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

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Project Server 2010 Risk Evaluation Form Solution

    Following yesterday’s webcast: Microsoft Project and SharePoint Server 2010 Better Together–free webcast July 27 & 28 someone asked how can the Risk Evaluation demoed be customized to your own business needs?

    This form is based on an InfoPath custom form and stores its answers tied to each project in the Project Risk Forms library in the demo dataset.


    To customize the form to your needs (risk assessment questionnaire) do the following:

    You can also download and check our based demo VM to see how we did in our sample demo dataset:

    Project 2010 Business Risk

    Project 2010 Technology Risk

    Project 2010 Implementation Risk

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Customizing Analysis Services Cube Using Analysis Management Objects (AMO)

    This post describes the steps required to perform SQL Analysis Services 2005 Project Server 2007 Cube customization using Analysis Management Objects (AMO).

    (sample code below)



    To be able to override an EPM 2007 Event Handler and do AMO customization you will have to add the following references to the C# Class Library solution:

    ¾  C:\Program Files\Microsoft SQL Server\90\SDK\Assemblies\Microsoft.AnalysisServices.dll

    ¾  C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Servers\12.0\Bin\Microsoft.Office.Project.Server.Events.Receivers.dll

    ¾  C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Servers\12.0\Bin\Microsoft.Office.Project.Server.Library.dll

    Event Handler

    The CubeProcecessedEvent is overridden to launch our Analysis Services Cube customization once the standard EPM 2007 cube has been built:

        // Override CBS event to call custom AMO code

        public class CubeProcessedEvent : CubeAdminEventReceiver


            #region Public Methods


            public override void OnCubeProcessed(PSContextInfo contextInfo, CubeAdminPostCubeProcessEventArgs e)


                base.OnCubeProcessed(contextInfo, e);


                // Process Analysis Services customization




    Retrieving AS DB Connection Strings

    // --------------------------------------------

    // STEP 0: Retrieve Analysis Services server configuration from

    // Microsoft.Office.Project.Server.Eventing.exe.config

    // --------------------------------------------

    string connectionString = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["ASConnectionString"];

    The CONFIG file is located under: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Servers\12.0\Bin

    Analysis Services Cube Customization

    This is the main method doing all the Analysis Services customization (using AMO):

    private void ProcessCubeCustomisation(string databaseName)


    Stopwatch timeToProcess = new Stopwatch();


    bool success = false;

    string msg = string.Empty;




        // --------------------------------------------

        // STEP 0: Retrieve Analysis Services server configuration from

        // Microsoft.Office.Project.Server.Eventing.exe.config

        // --------------------------------------------

        string connectionString = ConfigurationManager.AppSettings["ASConnectionString"];


        // --------------------------------------------

        // STEP 1: Connect to Analysis Services server.

        // --------------------------------------------

        Server asServer = new Server();



        // --------------------------------------------

        // STEP 2: Locate the necessary OLAP objects.

        // --------------------------------------------

        Database p12Database = asServer.Databases.GetByName(databaseName); // this throws exception if the database is not found

        Cube mspPortfolioAnalyzer = p12Database.Cubes.GetByName("MSP_Portfolio_Analyzer");

        Dimension taskListDimension = p12Database.Dimensions.GetByName("Task List"); // this throws exception if the dimension is not found


        // --------------------------------------------

        // STEP 3: Perform OLAP customisation

        // --------------------------------------------

        DimensionAttribute tnDimAtt = taskListDimension.Attributes.Add("Task Name");

        tnDimAtt.Usage = AttributeUsage.Regular;

        tnDimAtt.Type = AttributeType.Regular;

        tnDimAtt.OrderBy = OrderBy.Name;

        tnDimAtt.KeyColumns.Add(CreateDataItem(p12Database.DataSourceViews[0], "MSP_EpmTask_OlapView_Dimension", "TaskName"));

        tnDimAtt.NameColumn = CreateDataItem(p12Database.DataSourceViews[0], "MSP_EpmTask_OlapView_Dimension", "TaskName");


        // Create Task Name Hierarchy

        Hierarchy tnHierarchy = taskListDimension.Hierarchies.Add("TaskNameHierarchy");

        DimensionAttribute tlAttribute = taskListDimension.Attributes.GetByName("Task List attribute");

        tlAttribute.AttributeRelationships.Add("Task Name");

        tnHierarchy.Levels.Add(tnDimAtt.Name).SourceAttributeID = tnDimAtt.Name;

        tnHierarchy.Levels.Add(tlAttribute.Name).SourceAttributeID = tlAttribute.Name;


        ValidationErrorCollection errorCol = new ValidationErrorCollection();

        taskListDimension.Validate(errorCol, true);


        // --------------------------------------------

        // STEP 4: Process updates

        // --------------------------------------------

        // Process dimension update




        success = true;


    catch (Exception e)


        msg = "FAILED to process AS customisation, exception: " + e.Message;




    if (success)

        WriteEvent("SUCCESSFULY processed AS customisation, Time= " + timeToProcess.Elapsed.ToString(), EventLogEntryType.Information, 9999);


        WriteEvent(msg + " , Time= " + timeToProcess.Elapsed.ToString(), EventLogEntryType.Error, 9999);




    Event Handler with Custom AMO Code

    The procedure to deploy custom Event Handler (calling custom AMO code) is as follow:

    Register Event Handler

    1.      Connect to the PWA server and go to Server Settings

    2.      Select Operational Policies -> Server-Side Event Handler Configuration

    3.      Select Cube Admin -> Cube Processed


    4.      Enter the following information and click Save:


    Contoso Task Name Hierarchy


    Custom AMO code that aggregates tasks by name

    Assembly Name

    MicrosoftFrance.MCS.EPM2007.Events.ContosoAMO, Version=, Culture=Neutral, PublicKeyToken=9af84715c1210e08

    Classe Name




    Once the assembly has been deployed it should appear as shown below (takes a few minutes to take effect).


    Deploy Custom Assembly

    1.      Copy compiled assembly MicrosoftFrance.MCS.P12.Events.ContosoAMOEvent.dll from proper BIN directory to C:\WINDOWS\assembly (Drag & Drop)

    2.      Assembly should now appear in the folder as shown below:


    Add Eventing Config Parameters

    1.      Copy the EPM Eventing config file located under C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office Servers\12.0\Bin\Microsoft.Office.Project.Server.Eventing.exe.config to have a backup and open the file using an XML editor

    2.      Add the following parameter: ASConnectionString

    3.      <configuration>

    4.         <runtime>

    5.            <assemblyBinding xmlns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:asm.v1">

    6.               <probing privatePath="ProjectServerEventHandlers"/>

    7.            </assemblyBinding>

    8.         </runtime>

    9.          <appSettings>

    10.             <add key="ASConnectionString" value="CHRISFIE03\SQL" />

    11.       </appSettings>   

    12.   </configuration>


    First you will have to the build the cube with the newly deployed customization.

    The CBS (Cube Building Process) will look like this:

    ===== Initiating cube build process =====

    [2/27/2007 8:45 AM] Cube build request message has been added to the Project Server queue

    ===== Verifying and running pre-build server event handler =====

    [2/27/2007 8:46 AM] Verifying and running pre-build server event handler

    ===== Determining database and cube structure =====

    [2/27/2007 8:46 AM] Cube build initialization started

    [2/27/2007 8:46 AM] OLAP database and cube structure was determined successfully

    ===== Building database and cubes =====

    [2/27/2007 8:46 AM] Cube build session started

    [2/27/2007 8:46 AM] Analysis Services session started

    [2/27/2007 8:47 AM] 26 of the NT accounts that correspond to users that have 'View Olap Data' permission could not be added to the Project Server default OLAP role 'ProjectServerViewOlapDataRole'

    [2/27/2007 8:47 AM] Analysis Services session completed successfully

    ===== Verifying and running post-build server event handler =====

    [2/27/2007 8:47 AM] Verifying and running post-build server event handler

    ===== Processing OLAP database =====

    [2/27/2007 8:47 AM] Process OLAP database session started

    [2/27/2007 8:47 AM] Analysis Services session started

    [2/27/2007 8:49 AM] Analysis Services session completed successfully

    ===== Verifying and running post-process server event handler =====

    [2/27/2007 8:49 AM] Verifying and running post-process server event handler

    ===== Process Completed =====

    [2/27/2007 8:51 AM] Cube build request completed successfully.

    Ensure that the newly added hierarchy has been added to the cube using Visual Studio:



    New Hierarchy

    Use Excel’s Pivot Table to validate change, for instance:

    Work the show is a task that appears in both the Boat Show and Consumer Technology Show projects:




    Row Labels

    Actual Work


    Work the show



    Boat Show



    Consumer Technology Show



    Grand Total



    That’s it!


    ¾  All EPM 2007 cube customization should be tested extensively prior to any deployment into a Production environment.

    ¾  Adding custom customization at the end of the Cube Building process will also increase the time it takes to refresh the cube.

    ¾  Figuring out the proper UpdateOptions & ProcessType could be tricky at times and depending on what option you choose it will have a impact on performance

    ¾  To figure out the order in which the AMO needs to be made, open the AS db using Visual Studio, do the changes by hand, script the full AS database and check the XML changes.

    ¾  Test, test, test J


  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Project Server 2007 Report Pack II – An incredible asset you should all leverage

    This is a blog post that is worth checking out! My colleague Jan Kalis just announced the release of the Project Server 2007 Report Pack II (recorded webcast and demo here). Why is it the best thing since slice bread? Well check out the following list of SQL Server Reporting Services it contains (and to make it easier to use in your environment it all contains full documentation as well as separate Visual Studio packages and directories of ALL T-SQL queries). I’m sure you will find few key nuggets in there that will help you with your day to day activities as well as surface key information from your Project Server 2007 Project Portfolio Management gold mine of information!

    Microsoft Project Server 2007 Governance Reports Microsoft Project Server 2007 Management Reports
    • Assignment to Timesheet Consistency
    • My Planned Time Off
    • My Projects and Assignments
    • My Task Count and Status
    • My Project-Oriented Timesheet Activity
    • Project_Detail (now includes includes deliverable and cross-project link information, along with a reduced size KPI Average graphical indicator)
    • Resource Activity by RBS and Position Role
    • Resource Allocation
    • Resource Allocation sub-report
    • Resource Capacity versus Demand Heatmap by Position Role
    • Task Update Compliance
    • Timesheet Compliance report ( updated to allow for multiple timesheet period review )
    • Active Resource Details
    • Administration Dashboard
    • Archive Project Details
    • Draft Project Details
    • Inactive Resource Details
    • Metadata Assignment Custom Field Details
    • Metadata Custom Field Modifications
    • Metadata Enterprise Template Modifications
    • Metadata Lookup Table Modifications
    • Metadata Resource Custom Field Details
    • Metadata Task Custom Field Details
    • Project Baseline Details
    • Project Task and Assignment Details
    • Project Type Details
    • Published Project Details
    • Queue – Project jobs
    • Queue – Timesheet jobs
    • Security Categories Modified
    • Security Groups Modified
    • Security No RBS setting
    • Security Permissions on User Level
    • Security Templates Modified
    • Security Users Modified
    • SQL Server Database Space Usage
    • SQL Server Fragmentation
    • SQL Server Table Space Usage
  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Running SharePoint Server and Project Server 2007 on Windows Server 2008 R2 Beta

    It works! I downloaded the ISO from MSDN and followed the instructions to deploy SharePoint Server 2007 and Project Server 2007 on Windows Server 2008, and it works like a charm on R2 (notice the Windows 7 similar toolbar at the bottom with the big PowerShell icon)!


    What’s new with Windows Server 2008 R2 check these two links:

    Also check this related post if you want to experiment with our upcoming OS: Windows 7 Beta and Project Professional 2007

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Project Server IT Professionals Bookmarks

    For the upcoming TechEd for IT Professionals in Orlando we have prepared a list of about 70 bookmarks Project Server IT Professionals should be aware of.

    This list contains bookmarks to valuable resources such as deployment guides, deployment templates, recommended RSS feeds subscriptions, books, training course, etc…

    Also note the following newly released project templates:

  • Microsoft Office 2007 deployment (clean installation or upgrade from Office 2003)
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 deployment
  • Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 deployment (clean installation)
  • Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 deployment (migration from Project 2003)
  • For instance:


  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Windows Server 2008 R2 Desktop Tweaks

    With the recent RTM release of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 on July 22, I have updated all my desktops and laptops to Windows 2008 R2, so far no driver issues on any machine (How to upgrade your laptop/desktop to Windows Server 2008 R2?).

    One thing I could not figure was how to display a preview of pictures using Windows Explorer and other visual effects that are standard with Windows 7.

    Thanks to a Microsoft colleague the solution is simple, go to System Properties –> Advanced –> Performance Settings and check Show thumbnails instead of icons and voila!


  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Analysis Services 2005 (OLAP) Permission for Project Server 2007

    Common questions and answers on AS 2K5 permissions for EPM 2007 (thank you David & Steven):


    Getting Cube to Build

    1.       Which application account is responsible for building the cube?  Is this the SSP account?  The SharePoint Timer Service account?

    SSP account

    2.       What are the database permissions needed for this account?  DataReader on ReportServer?  DataReader and DataWriter on OLAPdb?

    DataReader on ReportServer,   DataReader and DataWriter on OLAPdb (if using SQL as Analysis repository)

    3.       What are the system permissions needed for this account on the Project Server machines?  On the SQL Server machine?  On the Analysis Services machine?

    Simple user on PS machine. Have not tested on separate SQL/AS machine, but for  AS, it needs to be an AS Admin. In some cases I had to put it as a local admin on the SQL server.

    4.       Do you have a list of common error messages with their solutions?


    Allowing Users to View the Cube

    1.       What permissions need to be setup for users to view the cube?  I think part of this stems from the new Analysis Services 2005 security model.

    Normally, the right security is added automatically to a defaut AS role  during the cube build.

    The user added to this role have  the Data analysis Project server right. Typically in the Portfolio group

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Sample Project Server 2003 to Project Server 2007 Migration Plan

    Due to popular requests, please find below a sample plan to migrate from EPM 2003 to EPM 2007.  Use this plan as a guide and a reminder of all phases and tasks that need to be accomplished during the migration project.  The effort (“work”) for each task does not necessarily represent what is required for your environment so use it with a “grain of salt”.

    The migration project is divided into four phases:

    1.       Resource Planning – In this phase the hardware and personal resources must be requested and obtained. It is assumed that a full 4 working weeks will be needed to accomplish this.

    2.       Migration Planning - here initial training occurs, plans are made, expectations are set, and agreements from all parties are obtained.

    3.       Migration Test – Here a test system is built out, and the migration procedures are tried out and verified for correctness. This duration of this phase is difficult to predict as issues sometimes occur that must be addressed by support.

    4.       Production Migration – Here we build up a new production system, migrate the data, and have all users verify that the data has migrated correctly. When this step is successfully completed, the old system can be turned off.

     Project Server Migration Plan

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    Project in a Terminal Services environment

    Please find below useful links when deploying Project Standard or Project Professional on a Terminal Services (or Citrix) environment.

    A common issue I have heard/seen is that the version used on Terminal Services is incorrect (you need a Volume License Key) with this type of error message displayed: "This copy of Microsoft Office Project cannot be used on Terminal Server".

    This issue is addressed in the following knowledge base article:

    Other useful links are:

  • Christophe Fiessinger's Blog

    How to check Project 2007 version using VBA?

    [ Updated 4/25/2011 – modified code to support Windows 7, please not that this functionality is out of the box in Project Server 2010 and no longer requires such VBA script!]

    A great question we heard this morning during the Project 2007 SP2 webcast and every time we release a server and desktop software update for Project 2007 and Project Server 2007, is how do I ensure the desktop contains the proper software updates? For instance how I do ensure that ALL desktop version for Project that connect to Project Server have Service Pack 2 installed?

    Thanks to Adrian Jenkins please find below two easy way to achieve this by leveraging VBA (macro) within the Enterprise Global.
    A quick demo first:
    I try to save a plan and I will get the following warning:
    and WinProj will automatically be closed!

    In this first approach change MIN_PROJ_VERSION to the latest SP2 version number: 6425 

    Feel free to customize the Warning message at will!

    Declare Function RegCloseKey& Lib "advapi32.dll" (ByVal hKey&) 
    Declare Function RegOpenKeyExA& Lib "advapi32.dll" (ByVal hKey&, ByVal lpszSubKey$, ByVal dwOptions&, ByVal samDesired&, lpHKey&) 
    Declare Function RegQueryValueExA& Lib "advapi32.dll" (ByVal hKey&, ByVal lpszValueName$, ByVal lpdwRes&, lpdwType&, ByVal lpDataBuff$, nSize&) 
    Declare Function RegQueryValueEx& Lib "advapi32.dll" Alias "RegQueryValueExA" (ByVal hKey&, ByVal lpszValueName$, ByVal lpdwRes&, lpdwType&, lpDataBuff&, nSize&)
    Const MIN_PROJ_VERSION = 6330
    Const HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT = &H80000000
    Const HKEY_CURRENT_USER = &H80000001
    Const HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE = &H80000002
    Const HKEY_USERS = &H80000003
    Const ERROR_SUCCESS = 0&
    Const REG_SZ = 1&                          ' Unicode nul terminated string
    Const REG_DWORD = 4&                       ' 32-bit number
    Const KEY_QUERY_VALUE = &H1&
    Const KEY_SET_VALUE = &H2&
    Const KEY_CREATE_SUB_KEY = &H4&
    Const KEY_NOTIFY = &H10&
    Const KEY_CREATE_LINK = &H20&
    Const READ_CONTROL = &H20000
    Const WRITE_DAC = &H40000
    Const WRITE_OWNER = &H80000
    Const SYNCHRONIZE = &H100000
    Sub ProjectVer()
        Dim projVersion As String
        Dim version As String
        projVersion = RegGetValue$(HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, "Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Installer\UserData\S-1-5-18\Products\00002109B30000000000000000F01FEC\InstallProperties", "DisplayVersion")
        version = Mid(projVersion, 6, 4)
        If (CInt(version) < MIN_PROJ_VERSION) Then
            MsgBox "Your version of Winproj.exe is not valid and may cause problems." & Chr(13) & Chr(13) & _
            "The installation of new version of Microsoft Project is required!" & Chr(13) & Chr(13) & _
            "Required Version: " & Left(projVersion, 5) & MIN_PROJ_VERSION & ".XXXX" & (Chr(13)) & _
            "Found Version:     " & projVersion & Chr(13) & Chr(13) & _
            "Microsoft Project will now Exit." _
            , vbExclamation, "Program Version Check"
            Application.FileExit pjDoNotSave
        End If
    End Sub
    Function RegGetValue$(MainKey&, SubKey$, value$)
       ' MainKey must be one of the Publicly declared HKEY constants.
       Dim sKeyType&       'to return the key type.  This function expects REG_SZ or REG_DWORD
       Dim ret&            'returned by registry functions, should be 0&
       Dim lpHKey&         'return handle to opened key
       Dim lpcbData&       'length of data in returned string
       Dim ReturnedString$ 'returned string value
       Dim ReturnedLong&   'returned long value
       If MainKey >= &H80000000 And MainKey <= &H80000006 Then
          ' Open key
          ret = RegOpenKeyExA(MainKey, SubKey, 0&, KEY_READ, lpHKey)
          If ret <> ERROR_SUCCESS Then
             RegGetValue = ""
             Exit Function     'No key open, so leave
          End If
          ' Set up buffer for data to be returned in.
          ' Adjust next value for larger buffers.
          lpcbData = 255
          ReturnedString = Space$(lpcbData)
          ' Read key
          ret& = RegQueryValueExA(lpHKey, value, ByVal 0&, sKeyType, ReturnedString, lpcbData)
          If ret <> ERROR_SUCCESS Then
             RegGetValue = ""   'Value probably doesn't exist
            If sKeyType = REG_DWORD Then
                ret = RegQueryValueEx(lpHKey, value, ByVal 0&, sKeyType, ReturnedLong, 4)
                If ret = ERROR_SUCCESS Then RegGetValue = CStr(ReturnedLong)
                RegGetValue = Left$(ReturnedString, lpcbData - 1)
            End If
        End If
          ' Always close opened keys.
          ret = RegCloseKey(lpHKey)
       End If
    End Function

    Another way to validate the desktop version, uses the file system. The only challenge with this approach is determining the location of the Program Files directory.

    Sub projVersion()
        Dim MainFolderName As String
        Dim LastMod As String
        Dim Created As String
        Dim Size As String
        Dim projVersion As String
        Set objShell = CreateObject("Shell.Application")
        MainFolderName = "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12"
        Set FSO = CreateObject("scripting.FileSystemObject")
        Set oFolder = FSO.GetFolder(MainFolderName)
         'error handling to stop the obscure error that occurs at time when retrieving DateLastAccessed
        On Error Resume Next
        For Each fil In oFolder.Files
            Set objFolder = objShell.Namespace(oFolder.Path)
            Set objFolderItem = objFolder.ParseName(fil.Name)
            Select Case UCase(fil.Name)
                Case Is = "WINPROJ.EXE"
                    LastMod = fil.DateLastModified
                    Created = fil.DateCreated
                    Size = fil.Size
                    MsgBox ("File: " + fil.Name + " Last Modified: " + LastMod + " Created: " + Created + " Size: " + Size)
                    'do all of the normal tests here to determine which version you need and which you have. See above.
            End Select
    End Sub
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