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

  • 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

    Microsoft Project Server 2010 Integration with SAP

    A frequent question I have heard recently from key customers: how can the latest version of Microsoft Project Server be integrated with our existing SAP implementation? I wrote this post Integrating EPM 2007 with Line of Business Solutions such as ERP Systems three and half years ago and the same answer pretty much applies. You basically have two options to connect the two systems:

    Purchase a connector from a third party vendor

    Partner Solution Address   Comments
    The Campana & Schott Group CS Connect http://www.campana-schott.com alt Long time EPM specialized partner with a proven track record on that topic, also has plenty of consulting expertise on deploying and configuring PS.
    The Project Group PSLink http://www.theprojectgroup.com/ PSLink Integration Scenarios Long time EPM specialized partner with a proven track record on that topic, also has plenty of consulting expertise on deploying and configuring PS.
    forProject Import forProject http://www.forproject.com (…) allows data from external sources to be effectively and selectively imported into Microsoft project (…) Saw a recent demo and was very impressed by the ease of the use and the seamless integration with PWA.

    Built your own connector using documented API

    Great starting point are the Project 2010 Software Development Kit (SDK): http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/office/aa905469.aspx and this solution from the Project Server 2007 SDK: ERP Connector Solution Starter (written for Project Server 2007 but since the architecture and the extensibility story is the same for 2010 it still applies).

    In the end even though you could re-invent the wheel and build your own connector, I highly recommend leveraging an existing partner solution so you can focus on the processes and a successful implementation of Project Server 2010 instead of the technicalities of transferring data between SAP and PS.

    Additional resources:

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    Microsoft Project Server and Team Foundation Server 2010 CTP Virtual Machine

    ** Updated 9/22/2010 ** – on the same topic please check this post as well: Microsoft Project Server and Team Foundation Server 2010 Technical Preview Reminders

    Very happy to announce the released by the TFS team of the Microsoft® Team Foundation Server® 2010 and Microsoft Project Server® 2010 Integration CTP Hyper-V Virtual Machine. This virtual machine provides a community technical preview (CTP) of the integration of Team Foundation Sever 2010 with Project Server 2010. Included with this download are four walkthroughs scenarios that demonstrate using enterprise project plans in Project Server associated with team projects in Team Foundation Server.  The integration work is not yet complete but the engineering team would like to hear your feedback on the integration of the two products and the supported scenarios.  The Beta release is tentatively scheduled in the fall and will be highly dependent on the CTP feedback received. Please note this CTP is provided as a Virtual Machine and is not intended to be used in a production environment.

    The download contains the full Hyper-V VM, four  walkthrough scenarios listed below:

    1. Real-time project status for the PMO,
    2. Agile teams are no longer black holes,
    3. Set the dial on your project plan details
    4. Resource visibility for the PMO

    Download CTP VM: http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=196413

    Give feedback on our new Project Server integration Forum: http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/tfsprojectsrvint

    Additional VM information can be found on Brian Harry’s blog: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bharry/archive/2010/07/06/tfs-2010-support-for-project-server.aspx

    Overview

    This community technical preview of Team Foundation Server 2010 and Project Server 2010 Integration allows teams to share data between the two servers. This virtual machine includes enterprise project plans in Project Server mapped to team projects in Team Foundation Server, along with sample data to highlight key integration scenarios. The walkthrough documents provide four scenarios that simulate the interactions between the project manager, working in Project Server, and the software development team, working in Team Foundation Server.
    The value of Project Server and Team Foundation Server integration is to provide up-to-date project status and resource availability across agile and formal teams; help project managers track high-level requirements and allow the team lead to manage the details; and permit project managers to live in Project Server and manage projects across the enterprise while development team leads live in Team Foundation Server and manage their software development project. With this tool, the Project Management Office (PMO) is able to plan, collaborate and track real-time progress made by formal or agile teams.
    This virtual machine is running Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition R2. It contains a full installation of Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate, Project Server 2010, with Office 2010 and all necessary prerequisites. All Windows Updates as of April 16, 2010 have been applied.

    Project Server 2010

    Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Leveraging the published Project Server Reporting Database Schema

    A key success to a Project Server deployment are meaningful reports and dashboards for everyone in the organization. Even though PS comes with standard reports; in order to meet your exact business needs you might have to create custom reports using products such as SQL Server Reporting Services (which by the way will have a new version that comes with the SQL 2008 release that contains great graphical indicators such as gauges due to acquisition of Dundas Data Visualization Inc.’s Data Visualization).

    Regardless of the product used to build reports the bulk of the work requires a good understanding of the database schema, what entities to use (tables versus views) and the relationship between them. The Project Server 2007 Reporting database is fully published in the Software Development Kit. Another nugget contained in the SDK is a Visio file which diagrams of key database entities anyone who is building report should be aware.

    The Visio document contains four pages:

    • User Views
    • Relationships
    • Timesheet Tables (shown below)
    • SharePoint Data

    254 2008-05-09, 11_06_43

  • 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

    Solid State Drive/SSD and SharePoint Server, Project Server Demo Image Benchmark

    Thanks to Dell, I recently got a Latitude E6500 with one Intel Core 2 Duo (T9400), 8GB RAM (see attached CPU-Z info.) and two hard drives: a Seagate Momentus 7200.3 and a Samsung SSD SATA 3.0Gb/s (Solid State Drive), and wanted to measure the performance gains of running my demo images (about 30GB VHD each) on a SSD drive versus a classic “rotating drive” since hard drive is typically the performance bottleneck.

    I first reformatted the laptop with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise with Service Pack 1 (yes Service Pack 2 is out!), added the Hyper-V role and that’s it (no other W2K8 role and no unnecessary services, just the minimum to run demo images using Hyper-V!).

    Before testing three separate demo images/VHD I use often, I used the following two tools to tests the disks:  CrystalDiskMark 2.2 and HD Tune Pro 3.5 (note I have attached all the screenshots of the results as a blog post attachment). I ran CrystalDiskMark for 50MB/100MB/500MB/1000MB.

    Samsung SSD SATA 3.0Gb/s Thin uSATA, 128GB Seagate Momentus 7200.3, 160GB, ST9160411ASG
    HDTune_Benchmark_SAMSUNG_SSD_Thin_uSA HDTune_Benchmark_ST9160411ASG 2
    HDTune_Random_Access_SAMSUNG_SSD_Thin_uSA HDTune_Random_Access_ST9160411ASG Read
    CrystalMark Results: HDTune Results:
    image image

    As expected the Access Time(ms) and hence Read [MB/s] is lighting fast on a SSD, why? See this explanation below from this article from Les Tokar: SSD Performance Comparison and a Review of Mtron's Mobi 3000 "World's Fastest" Drive

    "Disk Access" – is probably one of the most important things to consider when deciding if you want to move to the SSD. It is measured in milli-seconds and is the reason there is such a great increase in speed for booting an OS such as Vista and being able to play within the system.  This speed is the time in which a piece of information is found on a sector of a drive, pulled up and read.  Most hard drives are in excess of 10ms, as shown in the 15.1ms time for the Seagate. Meanwhile, SSDs such as the Mtron are reaching new heights with less than 0.1ms access time.  The reason for this is because the hard drive has to wait for the disk to spin and information to become available whereas with NAND flash, it is available almost instantly.

    I then used a .Net stopwatch and recorded the following actions for each of my demo image:

    Start Start Hyper-V image until Windows logging prompt appear
    Warmup Run demo image warmup script after Windows session has started, includes SharePoint and PWA warmup
    Save Save Hyper-V image
    Restore Restoring from Saved State

    for each of the following demo image:

    Demo Image/VHD results:

    image

    I think the results speak for themselves, running a VHD on a SSD is days and night compared to a classic 7200rpm drive (for instance executing the “warmup” script of each VHD which is disk intensive by definition yielded significant performance gains; not to mention the overall performance of running a demo and navigating the applications). While the price are still quite high for SSD drive, I believe the performance gains justifies the costs specially if you run a lot of demo images.

    Doing demos will never be the same!

    Related links “binging” around SSD drives/benchmark:

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Announcing Project Server 2010 Preliminary System Requirements

    Following this SharePoint 2010 announcement today: Announcing SharePoint Server 2010 Preliminary System Requirements please note the following requirements for Project Server 2010

    • Project Server 2010 will be 64-bit only
    • Project Server 2010 will require 64-bit Windows Server 2008 or 64-bit Windows Server 2008 R2
    • Project Server 2010 will require 64-bit SQL 2005 or 2008
    • Project Server 2010 will only support Internet Explorer 7 or 8 (IE 6 will not be supported nor other browsers)

    Please find below two recently published article on TechNet to help you migrate your existing Project Server 2007 farm to 64-bit:

    Finally please encourage your customers and partners to attend our upcoming Microsoft Project Conference 2009 in September to learn about Project 2010.

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Todo lo que necesitas saber sobre Project 2010 en español!

    Thanks to Vicente Rubio Peinado I’m very happy to announce the release of this easy to read, and easy to carry book about Project 2010: Guía Práctica Microsoft Project 2010

    Guía Práctica Microsoft Project 2010

    Índice de contenidos:

    • Instalación del programa.
    • Primeros pasos.
    • Planificación de un proyecto.
    • Gestión de recursos.
    • Búsqueda de información.
    • Gestión de costos.
    • Seguimiento del proyecto.
    • Impresión de información.
    • Diagrama de red.
    • Configuración y personalización.
    • Funciones avanzadas.

    It’s great to see an active, vibrant and digital Spanish speaking Microsoft Project community.

    Key links below to get engaged and learn both Project and Spanish are the same time (Últimas noticias, Información de eventos, Webcast, Trucos, Foros de debate, Videos, Contenidos en español..) !

    Únete a la Comunidad de Project 2010 – Todo sobre Microsoft Project

    Gracias Vicente!

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Troubleshooting EPM 2007 Queue issues

    Thanks to Sharry please find below some useful steps when troubleshooting EPM 2007 queue issues:

    1.     Use Manage Queue page (Sever Settings -> Queue -> Manage Queue) to look at correlations (use the CorrelationUID column for help here) to see why a certain correlation is blocked.  Usually if your queue is still working for other jobs/entities, then restarting the queue is not necessary.  If you cannot see any problems and your queue is still working, then your filters on the Manage Queue page are not right – check them.  Restarting the Queue is only necessary when nothing is processing.  Using the “By Project” filter works nicely for looking at the queue job history of projects.  For other correlations, use CorrelationUID.

    2.     Look first for Failed and Blocking states – those are the jobs that are “blocking” others on the same correlation (again, use the correlation UID here to see what jobs are affected).  You can either retry these jobs if the error looks like something having to do with something recoverable (like loss of network or database connection), or you can cancel.  Canceling with the default settings will cancel the entire correlation, so make sure you know what data you could be losing by doing so.

    3.     Are jobs stuck in the “Getting Enqueued” state?  If so, WinProj needs to be opened again on that user’s machine who submitted the job to see if WinProj will continue sending the project.  If that doesn’t work, then you will need to cancel the jobs in this “getting enqueued” state.  Note that this effectively means that the save from WinProj never happened, and that data will need to be resaved again.  This is the same thing that happens when you just blindly restart the queue.  But at least doing it this way means that you know what is being lost.

    4.     Look at the error (click the link in the Error column) to get an idea about why the failure occurred.  Sometimes you can correct the problem and re-save/re-submit your job.

    5.     Start comparing Event Logs to what you’ve found on the Manage Queue page.  Look for errors around the same time as failed jobs in the queue.

    6.     SharePoint Logs (usually located here: C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\web server extensions\12\LOGS ) .  Same technique as #5 – look for errors around the same time as failed jobs in the queue.

    Once you clear the blocking job(s), the queue should immediately resume processing on that correlation again, and pick up from where it last left off.

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Download Microsoft Project Server 2010 SP1 and June 2011 Cumulative Update

    As announced yesterday on the main Project blog: Announcing The Release Of Service Pack 1 (SP1) for Microsoft Project and Project Server 2010, two major product updates were launched this week:

    • Service Pack (SP1) for Project Standard, Project Professional, and Project Server 2010 (alongside Office 2010 and SharePoint SP1)
    • June 2011 Cumulative Update (CU) for Project Standard, Project Professional, and Project Server 2010 (alongside Office 2010 and SharePoint SP1)

    Plenty of guidance in the post above (including links to TechNet documentation on how to deploy these updates), my 2 cents is not to forget to run PSCONFIG after installing the binaries to ensure your server/farm is actually updated.

    I’ve just applied the June 2011 CU (had applied SP1 back in May as shown below) in my favorite PPM demo virtual machine and please find below version numbers from the PUBLISHED database (SELECT * FROM VERSIONS):

    • Service Pack 1 – 14.0.6027.1000
    • June 2011 CU -  14.0.6105.5000

    Project Server 2010 Versions Table

    Please note that DLL will have slightly different version number as documented in each KB (knowledge base) articles.

    I also recommend you attend this upcoming webcast from Brian Smith and Andrian Jenkins next week on July 6th, 2011 at 8:00 am Pacific Time to get an overview of SP1 and the June CU (which will be recorded for later viewing): TechNet Webcast: Information about Project 2010 and Project Server 2010 Service Pack 1 (Level 200)

    PS: Exciting Office 365 launch yesterday as well, see this related topic: Microsoft Project Professional 2010 and SharePoint Online in Office 365

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