those dates. So I can go in here, and I talked to Ellen who is going to be doing the design I’m sorry, Marissa, who is going to be doing the design for my team. And she told me that she thinks the competition research is going to take about three days. Don’t know the start, don’t know the finish, but about three days. She also tells me that the design task is going to finish on November 9th. Why November 9th? Because she’s got a task she’s got to do for another team that starts on November 10th. We don’t know when it’s going to start, we don’t know how long it’s going to take, but we know we’re going to be done on November 9th. So I can just go in and enter the data I want, and again, like Excel, we want to be able to offer the flexibility that maybe I can put in, instead of a start date, just a note to myself that we don’t know the start. I’m going to go type TBD into the start date here.
Now, in addition to adding the flexibility to put the data I want into the existing columns, we also want to make it easier to get started using other data you might want to track in your project plan. Now Project today has custom fields which allow me to go put in any information I want, but we just want to make that easier to use, more visible, and more easy for a beginning project manager to figure out how to track whatever data they want to add. So just like Excel, if I want to add something else to my project, for example I want to track the risk of these tasks. I can go in here and type, this is a high risk task, high, enter, boom. Project added a new column for me, the text column here, and I can go put in some other risks, such as low, or, for example, I can type in that this is going to cost $7. Project automatically detected that was a cost, and added a currency column for me.
So I can just go in and enter whatever data I want very easily, make it very easy to get started. (Applause.) And this isn’t a new feature, Steve, but I have to show it off again, because it’s one of my favorite features in Project, which is that I can undo all of this. So in Project 2007 we added multiple level undo, and I can just go back and say, I didn’t mean to add that column, I didn’t mean to add low, and I did not mean to add up that previous column. So it makes it very easy to start, try something out, change your mind, go back and try something else.
Now, the next step in project planning would be to go fill in all this data. And I don’t want to make you sit here and watch me do that, so through the magic of demos, we’re going to skip ahead in time. And this is the same project, it’s a few weeks later. As you can see, I’ve now entered a lot of start dates, durations, I’ve started to link some paths. We’ve figured out who is going to do what, and we’ve actually started to work on the project. Some of these tasks are complete, some of them are currently under development.
Now, at this point in my project schedule, I spend a lot of time telling people, what are you working on, what should you be working on, what is Tom doing, what is Ryan doing, and what’s late? We want to make it easy for people to build that kind of report for their team. So one of the other things we’re adding in the next version of Project is this new ribbon UI at the top. What the ribbon UI allows us to do is to take these tasks that you do frequently, and make them simpler, and also make it easier for a beginning project manager to come in and figure out how to do something, like build a report. So here I can go to the reporting tab, and I’ll show you how I can build a report here that would allow me to share with my team who is doing what, and what’s late.
So I can come up here and say, filter for incomplete tasks, and now I’m not looking at the stuff that’s already completed, and the next thing I want to do is group by my resource name. So I can see all of Tom’s work together, and all of Ryan’s work together. And, again, I can use the ribbon to just come up here and say, I want to group by the resource name, but I can also go to any given column, and on the auto filter drop down for that column, again, to make it more like Excel, more simple to use, I could filter to look at just Ryan’s tasks, or in this case I can just group on the field, which allows me to see Marissa’s tasks together, Ryan’s tasks together, Tom’s tasks together.
And then the next step for what I like to do is to highlight what’s late. Now, one of the other advantages of the ribbon UI is we can take something like this, that you do frequently, and make it fewer steps. So even though this is something you can do in project today, it might be a few steps, it might involve going through a dialogue. What we can do is take things that you want to highlight in your plan frequently, like showing a base line, or highlighting what’s critical, or showing what’s late. And just make it a simple check box. So if I click here, what you notice is that all of the tasks that are late are now highlighted in black. Just in case you missed it, I’ll do it again. Uncheck it, all my late tasks are blue again. Check it again, and they’re all black. So in just a few simple clicks I’m able to highlight everything that’s late, show what everybody is working on, and filter out all the incomplete tasks. And this makes it easier for a new person to get started, and more efficient for an experienced project manager to get started.
Now one of the key things in designing the ribbon is to figure out what are those tasks you do all the time in Project, and how can we make those tasks things that are quick and easy to do? Now, to do that, we have done a lot of research. We have 18 million project sessions, and we’re looking at the data of what people click often, and what they use. We’ve done hundreds of hours of usability research, and we actually have a usability lab right here at the project conference to get your opinions as experienced project managers about what should be efficient in Project. So if you have time, I would really appreciate it if you would stop by our usability lab, take a look at some of the ways we’re designing the new ribbon, and give us some feedback about how we can make it better, and help you be more efficient in your job.
So, as you can see, it’s now a lot easier to create your reports. And this report is a great report for showing what is everybody working on. When we talk to you about the kind of reports you create, in addition to GANT charts, and lists of tasks, you also spend a lot of time summarizing the project data in other formats, in a PowerPoint presentation. Maybe it’s an Excel graph, maybe it’s a chart, maybe it’s a timeline.
So in Project 2007 we added Visual Report, which lets you take the data out of project, and pull it into a chart or a graph in Excel, into a chart in Visio very easily, so that you can easily share that project in PowerPoint, or in an email with your team. In the next version we want to take that one step further and make creating a timeline easy. So I’d like to present to you for the first time Project’s upcoming timeline view. (Applause.)
Thanks. So a timeline is a great way to show your team when is that’s big deadline coming up that everybody should be worried about, or let your manager know that this is where you are in your overall plan, and we’re on track, or we’re running behind, and here’s what we’re going to be working on next. But, usually your team isn’t using Project, and your management probably wants to see their timeline in a PowerPoint. So we want to make it easy to copy and paste this into the right tool to share it with the people who need to see it.
So I can go ahead and let’s go over and copy our timeline. I’m going into a PowerPoint deck that I’m building on my project. And as you can see, I’ve got a video diagram from Project 2007 in here. And I’ve got an Excel diagram from Project 2007. And I’m going to go ahead and just paste in my new timeline, and one thing I’d like to point out here is that this timeline is not a static image. These are actual drawing objects inside of PowerPoint. So depending on who I’m presenting to I can really customize this presentation. If I don’t want to show this particular manager particular data, I just delete it form the presentation. I can highlight something, make something big, or
STEVE BALLMER: What happens to that
ALICE STEINGLASS: Hey, we want to make you look good. That’s the goal here.
So I can go in here, maybe just format it, so here I’ve got use the new ribbon inside of PowerPoint to add an effect. For example, I could add a reflection, and now I have a reflected timeline inside of PowerPoint.
So sharing reports of your project is a great way to share the data, but collaboration is a lot more than just giving you a copy of it and saying, here’s what’s going on. It’s about being able to work two ways, about having multiple people work on a plan. So we did a lot in project 2007 to make it easier to edit your projects online, in Project Web Access. We added the ability to track tasks through the activity plan in PWA. We added the ability to track resource capacity through resource plan. As you saw just now, we added the ability to automatically accept updates from your projects, from your team members in project Web access without ever opening project desktop.
In the next version we want to go even further in that direction. So what you’re looking at here is the project drill down view, in the next version of Project, and Project Web Access, and there are two key differences I want to point out. The first is that this is not an Active X control. And I know there are some of you out there who will appreciate that. The second is that I now have an edit button. I’m going to go over here and hit the edit button, and now I can edit a project that I created in Project Desktop, or create it on Project Web Access, right here online in the project drill down view.
So, for example, let’s take this task internal tools and say, instead of let’s go back to it. This is early code, right. This is why we’re not shipping yet, you’ve got to wait. So let’s go back to edit it. I can go in here and say instead of three days the backspace key is set to go back in the browser. I’m not going to press backspace I’m just going to highlight it. So it’s five days, and what I’ve done here is change the duration of that task from three days to five days. I go into this next task here and type four days. And I can change the next task from three days to four days. And as you can see, as I make each change Project is automatically using the resource calendars and the task calendars to figure out the new finish date of that task.
What it’s not doing is going and recalculating the whole plan, because I’m editing on the Web and I want to make it fast and efficient. I don’t want every single change to go recalculate every other impact on the schedule. So when I’m ready, after I’ve made a couple of changes, I can hit the calculate schedule button, and what that does is it goes back to the server and it figures out how all of these changes are going to impact everything in the project schedule. And, as you may have noticed, we’ve also added change highlighting. Just like in Project Desktop, you can now see the impact of any change in the schedule, because each of the fields that are changed are highlighted in green. So it’s immediately obvious what happens when I change this to five days and this to four days. Not only did those tasks change, but this other task, Design, changed, because it’s a predecessor, and the summary task has moved out, as well.
Now, I like change highlighting. And one of the reasons I really like change highlighting is it gives me the opportunity to realize, that’s not actually what I wanted to do. So just like in Project Desktop my favorite feature is also moving to Project Server, and I can say, never mind, let me try something else, let me experiment with a different choice of changes. If I hit control Z we’ll undo that calculate. If I hit control Z again we’re going to go back to before we typed in four days. I’m going to hit control Z one more time, and we’re right back where we started. (Applause.)
So that’s the end of my demo today. I can’t show you every new feature we’re building in the next version of project, but I wanted to give you a glimpse of how we’re continuing to work on the same things we’ve been building in project 2007, to make it even easier to get started, more flexible to get started earlier in your planning cycle, to allow you to create great reports very quickly, and to let anyone edit their projects online from anywhere.
So thanks, Steve. Back to you. (Applause.)
STEVE BALLMER: I notice Alice didn’t show us the project timeline on Project V Next. I’m sure you’re as sad about that as I am. I’ll go check it out, though, afterwards. I want to finish with a little bit of discussion on the major transformation IT happening in some senses in the overall model of computing over the next several years. This is the move to what we would call software plus services.
In a sense today the world has four different kind of styles of computing and user interface. There’s the desktop model, the PC model, rich user interface, offline access, the ability on your PC to mix and match, and integrate almost anything. That’s been an important form of computation that we think continues into the future. There’s been enterprise, line of business computing, in which things like reliability, compliance, security, management, are super important.
There’s Web computing, where Web computing means cloud-based, roaming, anywhere access, you can just click and run anything off the Web, no install. It just kind of happens automatically, whether it’s an application or a Web site, or whatever.
Then you have the world of devices ,particularly I think about phones, and they almost have their own world of computing, with funny things like MMSes, and text messages, and in some senses a computing and user interface stack that has been, again, almost completely separate from the world of the Internet, the world of enterprise computing, and the world of the PC.
I get asked a lot, not just in the context of Microsoft Project, I get asked a lot what’s the future. Some people like to tell you, oh, the whole future is Internet computing, thin clients, browsers, everything moves to the cloud. I actually think the future is a world in which we get the best of all of these computing models, rich clients, be they PC, mobile phones. We get the advantages of cloud-based deployment and roaming, and searching. We’ll get the ease of application distribution that we associate with the Web today. Yet we’ll retain the kind of tools that IT has today to manage and secure, and make sure that information is appropriately protected in the enterprise.
A lot of things will move and run in the cloud. Some things will stay behind enterprise firewalls. Many things will project through browser-based type clients, but you’ll still be able to have rich power, rich access, and rich integration on the PC, and on the phone. And bringing the best of all of these things together in a way in which all applications, all developers, all IT people can leverage them is what we talk about when we talk about our software plus services initiative.
We think it’s important, a very important thing, to bring these together in rich ways, and you can see some of what we’re trying to do in this direction already a little bit in
Microsoft project. We do have rich clients, we also have the ability to project things through Active X controls, and through AJAX down to the client. We have the ability to use SharePoint as a rendering platform for those things. We have rich data, thousands of tags, UI intensive work that will require the power of a desktop client.
We have more work we need to do ourselves and with our partners to move it, to make it very easy for somebody to have a Project Server project hosted out in the Internet cloud. We have more we need to do to make it easy to render, and have a Project experience that makes sense on mobile devices, because if we really want to broaden out the usage of these tools, many of the people we need to reach, and many of the times that we need to reach them, they’re on the road, they’re moving, they’re doing something else.
So really bringing together software plus services, these four computing phenomena, and be able to do that and then apply it to the work management and project management experience, will be as important as productivity, mail, communications, or any of the others, that we’re working on so far. So we have a lot of work that we’re doing, a lot of work that’s in process with great partners, partner hosted EPM solutions, but we’re very excited about where that is, and what it’s going.
I think Microsoft is a company that is different from a lot of other companies you can choose to work with, partner with et cetera. We have phenomenal people, and we continue to recruit the best and the brightest. We’re focused on the broadest sets of innovations in our industry, and the broadest sets of business models. Hardware, like Xbox, advertising, the enterprise, the desktop, the broadest set of business models to bring them together.
We’re embracing key models of disruption. The PC was a new model of computing, that’s how our company got started. Graphical user interface, the Internet, now software plus services, we’re not going to shy away. And whether you’re a customer or a partner, we want to take you with us down that road.
Last, but certainly not least, we take a long-term approach. Microsoft Project has become a very large business. It didn’t happen overnight. It happened because we very consistently, over the long term, have invested, and invested, and invested, and invested in enhancing our offering, getting to know the customers and partners in this industry. There is still a lot more innovation to come, in project and work management. There’s a lot more we need to learn to continue to broaden out our footprint, and the value we add, and we certainly appreciate your support, your perspective, and your input.
I’m glad to have had the chance to talk with you today, and share some of my enthusiasm for what we’re doing. But, I’ll look forward even more to having a chance to hear what’s on your mind. So I say, thank you. If we don’t get to something you want to ask, as I said, [email protected]
Thank you all. (Applause.)