The internet age is characterized by fast technological change and constant updates and advances. Ten years ago, nobody had heard of Facebook or Twitter. Five years ago most people still thought a Blackberry was a fruit. Two years ago, just a decade after Jorn Barger coined the term “web-log”, blogs written by Buddhist monks constituted the primary news channel during the Burmese protests.
And now, yet again, Microsoft is marking a shift in way that the internet community works by launching a new generation of MS Office products, including Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft Project 2010.
The main focus of the Microsoft 2010 products is on the increasingly blurred boundaries of work/home and computer/phone, the consequences partly of technological advances and partly of the changing business environment. Customers, suppliers and even employees are drawn from across the globe, necessitating flexible working hours and locations.
The Microsoft 2010 suite integrates various forms of communication, allowing users greater control over what, when and how they talk to one another.
The first version was released in 1984 by a company working for Microsoft. Since then, users have seen a revolution in project management software. The latest edition, 2007, enables project managers to create complex Work Breakdown Structures, estimate costs and resources, experiment with “what if” scenarios and create comprehensive project documentation at a mouse-click, using templates.
The 2010 version will be released in the first half of 2010. Apart from the initial press release on April 15th 2009, Microsoft are keeping quiet about the specific features of the new product, which will be unveiled at the Microsoft Project Conference in September 2009.
Which version should you use?
Some project managers still use early versions. However, for most projects and project managers there are clear advantages to upgrading to the latest edition:
• Enhanced features enable more efficient planning, monitoring and control
• Optimized compatibility between MS Project and other software programs
• Up-to-date training ensures users can work with any edition of MS Project
The release of 2010 version will not necessarily entail throwing out 2007 version and retraining every staff member from scratch. However, it is in the interest of every project manager to remain informed about the new capabilities of MS Project 2010, and to update their knowledge through training-courses and tutorials. In the changing world of modern business, keeping up with technological advances is essential to survival and success.
Simon Buehring is a project manager, consultant and trainer. He works for KnowledgeTrain which offers ISEB training courses in the UK and overseas. He can be contacted via the ISEB business analysis website.