EPM, Microsoft Project and You

Enterprise Project Management, Microsoft Project Professional and Microsoft Project Server

  • BY: Collin Quiring

    This came up a while ago with one client and I just wanted to share this issue with everybody.  Depending upon how you look at this issue, you can consider it a bug or a feature.  It sort of makes sense the way it works but it probably shouldn’t work that way.

    This was tested in Project Web App 2010 (Project Server 2010) and Project Web App 2013 (Project Server 2013) and Project Online 2013.  I assume this works the same for all date fields that users can enter but I only tested in the Actual Start and Actual Finish date fields.

    When you are in the Tasks page in Project Web App and you enter a date (or any text or numbers) into the Date field the system immediately takes that date and background “saves” that update so that the system thinks that you have placed some data there.  That is fine in most situations.  However, what about when you realize you put the date in the wrong field (wrong date field or wrong task to update or whatever the reason)?  Well, you are stuck.

    Since the date information you have entered is in the “background” already you MUST have a valid date format Date in that field from now on.  You can not delete it and leave it blank.  You can not backspace it out.  You have to leave a date in the field of some sort.  The only way to get out of this is to leave the page and not save the update.  Which, in and of itself, is a bad solution unless this is the very first field and the only update that you have done.

    If you try to blank out the field or put in a non-date format text into this field you will get the message ‘’is not a valid value for this field .

    image

    If you consider this a bug it is due to the fact that you can’t delete it or otherwise fix the error in the field.  The only work arounds are to put in a fake date, save it, and then ask the Timesheet Manager/Project Manager to deny the update.  Or, you can leave the page (which isn’t practical in most cases).  And, another side effect of putting in a fake date is that if it does get approved, it can affect the entire schedule and everybody else’s tasks.

    If you consider this a feature then this is just a nasty side effect.  The feature is that it “saves” into the background as you type and that is nice and might help you not to lose work.

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  • Join us in Northwest Arkansas June 10 as we kick off the Microsoft Project User Group newest chapter!

    http://www.mpug.com/event/nw-arkansas-kick-meeting-project-cloud/

     

    image

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  • BY: Collin Quiring

    This post is about a Resource over allocation we discovered in Microsoft Project Professional 2010.  To make it simple, this is not connected to Server, not an online instance, just a desktop version of Project Pro 2010.  Specifically, this is about a situation where we had a Resource that was clearly NOT over allocated.  I have some screenshots below that explain the situation in detail.

    We also tested this in Microsoft Project Professional 2013 desktop and had the exact same results.  Both the problem and the resolution worked the same in 2013 as in 2010.

    So we are all on the same page, what is the definition in Microsoft Project of an over allocated Resource?  It is “a resource is assigned to more work on a specific task or all tasks than can be completed within normal working capacity.”  In Project the field reference does not have the space between words and is just called overallocated or overallocation.

    In this case, we had a Resource that was clearly not over capacity or over allocated.  But, in the Team Planner the Resource was showing over – including on weekends.  The weekends were NON-working days AND no work was assigned.  But, it also shows over allocation on days that are not over allocated.

    image

    Here we see in the Resource Sheet that the Resource called Team Lead is showing an over allocation (in red) and this screenshot shows that this is a normal Work Resource with a Standard calendar.

    image

    There is no calendar assigned to the Tasks.

    The Project Calendar is the Standard Calendar as well so the Resource and the Project calendars are in sync.

    This screenshot is from the Resource Usage view which shows that the Resource named Team Lead is showing an over allocation on a handful of weeks.  BUT, look at those numbers – the assignments are only 3, .55, .45 or .12 PER WEEK!  The Resource has 40 hours a week available.  Obvious math shows that this screenshot “is impossible” because the Resource is not over allocated.  In fact, it is almost perfectly the opposite – the have a week with less than an hour of time against it so they have over 39 un-assigned hours!!

    Here are the overallocations marked in red in the Resource Usage view:

    image

    Now, here is another interesting screenshot.  In this one, in the Task Usage view (Gantt Chart) we see the little red man indicator that tells us the Resource Team Lead is over allocated.  We also see that when we add the column Overallocated, it states that the Resource is NOT overallocated!

    image

    So, Microsoft Project is actually giving us BOTH answers at once – the real one that the Resource is not overallocated and that the Resource is overallocated.  In fact, hovering over the red man indicator gives us the expected message of “This task has resources assigned which are overallocated.  Right-click for options.”

    SNAGHTML14da43b

    But, we know that it is not over allocated!

    After searching Bing and Google we discovered that there may have been some sort of bug prior to SP1.  The bug was that if a Work value is less than 1% of the duration of a task, the system wouldn’t correctly calculate the allocation and would end up showing that the Resource was overallocated even though it wasn’t.  However, changing the work above the 1% threshold didn’t affect this for us (and, we were on a post SP1 version) so we set it back.

    After more searching and experimentation we discovered that the error is related to the Leveling Period for the Project.  NOTE – we in no way wanted to or used the leveling from within Project.  We merely changed the settings.  When you go into the Leveling Options in the Resource tab the default setting looks like this:

    image

    The only item that we changed was the “Look for overallocations on a…” basis.

    We changed it from “Day by Day’’” to “Week by Week”.  AGAIN – we did not actually click on “Level All” or actually ran any sort of leveling!  We only changed that drop down setting and clicked on OK.

    And, with that one and only change, suddenly, the overallocations disappear!

    No assignments changed, nothing else was changed.  But, the over allocations went away immediately:

    image

    It removed the overallocations in Team Planner as well:

    image

    It is all about the calculation method.  I don’t think that I would call this a bug.  I think this is a bit of weird math that happens when you have certain settings and views combining.

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  • BY: Collin Quiring

    In a previous blog we mentioned different versions of Project and Project Server that a new version of Project Online was coming out  (http://dld.bz/dh2wF) .  That has been released as of today, May 1, 2014.  This version is called Project Lite and is for those Team Members that do not need full Project Online functionality.  This is only $7 a month per user right now.

    Here is the functionality that a Project Lite user is allowed to do in each of three areas:

    TASKS

    • Create New Tasks or Assignments
    • Reassign Tasks
    • Self-Assign Team Tasks
    •  View and/or Edit Tasks in Task Center

    TIMESHEETS

    • View Timesheets
    • Enter Hours
    • Add or Remove Task from Timesheet
    • Turn in Timesheet

    Collaboration

    • View or Update Status, Issues and Risks
    • View or Update Project Documents
    • View Project Center
    • View Project Schedules
    • View Project Details
    • View Project Summary
    • View Resource Assignments
    • Create/Modify/Delete links between tasks and items in Project Site (Documents, Issues, Risks)
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  • BY: Collin Quiring

    A few years ago, I posted some information about PMI (Project Management Institute) membership and PMP (Project Management Professional) certifications and other data that they routinely share.  (That post is here: http://dld.bz/dnY2z )

    I was asked if I could update the data and so I did.  The updated information is below.  There is some new data now with the new certifications – PMI-RMP, PMI-SP, PMI-ACP.  And, they discontinued publishing the number of new members per month in 2013.  And, sadly, for myself, as an OPM3 certification holder, PMI doesn’t publish that number in a clear or obvious way.

    As I stated in the previous post, it is always important to me to know if a certification and an organization’s membership are of value in the marketplace.  And one way to know if it is of value is to see if it is increasing, stagnating or decreasing in numbers (which I take as a reference to importance to employers).  It is interesting to me though that there are more PMP certification holders than there are PMI members.  I am not sure what that means.

    I do also understand that when a certification becomes so prevalent, it becomes irrelevant.  A lot of organizations think that if they increase their certification numbers, they then get some sort of relevance or benefit in the marketplace.  However, I have seen where a certification is so common that it no longer differentiates individuals as having a particular value or knowledge over another.  I don’t know if the PMP is heading that way or not, it is just something to ponder.

    This information comes from PMI directly and the caveat is that the month they published it and the month that is listed below for the data is normally one month late.  That wasn’t purely consistent over the years (sometimes PMP data was a week or two old and CAPM was a month or two old).  So, the months represented below are from the month that PMI published the data.

    image

    Here are the numbers that are represented in that chart.

    Date PMPs Members
    Sep-06 206,774 215,367
    Oct-06 212,704 219,322
    Nov-06 216,200 222,734
    Dec-06 221,144 225,432
    Jan-07 212,622 230,825
    Feb-07 217,519 232,756
    Mar-07 223,877 236,871
    Apr-07 228,277 238,565
    May-07 233,330 241,895
    Jun-07 236,996 243,604
    Jul-07 242,991 245,175
    Aug-07 247,537 245,933
    Sep-07 251,782 246,216
    Oct-07 256,184 249,860
    Nov-07 262,860 251,924
    Dec-07 267,367 253,692
    Jan-08 273,547 259,172
    Feb-08 259,694 260,458
    Mar-08 266,146 264,496
    Apr-08 272,032 266,747
    May-08 278,618 269,458
    Jun-08 283,811 271,638
    Jul-08 288,838 275,169
    Aug-08 295,413 277,221
    Sep-08 299,751 280,264
    Oct-08 306,706 283,321
    Nov-08 311,676 285,209
    Dec-08 318,289 287,438
    Jan-09 322,250 293,416
    Feb-09 327,250 296,377
    Mar-09 331,208 302,364
    Apr-09 336,051 305,127
    May-09 346,053 307,180
    Jun-09 359,973 306,980
    Jul-09 360,662 306,111
    Aug-09 364,542 305,191
    Sep-09 364,542 306,180
    Oct-09 350,450 308,485
    Nov-09 356,419 308,102
    Dec-09 361,238 309,715
    Jan-10 367,619 314,721
    Feb-10 371,014 315,106
    Mar-10 375,959 317,962
    Apr-10 381,111 317,787
    May-10 385,096 317,989
    Jun-10 389,726 318,421
    Jul-10 393,413 320,388
    Aug-10 397,378 323,220
    Sep-10 393,413 320,388
    Oct-10 397,378 353,220
    Nov-10 400,059 327,180
    Dec-10 403,220 330,001
    Jan-11 409,159 331,697
    Feb-11 412,503 334,019
    Mar-11 471,475 340,232
    Apr-11 420,602 341,906
    May-11 423,515 346,730
    Jun-11 430,469 349,524
    Jul-11 434,839 353,326
    Aug-11 437,999 357,770
    Sep-11 451,868 362,726
    Oct-11 466,163 366,854
    Nov-11 464,168 368,349
    Dec-11 468,864 370,233
    Jan-12 469,051 370,744
    Feb-12 467,390 371,575
    Mar-12 471,437 377,589
    Apr-12 472,799 378,749
    May-12 472,102 382,210
    Jun-12 477,031 383,118
    Jul-12 479,327 386,545
    Aug-12 474,948 386,235
    Sep-12 484,761 387,199
    Oct-12 487,867 388,276
    Nov-12 482,015 390,279
    Dec-12 494,594 394,851
    Jan-13 500,082 395,965
    Feb-13 510,434 397,453
    Mar-13 546,229 408,465
    Apr-13 521,345 411,928
    May-13 525,341 418,080
    Jun-13 537,413 424,657
    Jul-13 545,098 433,470
    Aug-13 552,977 435,670
    Sep-13 582,224 439,294
    Oct-13 583,806 438,681
    Nov-13 585,040 438,357
    Dec-13 590,416 441,425
    Jan-14 593,074 437,573
    Feb-14 594,603 439,677
    Mar-14 603,216 449,803
    Apr-14 605,909 446,959

     

    Along with the PMP, the CAPM has been a long term certification and its numbers have continued to grow as well.

    image

    The data behind the chart:

    Date CAPM
    Sep-06 1,438
    Oct-06 1,546
    Nov-06 1,611
    Dec-06 1,828
    Jan-07 1,828
    Feb-07 2,102
    Mar-07 2,252
    Apr-07 2,390
    May-07 2,586
    Jun-07 2,714
    Jul-07 2,872
    Aug-07 3,051
    Sep-07 3,215
    Oct-07 3,366
    Nov-07 3,601
    Dec-07 3,799
    Jan-08 3,988
    Feb-08 4,229
    Mar-08 4,410
    Apr-08 4,695
    May-08 4,971
    Jun-08 5,196
    Jul-08 5,196
    Aug-08 5,708
    Sep-08 5,892
    Oct-08 6,151
    Nov-08 6,428
    Dec-08 6,729
    Jan-09 6,963
    Feb-09 7,207
    Mar-09 7,455
    Apr-09 7,795
    May-09 8,139
    Jun-09 8,139
    Jul-09 9,126
    Aug-09 9,412
    Sep-09 9,619
    Oct-09 9,787
    Nov-09 10,003
    Dec-09 10,263
    Jan-10 10,444
    Feb-10 10,678
    Mar-10 10,970
    Apr-10 11,234
    May-10 11,458
    Jun-10 11,785
    Jul-10 12,111
    Aug-10 12,367
    Sep-10 12,111
    Oct-10 12,367
    Nov-10 12,565
    Dec-10 12,729
    Jan-11 12,925
    Feb-11 13,272
    Mar-11 13,464
    Apr-11 13,678
    May-11 13,969
    Jun-11 14,197
    Jul-11 14,465
    Aug-11 14,781
    Sep-11 15,129
    Oct-11 15,423
    Nov-11 15,695
    Dec-11 15,938
    Jan-12 16,159
    Feb-12 16,491
    Mar-12 16,687
    Apr-12 16,939
    May-12 17,268
    Jun-12 17,568
    Jul-12 17,924
    Aug-12 18,227
    Sep-12 18,591
    Oct-12 18,888
    Nov-12 19,201
    Dec-12 19,542
    Jan-13 19,849
    Feb-13 20,157
    Mar-13 20,447
    Apr-13 20,700
    May-13 20,993
    Jun-13 21,397
    Jul-13 21,915
    Aug-13 22,946
    Sep-13 23,560
    Oct-13 23,699
    Nov-13 23,793
    Dec-13 23,949
    Jan-14 24,196
    Feb-14 24,450
    Mar-14 24,646
    Apr-14 24,789

     

    The other certifications that were created in the past few years are outlined here.

    image

    The data:

    Date PgMP PMI-RMP PMI-SP PMI-ACP
    May-10 421 357 320
    Jun-10 436 393 327
    Jul-10 447 419 341
    Aug-10 460 447 357
    Sep-10 447 419 341
    Oct-10 460 447 357
    Nov-10 478 483 369
    Dec-10 492 516 377
    Jan-11 502 538 387
    Feb-11 511 588 408
    Mar-11 521 622 418
    Apr-11 530 677 426
    May-11 553 741 440
    Jun-11 561 486 451
    Jul-11 575 826 466
    Aug-11 584 884 474
    Sep-11 599 943 494
    Oct-11 606 983 502
    Nov-11 625 1,040 524
    Dec-11 637 1,083 544
    Jan-12 654 1,119 562
    Feb-12 678 1,195 578
    Mar-12 728 1,243 589 542
    Apr-12 774 1,280 611 549
    May-12 771 1,323 632 655
    Jun-12 774 1,372 633 758
    Jul-12 775 1,423 654 892
    Aug-12 787 1,472 672 999
    Sep-12 793 1,529 694 1,141
    Oct-12 805 1,576 720 1,297
    Nov-12 808 1,626 737 1,416
    Dec-12 864 1,696 764 1,611
    Jan-13 823 1,732 780 1,835
    Feb-13 834 1,805 809 2,063
    Mar-13 850 1,864 826 2,276
    Apr-13 852 1,918 846 2,461
    May-13 865 1,969 871 2,635
    Jun-13 875 8,033 893 2,858
    Jul-13 898 2,116 911 3,056
    Aug-13 914 2,222 948 3,249
    Sep-13 939 2,334 981 3,468
    Oct-13 967 2,519 1,037 3,691
    Nov-13 969 2,512 1,033 3,893
    Dec-13 977 2,512 1,033 4,132
    Jan-14 985 2,507 1,036 4,366
    Feb-14 995 2,584 1,090 4,641
    Mar-14 1,004 2,617 1,109 4,825
    Apr-14 1,014 2,638 1,118 5,008

     

    And, although they stopped giving this information, I always found it interesting to determine how many new members were coming in and how many were leaving.  This may or may not be an indicator of the organizational health or relevance but it is a good trend line to watch.  So, here is the monthly “new members” listing from September, 2006, to December, 2012.

    image

     

    Once again, the numbers:

    Date New members
    Sep-06 4,025
    Oct-06 3,225
    Nov-06 3,224
    Dec-06 4,301
    Jan-07 3,330
    Feb-07 3,468
    Mar-07 5,635
    Apr-07 3,776
    May-07 3,844
    Jun-07 4,232
    Jul-07 3,949
    Aug-07 4,071
    Sep-07 3,909
    Oct-07 4,018
    Nov-07 4,509
    Dec-07 4,767
    Jan-08 3,213
    Feb-08 3,773
    Mar-08 3,797
    Apr-08 3,989
    May-08 3,613
    Jun-08 4,380
    Jul-08 4,651
    Aug-08 4,358
    Sep-08 4,070
    Oct-08 4,568
    Nov-08 4,500
    Dec-08 6,109
    Jan-09 4,605
    Feb-09 4,305
    Mar-09 5,000
    Apr-09 6,021
    May-09 8,419
    Jun-09 13,920
    Jul-09 689
    Aug-09 2,770
    Sep-09 3,100
    Oct-09 3,102
    Nov-09 3,726
    Dec-09 5,403
    Jan-10 3,714
    Feb-10 3,713
    Mar-10 5,344
    Apr-10 4,718
    May-10 3,985
    Jun-10 4,630
    Jul-10 3,687
    Aug-10 3,965
    Sep-10 8,142
    Oct-10 9,245
    Nov-10 9,719
    Dec-10 9,624
    Jan-11 8,502
    Feb-11 7,803
    Mar-11 11,159
    Apr-11 9,750
    May-11 11,681
    Jun-11 11,372
    Jul-11 12,309
    Aug-11 12,410
    Sep-11 12,265
    Oct-11 10,681
    Nov-11 9,204
    Dec-11 10,013
    Jan-12 8,672
    Feb-12 7,759
    Mar-12 11,034
    Apr-12 10,485
    May-12 13,410
    Jun-12 10,742
    Jul-12 11,662
    Aug-12 9,539
    Sep-12 11,013
    Oct-12 10,885
    Nov-12 10,786
    Dec-12 14,562

     

    Since they stopped giving new membership information, I went ahead and did some math behind the monthly number of memberships overall to see the overall trendline.  It is great to know the number of new members, but if the number of members leaving is greater than the number of new members, then that might be concerning.  In looking at the data, there must have been some data scrubbing done in October and November 2010 as those two months are wildly out of the normal data distribution.

    image

     

    And, the data:

    Date Monthly Change
    Sep-06 ———
    Oct-06 3,955
    Nov-06 3,412
    Dec-06 2,698
    Jan-07 5,393
    Feb-07 1,931
    Mar-07 4,115
    Apr-07 1,694
    May-07 3,330
    Jun-07 1,709
    Jul-07 1,571
    Aug-07 758
    Sep-07 283
    Oct-07 3,644
    Nov-07 2,064
    Dec-07 1,768
    Jan-08 5,480
    Feb-08 1,286
    Mar-08 4,038
    Apr-08 2,251
    May-08 2,711
    Jun-08 2,180
    Jul-08 3,531
    Aug-08 2,052
    Sep-08 3,043
    Oct-08 3,057
    Nov-08 1,888
    Dec-08 2,229
    Jan-09 5,978
    Feb-09 2,961
    Mar-09 5,987
    Apr-09 2,763
    May-09 2,053
    Jun-09 -200
    Jul-09 -869
    Aug-09 -920
    Sep-09 989
    Oct-09 2,305
    Nov-09 -383
    Dec-09 1,613
    Jan-10 5,006
    Feb-10 385
    Mar-10 2,856
    Apr-10 -175
    May-10 202
    Jun-10 432
    Jul-10 1,967
    Aug-10 2,832
    Sep-10 -2,832
    Oct-10 32,832
    Nov-10 -26,040
    Dec-10 2,821
    Jan-11 1,696
    Feb-11 2,322
    Mar-11 6,213
    Apr-11 1,674
    May-11 4,824
    Jun-11 2,794
    Jul-11 3,802
    Aug-11 4,444
    Sep-11 4,956
    Oct-11 4,128
    Nov-11 1,495
    Dec-11 1,884
    Jan-12 511
    Feb-12 831
    Mar-12 6,014
    Apr-12 1,160
    May-12 3,461
    Jun-12 908
    Jul-12 3,427
    Aug-12 -310
    Sep-12 964
    Oct-12 1,077
    Nov-12 2,003
    Dec-12 4,572
    Jan-13 1,114
    Feb-13 1,488
    Mar-13 11,012
    Apr-13 3,463
    May-13 6,152
    Jun-13 6,577
    Jul-13 8,813
    Aug-13 2,200
    Sep-13 3,624
    Oct-13 -613
    Nov-13 -324
    Dec-13 3,068
    Jan-14 -3,852
    Feb-14 2,104
    Mar-14 10,126
    Apr-14 -2,844
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  • Tim Gryder and Collin Quiring will be presenting a webinar April 30, 2014, for the Project Management Quality Community of Practice (PMQ CoP) for the Project Management Institute (PMI).

    To sign up go to the PMI website for the PMQ CoP here:

    http://quality.vc.pmi.org/Webinars/ViewWebinar.aspx?WebinarAction=View&WebinarExternalKey=5df04133-e401-4827-ae58-d0d39bdc8596

    Here is the synopsis of the planned webinar:

    Project Managers, Resource Managers and other members of the Project Management Office (if there is one) do not work in a vacuum. Even if a PMO exists and all members of it are fully certified in Project Management, the level of project quality in the entire organization will affect their ability to be effective and provide value to the company.

    During this presentation, we plan to give some examples of this type of situation. And, we will highlight how an organization can increase their OPM Maturity and allow the PMO to be more constructive to the entire organization. We will show that Project Management Quality and Organizational Project Management Maturity go together.

    About the Presenters
    TIM Gryder, CPIM, CIRM, MCP, PMP, OPM3, AIM
    A consulting professional with over 20 years in developing new capabilities and platforms within the Operations Management and Project Management space. Exceptional insights toward helping organizations realize their true road map for future business process and systems changes. With specific knowledge in the Product Development, Operational Project Management and Manufacturing realm, we are often helping organizations tie the product development planning and execution into the operational planning and execution. Functional knowledge and a strong background in Operations, Supply Chain, Sales and Operations Planning and Scheduling, Project Management and Scheduling, Organizational Project Management, Business Systems Development and Role development.

    Collin Quiring, MBA, OPM3, PMP, MCTS, MCT, CIRM
    A capable professional with over 20 years of experience in several industries supporting Project Management, Resource Management, Product
    Development, Systems Administration, and Training.
    Specializing in the Project Management Space with extraordinary depth in Project Management and Microsoft Project Server and developing the platform to effective use in many companies.

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  • By: Collin Quiring

    For those using or setting up PWA task updates the question often comes up as to whether or not the Team Members should be updating by percentage or by entering work. There are a couple of questions that come up in relation to this to help decide which to use.

    The first question is:

    Do you care about hours of work or do you just care about how long the job took?

    As in, does it matter that a job took 10 hours to do? Does it matter for your organization’s needs (for projects or accounting or pay or billing) that you know how much time it actually took to do the work? Or, do you just care that a task took five days to complete? Whether the person(s) assigned to the task worked for 1 hour or 100 hours, do you still just want to know that it took a certain number of days to complete?

    The answer to the first question will determine the accuracy of hours that you are trying to track.

    If you just care about how many days a task takes to complete, rather than the exact hours, then you want to enter the percentage. And, more specifically, you want to enter the % Complete field. There is also a % Work Complete field that is available but that is in relation to hours and so that wouldn’t apply to your need. The % Complete field would be the easiest to use because it is based on Actual Duration divided by Duration. So, if a three day task is one-and-a-half days into the schedule, then it is 50% complete. And note, that is 50% complete whether one minute of actual work is done or not (although we would hope that folks are only updating tasks that have work completed against them.

    If you care about hours, and you care about getting accurate hours, then you should have the % Work Complete and % Complete fields where they can’t be edited by Team Members. You should allow the system to calculate those fields for you. What you should have Team Members update is the Actual Work and Remaining Work fields. When the Actual Work field is updated, the Remaining Work field will be calculated. If the Remaining Work field doesn’t match the work that the Team Member thinks it should, then they should update it so as to allow for the dates to better align with the amount of work.

    And, the second question is:

    Do you care when the work is done?

    If your organization has accounting, billing, pay or other reasons to know when work is occurring (whether you are tracking in duration or hours) then there is one other update the Team Member should do – enter the date.

    If your organization cares about when work happens, BEFORE entering hours the Team Member should enter the Actual Start Date. Entering the Actual Start Date will set the timeframe properly. Then, the Team Member should enter the % Complete or the Actual Hours – depending on the method you are using. If the Team Member only enters the % Complete or Actual Hours then the Actual Start Date will be calculated for you. Which, in most cases, will be the date was assigned. And, that is where you can get Actual Dates that are nowhere near the real calendar date – because it uses the originally assigned date (whether that date is in the future or in the past).

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  • BY: Collin Quiring

    When installing Project Server 2013 in house and installing all the required components (like SQL Server 2012 and SharePoint Server 2013), a Web Application and a Top Level Site and Site Collection have to be created along with the Project Site (PWA). While other documents exist to explain the how to part of the installation, this article is about the definitions for SharePoint web and sites and how Project ties into them. Definitions and then some examples are provided below.

    For those using Project Online the ability to modify and setup Web Applications and Site Collections is different and in the SharePoint administration it is slightly different wording. That is outlined at the bottom of this article.

    First, the definitions:

    Web Application: In SharePoint Server 2013 a Web Application is the container (I am trying to avoid the word “site” since it is sometimes used incorrectly here) that holds the Top Level site and any Site Collections and corresponding Sites. The key parts to the Web Application is that it is the IIS Web Site; which for those like me who aren’t extremely technical is where the main URL comes from (yeah, I know you can do things with Alternate Access Mapping and I know that a fancy-pants IIS/Networking guru can use all sorts of things like bindings to make URL’s other things but for our purposes, this is the URL).

    Site Collection: This is the place that has the Top Level Site and any other Subsites. The key point here is that the Site Collection has a Content Database. You can use one Content Database for multiple Site Collections but the important piece to remember is that a Site Collection must have a Content Database.

    Top Level Site: This is the site at the top of the site collection. It is the first site in the collection and it may or may not have subsites. (Often, but not always, during setup, this site is just given the “/” designation by the administrator. The other common designation is “/sites/” for the top level site.)

    Subsites (often just called Sites): This is a bit confusing because Top Level site and site may be used interchangeably because the Top Level site is a site by itself. But, a subsite is a site below a Top Level site.

    Content Database: This is the database that holds the SharePoint information for a Site Collection. It has both the documents and the setting customizations for that Site Collection.

    Project Web App Site: For our purposes, Project Web App Site is often called PWA, sometimes also called the Project Site and is a subsite below the Top Level site.

    Instance: In the Project Web App Site each site is called an Instance. Many organizations have at least two instances in their production environment, a production level development/testing instance and production version on the same web application (this is different than a development or test server or a separate system for development). Commonly, the main production instance is called just “PWA”. Each instance has a separate database table structure, separate schedules on the site, separate resources and so on. For example, an organization that has an IT department that runs projects totally differently than a PMO department may have two instances – one called “IT_PWA” and the other “PMO_PWA”.

    Now for some examples:

    The first one is a basic example – a Web Application, Top Level site, and two subsites with the Site Collection in the red boxed area.

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    From the perspective of Project Server this is what that diagram might look like.

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    One more example diagram – this time with sample URL’s for two separate PWA instances. The first instance is just called “PWA” and the second one is for a separate department called “ITPWA”. The Web Application is often just the servername so it would be something like http://servername. The Top Level Site in this example is just “/” and therefore the two PWA instances would be: http://servername/PWA and http://servername/ITPWA .

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    In the Project Online, Office 365 and SharePoint Online world the terminology is a bit different because the setup is a bit different. The main terms to know here are:

    Tenant: This is your online (or cloud version) subscription of the service you have purchased. It can be a bit confusing since context is everything. You can have a SharePoint Online Tenant or an Office 265 Tenant or a Project Online Tenant. In our case, thinking from the Project Online perspective, you would most likely have a SharePoint Online Tenant and Project Online would be a part of that Tenant. In a non-techy description, basically it means that Microsoft has the uber-Wep Applications and they give us a small piece of the pie. I am not sure who to credit this to since I see lots of websites that explain it something like this – In the United States a person can rent an apartment in a large apartment building. They are a “tenant” of that apartment building. They can modify their own apartment as much as they want but they can’t modify the common areas of the building that are outside of their apartment.

    The default in the SharePoint Online administration screen for those of using it only for Project Online purposes is to have three Site Collections – one for the Website (usually the Tenant), one with the Project Web App Site and one for search. (And, apparently, they use the “/sites/” for the Top Level site for the PWA and “/” for the Search site). And, for the MY Sites (if being used) portion of the SharePoint Online it is using the Site Collection with a “-my” in the URL. In the My Sites section, you would have many potential subsites – one for each person that creates one.

    For example, my Project Online Tenant using SharePoint Online administration looks like this:

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    Based on this information, this means that I have three Site Collections and PWA is a subsite in the sites Top Level site. Using the type of diagram we have above for the On Site version, this means that the Site Collection piece would look similar to this:

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    I hope this helps to clear up some of the definitions!

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  • BY: Tim Gryder

    Practical use of Microsoft Project Server or Project Online 2013 for Issues Management and Collaboration

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    The Problem

    If you’re a project manager running any project of scope, duration and complexity then you know that much of project management constantly deals with Murphy’s law…”What can go wrong will go wrong and at the worst possible time”. These events or “Issues” are often documented, assigned, and managed by the project manager in order to address the issue and keep the project moving. But how can we really drive issue resolution and ensure that nothing is falling thru the cracks?

    A simple solution to keeping up with, and collaborating on Issues can be found in the Microsoft Project Server Platform

    Take for example the image below…a simple project managed in Project Server (PWA-Project View), to build a storage building. As is typical, as tasks are being completed, I have now run into an issue related to the “Budget” task…More funds must be Secured!

     

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    The Solution

    Use Project Server (or Project Online) to document; assign the issue to a task and person, against the task “Budget”. Here is how to assign an Issue to a Task!

    Step One

    Open the Projects view in PWA and select your project and then Select Issues from the Project tab for the Project.

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    Step Two

    Select New Item and create your issue.

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    Step Three

    Fill out the issues form to define due dates and assignments and dialog on the issue etc.

    Then Save the Issue.

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    Step Four

    Navigate back to your project site and select Tasks and then select your task “Budget” to open.

    This is where we now associate the Issue we created above with the task from the project.

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    Step Five

    Select “Show More” and then “Add Related Item”

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    Step Six

    Select Issues from the left side of the assets available to add which will be underneath your project.

    Take note that each project has its own list of objects that can be associated with a task…

    I could also associate Deliverables and Risks etc…

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    Step Seven

    Choose the Issue you created from the Issues List and then select Insert.

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    Conclusion

    We now have a Task with an issue assigned to it. This can be seen in the task details view in PWA.

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    We are also now made aware at the Projects Portfolio View in PWA that this project has an unresolved Issue.

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    So now instead of collecting issues into a spreadsheet and hoping you have the latest issues and their status…You can manage these issues in an environment that is collaborative, real time and reportable.

    If this doesn’t get your cats walking in a straight line then I don’t know what does!

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  • Connecting Excel 2013 to Project Online using Odata

    By Collin Quiring

    We have seen issues for some folks when connecting Excel 2013 to Project Online using an Odata connection.  This blog is to give an example of how to get data from that connection without ever connecting to Project Online directly.

    Start by opening Excel 2013 and going to the DATA tab.  Then, select From Other Sources in the ribbon.  On the drop-down, select From Odata Data Feed.

     

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    This will bring a Data Connection Wizard popup.  Put in the Link to your Project Online site followed by

    /_api/ProjectData/

    THIS IS CRITICAL.  So, in our sample, with our Project Online site being at “https://PMPSpecialists.com/sites/Demo7PWA”  the link to enter in the Link option is:  “https://PMPSpecialists.com/sites/Demo7PWA/_api/ProjectData/ “  You may or may not need to enter a sign-in at this point, in this example, we do not need one.

     

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    NOTEBe careful when copy/pasting the URL link.  We have seen where the link will duplicate in the Link of File box (it is hidden at first so we recommend you place your cursor at the far left of the box and do NOT select the entire box but use your arrow key and scroll over to confirm that the URL is only in place one time).

    If the URL (URI) is incorrect, or you don’t have permissions,  you may get any of the following error messages:

     

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    (We couldn’t get data from the Data Model. Here’s the error message we got:

    Invalid URI: The URI Scheme is not valid.)

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    (Unable to obtain list of tables from the data source.)

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    (We couldn’t get data from the Data Model.  Here’s the error message we got:

    The remote server returned an error: (400) Bad Request.)

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    (We couldn’t access the data feed server because the URL is invalid.)

    Once you have connected, after entering the link in the Data Connection Wizard, the second popup titled Data Connection Wizard with the option to Select Tables will appear.

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    For our example, we scrolled down and selected Projects as the table to bring back.

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    The third box for the Data Connection Wizard appears that allows us to Save our Data Connection.  Note – we are not saving the results, we are saving the .odc file only.  Results are saved from Excel as you would normally save any file.

     

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    gives us the option of which type of Excel workbook we want (Table, Pivot, etc.).  And, we can select the Existing Worksheet or a New Worksheet.

    Clicking OK brings back the Excel file and the data.

     

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    And, here is a small piece of one item from the Project file in a normal worksheet from our Project Online instance:

     

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    And, as an example, the Data Source we saved earlier, is now sitting on our PC for us to be able to use in the future.  The default location is “This PC / Documents / My Data Sources”

     

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    As further proof that the Data Connection now exists, the next time you want to use it, Select the DATA tab from Excel, the Existing Connection option in the ribbon and the data connection you created will be there for you to use!

     

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