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  • Sebastian Sieber

2023 Release Wave 2 Highlights: Project Operations


With Microsoft Inspire just closing their Keynote, Microsoft published their highly anticipated 2023 Release Wave 2 Plans for Dynamics 365, Power Platform and Cloud for Industry in parallel.

Today, let's dive into the exciting new features announced specifically for Dynamics 365 Project Operations (lite deployment, CE only)!


But first - what is even a Release Wave Plan and why is everyone so excited about?

Microsoft releases are structured in two different time frames, so called Waves. Wave 1 and Wave 2 for the specific year. It's currently 2023, so we talk about the 2023 Release Wave 1, for the first period of releases during the year.

Sounds pretty straight forward right? Well, of course the first wave is not scheduled from January till June. Based on historical Spring and Fall Release Schedules we always talk about April to September time frame for Wave 1 and October to March for Wave 2.

And of course you already connected the dots - these release time frames are overlapping the start and end of the years:

  • 2023 Release Wave 1: April 2023 - September 2023 (current)

  • 2023 Release Wave 2: October 2023 - March 2024 (upcoming)

  • 2024 Release Wave 1: April 2024 - September 2024

  • ..

In short, we receive insights on whats coming for the next release iteration of the specific Application or Product. It's always interesting to see in which direction something moves.


Now, let's pick some of the highlights for the upcoming Release Wave for Project Operations!



Project Budget based on Estimations

The already in preview feature for Project Budget will be further extended and sharpened in the upcoming release waves by receiving the option to import budget values based on the estimates.

Similar as in the Sales part of the process, expect to have a summarize option based on the different levels in the Project Plan or e.g. the Role or Category.

Of course the Project Manager can go full granular but it seems to keep the budget lines manageable in an easier way with a summarization.

Planned Public preview: March 2024




Sales and Cost Budget Tracking

With additional Sales tracking on the Project Budget the Project Manager receives an additional KPI measurement to keep track about the Budget, Actual Amounts and Forecast values.

All visualized in the spotlight of the Summary tab on the Project form

Planned Public preview: March 2024




Best Resource Recommendations for your Project

Finding the right resource for your project can easily turn into a nightmare. With a combination of AI-powered and heuristics-based recommendation engine Project Operations will be able to suggest to the best match for tasks. Analyzing the costs, availability, experience, utilization and skills of employees and subcontractors in your organization.

The engine will generate scores, overviews for e.g. the cost impact and is supposed to learn and adapt over time to generate the best fitting result for the missing team member on your project. The learning mechanism will be based around the AI infrastructure on the Power Platform and rich resource and project data in the database, such as similar type of projects which has been closed successfully in the past and where similar skills and experiences were required.

Planned General availability: March 2024





Progress-based billing on fixed-price contracts

With this feature, project managers can now split the value of a contract into a distinct schedule of values that correspond to the progress of the work. Instead of invoicing the entire milestone amount at once, a portion of the milestone is invoiced periodically. This enables more granular invoicing based on the completion of specific stages or tasks, providing better alignment between invoicing and project progress.

Planned General availability: March 2024



UI / UX Improvements

In the shared video (will link everything at the end) we can see as well massive improvements for Invoicing usability, the style how Project Team Members are presented and overall the look and feel. Pretty similar to what we saw in the updated Quote form from my previous post.

Overall a more modern user experience which is always welcomed

Planned General availability: March 2024



Bulk Resource Reconciliation

During project delivery Resource and Project Managers are always have to balance changes in scope, timelines and availability of skilled and experienced Employees. With the current Resource Reconciliation implementation changes between Resource Bookings and the Project Plan can be only synced individually.

With a new user interface Resource and Project Managers will be able to perform bulk (asynchronous) adjustments for their bookings and requirements. Overall, this feature streamlines resource management processes, saving time and ensuring accurate capacity alignment.

Planned Public preview: October 2023

Planned General availability: March 2024




Bulk Approval Improvements

Modern Approvals. One of my favorite features to be honest. In short, especially bulk approving all time entries of multiple employees at the end of the month can be a time consuming action.

Especially the performance for larger approval sets will be improved in the upcoming release wave.

Planned Public preview: January 2024

Planned General availability: March 2024



Increase for Task Limits per Projects

Just recently the maximum of total tasks for one project was raised on the Project for the Web side to 1000 project tasks. This limit extension also finds the way to Project Operations WBS experience, including extension of the total number of Resource Assignments and Dependencies between Project Tasks.

Planned General availability: March 2024



Update Tasks as complete

And another exclusive Project for the Web functionality (finally) finds it's way to Project Operations. While it's currently only possible to close Project Tasks with consuming the whole Remaining Effort, the user will be able to select on or many leaf node Project Tasks in the Grid Schedule directly.

I as well hope for some seperated flag on the Project Task to trigger this option from outside the pitch based on custom rules. Fingers crossed!

Planned General availability: March 2024



Sources

These are just a few highlights I've cherry-picked from the release note documentation. Stay tuned for more detailed information as we uncover additional useful features and improvements. The future of Dynamics 365 Project Operations looks promising, with many long-awaited additions and enhancements on the horizon.








Dynamics 365 Finance, Project Operations, and Human Resources 2023 Release Wave 2 Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVwzBZ7Bt_g&t=1s




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