Microsoft Project & Visio self-serve

Towards the end of 2019, Microsoft announced the ability for users to “self-serve” when it came to purchasing Power Platform licenses. This allowed users to buy licenses directly in the portal, circumventing central IT although, after much kerfuffle, Microsoft made it possible for organisations to turn off this feature.

Microsoft have now added Project & Visio Plan 1 & 3 licenses to the self-serve roster – clearly this is a purchasing channel they’re keen to continue exploring. In several areas, Microsoft appear to be slowly moving towards more direct sales models, a la Salesforce, and this is part of that approach – building up loyalty and customer stickiness among the users, regardless of what the overall company stance may be.

Find more info on how to allow/deny this capability here.

Microsoft Product Terms: July 2020

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There was no English document available on the 1st when I did this (I guess the end of FY took it out of them 🤣), so I used the French version…my now 909 day Duolingo streak is coming in handy!

Nothing major changed or announced which is to be expected; being the start of their new financial year (and when everyone goes on holiday), July & August are often pretty quiet. What we’ve got is:

“System Center Configuration Manager” is renamed to “Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager”. The first real sign of anything happening with this new product name since it was announced a few months back.

“Azure Monetary Commitment” is now “Azure prepayment”.

If you have 1 or more licenses of Project Plan 1/3/5, all O365 users on that tenant get limited access to “Project for the web” customer data. No access to Power Platform apps and doesn’t apply to public sector.

Microsoft Project gets a refresh

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Microsoft are making changes to the “Project experience” to make it easier to use. They say this new Project is “designed to be both simple and powerful, so anyone can get started quickly and take control of any project right away”, with a more intuitive user interface – certainly something Project could do with in my opinion! Not surprisingly, there’s a fair amount of integration with Teams and Power BI.

As part of this, there are new/changed product names too. Project Online Professional is now Project Plan 3, while Project Online Premium is Project Plan 5. Added to the lineup is Project Plan 1 – an entry level SKU which doesn’t include many of the features nor a desktop client. It’ll be interesting to see what, if anything, Plan 1 means for the future of Planner.

Project Plan 1 features –

You can see Microsoft’s announcement here, and check out the features and pricing for the Project Plans here.

Office 2013 & Office 365

So today’s secret announcement is what we all thought it would be – Ballmer announcing the public preview of Office 2013. It’s available to download here:

or for more choices head to:

where you can find:

  • Office 365 Small Business Premium
  • Office 365 Enterprise
  • Project Online

I’m just getting everything installed right now so will be back later with a more in-depth look at the new features but for now here are some screenshots of the install process:


Notice the great new logo below:


Notice the “Streaming Applications” feature in the installation shot below, this will allow you to stream Office components to devices that don’t have it installed!


Here’s how it looks pinned to a Windows 7 desktop.


and here you can see the start of how tightly integrated the Cloud is into the new release of Office:


There is also…wait for it…Project Online!

This is going to be interesting…especially to see if the full Project Server will be made available online or just the desktop app equivalent.

I’m just installing the Project bits now…head over to the links and get playing!

Project Server 2010 & Sharepoint Server

Project Server 2010 is the latest version of Microsoft’s Project planning and collaboration solution, and it can be much more confusing.

The previous version, Project Server 2007, was a stand alone product whereas Project Server 2010 has some dependencies on SharePoint 2010. However finding out exactly what these dependencies were and how necessary they all are was quite a lengthy process, one which I will describe here to save you time Smile

The question is:

“Does Project Server 2010 require Sharepoint Server 2010”

The answer is:


As to which version of SharePoint is required, well that’s where it got interesting!

I could see how sitting Project Server on top of SharePoint would be useful so I imagined that SharePoint 2010 Foundation would do the job. It’s pretty powerful and it’s free – seems the perfect fit to drive a Project Server 2010 implementation. However, a look at Technet brought up this:


I found it hard to believe that it would require the ENTERPRISE version, as that isn’t cheap, so I set off to verify this.

Ask Partner:

I spoke to the Microsoft Ask Partner Technical Pre-Sales team and they did the same as me. Said that Foundation would be fine…and then checked Technet!

Still I wasn’t satisfied so I went to the


site and there I found this:


A diagram of the Server Architecture for a Project Server 2010 implementation from:

To me, the above says that SharePoint Foundation is perfectly acceptable and that SharePoint Enterprise is only required to serve ASPX pages in the Project Web App.

I’d love to get some feedback as to your thoughts on the above Smile

I went back to the Ask Partner team and they agreed with me.

So at this point it seems that SharePoint Foundation is fine and we’re about done.

However, I also put this request out to the TwitterSphere and one of my favourite people at Microsoft came back and told me to look on page 117 of this month’s Product List, so I did…



Project Server 2010 customers will require SharePoint Server 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 Standard and Enterprise CALs

Despite that, they’re still one of my favourites Smile

The Answer

So that’s it really…both Technet and the Product Lists say that if you want to run Project Server 2010 you MUST also licence SharePoint Server 2010 with Standard AND Enterprise CALs.

My Thoughts

I don’t particularly agree with this, as it adds quite a chunk onto the cost of the solution.

Project Server £3768
Project Pro £684
Total £4452
SharePoint Server £3768
SharePoint Std CAL £72
SharePoint Ent CAL £63
Total £3903
Grand Total £8355

The above is based on standard Open Licensing and as you can see, the addition of SharePoint Enterprise almost doubles the solution cost.

I understand that having SharePoint Enterprise gives the client a whole raft of other wonderful tools and I’m a huge fan of SharePoint however, it’s a lot of extra money if you’re not going to use any of the extra features. I feel this will prohibit many businesses from being able to implement a full Project Server solution.


I am currently researching an alternative solution which is based on SharePoint Foundation customisations and from what I’ve heard so far, this could be a great alternative for many people.

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