Choosing the Right Synchronization Mode
Each project manager can choose from one of three different synchronization modes for each project. A project manager may choose to use one, two, or all three synchronization modes for the projects he owns.
In general, we recommend using the Project Management-controlled mode, where Project Management is used for project planning and tracking actuals.
If you prefer to plan the project in Microsoft Project, Microsoft Project-controlled mode or shared control mode is recommended.
If you prefer to use Microsoft Project but actuals are tracked using PPM Time Management, shared control mode is recommended.
An organization may benefit from standardizing the use of a single synchronization mode. For example, if all projects are synchronized with Microsoft Project in the same manner, external stakeholders can have the same expectations about the timeliness of the project information presented in the PPM Dashboard.
The following examples show how the Plug-in for PPM can be used in different situations. For higher-level scenarios, see Project Management Strategies.
Create a New Project Management Project Based on an Existing Microsoft Project Plan
A project manager planning a new project may want to create the new plan using Project Management but use an existing Microsoft Project plan as the starting point.
Because planning will be done in Project Management, the project manager should open the existing Microsoft Project plan in Project Management and select Project Management-controlled mode.
If the project manager wants to see or present the Project Management project in Microsoft Project views, the modified Project Management work plan can be synchronized to Microsoft Project.
Display Existing Microsoft Project Plans in Project Management
If the stakeholders and participants are not familiar with Project Management, a gradual transition from active Microsoft Project projects to Project Management projects is recommended. Planning and tracking actuals are done in Microsoft Project, but the project is viewed from the PPM Dashboard.
The project manager should open the existing Microsoft Project plan in Project Management and select Microsoft Project-controlled mode.
If any errors occur during the initial synchronization, a dialog displays these errors. To enable full information tracing for synchronization, see Enable synchronization logs.
Convert Existing Microsoft Project Plans to Project Management Projects
If stakeholders and participants are familiar with Project Management, the project manager can choose to transition only tracking actuals or both planning and tracking actuals to Project Management.
If stakeholders and participants are only tracking actuals in Project Management, the project manager should open the existing Microsoft Project plan in Project Management and select shared control mode.
If stakeholders and participants are both planning and tracking actuals in Project Management, the project manager should open the existing Microsoft Project plan in Project Management and select Project Management-controlled mode.
Update a Microsoft Project Work Plan Hierarchy Integrated with Project Management
If a Microsoft Project work plan is integrated with Project Management, in shared control mode, Microsoft Project controls the work plan. However, some changes to the work plan hierarchy that are allowed in a Microsoft Project are not allowed in Project Management.
If you convert a leaf task with actuals to a summary task in Microsoft Project, in shared control mode, integration with the Project Management work plan fails. Converting a leaf task with actuals to a summary task is not allowed in Project Management as it may result in invalid data in Time Management.
If you experience an integration error related to the modification of the work plan hierarchy, use an existing backup copy as a starting point from which to reapply your most recent edits. See Back up Microsoft Project files for more information about backups.
Augment Microsoft Project with Project Management Publishing
Similar to displaying existing Microsoft Project plans in Project Management, project managers can augment their Microsoft Project plans by publishing project information in Project Management to stakeholders and participants. In this situation, the project manager does not wish to transition from Microsoft Project to Project Management. However, the project manager would like to take advantage of the publishing capabilities of Project Management (for example, displaying project overviews and task assignments from the PPM Dashboard).
If stakeholders and participants plan and track actuals in Microsoft Project, the project manager should open the existing Microsoft Project plan in Microsoft Project-controlled mode.
If the project manager prefers to enter the actuals of participants (for example, the project manager collects actuals verbally or through email) in Microsoft Project, the project manager should open the existing Microsoft Project plan in Microsoft Project-controlled mode.
In this situation, the project manager should set stakeholders' expectations about project information in Project Management. Unlike projects controlled by Project Management, the project status information presented in Project Management may not always be current. For example, if the project manager collects and enters project actuals into Microsoft Project on a weekly basis, the project information presented in Project Management may be up to a week out of date. Project managers should communicate this to stakeholders.
Augment Microsoft Project by Collecting Actuals with Project Management
If a project manager wants to use advanced Microsoft Project functionality (for example, resource leveling with a shared resource pool) while providing up-to-date information to stakeholders and collecting actuals directly from participants using Project Management, the project manager should open a project in shared control mode.
If the participants are not familiar with Project Management, the project manager should keep the collecting of actuals as simple as possible. The project manager should enable only a few actuals fields to be collected through Project Management. For example, a participant may be asked to update the status of his tasks by selecting from Ready,In Progress, or Complete. If early or late starts and finishes are common, the project manager can enable these actual fields to allow participants to directly communicate when work actually occurred. If these are uncommon events, the project manager may track these exceptions personally by changing the start and finish dates in Microsoft Project, avoiding the possibility of participants entering incorrect dates.
Although a Project Manager is used to thinking about tasks in terms of the time or duration worked, percent complete, remaining work, and so forth, most participants are not familiar with these concepts. The project manager should carefully plan how many and how quickly these concepts are introduced to participants.
Once participants become familiar with Project Management concepts, the project manager can collect a richer set of actuals. Many actuals, such as actual work performed, are a key to understanding performance and making progressive improvement.
Microsoft Project offers a wide range of actuals fields, which are tightly interrelated by automatic data integrity rules. Most project managers do not learn all of these automatic data integrity rules. Instead, they learn how to track the information that matters to them by making entries into only a few fields. When tracking actuals through Project Management, these are the fields that the project manager should enable in the PPM Dashboard.
Improved Search Result in Microsoft Project
In Microsoft Project, the project search result is presented in a more user-friendly manner where only projects for which you are the project manager are returned. Therefore, all the projects returned in the search result are accessible, meaning that you can open these projects from PPM, and send them to PPM.
Note: To search projects in Microsoft Project, you must have the following access grants:
Project Mgmt: Edit Projects
Project Mgmt: Synchronize Work Plans