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Project Management

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Note: This article applies to Fuji and earlier releases. For more current information, see Project Management at

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The Project Management application is a suite of tools that aids in managing projects, tasks, and resources. It provides the ability to create and manage projects of all sizes, from small projects with a few tasks to large portfolios of projects that contain complex tasks with various relationships and dependencies.

Project management includes tools to help you create, view, and manage projects:

  • Project workbench gives project managers the ability to manage the different aspects of a project from a single page. This workbench supports both Project Management and Application Lifecycle Management applications, allowing for a hybrid approach to project management. Project managers can create projects that combine both Waterfall and Agile methodologies by using Waterfall, Agile, and Test phases. The project workbench is available starting with the Fuji release.
  • Project templates define the basic structure of a project, including project tasks and sub-tasks, attachments, and other project information. The project template feature gives project managers a simple way to create, save, and reuse this project structure.

Project Management also includes features that enable you to achieve your project goals in alignment with the other activities your organization is managing with ServiceNow, such as:

  • Integration with other features and applications on the ServiceNow platform, such as change management, resource management, and reports.
  • Easy-to-read Gantt charts and Work Breakdown Structure lists that help you visualize large projects with complex relationships and dependencies.

Video Tutorial

This video provides a brief tour of the Project application in the Eureka release.


Key Terms

  • Portfolio: a collection of projects managed as a group to achieve strategic and operational objectives.
  • Project: any planned, collaborative effort that is designed to achieve an objective.
  • Agile project: any planned, collaborative effort that is designed to achieve an objective and uses Agile.
  • Project workbench: a single page that presents project information in two panes. The the upper pane includes a project timeline and displays the project phases and milestones. The lower pane presents details about the currently selected phase in either a list view or visual task board.
  • Phase: one stage or one segment of a project. Three types of phases can be added to the timeline in the project workbench:
    • Waterfall phase: a waterfall phase contains project tasks. A project can have multiple waterfall phases.
    • Agile phase: an agile phase contains stories. A project can have one Agile phase.
    • Test phase: a test phase contains test cases and can also include a team assignment. A project can have one test phase.
  • Story: a brief statement of a product requirement or a customer business case that is used in the scrum method of agile software development. Typically, stories are expressed in plain language to help the reader understand what the software should accomplish.
  • Task: a unit of work within a project. Projects typically contain several tasks.
  • Test case: a collection of related tests. A test case is saved as part of a test suite and can be added to a test plan.

Basics of Project Management

The Project application helps you plan and track projects, plus it integrates with other ServiceNow applications. For example, if an incident, problem, or change is large enough to require an entire project to manage, create projects from an incident, problem, or change form.

There are several paths available to manage a project. The best path usually depends on business needs. The steps below are designed to get a project up and running with the minimum amount of effort. Alternative methods to these procedures are also explained.

Project Phases

Set Up the Project

Setting up a project involves deciding on an approach for creating and linking project tasks and making sure the necessary users and groups are created in ServiceNow so you can assign them to project tasks.

Plan the Project

Before creating a project, consider the following questions and issues:

  • Do you want a top-down or bottom-up approach to tasking?
Top-down tasking involves creating a project first, then identifying major project phases. Later on, phases can be broken down into tasks and subtasks. The emphasis is on creating estimates for high-level items such as phases and parent tasks and then building the project down from there toward a more detailed level. Use caution when creating tasks for top-down tasking. If you first create a project and then create a task under it with a start-on date later than the project's start date, the project shifts later to start on the task start date. The Project application supports bottom-up tasking better.
Bottom-up tasking involves creating several sets of small tasks and estimating task items such as effort, cost, and duration. These estimations are then aggregated into high-level parent tasks (rollup tasks) and phases. The emphasis is on estimating smaller chunks of work as accurately as possible first, then letting those estimations roll up into parent tasks, phases, and the project itself.
  • Is the project part of a larger portfolio of projects?
Also consider portfolio planning and how the project relates to similar projects or initiatives.
  • What types of dependencies will the tasks have with other tasks?
The Project application supports only finish-to-start dependencies.
  • Can milestones and project baselines help manage a project?
A milestone is a project task with a duration of 0. Use milestones to indicate important dates in a project. If necessary, create dependencies between tasks and milestones so that a task does not start until a milestone has been reached.
A baseline is a snapshot of each task's current planned start and end dates at the time the baseline was created. An line appears under each task on the Gantt chart for the original planned start and end dates. The line appears shifted to the left or right depending on whether the task was started early or late. If tasks slip to later dates, the baseline indicator provides an easy way to see how severe the delays will be.
  • Have the necessary skills, groups, and resources been created in ServiceNow?
If project tasks will be assigned to different groups or individual resources with the required skills, create users and groups and configure the Skills Management application.
  • Does an existing incident, problem, or change justify creating a project in order to track it?
Of these record types, a change is most likely to lead to activities that should be tracked as a project.
  • Do you want to track project costs?
Estimate group resource costs before starting the project and then track the actual cost of each user resource from time cards. The Project application can also calculate the costs of affected CIs in a project. The Project Management Costing add-on is required to track costs.
  • What goals do you want the project to achieve?
Every project should have at least one goal. Project goals are saved in the Goal table and can link to any task. In a typical scenario, link one goal to each project and keep the goal's State field up to date.

Create the Project

After choosing an approach and gathering initial estimates for the planned start date, estimated cost, and a well-defined business case, create the project in the Project application or in the project workbench.

Add Project Tasks, Dependencies, and Relationships

After creating a project record, create tasks.

  • For top-down planning, create a task that you already know will include several child tasks. Then create the child tasks and specify that they are child tasks of the first task you created.
  • For bottom-up planning, create tasks for the smallest units of work first. Then you can create intermediary parent tasks that cover a group of related child tasks. For example, if there are five sequential tasks that comprise a phase of a project called install database, create the five tasks first. Then create another task called Database installation and make it the parent task of the five tasks. Rollup calculations, such as Planned duration, for the Database installation task are automatically calculated based on the child tasks.

It is easiest to build task relationships and dependencies while creating sets of tasks.

  • A dependency means one task is forced to start after another task finishes. This is the only type of dependency ServiceNow supports.
  • A relationship means a parent-child relationship whereby several subtasks are configured under a parent task or phase, which rolls up fields like Planned duration and Estimated cost.

Use the Gantt chart in conjunction with task forms and related lists to build relationships. Add milestones based on the project's major events and create dependencies between milestones and tasks, if necessary. See Project Task Relationships and Dependencies and Gantt Chart for more information.

Also set up notifications to alert project task assignees when their tasks move to the Work in Progress state. See Creating Project Tasks for more information on creating tasks.

Assign Resources or Assignment Groups to the Tasks

User resources are the individuals in an organization who are assigned to project tasks. You can manage your resources with resource plans in the Resource Management application, starting with the Dublin release. In versions prior to the Dublin release, or if you are not using the Resource Management application, you can select resources from users or groups.

See Working with Resource Plans if you are using the Resource Management application. Otherwise, see Task Resources.

Add the Project to a Portfolio

A portfolio is a group of related projects. If the project is related to other projects, create a portfolio and add the project. The Project application provides a useful portfolio view that makes its easy to report on the status of all projects in a portfolio. Portfolios also include demands starting with the Fuji release.

Manage the Project

After the preceding steps are complete, the project can be started. To measure the project against initial estimates, create a baseline, which is a snapshot of the entire project including all planned dates for all project tasks and milestones. The project manager can manage a project from the project workbench starting with the Fuji release.

Start the Project

Start the project by clicking Start project on the Project form or changing the project state to Work in Progress. Starting the project changes the State field on the Project form to Work in Progress and changes the Actual start date of the project to the current date. See Starting a Project for more information.

Monitor the Project and Customize Dashboards

ServiceNow provides the ability to update important project status information, such as the number of milestones slipped. It also provides summaries for cost, scope, project risk, and so on. Modify this information as needed with the Portfolio View related list on the Portfolio form and display this information on the Project Overview homepage. In addition, use the project reports installed with the application, such as Active projects or Projects (by priority), to show important project information.

When the project is underway, continue to access project records and make changes to several items, including costs, priority, schedule, and planned values that are not rollups. Keep detailed project records for risks and issues and refer back to them after a project is complete. Also create baselines along the way to easily see if any project phases or tasks are slipping at the time you create the baseline.

Close the Project

When the project is complete, change its state to Closed complete on the project form. When a project is in the closed state, the Project application calculates actual values like Actual duration.

Post-project activities include analyzing project baselines and actual values and generating a final project dashboard. If the project was successful and can be used as a template for future projects, make a copy of it.

If the project was created from a change, incident, or problem record, there are several other activities you may need to perform in ServiceNow. See Closing a Project for more information.

Menus and Modules

Activating this feature adds the Project Management menu to the application navigator with the following modules.

Fuji Menu

The Project application (Fuji)

Eureka and Prior Versions

The Project application (Eureka)
  • Getting started: Access the wiki documentation for the Project application.
  • Project Overview: Open the the Project Overview homepage, which contains several built-in reports.
  • Portfolios
    • Create New: Create a new portfolio.
    • All: View all portfolio records.
  • Projects
    • Create New: Create a new project.
    • Top Level: View all projects that do not have a parent project.
    • Pending: View pending projects.
    • Work in Progress: View projects currently in progress.
    • Closed: View projects already closed.
    • All: View all project records.
  • Project Tasks
    • Pending: View pending project tasks.
    • Work in Progress: View project tasks currently in progress.
    • Closed: View project tasks already closed.
    • All: View all project task records.
  • Administration

Integration with Project Portfolio Suite

Project Management can be used as a separate application or it can be activated as part of the Project Portfolio Suite (PPS). This application provides a simplified, team-oriented approach to IT development by combining several individual applications and integrating the different components of the project development lifecycle.

Activating Project Management

Administrators can activate the Project Management plugin.

Upgrading to the Dublin release does not automatically upgrade you to the v3 application. If Project Management v2 is active and you want to upgrade to v3, read the upgrade instructions.

The Project application can also be activated as part of the Project Portfolio Suite.



  • The Project Management application is integrated with Project Portfolio Suite (PPS).
  • Components of the SDLC (Scrum Process) are also integrated with Project Management to enable a project management approach that combines the Waterfall and Scrum methodologies.
  • The project workbench provides a central location for managing projects and project phases. The workbench supports both the Project Management and Application Lifecycle Management applications, allowing for a hybrid approach to project management.
  • The project calculation engine supports manual project calculation in addition to auto calculation.
  • The composite field combines information from two different fields, typically a project or project task number and a short description.
  • Project templates define the basic structure of a project and enable the project manager to create, save, and reuse project structure. This feature is available with the Fuji release.
  • The IT Finance application adds a Finance view to the Project and Portfolio forms. The Finance view adds a chart that shows expenses that were allocated to the project or portfolio, shown by the financial bucket that the expense is associated with. See IT Finance for more information.


  • Project managers can export ServiceNow projects to Microsoft Project, where the project can be managed and then imported back into ServiceNow.
  • New business rules populate project-specific fields on non-project tasks with default project task data when these tasks are added to a project.
  • The Project application automatically creates a new record in the Portfolio Project table for all new projects. This allows project managers to add a project to a portfolio by associating the newly created record with the portfolio.


  • A new version of the Project application is available: version 3. See Project Management v2 to v3 Upgrade for upgrade information and instructions.
  • Resource planning can be accomplished through the Resource Management application.
  • The core project engine has been improved for the new version of the application. This results in better performance, usability, and scalability, especially with large projects.
  • The Project application includes a default schedule that is applied to all new projects and project tasks. The schedule uses a 40-hour work week, from 8 A.M. to 5 P.M. with an hour break at noon.
  • Project managers can now link existing change request records or create new change request records to link to project tasks. This feature links change management with project management.
  • The Project application framework that supports importing from Microsoft Project 2010 was improved.
  • State changes now roll down from the project to project tasks and from parent tasks to child tasks. For more information, see Project Task Relationships and Dependencies.
  • Project managers can no longer modify most of the form fields on parent tasks. This enforces the concept that all parent tasks should derive aggregate values from their child tasks.
  • A work breakdown structure (WBS) is available for project managers, and a new view, WBS, is available on the Project form.
  • For v3, the functionality of the project management costing add-on has been moved to the Cost Management plugin.
  • Projects can be included in multiple portfolios.