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Audience

Team members, project managers, executives and administrators

Description

If your team uses Microsoft Outlook for email and/or Microsoft Office applications, these optional client side add-ons provide another easy way to update projects, tasks, issues and more in Project Insight. Team members will learn how to use the Outlook Connector to upload emails to Project Insight, keeping all project communication centralized. Learn how to utilize Office Connector to simplify the editing of Office documents posted in the software.

Benefits

  • Learn how to upload emails from Outlook to Project Insight
  • Find out how to update tasks from Outlook and update Project Insight
  • Understand the power of creating tasks and issues from emails
  • Leverage Office Connector for easy editing of documents

Key Points


Transcript

An important part of your project management process is managing communications about your projects and managing project documents.

Email has become a standard way to communicate in business environments. Requests for updates on projects are sent via emails. Responses are received back via emails. New work and new issues are sent through emails. General project information is communicated via emails.

Project documents are often created in word processors or spreadsheets and may circulate via emails.

The corporate standard for a large number of organizations is Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office.

In fact, you may find that your team uses Microsoft Outlook throughout their work day, which means that they always have this software application open and refer to it constantly.

The benefit of those emails is that all decisions and other data is documented, however, the challenge is that the documentation resides on individual computers or is embedded in nested folders on a shared file server and it easily gets lost or disconnected from the project. It also may not be very visible or easily accessible.

The same holds true for documents. Documents can reside on individual computers and not be accessible. They can be lost as attachments in emails. There may be multiple versions of documents floating around the organization and you are never sure which file is the right version.

To enable you to continue using Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Office and connect information received there with your projects, you can download and install the Project Insight Outlook and Office Connectors.

These Connectors enable you to seamless interface data in those applications with the Project Insight system to capture all your emails, communications and documents in one central place that is easy to access and is visible to all your stakeholders.

You can even get a list of all your work from within Outlook and update the status right from this application as well, which makes it easy for your team to continue to work the way they like while you still get the updates that you need.

You can also easily convert emails that you receive into tasks on projects or issues on your issue log, again centralizing it and enabling you to manage it.

Download the Client Side Add-Ons

Before you can use the Connectors, you must install Office add-ons and Outlook add-ons on your local computer. You will need to be a Project Insight system administrator to download the add-on installation programs.

You will need to have appropriate security access on your local computer in order to install those add-ons there as well. You will need to do this installation on each computer that will use the functions.

To access the installation files, expand the left navigation.

Click on the Administration section to expand it.

Click on Desktop Tools.

The first section is for the Outlook Connector.

Click on the Download Now box and download the msi file.

Scroll to the bottom of the form to the second section which is for the Office Connector.

Click on the Download Now box and download the msi file.

This will download two zip files.

You will need to unzip those files.

When you do that, a 32bit MSI install file will be listed and a 64 bit MSI install file will be created.

You can see that this is the ProjectInsightOfficeConnectorSetup.zip file.

These are the install files for Microsoft Office, MS Word, MS Excel and PowerPoint.

It was unzipped and it created ProjectInsightOfficeConnectorSetup.msi which is the 32bit install file.

And it also created the ProjectInsightOfficeConnectorSetup_x64.msi which is the 64bit install file.

You can see that this is the ProjectInsightOutlookConnectorSetup.zip file.

These are the install files for Microsoft Outlook.

It was unzipped and it created ProjectInsightOutlookConnectorSetup.msi which is the 32bit install file.

And it also created the ProjectInsightOutlookConnectorSetup_x64.msi which is the 64bit install file.

It is important to note that this is the version to the applications not the operating system.

It is very common to have 64bit operating system with 32bit office applications.

You will need to verify the version of the Office applications you have installed 32bit or 64bit and use the appropriate installer. If you do have problems, then it may be because you are installing the wrong version.

You can put these install files on a file server for others to access. You don’t have to download it for each computer.

Ensure that the Microsoft Office and Outlook applications are not running when you do this installation.

If you need more assistance during the install and a list of other things that may need to be setup on your computer, click on the Get Installation Guide link.

There is one for Outlook and one for Office.

Add-Ins Menu Bar in Outlook

After the add-ons are installed, you are going to see some new options.

Add-ins in Outlook can be accessed various ways.

First, you will have a new Project Insight toolbar.

To see that, right click on the blue header bar and you can see the Project Insight toolbar. Click on it to turn it on, if it is not already turned on.

You can see that this Project Insight toolbar is already turned on.

Double click on an email.

If you have an email open, you can click on the Add-Ins menu option and then you will also see the same Project Insight toolbar.

So you can access the functionality from either location, which makes it easy to access no matter what you are doing.

Connectivity Settings

Before you can use the connectors, you must enter connectivity settings. This is required only once. After you’ve entered it, Project Insight will remember it going forward.

Click the PI Settings icon.

Enter the Project Insight URL.

You can see this one is already entered.

Don’t enter the http information in the URL.

Just ensure that you check the http option applicable. In most cases, it is just the default of https://. Project Insight will then use those two pieces of data together to determine how to access Project Insight.

Then enter your login name and your password.

This needs to match your password in Project Insight.

Do not check Use Integrated Windows Authentication unless you have been told by your IT staff to do so.

This is used normally for on premise systems that are hooked into your current authentication process. This does require your IT involvement and direction so only turn it on, if you are directed by them to do so.

Now you have to click on Test My Settings.

This will check to ensure the information you entered is correct and you won’t be able to save those settings until you do that.

You will get a form indicating that your settings are valid. Click Ok.

Those are your connectivity settings.

Outlook Connector Synchronization Options

Now you need to set your Outlook Connector synchronization options. These are in this Outlook Preferences settings.

First you can choose what to synchronize, tasks and/or to-dos.

Synchronizing Tasks

If you have checked to synchronize Tasks, what this will do is bring tasks from Project Insight over into Outlook and set them up as Outlook tasks.

The connector will brings over tasks assigned to you and that are not already completed.

Also, you can set some other parameters to dictate what tasks are brought over.

You can check Only download tasks with all task predecessors complete to bring over only those ones.

And you can say to only bring over tasks that start within a certain number of days.

Once the tasks are brought over, the option, Update % Complete from Outlook, allows you to update the % complete on the task from Outlook and then synchronize that back to Project Insight automatically.

This allows you to update the status of the task directly from Outlook. You don’t even have to login to Project Insight.

Check that option if it is not already checked.

The other function you can do right from within Outlook is add time entries or enter the amount of time that you worked on a task.

The Automatically add time entries when actual work is increased option has to be checked to enable that.

The next option Remove tasks when marked complete, you most likely want checked. When you complete a task, you want it removed from your list of Outlook tasks. That will not remove the actual tasks from within Project Insight, it just removes them from your active task list in Outlook.

The next two options dictate how this task is managed in Outlook.

You can have a reminder automatically created for each task, that’s an Outlook reminder, not a Project Insight reminder. So just before the task is scheduled to start, you will be reminded about it. You may want to use some caution setting this option. If you have a large number of tasks assigned to you, you will get a large number of reminders, so if you’re finding that’s happening and the reminder is no longer useful, just check this off.

You can also Create an appointment on your calendar for Tasks in the time frame set for the Task and set what your status is during that time.

Whether or not you use this option will be dictated by your business processes and your personal preferences. Some organizations only want to book meeting times and out of office times on their calendars and not scheduled tasks or work.

However, some organizations do want to set appointments to schedule work. In this scenario, you want to turn this option on. If you turn it on and you were scheduled to work 40 hours on week on one task, you will show up as unavailable for any meetings to anyone else that can see your calendar during that time.

Most organizations don’t use this option unless they check the next option which is Only for tasks designated as an appointment. It is possible that project managers can set tasks in Project Insight as appointments. If they do, and this option is set, it will create an appointment on your calendar for that task only.

That is what the Appointment setting on the task is intended to do, identify only certain tasks that you actually want an appointment for this task created on the Outlook calendar.

You will see how to set that in Project Insight later on in this session.

Synchronizing To-Dos

The next section has to do with synchronizing to-dos. This brings to-dos set up in Project Insight and assigned to you over into Outlook and sets them up as Outlook tasks.

You can then set the same options as you did for Tasks.

Uncheck the reminders because you don’t want reminders on this task.

Auto Sync

To set when tasks and to-dos are pulled from Project Insight and updates to those made in Outlook are pushed back to Project Insight, you can either synchronization manually or you can set auto syncing options.

To automatically synchronization the information, check this option and enter how often you want it to occur.

Click Ok to save those settings.

Click X to close that specific email and return to the main Outlook form.

You’ll see more about this functionality later on in this session.

Upload Emails from Outlook

In most organizations, emails are an important part of the project record.

Emails may contain decisions, requests for information or activities, change requests and other project data, so you want to save that email as part of the project assets and you want it visible and accessible.

Click on an email.

Click on Save to PI.

The first time you save an email, you need to navigate to the folder, project, task or other item where you want to save the email to.

After that, the connector remembers where you last saved email data. This speeds up your data entry. If you’re working with the same project, you don’t have to change or re-select the location each time.

Navigate to the Software Development project and click on Documents.

Click Save.

You get a confirmation prompt that the email was uploaded successfully.

Click the link to view it.

The email details are shown along with any related items.

Hover on Views and click Documents.

The email will be created in the Software Development documents folder.

The content of the email is searchable through the Project Insight search option and anyone with access can search for and view that detail.

So that’s managing emails with the connector.

Synchronize Tasks and To Dos Manually

When you set up your PI Settings, you saw how to set automatic synchronization of tasks and to dos. Now, you are going to see how to do the synchronization manually.

Click on Tasks in Outlook.

You can still add your tasks as you would before, but to synchronize with Project Insight tasks manually, click Synchronize Tasks. This may take a couple of seconds, especially the first time as it makes the connection with Project Insight.

Then when it is complete, you will get a Success message.

Click Ok.

If you have reminders turned on, you may immediately get a form with the reminders listed.

Click X to close the form.

You will see a list of the tasks and to dos brought over.

You will see tasks that are overdue shown in red.

The Subject is the name of the task or to-do.

Then you have the status of not started. That is the same status that’s in Project Insight.

You have the Due Date which is the task scheduled end date.

There is a % complete, which is the numerical value corresponding to the status.

Then you have this Category, which is populated with the project name. The category in a task in Outlook corresponds to the project name in Project Insight.

Project Insight uses the default fields in Outlook.

View Task Details

You can double click on a task in Outlook to see the details.

Again, the subject is the name of the task or to do.

You can see the scheduled start and end date, which are the start date and the due date in Outlook Tasks.

The scheduled dates are also listed in the body of the task.

There are some other details in the body, such as the task owner, the work hours, the actual hours you have already entered, the status or percent complete and then the project name and number and any task descriptions that you entered.

Update Tasks from Outlook

Click on the Details icon.

The details icon provide you with the date that the task was finished, which would be applicable if you set your configuration to not remove tasks that were marked as complete.

Then the total work is the amount of work that was scheduled for you to work on this task by the project manager.

For the integration, the default settings that are in Outlook are used so it may appear in a different time denominator that Project Insight. It may show the time in days or weeks instead of hours.

The Actual Work is the actual amount of time you have already spent working on this task to date.

Enter in the hours you worked on it.

Click Save and Close.

Synchronizing back to Project Insight

Click Synchronize tasks because you want to push that information back to Project Insight immediately. Of course, if you turned auto sync on, you do not need to do this.

Click Ok to the confirmation.

Double click on the Task again to see the details.

In the message body, you can see the Actual Work has increased to what you entered.

Scroll to the bottom of the message body.

Here, there is a link to take you directly to Project Insight and show you the task detail form.

Click on that link.

Here is the task in Project Insight.

Click on the time tab.

You can see an entry for the hours you entered in Project Insight.

The description was set to Automatically entered from Outlook.

Switch back to Outlook.

Not only can you enter time directly from Outlook, but you can also update the % complete.

Click in the % complete and enter 50.

Click on the Details icon again.

The Actual Work here was changed as well.

You can see the hours that you entered previously.

If you wanted to add more time, you need to add it to the existing time.

If you worked 5 more hours, you would not enter 5. You would enter the current hours plus 5.

The reason for this is a limitation with Outlook. Outlook does not have multiple places for you to enter time, there is one data field only, so you need to do a little bit of math so that you are always entering the new total of hours worked, not just the amount for this time.

Click Save and close again.

Click Synchronize tasks.

Click Ok to the confirmation.

Double click on the Task again to see the details.

Click on the link.

Click on the Time tab on the Task Details form.

A new time entry was made with the difference.

Making entries in Outlook will not subtract hours in Project Insight.

If you had changed the actual hours to something less than was already there, the entry would have been ignored.

Switch back to Outlook.

Create Tasks and Issues from Emails

You can create a task from an email. Only project managers or project schedulers can do this, as you need to have permissions to add tasks to projects.

Click on the email that you want to create a task for.

Click on Create Task.

The Task name gets set to the email subject line.

Then you need to select the project that this task is going to be created in.

Click in the project drop down.

Select Software Development.

Once you select the project, you are able to change the task name if required.

If this belongs to a Summary task, select that in the Summary Task drop down.

Enter in the Duration.

Enter in the Work Hours.

Set your constraint types. Click in the drop down for Constraints and select a constraint type.

If you enter a constraint that requires a date, you can enter that.

Select Must Start on and enter tomorrow.

Enter the task description. Enter change of scope.

After the description, you can see some options, such as saving the email with the task.

Saving any attachments with the task as well as the email.

Or creating the task as an appointment.

Remember if you do that and synchronize with the options set to create task as an appointment on the Outlook calendar, then it will be scheduled on the Outlook calendar.

Check Open when saved because you want to see what the task looks like after it has been created.

Click Save.

The Task Detail form appears.

You can see in the breadcrumb, where it was created in the project.

Click the Project Name.

Expand out the summary task that you added it to.

You can see the task that was created.

Click on the task to go to the Task Details form.

Click on the Related Items section to expand that out.

You will see the email listed. Click on the name. You can see the full email details.

Click on the Related Items section to expand that out.

You will see the attachments.

Create Issues

You can not only create a task from an email, you can also create an issue.

Switch back to Outlook.

Click X to close that email.

Click on another email with attachments.

For example, maybe your customer found an issue and they documented that information and sent it to you in an email. They attached a screen print of the issue.

Instead of having to go to the project and add an issue and then upload the screen print as a separate graphic, you can create an issue directly from that email and keep the associated attachments.

Click on Create Issue.

The Issue description gets populated with the email subject line.

The Full Issue description gets filled in with the body of the email.

You can change each of those if required.

Add some additional steps to reproduce if that information is necessary.

Then you can set the issue categories such as Type, Status Type, Priority and Severity.

All of this information about Issues is covered in detail in the Track, Manage and Report on Issues training session.

Enter the rest of the information as required.

Leave Add email to Issue checked to keep the email details with the Issue.

Leave Add email attachments to issue checked to keep the attachments along with the email.

Click Save.

You can then attached it to a Project, a task or put it in its own separate issues folder, whatever your business process dictates.

Click on Projects.

Click on Software Development Projects.

Click Documents.

Click Save.

You will get a confirmation prompt that it was created with a link to the item.

Click on the link.

The Issues detail form in Project Insight will show.

Click on the Related Items section to expand that out.

You will see the email listed. Click on the name. You can see the full email details.

Click on the Related Items section to expand that out.

You will see the attachments.

With the create task and create issue functionality, you can quickly create tasks and issues with the associated emails and attachments.

That is the connector functionality used in Microsoft Outlook.

Saving Office Documents

Now you’re going to see how to save Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint documents automatically to Project Insight.

You’re going to see this done through Microsoft Word but the process is the same for Excel and Powerpoint.

Switch to word.

Click the Add-ins menu option.

There are only two options here. Save to PI and PI Settings.

PI Setting in Office Applications

Click on PI Settings first.

You see the same connection settings that you did in Outlook.

In fact, once you enter those settings in Outlook, it will be automatically set for the office applications as well and you don’t have to change anything, but you can see where you would change it from the Office applications.

Click Cancel.

Saving a New File

Click Save to PI.

You see the same Save to PI form as you did Outlook.

Again, the last place you saved information is remembered so you don’t have to re-enter or change it although you could if you wanted.

Just click Save.

You get the confirmation prompt.

This same process applies to Microsoft Excel and PowerPoint.

If you wanted to upload other types of documents to Project Insight, you can. See our Document Sharing and Management training session for more details.

Click on the link to view the file.

Best Practices for Saving Office Documents with Add-On

Now you’re going to see some best practices for saving office documents with the add-ons.

Switch back to Word.

Create a new word document, click on the Office button and select new. Select a blank document.

Enter some text, such as meeting minutes.

Click Add-Ins.

Click Save to PI.

Since this is a brand new document, you have not yet saved it anywhere, so as part of the saving to PI process, you must first save a copy of that document on your local computer.

Navigate to a directory on your local computer.

This directory location doesn’t really matter because the document of record is the one that is saved in Project Insight. You will not use this document that is saved locally. If you’re doing this a lot, you may want to just set a directory called Project Insight and use that to save the documents locally and then you could clean it out periodically.

Enter a detailed name of the document. This name will be the default name that is used when the document is saved to PI, so it is a good practice to name both the file on your local computer and the one in Project Insight the same.

Save the document.

After it is saved on your local drive, you are prompted to also set the location in Project Insight where you want it saved.

It does remember the last location you used, and it also populates the name of the document automatically so you can just click Save.

Click on the link to view the file in Project Insight.

Now before you do anything else, close the document in MS Word.

Switch back to word and close it.

Switch back to Project Insight.

Editing an Existing File

Now that the document has been uploaded into Project Insight, that is the document of record.

To edit it, click on the document name.

You are prompted to open or save it.

You need to save it locally first. Don’t just open it, because it will be opened in read only mode and you can’t make changes.

Hover on Save and click Save As.

Navigate to your folder where you want to save it.

If you already have a document there, just replace it.

Now make your changes as you would normally with a Word document.

Switch back to word.

Open that document you saved locally.

Make your changes.

Then repeat your process for Saving to PI. Click the Save to PI icon.

Click Save to over-write the existing file in Project Insight.

You will get a confirmation message.

Click OK to overwrite the existing file.

Click OK again to the Successful save prompt.

If you want to use the Project Insight Version control and check in and out functions on Office document, then attend the Document Sharing & Management training session.


Online 9/29/2015
Updated on: