Microsoft Project already supports working with agile and sprints (scrum). The first release of this new work method was available for Project users roughly 6 months ago, and last week we got yet another update. This time the update is rather simple but serves a powerful purpose – integrated progress tracking and better filtering.
Let me quickly walk you through the update and how to use it:
Step 1: Run updates from the “Office Insider” channel
Lets first ensure you on the right update frequency as you would otherwise have to wait a little bit more. The current build that I am on is called 9213.2031, and is the “Click2Run” edition of Microsoft Project. My update channel is set to “Office Insider”. You can check you own version in the backstage of Microsoft Project.
Step 2: Create a backlog of tasks
From the Gantt Chart view, I have created some different tasks, and tagged some as “agile” and others as traditional. The “Agile” column is now a standard in the client, and will later trigger what should be shown on the Kanban board.
Step 3: Switch your project methodology to Kanban
I will now change the planning mode to support “Kanban”. In case you have never tried this before, read one of my previous post on the agile feature update.
To change the mode simply click the “Project” tab from the ribbon and the select “Agile”. I will select the “Kanban” option for this blog post.
Step 4: Navigate to the Backlog Board
Now that I have activated the Kanban methodology, you can now choose to open the Backlog Board as seen below.
Step 5: Filter your backlog (NEW FEATURE)
When I open the backlog view, I see all tasks that have been tagged as “agile”. Notice that in the top right corner, you can now filter by different summary tasks. This mean that it does matter how you create your tasks in the project plan. In my case, we will look at the tasks created as part of the “Market Assessment” phase (or sprint;-))
Step 6: Configure how progress should be synchronized (NEW FEATURE)
Also notice, that the top of your Kanban columns can now be configured to map the column to a specific % Complete status, which will be used to show progress directly from your Gantt Chart views. This also works for custom columns. The done column is by default set to 100% complete.
Step 7: Rearrange the tasks and see the progress
I will now play around with the tasks, and place them in different columns, so we can see how it looks in the Gantt view.
Notice, that besides checking the progress, you can also add the “Board Status” column and see which column the tasks belongs to. You can also filter and group your Project views to better manager agile tasks separate from your traditional tasks.
Step 8: Run an agile task status report
As I have previously blogged about, we now have a new set of agile/scrum reports available from the report tab. Obviously these work with the new updates.
INSPIRATION: Running hybrid planning in Microsoft Project
This final step is actually not a step, but more of an inspiration. I have worked with many companies where producing a new product or service is not a simple matter of being either agile, scrum or traditional. Its actually a mix of all.
The below example is quite common, and reminds us a little bit of program management. This project is managing the production of a new coffee machine in which software is part of it. I see this quite often as IoT (Internet of Things) is blending the physical creation of a product and the production of actual software.
As we cant run a continuous release of a physical product, we must plan with a fixed end date (deadline), and still support the software teams running agile. This is often achieved with the Scrum approach, in which we allow for X amount of sprints within the phase of software production. Once we run out of time/sprints, we carry over the working software to the teams in charge of releasing the product to the market. This doesn’t mean that we cant continue to update and release new software, it just means that the physical product wont get the update until a consumer connects the device to the internet.
Below is a quick and dirty example of a hybrid plan used for the production of a coffee machine with WIFI connection.