The latest version of Microsoft Project was made available on 30 January 2007. A variety of new features were made available to project managers. According to Microsoft, five of these new features are particularly helpful to users of this software.

Multi-Level Undo

This feature allows you to make changes to the project you are working on. If however, you are not happy with the changes you have made or you simply wish to see what the effects might be of a particular change, you can undo these changes using this feature. In other words, this feature helps to make Microsoft Project a more flexible tool for the user. It is important to note that if certain operations are performed, the multi-level undo feature cannot be used: for example, saving the project, publishing the project on Project Server or adding resources from Project Server and making changes in the Organiser.

Task Drivers Pane

This feature highlights the prerequisites and resource constraints that drive the start date of a particular task. It is therefore easier to visualise how various factors impact upon the scheduling of a project. The project manager is therefore able to better organise resources and ultimately, the project itself.

Change Highlighting

Change highlighting allows the user to easily see the effect of modifying task information on scheduling data for a project. This means that if a proposed change has an undesirable effect on your project plan, it is easily visible and alternative arrangements can be made. This is particularly useful when a task is dependent on one or more other tasks because the knock-on effect of making one change can be clearly seen.

Cost Resources

This feature allows the project manager to keep better track of the financial state of a particular project. It is possible to gauge exactly how much was spent during a particular task as it takes into account additional expenses such as airfares and accommodation, for example. This data can be easily passed onto the accounting department if necessary.

Visual Reports

The purpose of a visual report is to allow the project manager to see project data in a pivot table in Microsoft Excel or a pivot diagram in Microsoft Visio. Large amounts of data can therefore be effectively summarised without having to re-enter the data in another program. Reporting therefore becomes more flexible and better assists in the decision making process.

Microsoft Project courses are readily available for those of you who would like to explore these features in more depth.