Cascade Skyline - with Microsoft Logo and Project Support header - author Brian Smith

September, 2010

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Server 2010: SDK Update Available

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    Great work by Jim on the September update of the Project 2010 SDK - http://blogs.msdn.com/b/project_programmability/archive/2010/09/14/september-update-of-the-project-2010-sdk.aspx.  You can either get the download or the online version.  Its nice to have the download – as it gives you the sample code and a bunch of other reference material, but check the online too, as it may have some new stuff since you downloaded - and community content.

    My favorite new and updated topics – plenty of good things on custom fields and lookup tables, which can be tricky to work with.  PSI Extensions in the new WCF world, Workflow, and more on the JSGrid:

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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Server: Why don’t my OLAP reports show my baselines correctly?

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    A quick posting to finish the week – and one that has some history…  In the dim and distant past (perhaps as long ago as Project Server 2002…) when I first joined the support team I remember this being one of my first cases.  The answer hasn’t changed through to Project Server 2007 and Project Server 2010, and we do not appear to have done a good job in documenting this.  So here goes.  There will be circumstances when your OLAP reports from the Business Intelligence center do not match what Project Professional is telling you.  The reason is the way OLAP reports work, compared to how Project Professional (and PWA) can hold and display the data.

    I have created a very simple project to illustrate the problem.  I have three tasks with costs associated.  I baseline the project.  I then add another task, and I want to baseline this specific task, but do not want to roll-up the baseline to the project summary as this would distort the big picture.  So my project looks like this – where the “Added Task” is the one not included in the total baseline of $17,600.

    image

    PWA gets it:

    image

    But in OLAP, MSP_Portfolio_Analyzer cube shows us a different story.

    image

    The reason for the discrepancy is that the concept of OLAP reports is that they are aggregating data – and have pre-calculated aggregates, which makes it very fast to see the total cost of all your projects, the total work for all your resources, the total baseline for all your tasks in a project… And there’s the rub.  It totals all the baselines for all the tasks to get the total baseline for the project.  It does not take the total figure from the project summary task – which is where we see it in the first two screenshots.  You can also get differences, but in the other direction, in the case where a baselined task is deleted – as the sum of all the tasks will now not include that value – but the project summary task still will.

    I hope this helps explain why you might see differences in your cubes compared to PWA – and for baseline tracking you’d be better to use the Project Center.

  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Server 2010: Scheduling on the Web, the PSI and Project Professional

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    There is an excellent article on the Web-based capabilities of Project 2010 at http://www.microsoft.com/project/en/us/project-server-2010-editions.aspx which does a schedule management comparison of Project Web App (PWA) 2010 compared to Project Professional 2010.  The comparison chart is available as a download, and has six pages of bullet points detailing what works in both PWA and Project Professional, what has some limitations in PWA and what can only be done in Project Professional.

    image

    I wanted to give a couple of examples that relate to the limitations section, and some of the less obvious behaviors you can run in to.  You should also assume that many (but not all) of the limitations with PWA may also be limitations when using the PSI.  See the SDK for more detail at “What the PSI Does and Does Not Do”.

    First I’ll talk about cost resources.  From the document above we have this statement, which labels this feature as Limited or Read-Only for PWA:

    Cost and Material Resource Assignments
    Ability to assign Cost Resources or Material Resources to tasks (NOTE: assignments cannot be made in the web but previous
    assignments from Project Professional 2010 are available as Read-Only.)

    In PWA this is handled well, and if you try and assign a cost resource, or edit a task that has a cost resource assigned then you will get a message: “Scheduling Warning: You cannot edit tasks with cost, material or budget resources while using Project Web App.  If you wish to make this change, open your project using Project Professional. Your last edit has been undone.” Yours will probably be a different color – my current theme is “Laminate”.

    image

    However, the same issue can have other less expected consequences.  If you have a project template that contains an assignment to a cost resource, and this template is set as the template to be used for a specific Enterprise Project Type (EPT), then if you try and create a new project of this type through PWA it will fail to publish.  The message you get will be: “Your new EPTWithCostResource has been created successfully, but failed to publish and will not be listed in the Project Center.” where the phrase EPTWithCostResource will be the name of your EPT.

    image

    Going to the queue you will find a Project Create job with failed and blocking correlation.  The project name will be NA, as it cannot find it referenced in the database, and viewing the error details will give you:

      • Datasets:
      • ProjectDataSet
      • Table Assignment
      • Row: ASSN_UID='bf66c711-97a1-4a31-9d49-fa827763a483' PROJ_UID='4d09fd45-0eb3-4641-aedd-5e70fe539ee3'
      • Error AssignmentInvalidOwner (139) - column RES_UID_OWNER
    • General
    • Queue:
    • GeneralQueueJobFailed (26000) - ProjectCreate.ProjectAddToMessage. Details: id='26000' name='GeneralQueueJobFailed' uid='e97c84bb-d679-4958-b616-7f7782bc3cd3' JobUID='08991866-6a13-4639-9dd0-1770e57550b4' ComputerName='BRISMITH8100' GroupType='ProjectCreate' MessageType='ProjectAddToMessage' MessageId='1' Stage=''. For more details, check the ULS logs on machine <servername> for entries with JobUID 08991866-6a13-4639-9dd0-1770e57550b4.

    So it hasn’t just failed to publish, the Project Create job has failed. This project will not exist on the server.  This is because as well as the editing of cost resources in PWA being blocked, the creation through PWA of tasks with cost resources assigned will not work.  The workaround would be to create the project in Project Professional.  If you wanted to use a workflow with this project then you can use the Server Settings option to change or restart workflows.

    The SDK article referred to above has this to say about cost resources and the PSI:

    Cost Resources
    • Editing, creating, or deleting cost resources and assignments using the Project methods. The Resource methods can create cost resources but cannot edit them.

    One feature that is only supported using Project Professional is editing of assignment fields.  This has caught me out a couple of times when I have opened a plan to edit it in PWA and it has been read-only.  It was because I had the view set to Assignments Summary last time I was looking at a drill-down view in Project Center.  This screen-shot also helps to explain the “AssignmentInvalidOwner” error from the queue, as the Cost Resource has no Assignment Owner – and also shows this project has been submitted to the “Sample Proposal” workflow after being created in Project Professional.

    image

    Finally Inactive Tasks. 

    Inactive Tasks
    Mark a task as inactive. (Note: In PWA, tasks marked as inactive in Project Professional 2010 are Read-Only.)

    These display in PWA, but you cannot make a task inactive through PWA.  I have been recently playing around with inactive tasks and the PSI and found that it is possible to set a task to Inactive (setting TASK_IS_ACTIVE = false) but it is only reliable if this is the only change made.  If you also change the task name then the Inactivation doesn’t hold.  This is one consideration when using the PSI when scheduling changes will happen as a result – and this could relate to many of the items listed in the comparison document with the “Limited” icon.  If you are seeing some behavior that you are not expecting then try just making a change to a single property at a time (this appears to be the case for TASK_IS_INACTIVE at the task level and Assignment Owner – RES_UID_OWNER at the assignment level).  In Project Professional the changes you make are sequential and the scheduling engine works on them as such – even if recalculating later – but when you submit updates to the PSI in a QueueUpdateProject dataset there is not the same flow of changes so you can get results you might not expect.  If you do then take a step back and rather than trying to fight the server scheduling engine just feed the changes in a different way and you may get the results you are looking for.  Of course there may just be situations that are unsupported – and these are documented in the SDK link above.

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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Server 2010: August Cumulative Updates

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    *** Update - This doesn't apply if you load any of the rollup packages, but if you just load the Project Server 2010 hotfix 2276341 you will also need to load at least the SharePoint Foundation August CU (KB 2266423), or any of the rollups listed below. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/brismith/archive/2010/09/17/project-server-2010-applied-august-cu-and-having-problems-with-jsgrid.aspx

    The August Cumulative Update (August CU) was released for Project Server 2010 earlier this week and I just wanted to highlight some changes in the packaging of the 2010 server rollups compared to the 2007 server rollups.  The full set of server rollup packages is:

    Server Rollup Packages:

    These all contain any localization updates – but whereas in the 2007 CUs the server rollup normally called MOSS Server contained Project Server – in 2010 the MOSS Server package does not contain Project Server.  But there is a new one that contains the “MOSS/Project” combination and it is called the SharePoint Server 2010 and Project Server 2010 Cumulative Update Server Hotfix Package (3rd in the list above).  I’m sure we will have a few customer who are used to just loading the MOSS Server package miss out on some Project patches, so wanted to highlight this.  It is mentioned in the full blog posting for the CU but wanted to re-enforce the change.  Also mention again, there is no 2010 client Cumulative update for August 2010, but expect one for October.

    And final reminder:

    TechNet Webcast- Information About Microsoft Project and Project Server Cumulative August Update - Tuesday, September 14, 2010 8:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada)   Join Adrian Jenkins and me to hear about the things that are addressed by the August CU’s – 2007 and 2010.

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  • Brian Smith's Microsoft Project Support Blog

    Project Server: August 2010 Cumulative Updates for 2007 and 2010 now live!

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    *** Update *** Please see http://blogs.msdn.com/b/brismith/archive/2010/09/17/project-server-2010-applied-august-cu-and-having-problems-with-jsgrid.aspx if you are having issues with JSGrid after loading JUST the Project Server 2010 CU - KB 2276341

    I posted over on the Project Administration blog - http://blogs.technet.com/b/projectadministration/archive/2010/09/02/microsoft-project-server-and-sharepoint-2007-and-2010-august-cu-2010-are-live.aspx but the basic info for Microsoft Office Project Server 2007, Microsoft Office Project 2007, Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Microsoft Project 2010 is listed below.  See the Project Administration blog for full details of the new Server Rollup – these have changed between 2007 and 2010! – and also the installation and deployment guidelines and links.

    2007

    Individual Product Packages:

    Server Rollup Packages:

    2010

    Individual Product Packages:

    *** Update - If you load the Project Server 2010 hotfix 2276341 you will also need to load at least 2266423 listed above. http://blogs.msdn.com/b/brismith/archive/2010/09/17/project-server-2010-applied-august-cu-and-having-problems-with-jsgrid.aspx

    • Description of the Project Server 2010 hotfix package (Wosrv-x-none.msp, Pjsrvwfe-x-none.msp, Osrv-x-none.msp): August 31, 2010 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2276341
    • No August update for Microsoft Project 2007  Standard or Professional 2010 (thanks Ben!)

    Server Rollup Packages: *** Descriptions updated ***

    • Description of the SharePoint Foundation 2010 Cumulative Update Server Hotfix Package (SharePoint Foundation server-package): August 31, 2010 - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2352346
    • Description of the SharePoint Server 2010 Cumulative Update Server Hotfix Package (MOSS server-package): August 31, 2010 - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2352342 (Does not include Project Server patch)
    • Description of the SharePoint Server 2010 and Project Server 2010 Cumulative Update Server Hotfix Package (MOSS server-package, Project server-package): August 31, 2010  - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2352345

     

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