If you are interested in writing reports over the Project Server 2007 reporting database, Jim Corbin has published some documentation on the database. You can find it here: http://blogs.msdn.com/project_programmability/archive/2006/12/05/reporting-database-diagrams.aspx
[I am updating this post with more specific information - including webcast tomorrow]
How to install Project Server 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh (Beta 2 TR) ?
Important: Read this message carefully and completely before you apply the Beta 2 TR Update/Patch
The Beta 2 Technical Refresh release is an incremental revision to Beta 2 – it is applied as an “Update” or a “Patch” on top of a Beta 2 installation. So, there is no “full installation” of Project Server 2007 Beta 2 TR. To install Beta 2 TR, you need to first install Project Server 2007 Beta 2 and then install the Beta 2 TR Update/Patch. If you already have a Beta 2 installation, you can just install the Beta 2 TR Update/Patch. There are 3 main installation scenarios:
Important things to note:
“Data upgrade” from Project Server 2007 Beta 2 to Beta 2 TR is a manual process. Detailed step-by-step instructions, sample code, macros are available in the detailed documentation to help make your data upgrade a success. Read the documentation carefully before you attempt the data upgrade.
Detailed step-by-step deployment instructions can be found at: http://technet2.microsoft.com/Office/en-us/library/32a18803-52d2-4967-ab9d-0e199c9bf0041033.mspx (content would be available around Beta 2 TR general availability). Meanwhile, ask your Microsoft contact to get a draft copy of the detailed instructions.
Sep 13th, Wednesday, 9 AM to 10 AM PST (Pacific Standard Time)
How to install Project Server 2007 Beta 2 Technical Refresh
https://www.livemeeting.com/rm/microsoft/join?id=PublicWebcast&role=attend&pw=736410. If you cannot click the meeting link above, or it does not work, please do the following:
Browse to: http://www.placeware.com/rm/microsoft/attend
Type your name
Type the Meeting ID as: PublicWebcast
Type the Password as: 736410
1-866-500-6738 or 203-480-8000. Participant code: 852710#
Who will present ?
Microsoft Project Group members from Redmond, USA.
To give an overview of how to install Project Server 2007 Beta2 TR and answer any questions you may have.
Can I attend ?
Yes. This is a Public Webcast – anyone can attend.
This post comes to us from Phil Smail, our Project Server Security Program Manager. He understands Project Server security better than anyone since he oversees the design of the implementation. So, Phil wanted to share the solution to a fairly common problem that we experienced internally. With that, here's Phil.
I was asked a question recently on an internal distribution list about how a Microsoft Group should handle their Project Server Security. At first the issue didn’t seem too complex but after a face to face meeting it became obvious that there challenges here but thankfully the Project Server security model was able to work around it. I feel it’s worth spending some time to describe the scenario as it may help others who face similar issues.
Don’t worry, all names are changed to protect the innocent!
This particular Microsoft group, let’s call them Microsoft Group Foo, has a lot of localization work that occurs through external vendors. It’s up to the internal Microsoft folks to assign those vendors to localization projects. Each Vendor has general work resource that can be assigned to these localization work, for example for Vendor A the resource will be called ‘General Vendor A Resource’. Now this is where things get complicated!
Each Vendor has a number of users (not assignable resources) in Project Server who are allowed to edit the project if the Vendor’s general resource is assigned to that Project. They should also be able to assign full time Microsoft folks to the Project as required. It’s not a concern for vendors to see what other vendors are working on the same project but vendors shouldn’t be able to see what other, non-related, projects that other Vendor’s are working on. Got that?
So let’s say we have a User, called Roderick, who is one of the Microsoft Employees. He needs to be able to assign a general resource per vendor to projects. This general resource should be represented by a generic resource with each vendor having their own generic resource. Therefore the Microsoft employee no longer needs to worry about who in the Vendor does the actual work
Now each Vendor has their generic resources but we need to add in the users for each vendor. Let’s say Vendor A has the user David and Vendor B has the User Heather. We know we have the parent-child relationship between the Vendor users and the Generic Vendor resource. It also makes sense for the Microsoft internal folks to have a parent child relationship with all the Vendors
The way we would represent in our security system would be by assigning these users/resources values within the Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS). Both Users and Resources can have RBS values and therefore can all exist in the hierarchy. The RBS is useful as it allows us to use the RBS category rules. These rules allow us to get permissions to Resources and Projects that have some relation with our peer Resources or Resources below us in the RBS. This means we would put the generic Vendor resources below the Vendor users and the Microsoft internal folks above the Vendors in the RBS to allow them the correct permissions on the Resources and Projects
I figured we could represent the RBS structure as such:
Now what about the Categories that would need to be associated here?
First off David and Heather need to be added to a category that gives them Project Manager permissions. The Category rules are more interesting.
The rules they’d definitely need set are:
Project permissions: ‘A resource on the project’s Project Team is a descendant of the User via RBS’.
This rule would allow them to view all Project’s that the general Vendor Resource had been added to the Project Team.
Roderick, and all other Microsoft employees within that group should belong to another category which has the ‘Assign Resource’ permission and the following Category Rule:
Resource permissions: ‘They are descendants of the User via RBS’.
This rule would allow them to assign the general Vendor resources to projects
Now one tricky bit is for the Vendor users, for example David if they become the Project Owner, is how to assign Roderick to a project. The only option would be to create another category which includes David and Heather (and any other users). The would also be given the ‘Assign Resource’ permission. The resources in the category would be the list of Microsoft employees that could be assigned. Unfortunately there’s no way to assign a group as the list of resources so as the list of MS resources changes then this list would need to be manually modified.
So there you have it. An environment now where vendors can only see the projects that they’re assigned to, the Microsoft folks can assign the Vendor’s to projects and the Vendors can assign Microsoft people to those projects
Question: The obvious follow up question is how do we take this model further and prevent Vendors from seeing the work that other Vendors are doing on even if they’re on the same Project
Answer: Unfortunately this functionality is not available in Project Server 2007. The only solution would be to create sub projects for each vendor and aggregate into a master project
But let’s think about expanding this further. This solution could be used to support full time employees managing contractors who manage sub contractors! Assuming the contractors are longer term vendors and the sub contractors are short term resources it makes sense to make the sub contractors generic resources under the main contractors. This is super cool!
Question: I have sub contractors who are managed by multiple contractors. How do I cope with that in the RBS
Answer: Unfortunately the RBS based category rules do not support accessing RBS nodes in different branches. That is something we are hoping to improve in future releases. This is where another category containing those sub contractors resources would make sense
We have something called SQM data that tells us how many clicks each feature in Project gets and in my opinion Group By is one of the most underused features in Project. It only gets .1% of all clicks and is one of the most powerful features in Project (think you know the top 5 features, check the end of this article to see if you are correct)
Why is Group By so powerful? It lets you analyze data based on pretty much any field in Project - want to see how much remaining critical work you have compared to noncritical work, which tasks are starting each week, completed tasks versus incomplete tasks - use group by. It's Project's version of pivotTables.
How do you apply a group? This command is located on the Project menu - Group by flyout. It can also be found on the standard toolbar.
What does it look like?
Here is an ordinary project plan.
Say you want to see how much critical work you have versus non-critical work. To do this just set Group By to Critical.
Not only now are your tasks grouped by whether or not they are critical (I collapsed the critical:No group so both groups would fit in the picture), you can also analyze data. Looking at this you can see that there are 188 hours of critical work remaining. You could insert other fields depending on what you're interested in - Cost if you want to see the total cost of critical work...
Say your plan is like this plan and subtasks have kind of ambiguous names. In that case you probably want to include summary tasks in the grouping. To do this, go to Project - Group By - More Groups. Select what you want to group on and click Edit or just click New to create a new one. Set the innermost line that isn't being used to Outline Number as picture below.
Note that their is a checkbox at the bottom that says "Show summary tasks". This means that summary tasks will be in the group but that they will be grouped based on their values. For example, if you have Flag1 set to Yes for the summary task and No for it's subtasks. The subtasks will be in one group and the summary task will be in another. Adding Outline Number to your group is how you maintain hierarchy.
Other Group By tips:
Which gives you:
And now, as I promised, the top 5 features used the most in Project are:
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.
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.
Okay, so printing in Microsoft Office Project 2007 might be a little more complex than you're used to. We'll give you that. Need some help figuring out how to get your project data printed and looking professional? Read on.
Printing a view
The first step in printing a view is to set up the view itself so that everything you want to print is displayed appropriately. This may involve things like showing or hiding columns (video), changing row height and wrapping text, or changing column titles in sheet views. If you want to print multiple projects in a single view, you might try printing a consolidated project, which enables you to sort, filter, or group the tasks and resources across multiple projects, all in one printable view.
Once you have the view set up the way you'd like it to print, the next step is to adjust your printing options. If you are printing a Calendar view, you'll need to specify the number of months or weeks you want to print. When printing a view, you can choose to print all notes in the project, or even add a header, footer, or legend.
With your view and printing options all set up, you're ready to print a view. You can even print your project plan to a PDF file, if you'd rather work with a soft copy.
Another option for printing your project data is to generate reports and print those. You can create and print a basic report, a custom basic report, or a visual report.
What's the difference? Basic reports and custom basic reports are generated within Project, and offer a limited reporting experience. Visual reports are generated in Microsoft Office Excel 2007/2003, and Microsoft Office Visio Professional 2007, and use PivotTables and PivotDiagrams to provide a rich, dynamic reporting environment. With this flexibility, visual reports provide a more agile reporting solution than basic reports.
Visual reports are printed through Excel and Visio. For more information on printing in these applications, see the following Help areas:
· Saving and printing in Excel 2007
· Printing in Visio 2007
With so many printing options, it's understandable that you might run into trouble. The following articles may help:
· What I see on the screen is not what prints
· It takes too long to print my project
· Gridlines don't print
· Columns don't print right
You may know you can update the formatting of the current gridlines you see in Project, but did you also know that you can add additional gridlines? While in the Gantt chart, go to Format - Gridlines and you can see in the list of "Lines to Change" everything that you can format. To get the line to show up, just set Type to something besides blank. I wanted to callout a few useful lines that aren't on by default:
- Project Start, Project Finish, and Status Date: This is especially helpful in large projects to help keep track of where you are in it.
This gives you:
- Gantt Rows: This draws a line between each gantt bar and helps with readability. If you draw a line between each gantt bar, this gets a bit overwhelming so I recommend setting the interval to 3 like this:
This is especially helpful for large print-outs.
Can’t find your favorite Project 2007 menu commands on the new ribbon for Project 2010? Now you have a clever tool that maps the old menus with the new look. Click here, and then click the Project Guide. An interactive guide will start that displays Project 2007. Choose a command on any of the menus, and the guide will rotate to display Project 2010 and highlight where the command migrated to on the new ribbon.
Below shows what the experience is like when you click a command on the Project 2007 side of the tool.
Thanks for all the feedback everyone has sent in so far. Here are some of the tops items we’re seeing.
Print Preview: The text says “Print Enter Project” instead of “Print Entire Project”. This issue by far we have heard from the most people and we have fixed in the final version.
Exporting to Excel: In the Beta, only the tasks above the first blank line get exported to Excel. In the final version, we have fixed this so all the tasks get exported as expected.
Setting Hours Per Day and Hours Per Week: This issue didn’t affect all users but it was possible to get into a state where you couldn’t adjust the Hours Per Day and Hours Per Week setting in the Options dialog. This has also been fixed in the final version. In the meantime, you can get around this issue by using VBA. The following line of code will update these settings, just replace # with the number you want to set them to.
OptionsCalendar HoursPerDay:=#, HoursPerWeek:=#
OptionsCalendar HoursPerDay:=#, HoursPerWeek:=#
Entry Bar: In Project 2010, we have turned off the entry bar by default since we noticed people were not using it in usability studies and we want to remove any unnecessary elements from the UI. For those of you who dearly miss it, you can easily turn it back on. Go to File – Options – Display and check “Entry Bar”.
Setting Constraints: It is by design that you can’t set constraints for manually scheduled tasks (the dropdowns are disabled). The fact that the task is manually scheduled is a lot like the task having a constraint on it since the task is not going to automatically get re-scheduled. You can still set a deadline on manually scheduled tasks. For more information see this blog post.
Re-sizing Rows: Several people have asked how to re-size all the rows at once. This works the same as Excel. To do this, click the box in the top left corner of the view:
This will select all the rows in the project. Now, drag the row divider for one of the rows to the height you want all the rows to have. This will set all rows to the same height. This works the same way in Project 2007 too.
This month, I’ll be interviewing Project PM Patrick Conlan about timesheets and task statusing in Project Server 2007. I know there are a ton of questions out there in this area…this is your opportunity to get those questions answered!
I’ll be doing the interview during the week of the 19th, so keep your questions coming in through the next week and a half or so.
We are excited to announce the release of the Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 and Project Server Integration Feature Pack Beta to Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN subscribers.
Integration between Project Server and Team Foundation Server is a huge leap forward for organizations that want to bridge the gap between the Project Management Office and software development teams using Team Foundation Server. The feature pack further strengthens Microsoft’s Application Lifecycle Management Solution by enabling these teams to work together more effectively while not getting distracted or overwhelmed by each other’s’ detail. It enables teams to work together more effectively by:
Please check out Brian Harry’s post: Portfolio Management: TFS <-> Project Server Integration in Beta for more details on this exciting new solution and try it yourselves!
Questions and Answers
Back in October of 2009, we introduced you to a new feature in Project Professional 2010 that allows you to synchronize tasks from a project file with a SharePoint task list called Sync to SharePoint (see the original post for details). One of the caveats of the feature was that you were limited to sync’ing manually scheduled tasks. Based on your feedback, we enabled synchronization of automatically scheduled tasks in Project 2010 SP1!
Let’s see how this works. Here’s the initial task list:
When you sync it to SharePoint you get the following. The tasks look manually scheduled here since essentially they are because SharePoint doesn’t have a scheduling engine like Project does.
So if you update Task1 to be on Thursday instead of Wednesday, the other tasks won’t move out in SharePoint even though they are linked:
But once you sync the task list back into the Project client, the schedule will get updated as one would expect:
If you aren’t familiar with manually scheduled tasks versus automatically scheduled tasks, see this post. You can learn more about Project 2010 SP1 here.
Thanks again for sending all the feedback and we hope that this update helps improve your SharePoint Sync’ing experience.
Yes, there is a place in the clouds for Project information.. If you have a number of documents, spreadsheets, notes, proposals, and project files you want to share quickly, Microsoft Office Live Workspace gives you some interesting options.
Microsoft Office Live Workspace enables you to store and share Microsoft Office Project 2007 .mpp files as well as other Microsoft Office program files quickly and easily. All you need is a Windows Live ID and a computer with a connection to the Web.
With Office Live Workspace, you no longer have to worry about exceeding your team members' e-mail storage space or transporting documents using your flash drive. You also don't have to worry about complicated infrastructures to install or maintain. And all your documents are password-protected. When you're on the go toward you vacation destination, you'll always have your project documents close by.
Note You can sign up for Office Live Workspace from the Office Live Workspace sign-up page. To sign in to Office Live Workspace, you must use a Windows Live ID. This e-mail and password combination allows you to sign in to many different Web sites using just one identity.
Step 1: Upload a Project file to Office Live Workspace
1. In Office Live Workspace, on the left navigation bar under My Workspaces, click Documents.
2. On the actions bar, click Add Document.
3. In the drop-down menu, click Single Document or Multiple Documents.
Note The first time that you upload multiple documents to Office Live Workspace, a yellow notification bar appears at the top of your browser asking you to install ActiveX. Click the yellow bar, and in the drop-down menu, click Install ActiveX. In the security warning dialog box, click Install.
4. In the Choose file dialog box, select the file you want to upload, and then click Open.
Note Office Live Workspace does not provide a viewer for Project files. In order to view a Project .mpp file, you need to save the file on your computer and then open it within Project.
Step two: Create a workspace on Office Live Workspace for a Project file
Workspaces behave like folders; they allow you to organize files, lists, and notes. You can either start with a blank workspace that you customize to meet your needs, or you can choose a workspace that already contains helpful documents, notes, lists, and spreadsheets that are all geared for a specific purpose.
1. In Office Live Workspace, on the left navigation bar under My Workspaces, click New Workspace.
2. In the Create a new workspace dialog box, choose Project Workspace.
You can also select other workspaces in which to organize your files, including a blank workspace.
To learn how to make changes to your workspace and arrange documents to meet your needs, see Organize your documents and workspaces.
When you are satisfied with your workspace, you can share it with the people who will find it most valuable. To learn more about sharing workspaces, see Share workspaces and documents using Office Live Workspace.
If the computer you use to work in the Microsoft Office Project 2007 client is connected to the Internet, you have already see the latest Help files. However, if you work in the Project 2007 client offline, you can download an update to the offline Help files, so that you have more current content.
You can read more about the Help update here, or download the Help update here.
From Christophe's blog:
Starting February 18th, 2009 at 11 am (EST) we will be running a webcast series every Wednesday that will show how the Microsoft Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution and related Microsoft technologies can be deployed to meet varying horizontal scenarios.
Why should customers attend the webcast series?
Please note these webcast are targeted at customers not partners.
Reduce Costs: Seven Steps to Optimize Project Portfolio Selection
Microsoft and UMT Consulting Group invite you to join this complimentary webcast to learn how Microsoft's Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution can help identify and select project portfolios that best align with your organizations business strategy whilst optimizing costs.
Registration and Schedule
Capital Planning & Investment Control for Government
Microsoft and Robbins-Gioia invite you to this complimentary webcast to learn how the Capital Planning & Investment Control (CPIC) Solution can help government agencies improve decision making, and effectively control investments throughout their lifecycle.
Registration and Schedule
Connecting the Worlds of Project Portfolio Management & Application lifecycle ManagementMicrosoft invites you to join this complimentary webcast to learn how integrating Portfolio Management (PPM) and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) processes helps to improve visibility across the entire development lifecycle and in turn connect two disparate worlds.
Growth: Transform Your Business with Innovation Management
You are invited to join this complimentary webcast to learn how Microsoft's Innovation Process Management (IPM) Solution can help organizations to manage the end-to-end innovation process with greater transparency, coordination and discipline.
Maximize Efficiency: Drive ROI by Enhancing Project & Portfolio Execution
Microsoft and Pcubed invite you to join this complimentary webcast to learn how Microsoft's Enterprise Project Management (EPM) Solution can help organizations to improve project and portfolio execution, eliminate costly overruns and enhance operational efficiency and agility.
I’m getting ready to delve into the world of video interviews. Here’s the idea…we’ve got an amazing group of PMs for Project here that have a wealth of information floating around in their heads. I know there’s a great reader base on this blog, and I’m sure you all have a ton of questions you’d like to pose to those PMs. Enter the video interview. Process will go as follows:
Thumbs up? Thumbs down? What do you think? Also, any top-of-mind suggestions for topics? I’ve got a great list of my own right now, but would love your input as well…
Maybe it’s because I’ve been swamped this week while the sun’s been shining here in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, but I’ve been doing some thinking about buffer, downtime, and productivity. I don’t think it’s a secret that projects have a tendency to come in late sometimes. Things come up, bad stuff happens, tasks are delayed…not uncommon. So how do you deal with it? You schedule in some buffer time to help offset the impact of changes to your project schedule. This isn’t rocket science, but is it the right approach?
First let’s talk about productivity. I was reading through Twitter the other day, and David Allen, who you may know as the “Getting Things Done” guy (@gtdguy), had replied to someone else about letting go/relaxing as a prerequisite for productive intensity. This got my attention. A lot of times we don’t think about buffer in terms of enhancing productivity and encouraging teams to get things done on time. Instead, we focus on buffer as one part of a realistic approach to scheduling. Well of course we do, because that’s what it is. But I think it’s important to also remember that A) there are actual *people* working on your projects, B) people tend to be more productive when they feel relaxed, and C) if a project has buffer scheduled in, the people working on that project are bound to feel less stressed than if the project had no buffer. That’s all I’m saying…you do the math.
So there’s the productivity aspect, but what else? Well after I replied to @gtdguy’s tweet, another fellow Twitter-er replied to me, suggesting that maybe some PMs aren’t doing proper risk response planning. Instead, they’re including buffers, with risk as the justification. Interesting idea. On the one hand, hey, at least they’re including buffer, but on the other hand, it’s important to remember that risk management isn’t just some kind of lightweight throwaway work. I mean, PMI’s got an entire certification for Risk Management Professionals. This is serious business. It also could be the reverse…that some organizations have full-on risk management happening, but it’s happening outside of the project schedule, so buffer in the plan itself is being overlooked. And then we’re back to that productivity discussion again. It seems to me that the right answer is a combination of both. Risk management *includes* scheduling buffer. With both in place, you’ve really got a handle on those what-if scenarios, and your team feels supported because you’ve recognized the reality of schedules slipping for one reason or another.
I’m wondering what the reality is out there. Do you include buffer in your project plans? Where, as separate line items, or as padded work estimates? If you don’t include buffer, why not? How do you implement risk management in your project schedules?
Looking for some resources on this subject? Try these: Use schedule buffers to manage change Manage project change with Microsoft Office Project 2007 Security Risk Management Guide View and edit project issues and risks Goals: Identify and plan for risks, Identify new risks, and Control project risks Risk management templates on Office Online Know Your Enemy: Introduction to Risk Management
This post is based on a technique presented in an Ed Hanna e-mail and is augmented with items that we are using internally to manage our own efforts. This technique can work, to a certain extent, in Project Server 2003 and will definitely work in Project Server 2007.
There are times where you need to look at several projects at once and you need to gauge the impact of a change to all of the projects at once. In this post, we will use the consolidated project function to create a combined view across multiple projects to re-allocate resources so that any overallocations are addressed.
1. This solution assumes you use leveling. The solution is much less time consuming if you use leveling to move around your resources.
2. In Project Server 2003, you should not save this consolidated project to the server. You can save it locally so that you can access it as needed.
3. This solution works best with enterprise resources. Some parts will work with Project Standard, but not all.
4. This solution also works better if you have leveled the individual plans first. Otherwise, you'll see changes caused by conditions within the individual project as well as across the combined projects. This might make it very difficult to see what changed.
There are several resources who are overallocated as they are shared resources across three projects. As such, adjustments need to be made find and fix the overallocations while determining impact to overall project timelines.
NOTE: I would strongly suggest you (a) backup all of the files involved or (b) make copies/versions of the files which are expressly dedicated for modeling purposes if you are doing this in a production environment.
For this scenario, I created three projects based on the New Product template. I substituted names for resources that were already assigned to tasks. For this illustration, three enterprise projects will be used. However, more projects can be added to broaden the analysis.
From Project Web Access, navigate to Project Center. Select the projects that you want to analyze.
Then select Actions, Edit Read-Only. (You can choose Edit, but then all of your changes are live. We'll discuss that later.)
This will create a new master project containing the selected projects.
Now, we need some additional columns.
To insert a column, select Insert, Column from the menu bar in Project Professional. As we will be switching views a bit in Project Professional, I would also turn on the View Bar (View, View Bar).
In this case, it is assumed that the resource allocation issue is known on these projects. However, it may be necessary to see a consolidated view of resource usage across projects. To do this, do the following.
As these are enterprise resources, the work will be aggregated. In order to find overallocations, switch to the Resource Graph view. My own personal preference is to switch the displayed units to hours rather than look at the percentages. Sometimes, you see overallocations even though the person is only working 6 hours on a given day.
To change the units, right click on the graph and select hours rather than peak units. I also zoom out to the weekly level as I figure that if I give people 40 hours of work, they will manage it on the day by day basis to get it done. There are several views you can use here so I would recommend taking a look at all of them to get a feel for their potential uses.
From the graph below, we see that Razvan is very overallocated with a peak in June. As he is a key resource, we need to change how he is scheduled and judge the impact to the projects. Since there is such a large number of tasks, we will use Leveling to adjust the assignments.
You can combine the two above views by doing the following:
Now, the priorities on the plans will be changed to gauge impact on the schedules. To do this, switch to the Gantt view again.
First, change the Diamond Products priority to a higher priority (i.e. 600).
Now, we will level the consolidated project. Select Tools, Level Resources and the Resources Leveling dialogue will be displayed.
Select Level Now. Immediately the impact of the leveling is seen. As a result, the Metal and Rubber projects have been delayed since they are at a lower priority.
The leveling action is now undone so that another what-if can be executed. From the menu bar, select Edit/Undo Level.
Raise Metal Products to the highest priority (i.e. 999) and perform the Level action again. Now, Diamond and Rubber's tasks are delayed as they now have a lower priority.
Why Not Priority = 1000? 1000 is a special value where leveling doesn't move anything. If you use 999, you are at the highest priority but it allows tasks to still be moved.
Continue the What-If activity in the consolidated project until a satisfactory outcome is found. You may use deadlines for key tasks to monitor impact to key dates.
If you want a full before and after representation, you can use baselines. However, you will need to make a copy of the inserted projects to do this since you will have to open the inserted projects in edit mode to save the baselines. After you build the consolidated file, baseline it and save it (at this point it becomes a master file). Then make your what-if modifications to the master file and then view the before/after comparison in the Tracking Gantt view.
Leveling a Specific Resource. If you wanted to only level a given resource, you can switch back to the Resource Usage view, select a given resource and select Leveling. In that case, it will only level the selected resource, if you choose that option. This can come in handy if you only want to level named resources.
The Resource Graph view can be checked to make sure that none of the resources remain overallocated—even after leveling has taken place. This is possible as Project cannot always resolve all overallocations.
In the example below, it is confirmed that Patrick is not over-allocated. To scroll through the resources, select different resource assignments above. (i.e. resource names will appear in red letters if the resource is overallocated).
WORD OF CAUTION: To this point, this project has been a playground as you have not actually changed the underlying files. This was the purpose of opening these project plans in a read-only mode.
Making It Real. If you change the Subproject read only field to No, the linkage becomes two way. (i.e. changes in the consolidated/master file will change the inserted projects and changes in the inserted projects will change the master file). So as you play in the consolidated/master file, there is the possibility of saving unwanted changes to the inserted projects.
Play Friendly. If you choose to make changes to the inserted projects, you will want to coordinate this with the individual project managers as you will be impacting their schedules and you will have their projects locked for editing.
Taking care of your master. If you are using Project Server 2003, you can save the consolidated file locally (do not save/publish to server)—at which point it becomes a local master file. In Project Server 2007, you can safely save/publish these master files on the server.
You Must Choose. If you do not like what the comparison reflects, close the master file and do not save the changes. If you do like what the comparison reflects, of course, you may (optionally) want to write another baseline (i.e. Baseline 1) and save the master file and all the inserted projects.
If there are satisfied with the results, do the following.
I hope this is helpful in showing how What-If analysis in a consolidated project can help in determining the impact that new projects/proposals will have on existing projects. This is a powerful capability and should be used cautiously—ideally by an appointed Portfolio Manager who has visibility and authority above the level of individual projects.
Technorati Tags: Microsoft , Project Server 2007 , Best Practice , What If , Impact Analysis
I wanted to let the regular readers of this blog about a change in blog stewardship.
GOOD LUCK!Lidiane has relocated to Boston from Redmond for personal reasons and has joined another Microsoft team there. We wish her well and thank her for her great work on Project 2007 and the Project blog. As a result, she has passed on the blog coordination role to me.
INTRODUCTIONMy name is Treb Gatte and I'm also a Program Manager on the Project Server team. I've been with Microsoft a little over a year and have been a Project Server user since Project Server 2002 Beta.
One of our goals is to increase the number and regularity of posts such that you receive a steady diet of updates and new information. If there's a topic you would like to us to address, please add your request as a comment to this post. I can't guarantee that every submitted topic will be addressed. However, we can't improve our targeting unless we know what you, the reader, needs. Please spread the word about our effort.
EXPECTATIONSI feel it's very important that we inform you of some ground rules going forward.
LINKING.I wanted to address linking expectations from the Project blog, before I receive a request to link to someone’s site. You can use this as a general guideline for the Project Blog and the Programmability blog as our team does both.
You will note, as a service to our readers, we provide a list of Project Community Blogs. These sites were placed here as a result of web searches and not as a result of linking requests. These are blogs or sites which have created content that is freely shared with the Project Community. Most of these sites are either created by Microsoft employees or by our Project MVPs. A great deal of these authors also participate on the UseNet in performing community support for the Project forums there. Consequently, they are viewed as a valuable community resource.
If you have a Project related site and you wish to have us link to you, make it easy for us to find you. You will need to have freely available content that would be of interest to the Project community. You should also practice generally acceptable blogging practices of tagging such that your site will appear in a Technorati or other Blog related search engine. Finding you is worth one hundred requests to link to you.
If you are selling something in addition to the content, please note our link will be to the free content. Otherwise, we could be seen as endorsing your product/service/etc. which we simply can't do. As this process is subjective, we will be very conservative in our linking. If there's any doubts on our part, our default response will be to not link.
EMAILAs I'm now receiving all of the incoming email and trackbacks, I have a simple request. If you have a comment or question, please post it as a comment to an existing post. Many of the emails that I'm receiving are on topics for which I either can't answer or shouldn't answer. If you post your question as a comment, you can draw upon the wealth of Project community that visits the site for a more timely answer.
Again, thank you for your readership! Stay tuned as there's much more content to come.
As we are on the verge of releasing Microsoft Office Project 2007 we want to help our customer and partner community by providing a forum for learning how to develop applications that communicate with both Project Server and Project Client.
There are three of us manning the Project Programmability blog, Patrick Conlan, Phil Smail and myself Chris Boyd. We are all Program Managers on the Project Team. The plan is to post samples that are requested and cool things we want to try out. So if you need some sample code or explanations on how to develop with the upcoming release of Project, drop by the Project Programmability blog and post a comment!
A little while ago the Project development team had the honor of meeting our makers so to say - Brian MacDonald and Jeff Lill. They're the original creators of the first version of Project for Windows which was released in 1990.
They started as two local kids who grew up just a few miles from the Microsoft campus. In high school they thought it was cool how you could program little LED lights to go on and off. This fascination inspired their future in software development.
They spent some time attending the University of Washington and while they were there built a spell checker app, Corrector. Unfortunately it was the third spell checker app to the market and while InfoWorld rated it the best in the industry, they only sold 24 copies. Brian thanks his good spelling today though to having to manually enter the entire dictionary. Jeff even did some internships with Microsoft since they needed money to finance their company.
After the spell checker app, they started working on a spreadsheet product for Macs called Crunch. Shortly after that, Microsoft came out with Excel and in Brian's words "really just crunched 'Crunch' ". At this time they had a lot of connections into Microsoft from Jeff’s internships and Brian's wife working there. They were at a party with Bill Gates and he mentioned they should stop competing and start working together. Microsoft was trying to recruit developers to make GUI (graphical user interface) apps for this new platform called Windows. They already had a spreadsheet and word processor but were looking for developers to create a database application (which would go on to be Access) and a project management application. Brian and Jeff chose the latter.
While Brian and Jeff had a lot of passion around software, they didn't have much project management expertise. As Jeff said though, they were arrogant enough to know they could do it. So they dove in and looked at competitors, did a bunch of customer interviews including with another local company, Boeing, read project management books and attended conferences. It was actually while they were on a site visit to Boeing that a light bulb went off and they came to the decision that they wanted to build a toolkit that had a broad enough appeal that anyone could use it for project management. At the time, most project management applications were built by consultants and the software would back up the methodology that the consultant was selling. Most companies though already had methodologies in place and just wanted software to support it. This decision turned out to be a pivotal one and something we still strongly believe to be correct today. In Project 2010, you’ll see that you can manage projects how you want to manage them.
It feels great! We had always hoped that would be the case. - Jeff
Right around the time the second version of Project was coming out, Windows started to just explode in popularity and along with it any software that ran on Windows. We initially saw our audience as people who had "Project Manager" in their title but found that the product had a much broader appeal. People were using it to create schedules/Gantt charts to help show their management/team that they had their acts together and were on top of things. – Brian
That was very exciting for them and helped the product really take off. They also thank this success to their initial goal of being a toolkit instead of specific solution. This is why features such as the ability to re-title columns were available back in the original release.
Print preview, support for macros, and improvements to the leveling algorithm were some of the top ones.
Yes, leveling was in v1. According to Jeff - "All the software solutions had it and all struggled with making it work how humans would expect". We are still trying to make this easier today by adding features like change highlighting in Project 2007 and the Team Planner in Project 2010.
It looks great. A lot looks familiar with the overall user interface but it definitely looks more modern (they were happy to hear that we now have more than 16 colors). Per the timeline view, that was what we were trying to achieve with the Gantt chart (sharing the schedule with stakeholders) but has an even broader appeal. - Brian
Brian went on then to create Outlook which originally started out with the goal of being a task management application. It was only during coding and after much debate that they decided to add email support to it. We think they made the right decision. Jeff worked on Project a bit longer and then went on to do Team Manager. Today they both work in the Bing organization.
· There isn't a Microsoft Project 2.0 because someone else had copyrighted Project 2.0
· Bill Gates tried to convince them to re-write Project in BASIC and they said no.
· The last bug fixed for Project 1.0 for Windows was around supporting the Gantt Chart view with the Task Form.
In short, I would like to thank Brian and Jeff for creating this great product that so many of us use every day and rely on to accomplish a wide range of projects.
Here's a couple of emails that were received that may be of interest to others.
We received a query regarding how to upgrade from Windows SharePoint Server 2.0 to Microsoft Office SharePoint Server(MOSS). As you should install MOSS prior to installing Project Server, you'll want to first upgrade your existing WSS content to MOSS.
I asked around and I was pointed to this article: http://technet2.microsoft.com/Office/en-us/library/b3e52231-16bf-4a46-a7e8-cb31b814627a1033.mspx?mfr=true There's a section on migrating from WSS 2.0 to MOSS.
The configuration can be found here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/921116/en-us Yes, it is the same steps as you had to do for Project Server 2003. These steps are specific to the SQL Server version. Please make sure you follow each step carefully.
Then, for each client machine that will be using or creating Portfolio Analyzer views, have the Analysis Services 2005 (9.0) OLE DB Provider installed. http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=DF0BA5AA-B4BD-4705-AA0A-B477BA72A9CB&displaylang=en
UPDATE: Brian Smith of http://blogs.msdn.com/brismith fame pointed out there were two missing points to this section.
First, the account owning the SharePoint Timer Service is what is used to build the cube. Therefore, that account will need access to the Reporting Database.
The second point is for those workstations creating and accessing Portfolio Analyzer views. If they are using Internet Explorer 7, the setting to allow cross domain data access is disabled by default for Trusted Sites. So, you will need to change this setting when you add the server to the trusted sites section.
After discussing this situation with Eric Zenz, I found out we made a change in the 2007 release that makes it easier to manage who has access to your project's team site.
In 2003, you had to be on a project's team and assigned to a task to get access to a project's team site. So, everyone wound up with a "Give Access" task on the project plan. This task, though, gave everyone on this task read/write access. To give someone read access, you had to set up these people manually. If the company had this SharePoint administration permission locked down, the PM had to ask the application administrator to add these "read only" people to the team site. Now multiply this request times 600 team sites and it can get to be quite a bit of maintenance.
In 2007, we made some improvements in this regard. Resources are automatically granted read access to the project's team site when they are added to a project's team via TeamBuilder. When a resource is assigned to a task on the plan, they automatically get contributor read/write access. This makes it easier for the Project Manager to provide wider access to the team site without having to learn WSS security administration or make life interesting for the application administrator.
You launch the My Tasks page in Project Server 2007 and you see these colored lines next to your tasks. The first thing that comes to mind is what do they mean?
Below is the key to these colors. Please bear in mind that these colors are meant as guidance and are subject to the influence of pending approvals and updates.
Lastly, a pink background on the finish date denotes that it is past today's date.