October, 2010

Christophe Fiessinger's Blog
Updates on Microsoft's Enterprise Social Networking (ESN) and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) offerings

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Trick or Treat? Why not both! Happy Project Halloween

    It’s been a busy week planning the future (it’s a secret can’t tell) so might have a bit of fun before its over! Yes October 31st is fast approaching and that’s a special day here, at least for people living in the United States (for all others, here is the Wikipedia story http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween). Anyway since the tradition is to trick or treat, lets do both but definitely tons of treats with 2010 Smile

    Microsoft Project Version 1.00 Project 2010 Pumpkin
    (thanks to Toney and Adrian for the collector picture above) I did actually try to carve out our logo, but as you can guess it was more work that I dared to do so went the easy route!

    Happy Halloween!

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Microsoft Project Server and SharePoint 2007 and 2010 October CU 2010 are Live!

    As announced by Brian Microsoft Project Server and SharePoint 2007 and 2010 October CU 2010 are Live! To learn more about the content of this Cumulative update mark your calendars and attend this webcast from Brian Smith and Adrian Jenkins: Tuesday, November 09, 2010 8:00 AM Pacific Time (US & Canada),  TechNet Webcast: Information About Microsoft Project and Project Server Cumulative October Update

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Microsoft FuseLabs SocialGadgets Exploration with “Microsoft Project”

    With the increase popularity of Twitter I just leveraged Microsoft FuseLabs SocialGadgets Exploration to visualize “Microsoft Project” (more info. here: http://designer.socialgadgets.fuselabs.com/)

    Tag Cloud for Microsoft Project:

    Timeline for Microsoft Project:

    Tag Cloud for SharePoint:
  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    How to display Project information on a project site?

    Saw this recent question on our public forum: how can I display project information on my project site (around referred to as the project workspace)?

    In Project Server 2010 it’s actually very easy thanks to a very useful web part that is part of the Microsoft Project 2010 Solution Starters on MSDN Code Gallery (http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/P2010SolutionStarter); yes there are plenty of others useful solutions as well so I highly encourage you to check out these free of charge solutions (and yes we also provide source code if you want to further customize them).

    Basically deploy the Workspace Project Custom Field Web Part (folder: WorkspaceProjectCFWP), add the web part to your custom project site template (Site Actions | Edit Page| Insert Web Part | Custom | Project Custom Fields Web Part):

    Microsoft Project 2010

    Edit Web Part and pick and choose which fields you want to add (contains all standard project fields and all enterprise project custom fields):

    Microsoft Project 2010

    and voila!

    Microsoft Project 2010

    As a reminder on what you can do and can’t do with the out of the box Project Web App (PWA) web parts check this post from yesterday: Adding Project Server 2010 web parts to SharePoint sites

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Adding Project Server 2010 web parts to SharePoint sites

    I am sure you are all following my recent advice and actively following this TechNet RSS: Newly published content for Project Server 2010 http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=186461 New and updated content typically appears Thursday night (Seattle time/PDT) and today take a note of the following important articles our technical writers have put together:

    Why is the above important, well because it provides clear guidance on the Project Server 2010 web parts and how they can be integrate/reused outside of the out of the box Project Web App pages. It’s also important to note unsupported scenario so that we set clear expectations and you do not run into issues. In the end one of the most popular blog post I wrote 3.5 years ago: Adding an EPM Web Part to another SharePoint site is officially no longer valid and now with 2010 you have official TechNet doc on this topic!

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Latest Microsoft Project RSS Feeds & Welcome Jan Kalis!

    Following this post in January: Latest Microsoft Project RSS Feeds – January 2010 and with the Microsoft Project 2010 excitement and enthusiasm as well as the multiplication of blogs, please find attached my latest OPML files (collection of RSS feeds I subscribe to from all regions of the world); I use this to stay on top of news and announcements around the product. It’s also exciting to see how many more blogs, RSS keep appearing every day. A very encouraging  sign of our product leadership in the market.

    Among the additions to this list I SUPER excited to have my colleague Jan Kalis join the blog community with his own blog (and yes he has been very active on the Project Programmability and Administration blogs in the past two years): http://blogs.msdn.com/b/jkalis/

    I am using FeedDemon to seamlessly manage all of these and a ton more: http://www.feeddemon.com/, I will not share it but I am also tracking several competitors using this great tool.

    Project – MSFT MSFT Content
    image image
    Others (1/2) Others (2/2)
    image image
  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Hello World: Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft Project

    Bonjour, in case you have missed it we made an important announcement today: Microsoft Office 365: The Power to Think Big and Be Small, to Be Big and Act Fast.

    How does it impact the Microsoft Project world? Check this post from Arpan: Enabling Better Collaborative Project Management with Office 365 and Project Professional 2010

    More information on the official Microsoft Office 365: http://www.office365.com; sign up for Beta!

    Microsoft Office 365

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Integrating Project Server 2010 with Line Of Business Applications

    With the recent release of Microsoft Project Server 2010 (PS) last May and its rapid adoption by customers, a recurring question I have seen and been asked is how can I integrate Project Server 2010 with application X? Where application X can be a combination of the following:

    Application Type Typical Scenario Application Example
    Accounting (ERP)

    Import financial information, and WBS

    SAP R/3, MSFT Dynamics SL and AX, Oracle etc.
    Billing/Invoicing (ERP) Export PS timesheet information to generate invoices, a classic in IT charge back and or service organizations SAP R/3, MSFT Dynamics SL and AX
    Human Resources Import resources information like skills, RBS, billing rate, etc.… SAP or custom systems
    Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Transfer customer service work information to PS MSFT Dynamics CRM, Siebel etc.
    Ticketing, Maintenance, Keep the Light on Import work performed in these other app. into PS via Statusing API or push project plan and assignments to another app. to track the execution System Center Service Manager, Remedy etc.…
    Time tracking, time sheeting Import data into PS to have full view of resources execution SAP CATS, etc.
    Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) Transfer tasks and assignment to a team of developers MSFT Team Foundation Server, etc.
    Project Portfolio Management (PPM) Yes I have seen customer bring PPM data from competitors product in our stack due to the ease of use of our platform and the enhance collaboration and reporting capabilities with SharePoint 2010 IT PPM competitors

    The following Microsoft Project Server data type/entities are typically synched:

    Project Server Data Type/Entities Description
    Projects Projects can be tied to portfolios, programs, WBS, etc.
    Tasks Tasks are associated to WBS, work items, work package etc.
    Resources Resources typically are synched from Active Directory and additional information like skills/role come from another system etc.
    Task’s Status A common scenario where task updates are made in another system and needs to be transferred to PS the ChangeXml API
    Timesheets Timesheet data is typically transferred out of PS to another system for billing, etc.
    Lookup Tables Import LT data definition from another system.

    And there are more I have seen or heard but basically they revolve around the above application types. So how do I interface PS with these other mission critical applications (also referred to as Line Of Business Integration or LOBI) within my organization? This is obviously a very broad topic and this blog post is by no means exhaustive but let me try to get you started in answering this question.

    Well as you can guess IT DEPENDS! The biggest challenge and the most complex part of such integration is clearly defining the scenario, documenting what data will be transferred between the two systems, what’s the “master” and what’s the “slave”, exception handling (if an update is rejected what happens for instance? If a task is deleted what happens? etc.)

    The second phase is implementing the bridge and for that as mentioned in this recent post: Microsoft Project Server 2010 Integration with SAP you have two options: either use an existing partner solution that is publically available (search here for instance: http://www.microsoft.com/project/en/us/partners.aspx or BING it) or you can build your own connector and in that case look at the Microsoft Project 2010 Software Development Kit.

    Points to consider when integrating PS with LOB (by no mean exhaustive):

    What’s the specific use case?

    Interface scalability and performance – was on a recent call with a partner who realized their interface to another system did not took too long to process updates…

    What PS data entities (Project, Task, Resource, Lookup Table) needs to be updated and transferred? How is the custom data mapping defined?

    Interface logging and monitoring - would expect any solution whether its of the shelve or custom made to provide visibility of data updates so that it can be easily monitored and maintained

    File format required to transfer data 9XML, CSV etc.)? Can validation rules and business rules be easily created and modified?

    What are the additional Custom Fields required in PS to enable the transfer?

    Are there existing partner solutions available or do I need to build a custom interface?
    Reporting requirements for this interface? KPI, dashboards etc.  

    Useful links:

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Get the REAL Microsoft Project Server!

    I have been following the activities of several competitors on the various digital channels for the past few months and I find it an honor to see how competitors are mimicking our product names, messaging and positioning to sell a product clearly different from ours…

    On one hand it’s always a good sign to see copycats and people mimicking a leader, but on the other hand I am worried that customers get confused and abused with a brand that is not Microsoft and potentially a product of lesser value that does not meet their business needs. Similar to politics it’s interesting to see competitors make inaccurate statements and for instance compare their offer against an older version (yes 2007 is “passe” and 2010 is OUT) or when they compare their server/online offering to our desktop product, so easy and cheap but so wrong…I am hopeful that in this day and digital age customers will hopefully find out the truth. So watch out for vendors using “EPM”, “Project Server”, etc… and do a thorough evaluation before signing the check!

    To sum it all, get the real Microsoft Project Server and Microsoft Project or at least look at our latest stack before making a purchase decision. We are transparent and offer free trial, so go to http://www.microsoft.com/project for the product information you need! Happy purchase decision Smile

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Microsoft IT Cuts Costs, Gains Greater Consistency with Project Planning Software

    Another great new case study thanks to Joyce and Tad: http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Detail.aspx?CaseStudyID=4000008422 Great job MS IT!

    Microsoft IT, which manages technology resources for the global software company, wanted to improve the consistency of decision-making processes across planning governance bodies. Assisted by Microsoft Services consultants, Microsoft IT implemented Microsoft Project Server 2010. It used Project Server 2010 to plan its fiscal year 2011 new-program budgets and will expand that scope. It is also building workflows, dashboards, and other customizations using Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and complementary technologies. With Project Server 2010, Microsoft IT is consolidating its toolset to reallocate training budgets and cut support costs. It is also improving the quality and visibility of its IT project portfolio planning, more effectively tracking benefits through projects’ life cycles, and establishing a single source of truth for reporting on project management data.

    Favorite Quotes:

    • My number-one benefit is cost reduction. Using Project Server 2010 to simplify our toolset, we have been able to reallocate our training budget for next year.
    • All employees can use Project Server 2010 to see the strategy more easily—to see why certain programs are chosen, and how each program benefits each line of business.
    • With all of our project data available in Project Server 2010, we save people time when they’re looking for information.

    Also check out the picture on Arpan’s blog A Great Week at the PMI Global Congress, good to see lots of attendees at the Microsoft Project booth compared to others Smile

    For more Microsoft Project Server case studies go here: http://www.microsoft.com/casestudies/Case_Study_Search_Results.aspx?Type=1&Keywords="project%20server"

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