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

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Announcing Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Microsoft Project 2007 and Microsoft Project Server 2007

    (updated on 5/14, SP2 webcast recording and deck are here)

    We are happy to announce that Service Pack 2 (SP2) for Office Project  2007 and Office Project Server 2007 has been released to the Microsoft Download Center.  It includes all the fixes prior to SP2 (including the February 2009 Cumulative Update), and also several enhancements to Project Standard and Professional, Project Server, SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0.

    Before you install this service pack there are some very important things to understand.  In this mail I'll try to provide you with the resources you need to be successful in your updates.  It is essential that you understand the appropriate links, and thoroughly read the guidance and test out the patch in a separate environment prior to a production rollout.

    I also encourage everyone to attend the Project 2007 Service Pack 2 Overview webcast scheduled for April 29 at 8 am Pacific Time, and April 30 at 5 pm Pacific Time (webcast details are posted on EPMConnect). Adrian Jenkins and myself  will cover the following topics during the webcast: SP2 Overview, April Cumulative Update Overview, Deployment Best Practices, Next Steps, Questions and Answers.

    Service Pack 2 (SP2) Description

    Description of Office Project 2007 Service Pack 2 and Office Project Language Pack 2007 Service Pack 2 953326 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/953326
    Description of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Service Pack 2 and of Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Language Pack Service Pack 2 953338 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/953338
    Description of the 2007 Microsoft Office servers Service Pack 2 and the 2007 Microsoft Office servers Language Pack Service Pack 2 953334 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/953334

    Service Pack 2 (SP2) Download Center Page

    Office Project 2007 (x86) http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=B7DF323E-73B8-4344-826A-A01E6F920B1B
    Office Project Language Pack

     

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=B7DF323E-73B8-4344-826A-A01E6F920B1B
    WSS (both x86 and x64)

     

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=79BADA82-C13F-44C1-BDC1-D0447337051B&displaylang=en

     

    WSS Language Pack (x86)

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=085E5AC8-58F6-4CF9-8012-33B95EE36C0F&displaylang=en

     

    WSS Language Pack (x64) http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=2C2B6CAF-B46D-45EB-AC4D-DEAAA48C3A2C&displaylang=en
    Office Servers (x86 and x64) (contains Project Server SP2) http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=B7816D90-5FC6-4347-89B0-A80DEB27A082&displaylang=en
    Office Servers Language Pack (x86) http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=01C6A3E8-E110-4956-903A-AD16284BF223&displaylang=en
    Office Servers Language Pack (x64) http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=66C5026F-9F47-4642-8378-2526918009FA&displaylang=en

    Service Pack 2 (SP2) Deployment Resources

    Deploy Service Pack 2 for Office Project Server 2007 http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd637740.aspx
    Deploy Project Server 2007 updates http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd630752.aspx
    Deploy software updates for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc288269.aspx
    Deploy software updates for Office SharePoint Server 2007 http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc263467.aspx
    Create an installation source that includes software updates (Windows SharePoint Services 3.0) http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc287882.aspx
    Create an installation source that includes software updates (Office SharePoint Server 2007) http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc261890.aspx

    Service Pack 2 (SP2) Related Technical Resources

    Issues Fixed by Service Pack 2 (SP2) in the 2007 Office Desktop Applications (Excel 2007 format) http://download.microsoft.com/download/C/2/C/C2C36159-600C-4EEA-B80A-F988EE7A418F/2007%20Office%20Service%20Pack%202%20Changes.xlsx
    Customers can also go to this KB article for a full list of downloads for Office System 2007 SP2. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/968170
    Service Pack 2 for SharePoint Products and Technologies (whitepaper) http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=148374
    Issues Fixed by Service Pack 2 (SP2) in Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (Excel 2007 format) http://download.microsoft.com/download/7/A/3/7A3E2E01-5454-4427-95CB-28CE84523B0A/Windows%20SharePoint%20Services%203.0%20Service%20Pack%202%20Changes.xlsx
    Issues Fixed by Service Pack 2 (SP2) in the 2007 Office Server Products

     

    http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/1/F/41F3A698-55E8-40B4-A306-AD6CF1F95394/2007%20Office%20Servers%20Service%20Pack%202%20Changes.xlsx
    Updates Resource Center for SharePoint Products and Technologies http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/sharepointserver/bb735839.aspx
    Project Service Pack 2 High Level Benefits Project Standard and Project Professional
    • The scheduling engine, Active Cache, and Gantt charts all have improvements.
    • There is additional reliability with earlier versions of the .mpp format.
    Project Server
    • Better memory management in the queue service.
    • Performance to certain database table indexes is improved.
    • Resource plans, build team, cost resources, and the server scheduling engine have improved.

    Once your farm has been properly updated the new SP2 product version will be: 12.0.0.6422.1000 (database) and 12.0.0.6425.1000 (dll).

    Getting Ready for Project Server 2010

    As part of the SP2 release we announced the following requirements for the next release of SharePoint and Project Server: Windows Server 2008 and 64 bit. We will be publishing guidance on how to upgrade your existing Project Server 2007 farm to Windows Server 2008 64 bit in the coming weeks on TechNet. Expect full system requirements for Project Server 2010 at a latter date.

    Please note we will release a Service Pack 2 for Project Portfolio Server 2007 within the next two months, I will send an email once it has been released.

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Project Server 2010 Reporting with Excel Services & Creating Dashboards white papers

    I’m thrilled to announce the release of the following two white papers which provide step by step guidance on surfacing key Project Portfolio Management data into insightful reports and dashboards:

    For additional information on Microsoft Project Server 2010 business intelligence & reporting please check out Business Intelligence in Project Server 2010.

    Microsoft Project Server 2010 Reporting with Excel Services, 71 pages

    Overview

    Table Of Content

    The purpose of this document is to provide enough detail to be able to create and deploy reports which will support the deployment of Microsoft Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution. Microsoft EPM Solution relies on Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, Microsoft SQL Server 2008 or 2008 R2, Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Microsoft Project Professional 2010. Although each individual component of the solution is well documented on TechNet and MSDN (for the Business Intelligence), little documentation exists, as of today, which describes a step-by-step approach to building reports specific to Project Server 2010 data with Excel and Excel Services.

    This document is not intended to provide an in-depth description of all the features available in Excel 2007 or 2010 and Excel Services 2010 when building a report but rather provide the building blocks required to ‘be up and running’ quickly.

    • Foreword
    • Introduction
    • Overview
    • Build Your First Excel Report against OLAP Data in 10 Minutes
    • Authoring Reports against Relational Data
    • Use Excel PowerPivot
    • Migrating Reports between Environments
    • Troubleshooting Business Intelligence Features
    • References
    • List of Figures

    Creating Dashboards for Microsoft Project Server 2010, 115 pages

    Overview

    Table Of Content

    The purpose of this document is to provide sufficient detail to fully design and implement Business Intelligence Dashboards that will support an Enterprise Project Management Solution (EPM), which consists primarily of SharePoint 2010 and Project Server 2010. It also includes detailed steps on how to replicate reports and dashboards included in the Project Server 2010 demonstration and evaluation pack available on the Microsoft Download Center. The purpose is to help you easily create reports and dashboards for your environment with similar characteristics.

    The target audience for this document is the business owner and report developers who are looking for a quick way to develop Dashboards that will support an Enterprise Project Management Solution for their organization.

    • Introduction
    • Understanding Report Types
    • Creating Reports
    • Creating Dashboards using PerformancePoint Services
    • Creating Dashboard using a Web Part Page
    • Conclusion
    • Appendix A – Enterprise Custom Fields
    • Appendix B – IPMO Stored Procedures
    • References
    • List of Figures
    • List of Tables

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    VhdResizer: a great tool for resizing VHD files

    I just came accross this great tool VhdResizer that will achieve the following:

    VhdResize will resize Microsoft's VHD files and will also convert between Fixed and Dynamic file types. This is a sector by sector copy operation from one size/type to the other and the source file remains unaltered.

    VhdResizer

  • 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

    How to Upgrade from Project Server 2007 To Project Server 2010 in 10min

    Prepping for my TechEd presentations in less than two weeks (Microsoft Project Presence at Tech.Ed North America 2010), I worked on a presentation to demo how easy it is to upgrade from Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 to Microsoft Project Server 2010 (come to Rolly and I’s session entitled Deploying and Upgrading to Microsoft Project Server 2010. I used the five sample databases (yes five: one SharePoint content, and four PWA instance databases) that we built for our core EPM 2007 demo virtual machine (VM) (about 550MB of bak files). I backed up all five dbs from my 2007 farm/demo VM and created an ISO with the five databases and two magic scripts (one to restore the dbs in T-SQL and one PowerShell script to upgrade the databases (basically two commands: Mount-SPContentDatabase and New-SPProjectWebInstance), ready to mount to my new 2010 demo VM.

    And guess what… on my demo laptop (yes with 8GB RAM, 4 cores, and dual SSD), I had the Project Server 2010 and SharePoint Server 2010 demo virtual machine up and running; in 10min my PWA 2007 instance got upgraded to 2010!!! Yes you heard me, barely enough time for a coffee. Want a live demo come to New Orleans and see it yourself!

    More seriously used the RESTORE DATABASE T-SQL command which took 30s; then ran the following two PowerShell commands (content db upgrade took about 2min, and rest to upgrade Project Server 2007 four dbs and provision PWA):

    Mount-SPContentDatabase -Name Litware_Content -WebApplication Project

    New-SPProjectWebInstance -Url http://project.contoso.com/litware -AdminAccount "CONTOSO\Administrator" -PrimaryDbserver "DEMO2010A" -PublishedDbname "Litware_Published" -ArchiveDbname "Litware_Archive" -DraftDbname "Litware_Draft" -ReportingDbserver "DEMO2010A" -ReportingDbname "Litware_Reporting"

    As usual a lot more detailed information on TechNet to conduct an upgrade or migration: Upgrade and Migration for Project Server 2010 (this article in particular: Database-attach full upgrade to Project Server 2010). Yes there is a lot more process/training/customization etc… to upgrade to 2010 but at least on the data front its super easy!

    See the upgrade site below (notice the dashboard quick links from the EPM 2007 PPM demo VM). Happy upgrade!

    Project Server 2007 Upgrade

    Project Server 2010 Dashboard

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    How to Create a New Project Server 2010 Site Template

    Hello for those of you that have downloaded and installed Project Server 2010 Public Beta (Announcing Microsoft Project 2010, Project Server 2010 Public Beta Availability), please find below the step by step on how to create a custom project workspace site template that could be associated with a Project Type during project initiation:

    1. Create New Site (Site Actions | New Site | Select Microsoft Project Workspace type)
    2. Customize look and feel of new site, go to Edit Page (check out the new Theme feature of SharePoint for instance), you can also add specific documents associated with the template (Cost Forecast Excel workbook for instance)
    3. Once happy with custom look and feel: Go to Site Actions | Site Settings | Site Actions | Save Site as Template
    4. Go to Site Settings | Galleries | Solutions, select Solution and Activate (ribbon button)
    5. Leverage newly created template in your Enterprise Project Types (EPTs)
      • Project Web Access | Server Settings | Workflow and Project Detail Pages | Enterprise Project Types (newly created template should now appear in the dropdown list under Project Site Template)

    And voila! It’s that easy in 2010!

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Dynamics CRM 2011 Integration

    I have seen a few questions recently in the Microsoft Project Server Forum and other in other social platform about the integration of Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Dynamics CRM 2011, and since I delivered a session on this topic at an event a few months ago, I wanted to share my thoughts on the subject. Before I go any further I think it’s important to understand the Microsoft Dynamics CRM offering, hence I recommend you look at our official CRM product portal for a basic understanding of our offering: http://crm.dynamics.com/en-us/home At a high level Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers the three solutions:

    • Sales Force Automation
    • Customer Service
    • Marketing

    The goal of the session I co-delivered with a CRM consultant was to investigate integration scenarios between the two line of business applications (CRM & PPM) and showcase integration options between the two extensible platform.  We introduced and demonstrated the following two scenario during that session:

    Sales to Project Delivery – once an opportunity reaches 80%, a project is created in Project Server Marketing planning to execution – marketing campaigns are imported in Project Server to leverage the Portfolio Analysis engine to choose which initiatives are align with the objectives based on cost & resources constraints
    Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Dynamics CRM 2011 Integration Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Dynamics CRM 2011 Integration
    Demo screenshots:
    Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Dynamics CRM 2011 Integration
    Demo screenshots:
    Microsoft Project Server 2010 and Dynamics CRM 2011 Integration

    Due to not only the rich extensibility of both products but also to the ease programming of both, even a marketing person like myself (!) with the help of a CRM trained consultant we were able to built these demos in a few days (including a CRM workflow creating a Project Server project using a standard PSI call). For more information on the extensibility of each please refer to the Developer centers on MSDN:

    If you do not have programming experience on MSFT CRM or Project Server I highly recommend you engage Microsoft certified CRM & PPM partners or Microsoft Consulting Services to help your with the technical aspect of the integration.  The two scenarios/use cases presented above are by no means exhaustive and more can achieve between Microsoft CRM and PPM offerings. In summary integrating Microsoft Project Server and Dynamics CRM offers a strong line of business application and integration is possible today using custom code thanks to their respective rich extensibility. Happy integration projects and see you next month at Microsoft Project Conference 2012 in Phoenix!

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    New Excel Services Sample Reports for Project Server

    Following this post (New SQL Reporting Services Sample Reports for Project Server), please find below the list of Excel Services (samples attached) reports included in the newly released demo VPC.

    If you want to learn more about Excel Services (requires SharePoint Server) two new great books have been published on the subject:

    Business Alignment Analysis 211 2008-04-13, 08_38_51 Governance Phase Analysis 212 2008-04-13, 08_41_50
    Investment Analysis 214 2008-04-13, 08_43_18 Resource Capacity 215 2008-04-13, 08_45_27
    Resource Capacity By Role  216 2008-04-13, 08_46_50 Project Work Heat Map By Role  217 2008-04-13, 08_51_18
  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Project Server 2007 on Windows Server 2008 RC1

    FYI I have just completed the install of Project Server 2007 + Service Pack 1 (and Office Server 2007 + SP1 as well) using Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) from MSDN.

    I used this two great posts from Bill Baer to complete the install:

    Two screen captures to prove it (check bottom right corner :)

    Expect more posts in the future about the advantages of running PS 2007 on W2K8 (IIS7, hypervisor-based virtualization ...).

    In the meantime for more information about Windows Server 2008, please check the official Microsoft site here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/default.mspx

    MWSnap003 2007-12-17, 14_09_34 

    MWSnap004 2007-12-17, 14_09_52

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    Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 and Project Server 2007

    Last week we released Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, and with it comes an out of the box integration with Project Server 2007.

    image

    Both products address a common scenario: Line Of Business Integration (LOBI) between an ERP system and Project Server; in this case no need for custom code (check out the LOBI session code sample Brian Smith and I did at TechEd Developer last week in Orlando)!

    image

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