Project Server 2016 now available

Normally, I would be extremely interested in learning and playing around with the new features. However, this time it is different as I have already tried them all as a user of Project Online.

With the constant updating of the Project Online cloud service, on premise users have to wait a bit more for update cycles. For that reason, the now released Project Server 2016 is very familiar to what has been available in the cloud since late summer 2015……yes, that means I would highly recommend Project Online to 90% of all users I know!

Regardless of the news around features, it is a great release as all the learnings from Microsoft running a cloud service, will benefit the on-prem 2016 users. This way important topics such as reliability, scalability and performance have been greatly improved.

The new Project Server 2016 can be downloaded as a trial here – link

Furthermore, here are some of the other key features and updates to the platform:

Resource Engagements

The new Resource Engagements capabilities in Project Server 2016 helps project managers and resource managers to align with each other on the specific amount of work and time periods for specific resources associated with a project. Resource Engagements are an evolution of the old Resource Plan feature in Project Web App and all of your existing Resource Plan data will be converted to engagements as part of the upgrade process.

Resource Engagements provides you with the following:

  • Project Managers can use the new Resource Plan view in Project Professional 2016 to create requests for resources.
  • Resource Managers can view all requests for resource through the new Resource Requests page and can use the capacity planning heat map to provide them with availability information on their resources.

IT-Pros will need to know how to migrate their Project Server 2013 Resource Plans to use as Resource Engagements in Project Server 2016. This will be done as part of the upgrade process by running a SharePoint PowerShell cmdlet.

One installation – Project Server and SharePoint Server

One of the biggest changes in Project Server 2016 is the installation process. Project Server 2016 runs as a service application in SharePoint Server 2016. The SharePoint Server 2016 MSI file will contain the installation files for Project Server 2016 as well, so a separate installation is no longer required as it was in previous versions of Project Server. Activating Project Server 2016 will require a PID key

Base installation languages and language packs

Since Project Server 2013 and SharePoint Server 2013 were installed separately, it was sometimes necessary to consider languages for the base installation and languages packs to provide multi-language support for your users. For example, you might install both Project Server 2013 (English -US) and SharePoint Server 2013 (English – US), and then add the Project Server 2013 (French) language pack in a scenario in which you want to provide either a English-US and French Project Web App interface for your users. Now that both Project Server 2016 and SharePoint Server 2016 are installed through a single installation, the base language is automatically matched for both. For example, when you install SharePoint Server 2016 (English – US), the base installation language for both Project Server 2016 and SharePoint Server 2016 will be English – US.

Hardware and software requirements

Since Project Server 2016 is now a service application in SharePoint Server 2016, the hardware, software, and browser requirements for Project Server 2016 will be the ones specified for SharePoint Server 2016. Some notable requirements for this version are:

Server Operating System: Windows Server 2012 R2
Database Server: SQL Server 2014

SQL Server 2014 Analysis Services must also be installed if you are using the Cube Building Service in Project Server 2016.

Supported browsers: ·         Microsoft Edge

·         Microsoft Internet Explorer 11

·         Microsoft Internet Explorer 10

·         Google Chrome (latest released version)

·         Mozilla Firefox (latest released version plus immediate previous version)

·         Apple Safari (latest released version)

Project client compatibility

You can connect to Project Server 2016 with not only the Project Professional 2016 client and Project Pro in Office 365, but also with Project Professional 2013.

A single database for multiple instances

In Project Server 2013, a separate Project database is created for each Project Web App instance. In Project Server 2016, a single database (the SharePoint content database) will be used for all instances of PWA. Even though all data is saved to the single database, data from each individual instance is still isolated from other instances.

Having your Project data contained within a single database makes for easier database operations, such as backup and restore, migration, etc.

Custom field limits

To help provide the best performance in Project Server 2016 reporting, there are limits to how many single-value custom fields, or each type, that get stored in the reporting schema:

Project custom fields Timesheet custom fields Task and Resource custom fields, combined
450 text fields 450 text fields 450 text fields
450 lookup tables 450 lookup tables 450 lookup tables
450 of all other custom field types (cost, date, duration, number, flag) 450 of all other custom field types (cost, date, duration, number, flag) 450 of all other custom field types (cost, date, duration, number, flag)

Project Web App changes

Administrators should know of a couple of big changes in Project Web App that affects your users:

New Timeline options

In Project Server 2016, note that there are several changes to the way timelines are used in Project Web App. These include:


What’s new How do I do this?
Multiple timelines – You have the ability to have multiple timelines. You can add an additional timeline through the Project Center or Schedule page. Project Center – Add projects and tasks to the Project Center timeline

Schedule page – Add tasks to a project timeline

Adjust the timeline date range – You are now able to adjust the start and end date of a timeline. Change the appearance of a timeline in Project Web App


Project Server 2016 TechNet documentation

Project Server 2016 will be generally available in the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center in early May

Project Professional 2016 – Whats new


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