Microsoft is working hard on Service Pack 1 for Office Project 2007 in the hope that users waiting for the update before deploying will quickly upgrade.
SP1 will update Project Professional 2007, Project Server 2007 and Project Portfolio Server 2007, said Keshav Puttaswamy, group programme manager at Microsoft, speaking during the Microsoft Office Project Conference in Seattle.
It will primarily fix bugs and improve stability and performance, said Mike Angiulo, general manager of the Microsoft Project business unit. It will also enhance some cache features, he said.
While the conference might have been an ideal venue for announcing the release date for SP1, executives said they will wait another two or three weeks before disclosing that information.
Office Project 2007 became available earlier this year. But as with other new Microsoft software, such as Vista, some customers have been waiting for SP1 before deploying it.
Christopher Ludlow, director of project management at Amylin Pharmaceuticals, said he is waiting for SP1 before migrating to Project 2007. The system integrator he works with advised him to hold off because Project 2007 was glitchy and unstable, he said.
If SP1 fixes those issues, he is interested in some of the new features, including a reported improved network responsiveness that may mean he doesn't have to rely on Citrix for remote access.
Microsoft executives touted some other new features in Project 2007 at the conference. One of the most important updates in Project 2007 is that it can support many more users than it could previously, said Angiulo. Technology consulting firm EDS has one of the biggest deployments of Project 2003, with 8,000 users, he said. "They were driving the limit of what you could get out of it," he said.
Microsoft and EDS put together a scalability lab to test volume users of Project 2007. They supported 40,000 users, he said. EDS has a goal of growing to 60,000 users.
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is scheduled to address the conference today, and he's expected to describe planned enhancements to Project, including deeper integration with Word, PowerPoint and Outlook. In addition, future versions of Project will support earlier stage projects that aren't yet fully defined, he'll say. Those features are part of an overall strategy at Microsoft to try to expand the use of Project beyond project managers, he's expected to say.