Microsoft Project 2010
The official blog of the Microsoft Office product development group. Learn how to manage your work effectively

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Infrastructure Update and Cost Resource Behavior

    • 7 Comments

    Hello, this is David Ducolon.  You may have noticed that we have just released the post-SP1 “Infrastructure Release” of our software – one of the areas where we’ve made some changes is with Cost Resources, a feature I helped design and continue to own and love the feature area.

    History

    Cost resources were originally designed to fulfill the frequent customer request for more than one task-level fixed-cost entry with additional scope to support cost entry across multiple cost categories and across time for better cost tracking and possible accounting integration..  .

    In keeping with the way in which a Task's fixed cost works, we decided that the cost resource should also be as schedule agnostic as possible.  Meaning the dates from the cost resource assignment should never have an impact on the task dates or level of completeness.  By the time we released Project 2007, we had achieved much of that goal with a couple of known and avoidable things to watch for, more below.  

    After a year of learning

    We’ve been very pleased with the rate of adoption of this new functionality, and especially at some of the more innovative uses in some deployments. However a couple of deployments have had issues with some unexpected side-effects from the implementation which have encouraged us to make some changes, especially around controlling schedule impacts, leading to my new vision:

    Costs displayed should always show the left hand side and right hand side of usage views to be equal.

    This may seem obvious but in Project there are often times when we show a single data value in two places on one screen.  For example, cost of an assignment as a single value on the left and cost of an assignment time-phased on the right.  By making this change cost resources became stable, predictable and above all accurate.

    Enter Project Server into the mix...

    Now I have talked about Cost Resources and Project but noticeably absent was any discussion of Project Server.  Why?  Well resources are assigned in Project and not in Project Server. But we cannot forget Project Server since work is updated via Project Server and with the 2007 release we have enhanced the server to calculate real time schedule updates.

    So why am I mentioning this now?  Because the scheduling and calculation engine of Project Server is unaware of cost resources and in spite of our most valiant efforts; the server may change the actual cost values for cost resources in ways that might seem to be corrupting the data when the feature is not used as designed.  This leads me to our "User Scenarios to Avoid" or "Best Practice Use Cases" rules, follow these and you’ll enjoy success with the Cost Resource feature!

    Rule 1 : Project Managers should avoid assigning cost resources to the same tasks as work or material resources, especially when those work or material resources are going to update their progress in Project Server. <What happens?>

    Rule 2 : Avoid setting your resource default calendar to the 24 hour elapsed calendar since this setting on a cost resource may have unintended results.  Again let me explain: costs do not have a capacity (8 hour or 24 hour work days) like work resources and to limit cost resources to only having a usage value would not allow cost resources to represent revenue.  Therefore; costs will get scheduled under a 24hour calendar with very little regard for individual days in which they were allocated.  And if this is done on a server without work resources on the task the start and end dates become hard to predict.

    The remaining examples are much simpler so I will complete this post with a set of bullet points:

    Rule 3: Do not disable cost calculation (tools\options\Calculation - Actual costs are always calculated by Microsoft Office Project).  This will zero out all costs even the ones you as the user entered for cost resources not just the ones that Project calculated on behalf of you.

    Rule 4: Avoid using undo on the "remaining duration" field for tasks where cost resources are assigned.  Using the undo feature here will alter the cost values in the time-phased side of a usage screen and it does not always accurately restore a previous value of the cost.  So if you insist on using this pay close attention to the cost values before and after.

    And finally here is a last word of caution.  Remember that Project knows what date today is and if you assign costs at a monthly level then be aware that costs for the current month will start on the date for today.  This also applies to assignments that do not start on the first of the month or end on the last day of the month.  Always think of costs at the day level regardless of the UI display scale.  I mention this since at initial release the costs would have been distributed across the full period shown in the UI time scale.

    Well that is all for now. Please reply to this post with any feedback – I’m always looking for suggestions on making this feature as useful as possible!

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    New Help Content - June/July

    • 1 Comments

    Check out the new help content that has come out over the past month.

     

    Office Online Content and Demo Videos

    Connect with other Project users

    Connecting with the community of Project users has now gotten more interesting with the addition of more community resources.

    Project functions for custom fields

    Examples have been added to this popular article to you customize Project functions and fields.

    Use Project 2007 on Office Live

    You can now use Office Live to share Project files.

    Watch this: Create an inter-project dependency

    Watch the video on creating relationships between groups in your organization through Project dependencies.

    Watch This: Split a view

    Work like the pros. Learn now to split a few for easy task and resource manipulation.

    TechNet Content

    Deploy the Infrastructure Update for Office Project Server 2007

    This article describes how to install the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Project Server 2007.

    Report Data Service optimizations for custom fields

    This article provides some tips and examples that can help optimize custom reporting solutions built for the Reporting Database (RDB) of Office Project Server 2007. If you are interested in building custom views or applying custom indexes on any views in the RDB, read this article for some helper stored procedures that can be used in conjunction with your solutions.

    Project Server 2007 Infrastructure Update Release

    This white paper covers the new features and changes associated with the Project Client and Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Project 2007.

    Back up and restore your farm (Project Server 2007)

    With the new Infrastructure Update, the globally unique identifier (GUID) and change log of each content database are retained when you restore or re-attach the database. Therefore, if you are reattaching a recent database version, Search does not need to perform a full crawl to integrate the reattached content database. This is a substantial improvement over the RTM release of the product.

    Best practices for viewing proposals

    This article describes best practices for configuring the Proposals and Activities page in Project Web Access, including tips for obtaining best performance.

    New Community Content option available to articles in TechNet:

    The Community Content feature for Microsoft documentation provides the ability to add and edit content notes, similar to a wiki. Examples include code samples, tips, undocumented scenarios, links to additional resources, etc. Anyone is welcome to contribute or edit content. To get started, we require you register and agree to code of conduct and licensing agreements. At that time, you choose a display name that is used to identify your contributions across this site. More details are available on the Community Content FAQ.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Announcing the Infrastructure Update for Office Servers

    • 12 Comments

    On July 15th, 2008 Microsoft announced the availability of the Infrastructure Update for Office Servers. The Infrastructure Update for Office Servers is a set of updates to improve platform performance and contain several customer driven fixes. The updates are applicable to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, Windows SharePoint Services 3.0, Microsoft Search Server 2008 & Microsoft Search Server 2008 Express, Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Project 2007.

    There are several noteworthy new features and fixes shipped in these updates for Project Server 2007 and Project 2007; specifically:

    Project Server

    • Timesheets and My Tasks stability and usability improvements
    • Queue Management user interface improvements
    • Logging Tracing improvements
    • Project Server performance improvements
    • Project Server 2003 to Project Server 2007 migration fixes
    • Database performance improvements to enhance the cube building process and Project Professional Save/Publish scenarios

    Project Professional

    • Cost Resources calculation fixes
    • Improved Custom Fields stability
    • Improved local Project Cache stability
    • Fixed Excel Import problem

    Please read Project 2007 Infrastructure Update Release for Server and Client to learn about its content in detail.

    The Infrastructure Updates are available as free downloads to customers via the download center on http://www.microsoft.com/download.

    Before you install the Infrastructure Update there are some very important things to understand.  In this post we'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. 

    Full installation instructions and guidance is provided in the Knowledge Base articles linked from the download pages for each update along with existing TechNet guidance for patching Office Servers. The links are also included further on in this Q&A, but for reference, the following products require the following updates to be applied.

    • If you are running SharePoint Server 2007 you should install the Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (KB951695) first and the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297) second.
    • If you are running Project Server 2007 you should install the Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (KB951695) first and the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297) second. You should also then install the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Project 2007 (KB951547) on all Project 2007 client PC's.

    Read more about the new SharePoint features here

    Read more about the new Search features here

    Read more about the Content Deployment updates here

    Knowledge Base Articles

     

    Descriptions    
    Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 KB951695

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/951695

    Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers KB951297 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/951297
    Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Project 2007 KB951547 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/951547
    Fixes    
    Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Project 2007 KB953751 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/953751
    Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 KB953749 http://support.microsoft.com/kb/953749

    Installation Instructions

    It is strongly recommended that you install Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 Service Pack 1 and Office Servers Service Pack 1 before installing the Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297) and the Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (KB951695).

    The installation process will incur server and farm downtime that you will need to plan for - the updates should be installed on all servers in a farm.

    Downloads

      x64 x86
    Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (KB951695) http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=3A74E566-CB4A-4DB9-851C-E3FBBE5E6D6E&displaylang=en http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=256CE3C3-6A42-4953-8E1B-E0BF27FD465B&displaylang=en
    Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297) http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=6E4F31AB-AF25-47DF-9BF1-423E248FA6FC&displaylang=en http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=3811C371-0E83-47C8-976B-0B7F26A3B3C4&displaylang=en
    Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Project 2007 (KB951547)   http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=F385ADB8-0425-4BA4-BECE-7664B8F49D12&displaylang=en

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Q: Is Office Servers Service Pack 1 (SP1) a prerequisite or installed as part of this fix?
    A: No. Our supportability commitments to customers include providing the ability to install hotfixes on the two most recent versions of a product, in this case RTM and SP1. So installing these updates directly onto an RTM server is not blocked and will install some of the fixes shipped in Office Servers Service Pack 1, but only those that are contained in files that are changed by the Infrastructure updates.

    Q: Can I uninstall the server updates?
    A: No. The Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297) and the Infrastructure Update for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (KB951695) cannot be uninstalled. Both updates make database schema changes.

    Q: Can I install the "Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Project 2007 (KB951547)" Project 2007 client update without installing the "Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Servers (KB951297)" on the server?
    A: Yes, the "Infrastructure Update for Microsoft Office Project 2007 (KB951547)" includes fixes for both client/server communication and local client features, so if you don't have Office Project Server 2007 but use Office Project 2007 client this update can be safely installed and you will be able to take advantage of all the client updates.

    Q: Where can I find information on Service Pack 1 for Project Server and Project Professional 2007?

    A: Please check the following: http://blogs.msdn.com/chrisfie/archive/2007/12/12/announcing-the-release-of-epm-2007-service-pack-1.aspx 

    Q: What if I have an issue that isn't addressed by this update?
    A: If your customer has a specific issue that these updates do not address you should follow the Microsoft Support process to log the issue and request a hotfix.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Office Online Gadgets

    • 1 Comments

    Just when you thought Windows Live couldn't get any livelier, Microsoft now offers a Web gadget for Project and Office content. Web Gadgets for Office Online are miniature programs that can be placed on a customer's home page allowing instant access to Project content and other Office Online services.  These Web gadgets are now available in Windows Live Gallery and can be added to a user's Windows Live Spaces or my.live.com personalized site.

    Help has never been so close (or livelier) than before.

    clip_image002

    Here is a complete list of all the Web gadgets we now offer:

    1. Office Online Clip Art and Media Search

    2. Office Online Templates Search

    3. Office Online Help and How-to

    4. Office Online Training and Demos

    5. Office Online Blogs

    6. Office Online Columns

    7. Microsoft Office On-Demand Webcasts

    8. Office OFFline Web Comic

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Back to Basics: Understanding summary tasks and subtasks

    • 10 Comments

    When you sit down to think through a project plan, it often makes sense to group the project into several sections. For example, let's say I'm planning a software development project. First, I need to identify the scope for the project, and then write functional specifications documents that detail how the software application should work upon completion. After the specs are written, then the development team gets to work coding the application and handing off builds to the test team. The test team sends the bugs back to the development team for fixing, and eventually a finished product is ready to head out the door to customers. If I take a step back and look at this process, I can identify three distinct phases in my initial description of the work: Planning, Development, and Release. I can represent these phases in my Microsoft Office Project plan using summary tasks and subtasks.

    image

    Looking at this example, the summary tasks are "Planning," "Development," and "Release," and the subtasks are the tasks that are indented below each of the summary tasks.

    How are summary task dates and durations calculated?

    Subtasks determine the start and finish dates for each summary task, as well as the summary task's duration. For this section, let's look closely at the first summary task in the example above, and its subtasks.

    Task Name

    Duration

    Start

    Finish

    Planning 40 days

    Thu 6/26/08

    Wed 8/20/08

         Identify Scope 10 days

    Thu 6/26/08

    Wed 7/9/08

         Write functional specificatin 30 days

    Thu 7/10/08

    Wed 8/20/08

    Duration. The duration of a summary task is the total duration of its subtasks. Using the example above, we can see that the duration of the "Planning" summary task is 40 days, which is the total duration of the two subtasks (10 days + 30 days).

    Start date. A summary task gets its start date from the earliest start date among its subtasks. Using the example above, we can see that the "Planning" summary task takes its start date, 6/26/08, from the "Identify scope" subtask.

    Finish date. The finish date for a summary task is the latest finish date among the subtasks. So, in this example, the "Planning" summary task takes its finish date, 8/20/08, from the "Write functional specifications" subtask.

    What about resource assignments?

    In a typical project, resources are assigned to subtasks, not summary tasks. However, there may be some situations where assigning a resource to a summary task is appropriate. If you decide to assign a resource to a summary task, there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

    First, watch out for accidental overallocation. If you assign a resource to a summary task, don't also assign that resource to the subtasks, or the resource may appear overallocated. When dealing with resource allocations, Project treats summary tasks the same as subtasks, so if a resource is 75% allocated to a summary task, and 75% allocated to one of that summary task's subtasks, as well, the resource will appear to be 150% allocated. In actuality, the resource still has 25% availability, but it isn't represented correctly in Project because the resource is assigned to the same task twice.

    Also, if a resource is assigned to a summary task, and that resource's time spent on the subtasks stays the same regardless of how the total duration of the subtasks changes, then that resource should be assigned to the individual subtasks, rather than assigned to the summary task. That is, let's say we have a resource, Ana Pavicic, assigned to the "Planning" summary task from our earlier example. Ana is a contract employee, and is required to log exactly 40 days on the subtasks associated with the "Planning" summary task. Currently, that's just fine, because the two subtasks add up to exactly 40 days. However, let's say the "Identify scope" task ends up taking 15 days instead of 10. The "Planning" summary task's duration increases to 45 days. Ana's assignment to the summary task now exceeds her required 40 day contract. Instead, it is better to assign Ana directly to the two subtasks, so that you can easily maintain control of her exact assignments.

    Additionally, you should refrain from assigning resources to summary tasks if you do task status updates through Project Web Access.  Since summary task dates are driven by their corresponding subtasks, this can cause issues if the resource enters actuals outside of these dates.

    Where can I learn more about summary tasks and subtasks?

    The following resources can help you learn more about using summary tasks and subtasks in your project:

    · Goal: Define phases and tasks

    · Outline tasks into subtasks and summary tasks

    · Display outlined subtasks and summary tasks

    · Assign a resource to a task

    · Create and link tasks with Project 2007

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Back to Basics: Working with task date constraints

    • 1 Comments

    Microsoft Office Project uses constraints to build a project's schedule. That is, each task has a certain rule applied that helps the scheduling engine figure out when the task should start or finish. There are three types of constraints: flexible, semi-flexible, and inflexible.

    · Flexible constraints don't tie a task to a specific date. They simply identify that you want the task to start as soon as possible, or as late as possible.

    · Semi-flexible constraints have a date associated with them, but they don't require the task to start or finish on the exact date. That is, you can set a task to start no earlier or later than a specific date, or finish no earlier or later than a specific date. This way, depending on the constraint you choose, the task's start or finish date can be any date, as long as it falls before or after the date you choose as part of the constraint.

    · Inflexible constraints tie a task's start or finish date to a specific date. Depending on the constraint you choose, the task must start on a specific date, or it must finish on a specific date.

    When should I set a constraint type for my tasks?

    When it comes to scheduling, the more flexibility you have in your project's dates, the better. Given that, it is often best to leave the constraints set to As Soon As Possible, if you are scheduling from the project start date, or As Late As Possible, if you are scheduling from the project finish date.

    However, there may be times when you need a certain task started or finished by a certain date, or you know that a certain task can't begin or end before a certain date. In this case, you may want to use semi-flexible constraints. For example, let's say you're planning a construction project, and you know that the lot has to be prepped for the foundation by July 21, because the concrete truck is only available to pour the foundation on July 22. It's fine if the lot is prepped prior to July 21, but it has to be completed by that date. In Project, you can set a Finish No Later Than constraint for the "Prepare lot" task, and set the date to July 21.

    Keeping with this same example, there may be times when you need to set an inflexible constraint, such as when the concrete truck is available. In this case, you can set a Must Start On constraint for the "Pour foundation" task, and set the date to July 22.

    How do constraints impact scheduling?

    Flexible constraints are ideal for project scheduling, because they enable Project to schedule tasks as closely together as possible, resulting in the project getting finished on the most efficient schedule. For example, let's say you're in the wedding cake business, and you're planning for an upcoming cake order. You have three tasks: Bake cake, Decorate cake, and Deliver cake. Each task has a duration of 1 day, and the dependencies between them are set up so that when the "Bake cake" task finishes, the "Decorate cake" task begins, and then when the "Decorate cake" task finishes, the "Deliver cake" task begins. If all three tasks use the As Soon As Possible constraint, the project is scheduled to be completed in a total of 3 days.

    clip_image001

    Now, let's say you were out of one of the colors you'll be using to decorate the cake, so you've placed an order, but it isn't being delivered until Thursday, June 26, at the earliest. You can set a Start No Earlier Than constraint for that task, and set the date to June 26.

    clip_image002

    You'll notice the project is now set to finish on June 27, rather than June 25. This is because of that constraint set for the "Decorate cake" task. The "Bake cake" task is still set to begin As Soon As Possible, so it begins at the project start date, June 23. However, the "Decorate cake" task can't begin until June 26, so there are a couple of days when work isn't happening on the project. In some cases, this may be just fine, but in others, that downtime may be too valuable to pass up.

    Next, let's look at how inflexible constraints impact scheduling. In this example, the couple who ordered the cake is getting married on Wednesday, June 25, so the cake has to be delivered that day. With the "Deliver cake" task set to a Must Finish On constraint of June 25, Project warns us of the scheduling conflict, and then overlaps the tasks.

    clip_image003

    Obviously, you can't deliver an undecorated cake, so the schedule indicates that you'll need to select a different color in order to complete the project on time. Once you've selected a different color, you can set the "Decorate cake" task back to the As Soon As Possible constraint, and the schedule is back on track for an on-time finish.

    clip_image001[1]

    How do I set constraint types for my tasks?

    There are two common ways to set a constraint type for a task. First, you can simply select a start or finish date for your task in the Gantt Chart view, or on the Task Information dialog box. To open the Task Information dialog box, click the Project menu, and then click Task Information.

    clip_image005

    When you manually set the start or finish date for the task, Project automatically chooses the Start No Earlier Than or Finish No Earlier Than constraint type. This way, your selected date is met, but some flexibility is maintained to make scheduling the rest of your project a little easier.

    You can also set the constraint type on the Advanced tab of the Task Information dialog box.

    clip_image007

    You can use the Constraint type list and the Constraint date box to set a specific constraint type for your task, and tie it to a date.

    Where can I learn more about constraints?

    The following resources can help you learn more about using constraints in your project:

    · Set a start date or finish date (constraint) for a task

    · How scheduling works in Project

    · Tried-and-true techniques for shortening projects

    · View and track scheduling factors

    · Definition of Microsoft Project constraints

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    New Help Content - May/June

    • 1 Comments

    Check out the following help content that has come out over the past month.

    Demo Videos

    Watch this: Use lag and lead time

    This demo shows how to use lag and lead time to create gaps and overlaps between tasks in a project.

    Watch this: Create a project

    This demo shows how to create a project, set project properties, and set file properties.

    Watch this: Set up a recurring task

    This demo shows how to create a task that repeats on a set schedule throughout a project.

    Watch this: Split a task

    This demo shows how to interrupt a task, creating a gap between two portions of the task. It also shows how to move the entire split task, adjust the length of the gap created by the split, and rejoin the split portions of the task to remove the gap.

    Watch this: Insert a task

    This demo shows how to insert a new task between two existing tasks in a project.

    Watch this: Group tasks or resources

    This demo shows how to group tasks, remove the grouping, and create a new resource group using multiple criteria.

    Watch this: Create a cross-project link

    This demo shows how to create task dependencies across separate Project 2007 files.

    Watch this: Link tasks in your project

    This demo shows how to create task dependencies within a single project, and how to adjust the link type for the dependency.

    TechNet Content

    Best practices for managing the Microsoft Office Project Server Queue Service

    This article describes best practices for managing and troubleshooting the Queue system in Office Project Server 2007.

    View the ULS logs for queue job entries

    This article describes how to view Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 queue job entries in the ULS logs. It can be used in conjunction with the Manage Queue page in Project Web Access Server settings to help troubleshoot queue job issues.

    Configure maximum job processor threads for the Project Server Queue service

    This article provides guidance about how to configure the maximum job processor threads for each queue type for the Project Server queue service.

    WhitePaper: A phased approach to deploying Enterprise Project Management

    This whitepaper by Chris Vandersluis provides business decision makers, network administrators, and Project Server administrators guidance about various challenges you can face when planning to deploy the Enterprise Project Management solution in your environment. It is the feature article of the From the Trenches - Deploying EPM in the Real World column available on the Project Server 2007 TechCenter.

    Back up and restore the Shared Services Provider

    This article gives you an overview of the task of backing up and restoring the Shared Services Provider for Project Server 2007, and includes task requirements and best practices.

    Back up the Shared Services Provider

    This article provides procedural steps for backing up the Shared Services Provider for Project Server 2007, and includes task requirements.

    Restore the Shared Services Provider

    This article provides procedural steps for restoring the Shared Services Provider for Project Server 2007, and includes task requirements.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project Server TechNet - New Column "From the Trenches"

    • 0 Comments

    Deployment issues?  We have a new series on TechNet that may be able to help you out.  We will have a new column every other month providing experiences and lessons learned from a real world deployment.  The link is http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/office/projectserver/default.aspx  The series is featured in the lower middle part of the page.

     

    If you are interested in writing an article for Project's TechNet site, please send us an email by using the link at the top of the blog and we will follow up with you.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project's on Facebook

    • 2 Comments

    Make no mistake about it-project management is rough. Sometimes rough enough to overwhelm the average human, it seems. The Project Management group on Facebook can help!

    If you don't already have a free Facebook account, you'll need to get one to access this page.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    RACI charts and Project

    • 3 Comments

    RACI charts are a convenient tool in the initial planning process for a project, helping to identify the parties that are Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed (RACI) throughout the project.

    To fill out a RACI chart, first you need to determine the functions, decisions, and/or activities that will make up your project. Then, you decide who will be your project's participants. These make up the rows and columns in the chart. To complete the chart, you fill out the grid, identifying how each participant is involved with each function, decision, and/or activity. That is, whether a participant is responsible, accountable, consulted, or informed.

    clip_image001

    If your organization uses RACI charts to help plan your projects, you may find it helpful to also track RACI designations in your Microsoft Office Project plan.

    You can use columns in the Gantt Chart view to track the Responsible and Accountable participants for each task in your project. You may also want to add columns for the Consulted and Informed participants, although these roles are not necessary for every task.

    image

    Consider using the Resource Names column to contain the Responsible participants. The Resource Names column lists the resources assigned to each task, so it translates well to the Responsible role in a RACI chart. Also consider using the Contacts column to contain the Accountable participants.

    If the Resource Names and Contacts columns are unavailable for you to use for the Responsible and Accountable participants, you can simply add two custom text fields to your view, renaming them accordingly.

    The following resources offer guidance on adding columns to a view:

    · Hide or show a column (remove or add a column)

    · Demo: Add, hide, and show columns in Project

    · Watch this: Hide or show a column

    Because completing a RACI chart is typically done early in the planning process, you may find it helpful to assign generic resources as the Responsible and Accountable participants.

    For more information on assigning and replacing generic resources, see:

    · Add resources to your project

    · Add resources to the enterprise resource pool

    · Substitute resources in a project

    You can learn more about using RACI charts in the following articles:

    · Inside Microsoft.com: Release Management

    · Establish and manage the project stakeholders list

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    New Deployment templates are posted

    • 3 Comments

    If you want to install Office 2007, Office SharePoint Server 2007, or Office Project Server 2007, we have deployment templates to assist:

    Go here for more information on Project templates and here to see the latest templates news.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Timesheet Classifications

    • 1 Comments

    You can use classifications on timesheets to categorize the work being performed in your organization. For example, you can set up classifications for billable and nonbillable work.

    To use classifications, first you need to set them up in Project Web Access. On the Quick Launch, click Server Settings, and then click Timesheet Classifications to set up the classifications you want to use in your organization. If the classifications you want to use are already created, make sure that they are set to Active status so that they are available for selection on timesheets. For more information on setting up classifications, see Set up timesheets and task status.

    Once you create your classifications and set them to Active status, team members can select a classification when they fill out timesheets. When adding a line to a timesheet, a team member can choose a category of work from the Select a line Classification list. For more information on choosing classifications when adding timesheet lines, see Add or remove a timesheet task (line).

    For additional information about timesheet classifications, see:

    · Overview of timesheets and task status

    · Timesheet classifications

    · Timesheet Classifications - what they don't do

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    New Help Content - April

    • 3 Comments

    Check out the following new help content that was come out over the past month.

    Office Online content:

    The PWA Role Guides

    These role guides present broad overviews of Office Project Web Access functionality from the perspective of the different roles your organization might have.

    Available fields

    This article lists all the fields available to users of Microsoft Office Project 2007.

    Set working times, vacations, and holidays for your project

    Creating resource and task calendars article now includes two videos to help with project scheduling.

    Project Demo videos:

    Watch this: Use lag and lead time

    This demo shows how to use lag and lead time to create gaps and overlaps between tasks in a project.

    Watch this: Create a project

    This demo shows how to create a project, set project properties, and set file properties.

    Watch this: Set up a recurring task

    This demo shows how to create a task that repeats on a set schedule throughout a project.

    Watch this: Split a task

    This demo shows how to interrupt a task, creating a gap between two portions of the task. It also shows how to move the entire split task, adjust the length of the gap created by the split, and rejoin the split portions of the task to remove the gap.

    Watch this: Insert a task

    This demo shows how to insert a new task between two existing tasks in a project.

    Watch this: Group tasks or resources

    This demo shows how to group tasks, remove the grouping, and create a new resource group using multiple criteria.

    Watch this: Create a cross-project link

    This demo shows how to create task dependencies across separate Project 2007 files.

    Watch this: Link tasks in your project

    This demo shows how to create task dependencies within a single project, and how to adjust the link type for the dependency.

    TechNet content

    Install Project Server 2007 in Windows Server 2008 (single-server installation)

    This article discusses the requirements and steps for installing Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 in a stand-alone Windows Server 2008 environment.

    Manage Active Directory synchronization in Project Server 2007

    These articles describe how to configure and manage Active Directory synchronization of the Enterprise Resource Pool and Project Server security groups in Office Project Server 2007.

    Back up Project Server 2007 by using SQL Server tools

    Use this procedure to back up the databases associated with Office Project Server 2007.

    Migrate Project Server 2007 by using SQL Server tools

    Use this procedure to migrate the databases associated with Office Project Server 2007 from one computer to another.

    Restore Project Server 2007 by using SQL Server tools

    Use this procedure to restore the databases associated with Office Project Server 2007.

    Back up Project Server 2007 by using the Stsadm command-line tool

    Use these procedures to back up a server farm, Web application, database, site collection, site, or subsite by using the Stsadm command-line tool.

    Restore Project Server 2007 by using the Stsadm command-line tool

    Use these procedures to restore a server farm, Web application, database, site collection, site, or subsite by using the Stsadm command-line tool.

    Portfolio Analyzer Views Migration tool

    This article describes how to use the Portfolio Analyzer Views Migration tool. This tool allows Project Server administrators to bulk edit the Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services settings in Data Analysis views.

    Project Server Data Populator tool

    This article describes how to use the Project Server Data Populator tool. This tool allows Project Server administrators to generate custom field, resource, project, task, and assignment data in bulk using the Project Server interface. Customers planning new or expanding existing Enterprise Project Management (EPM) implementations can use this tool to validate performance and storage-related metrics and determine hardware/architectural requirements.

    Project Workspace Site Relinker tool

    This article describes how to use the Project Workspace Site Relinker tool. This tool can be used to relink Project Workspace Sites that have become disconnected from Project Server 2007. These sites can become disconnected when a Project Server database is restored.

    Server Settings Backup/Restore tool

    This article describes how to use the Server Settings Backup/Restore tool. This tool allows Project Server administrators to back up server settings from a selected Project Server instance to an XML file. The tool can be run against another Project Server instance to which you can restore the server settings.

    View Effective Rights tool

    This article describes how to use the View Effective Rights tool. This tool can be used by Project Server administrators to troubleshoot issues regarding security settings and access control.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project Fields and Their Descriptions

    • 3 Comments

    Modifying your Project views just got a little easier. Deciding on what field (column) to add is sometimes a hit or miss proposition. Many of the fields sound the same. After all, you don't want to confuse the BCWS field with the Budget Cost field. Now with a new Help article that lists all the fields in one place with useful descriptions, you can make better decisions about the kind of information you want to display in a view.

    http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/project/HA102369301033.aspx?pid=CH100788901033

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Values randomly appearing on your timesheet?

    • 1 Comments

    Picture this: you create a new timesheet in Project Web Access, and rather than seeing a blank timesheet, as you might expect, you see a timesheet prepopulated with Actual Work hours. But your project plan doesn't have any Actual Work! Where did the prepopulated hours come from?

    The most likely answer is that the tasks on your timesheet have been included on the My Tasks page, and Actual Work was recorded as part of reporting the status of the tasks. If you record Actual Work on a task as part of the task status, when you include that task on a new timesheet, Project Web Access automatically includes the reported Actual Work on the timesheet, regardless of whether it has been saved to the project plan.

    Another possible answer is that you had previously created a timesheet and reported Actual Work, then deleted that timesheet. When you re-create the same timesheet, the Actual Work reported on the previously deleted timesheet appears on the new timesheet.

    For more information on creating timesheets and reporting task status, see the following help topics:

    · Create my timesheet

    · Report the status of my tasks

    · Add a task to your task status

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Randomly Checked Out Projects

    • 0 Comments

    Here's a puzzler for you-a team member who does not have Microsoft Office Project 2007 installed on her machine has managed to check out a project. Any guesses as to how she pulled this off?

    Assuming the team member never had access to the Project 2007 client and never had permission to save a project, she may have been able to check out a project through Project Web Access. If the team member had permission and chose to edit project properties in Project Web Access, but did not check the project in upon exiting the Edit Project Properties page, it would appear to still be checked out to the team member.

    So what should you do in this situation? You could ask the team member to return to Project Web Access and properly exit the Edit Project Properties page. Or, if that isn't an option, you can force a check-in on the project in question. For more information on forcing a check-in, see the following help topic: Manually check in projects and resources that are checked out by another user.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project Server and Project Portfolio Server Sessions at TechEd 2008

    • 1 Comments

    TechED 2008 - Developers and TechEd 2008 - IT Professionals are two months away!

    Please find below the EPM sessions that will be delivered at these events:

    TechED 2008 - Developers

    • Customizing the Microsoft Office Project Web Access User Interface
    • Line-of-Business Integration Using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft Office Project Server 2007
    • Project Initiation Using Microsoft Office InfoPath and Windows Workflow Foundation

    TechEd 2008 - IT Professionals

    • Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 Disaster Recovery
    • Best Practices: Enabling Innovation Process Management Using Microsoft Office Enterprise Project Management Solution and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007
    • Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 Deployment for High Availability and Scalability

     

    184 2008-03-28, 12_32_30

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Understanding the Queue - Getting Queued State

    • 1 Comments

    If the projects you are trying to check in or publish appear to be stuck, something may be blocking the queue. The first step to resolving this issue is to look for projects in the Getting queued state.

    To view the jobs currently in the queue, click Server Settings on the Quick Launch in Project Web Access, and then click Manage Queue on the Server Settings page. If the list of jobs is long, you may find it helpful to filter the list of jobs by status, looking for jobs in the Getting queued state.

    When reviewing jobs in the Getting queued state, don't forget that some actions, such as checking in a very large project over a slow connection, may take quite a while to process. Before proceeding with the next step, be sure that the job is actually blocking the queue and not just processing slowly.

    Once you've identified the job that is blocking the queue, the next step is to cancel the job. By default, jobs in the Getting queued state are protected from being canceled. You can turn off this option, but be very careful when choosing what you cancel. When you cancel a job in the Getting queued state, you will lose any changes you made since the last time you checked the project in.

    If you are sure that you want to cancel the blocking job, in the Advanced Options section, select the Cancel jobs getting enqueued option. Then, select the job that is blocking the queue in the Jobs Grid, and click Cancel Job.

    With the blocking job now canceled, the queue should resume processing subsequent jobs.

    For more information on queuing in Microsoft Office Project 2007, take a look at the following:

    · Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 Queuing System

    · Managing jobs (events) in the Project Server Queue

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    What tasks did I change again?

    • 6 Comments

    Have you ever been in a team meeting, made a bunch of updates to your project plan, and then wanted to know later which tasks you had actually updated?  A coworker emailed me with this scenario today and I decided that the solution deserved a blog post.

    There are 2 steps to this solution.

    Step 1: In the meeting, before you start making updates to the project plan, insert the Flag1 column.  (If you are already using this column, any flag field will do.)  Then as you update a task, set the value to Yes.

    Step 2: To now see all of the tasks that you have updated, go to Project - Filtered For: - More Filters - New.  Name the new filter, Tasks that have Changed.  Set the Field Name to Flag1, Test to equals, and Value to Yes.  Click OK to save the filter.  Now select the filter from the dialog and click Highlight.  This, instead of filtering out the tasks where flag1 isn't set to yes (which would have happened if you had clicked Apply), just highlights the tasks where flag1 is yes so you can still see them in relation to the rest of the project plan.

    You can use the highlight filter anywhere that you would use a regular filter.  It is best used when you want to filter on a certain criteria but also want to be able to see the entire project plan.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project Server 2007 My Schedule View

    • 15 Comments

    Are there times where you wish you could just see all of your time commitments in a calendar view?  If so, the My Schedule view in Project Web Access is for you.  The My Schedule view was designed to help you plan by displaying your Project tasks and your Administrative time commitments together in a calendar view.  This view enables you to focus on what's important for today, this week or this month, in a format this is familiar and easy to use.

    Navigation

    In Project Server 2007, you can navigate to this view by doing the following.

    • From PWA, click the My Work header in the left navigation (All headers are clickable in PWA)
    • Click the Schedule link in the upper right hand corner of the screen

    My Schedule View

    Customization

    Add to Home Page.  If you installed Microsoft Office Project Server 2007 with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, you can dynamically display this web part, based on the user using MOSS Personalization via the Audience targeting feature. 

    In this scenario, you may add this web part to the Project Web Access home page so that the data is front and center.  If you choose to do so, it is advised that you use the MOSS Personalization Audience Targeting feature to control which users will see this web part.  More information can be found on configuring the MOSS Personalization Audience Targeting feature in this article.

    As this web part is targeted to Team Members, Audience enables you to dynamically display web parts on a page, for just those individuals in that role.  Note, this assumes your audience group membership matches your Team Member group membership. 

    Add as a New Quick Launch Option.  If you want to add this page as a separate option under My Work, you can create a new Web Part page and add the My Schedule Web part to it.  You would then create a new link in the Quick Launch in Project Server 2007 to call the Web Part page.

    Details

    The My Schedule view allows you to show your tasks and administrative time by day, week or month.  Regardless of the time frame viewed, a simple click on the task name or administrative time item name will take you directly to the details view for that item.  Below is an example of a task detail view.

     Task Details

    Using the My Schedule View with Time Tracking

    This view can also be used to help with Time tracking.  At Microsoft, many users use this view to enter their task updates on a daily basis.  Each day, they click on each task and enter the updates.  This makes task updates easier as you can clearly see what you were working on for a given day.

    At the end of the week, two actions are performed to close out the reporting period. 

    Submit Task Updates. 

    The team members go to My Tasks and do the following to submit all task updates

    • Select all tasks by selecting the topmost check box at the top of the grid. 
    • Select the Submit Selected button to submit any changed tasks. 
      • Please note, even though all tasks are selected, only the tasks with changes are submitted to the Project Manager for approval.
    Submit Timesheet. 

    Once tasks are submitted, the team members go to My Timesheet to initialize and submit their weekly timesheet. 

    • Team members click the "Click to Create" link for the appropriate timesheet period. 
    • When the timesheet is initialized, all of the team member's task updates are loaded into the timesheet (see below). 
      • This assumes the timesheet initialization default is set to create with tasks
    • Team members enter any additional time
    • Team members select the Save and Submit button to submit the timesheet.

    image

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Roles for Project Web Access

    • 3 Comments

    You might know what hat you wear in your organization, but do you know your role-that is, when it comes to using Project Web Access? A good starting point might be the Project Web Access role guides, which are an overview of all the features available to you, categorized by your role in your organization. An executive, for example, will probably be more interested in reporting features than team members, who may be more interested in recording the time spent working on project tasks. And an administrator will probably be interested in making sure all the features are working correctly in order to keep everybody happy and productive.

    These role guides can help you figure all this out. See a list of them all at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/projectserver/HA102513961033.aspx?pid=CH101477201033.

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project Portfolio Server 2007 SP1 is here

    • 10 Comments

    The Project Portfolio Server 2007 SP1 is now available:

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7cf44f2c-49d5-4431-bd3e-a10035ec1a39&displaylang=en

    For a list of what is fixed in SP1, check out:

    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=942722

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Join the MPA community today

    • 6 Comments

    FINAL-MPA_10th-Anniv (2) Join the official association for Microsoft 2007 Office Project today! MPA® gives users a vibrant, online community connecting you with Project experts. Join today and access in-person user groups, the NEW Elite Job Board and Career Center, network for business opportunities, technical articles, training, and more.

    www.mympa.org

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    Project 2007 Project Resource Kit

    • 24 Comments

    Hi everyone, Phil Smail from the Project Product Group here. Just wanted to announce the news that I know a lot of you out there have been waiting for. The Project Resource Kit for Project 2007 has released!! It’s available for x86 and x64 in English only

    The PRK consists of the following tools:

    • Portfolio Analyzer Views Migration: Allows an administrator to bulk edit the location of an analysis server for multiple data analysis views.
    • Project Server Settings Backup and Restore (Playbooks): Allows an administrator to backup Project Server settings and restore those settings to another Project Server.
    • Project Server Data Populator: Allows an administrator to populate Project Server with projects, resources and other objects. Useful for helping capacity and performance testing.
    • Project Workspace Site Relinker: Allows an administrator to relink the connection between Project Server and Project Workspace sites.
    • View Effective Rights: Allows an administrator to query the Project Server to determine the effective permissions of users against projects or resources.

    Full documentation on the tools is expected shortly. In the meantime try them out and feel free to post comments

    URL:

    http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=A33D253C-6424-48E4-B87E-0861D1977BB7&displaylang=en

  • Microsoft Project 2010

    New to Project? Try the Project Management Quick Reference Guide

    • 8 Comments

    It can sometimes be a challenge for new users to find their way through Microsoft Project on their way to becoming project managers.  The Project team has just produced another Help product that will help you understand Microsoft Project-The Project Management Quick Reference Guide. This template can be downloaded and printed out for ease of use. Now you have another tool to help your organization achieve its project goals.

    Note that the guide requires Word 2007.  The guide was written for Project 2007 but it has a lot of information in it that also applies to previous releases.

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