Thursday, November 30, 2006

Open work items from MS Project directly

When you manage your development projects in Visual Studio Team System using MS Project 2003 do you usually find out that there are work item fields that you need to edit which are not supported in MS Project by default?

For some fields the problem can be solved by
editing the synchronization settings and bringing the appropriate fields in the Project file, but most of the time the only real solution is to open the work item editing form in the Visual Studio’s Team Explorer. In fact that means that you will be switching contexts between MS Project and VS more than you would like to. It is not only annoying and clumsy not to be able to do everything in the same tool; it is simply inefficient as well.

To solve the problem I have developed a simple MS Project Add-In which adds one new button to the Team System integration toolbar in MS Project. The button is called “Open work item” (see picture below) and that is what it does. As soon as you place a cursor in a row of some work item (as opposed to an empty row) button will be activated. If you click it, the usual work item editing form will appear. There you will be able to edit every last attribute of the work item.

There is one restriction in the current version of the add-in: because of the way mapping data is accessed (parsing the extended properties embedded in the Project file), the Project file needs to be saved at least once before the new button will become active. This restriction will soon be removed.

[Update, 25.10.2007. download link removed. use the links below]


[Update, 25.10.2007: Ekobit released TeamCompanion for MS Project and TeamCompanion for Excel. These two free, fully supported addins for MS Project and Excel implement the "Open work item" button and make easy editing of the work items in Excel or Project possible.]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Super idea! What about same feature for Excel 2003 toolbar?

Fri Dec 08, 10:12:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger Ognjen Bajic said...

Glad you like it. Support for Excel is certainly the next logical step. Will come soon... :-)

Fri Dec 08, 10:43:00 AM GMT+1  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOU ROCK! Thank you so much. This made my life a lot easier because it's now going to make my managers life a lot easier haha.

Kudo's to you!

Tue Feb 06, 11:40:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any News on getting this for Excel 2007 / 2003?

Tue Feb 20, 06:07:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Ognjen Bajic said...

In regard to Excel version expect some news in next few weeks.

Wed Feb 21, 07:19:00 PM GMT+1  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This looks fantastic! Have there been any issues using this in Project 2007? I see Open Work Item on the tool bar but it's never enabled when I click on a row with a work item. Any thoughts?

Fri Mar 02, 04:05:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Ognjen Bajic said...

Hi John, glad you like it. Can it be that you haven't at least once saved the file? This is a restriction of the current version - it only works with the MS Project files that have been saved at least once.

Tue Mar 06, 05:36:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Jean Bujold said...

I really like it. However, I have a problem. It was working fine last week. Tried it this week and the Open Work Items is not active in the MS Project screen. Installed it on another machine and I get the same thing. Very useful for my Project Managers to edit bugs they have reported and do follow ups without having to load visual studio on their machine. Any Suggestions.

Thu Mar 08, 10:32:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Ognjen Bajic said...

Hi Jean,
what do you mean - work item open button is not active or isn't visible at all? I have seen cases where the button doesn't appear at all (which is a problem I currently have no solution for, except reinstalling which usually helps), but haven't seen the case where the button would appear but wouldn't be enabled if you are positioned on a valid work item in a MS Project file that has been saved at least one.
Could you please clarify?

Thu Mar 08, 11:56:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Jean Bujold said...

Sorry for the late reply was on vacation. My mistake, forgot to save the ms project file once. Did it and everything worked fine. Sorry for the confusion.

Mon Mar 26, 10:34:00 PM GMT+2  
Blogger Jean Bujold said...

Sorry for the late reply, was on vacation. My mistake, i forgot to save the file once. Once I did, it worked like a charm. Sorry for the confusion.

Mon Mar 26, 10:35:00 PM GMT+2  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I just downloaded the MS project tools and are looking forward to use it. Great tool, but I can't get it to work. The "Open work item" booton is always disabled. I've saved the project file many times, tried Save As to make a copy and tried to create a new project file and saved this. Always the same result. The button is always disabled.

I'm using MS Project 2007 with SP1.

Please advice. What are the criterias for enabling the button?

Fri Jan 04, 09:45:00 PM GMT+1  
Blogger Ognjen Bajic said...

I haven’t tested the Add-in with SP1, so I can’t rule out possible incompatibilities with SP1 as possible source of problems. But I doubt that that is the case.
The button should be active as long as the cursor is in a cell in a row belonging to a work item (just selecting the whole row will not work if the cursor is not in a cell in that row). The new version available from the Ekobit site doesn’t have the constraint that the file must be saved at least once.
Do you still experience the problem?

Mon Jan 07, 03:38:00 AM GMT+1  

Post a Comment

<< Home