Pages

Saturday, 30 May 2009

EPM Training Courses - How do they map to my organizational objectives?

I often get asked about EPM training courses and their relevance to business strategic objectives for their EPM deployment.
Here is some info from Project Solution encapsulating the EPM learning structure and how the various role-based training courses align with the organization’s objectives and requirements of EPM solution.

This will help your business realise the full potential value and benefit of an Enterprise Project Management solution.

2-How EPM Learning Courses fit in
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End-user Training Courses;
  1. MSP101: Microsoft Project Planning [2d]
  2. EPM200: Microsoft EPM for Project Managers [2d]
  3. EPM201: Microsoft EPM for Project Managers Boot Camp [3d]
  4. EPM202: Managing PRINCE2® Projects in EPM2007 [2d] New!
  5. EPM300: Microsoft EPM for Programme Managers [1d]
  6. EPM301: Microsoft EPM Programme Management Boot Camp [3d]
  7. EPM400: Microsoft EPM for Project Portfolio & Enterprise RMs [1d]
  8. EPM501: Microsoft PWA for Executives [½d]
  9. EPM502: Microsoft PWA for Resource Managers [½d]
Administrator Training Courses;
  1. EPM700-Microsoft EPM Application Administration [2d]
  2. EPM701-Microsoft EPM Infrastructure Administration Fundamentals [1d]
The training courses are provided off-site, on-site or on-line. For further information (course overviews and content details) contact: info@projectsolution.co.uk

How to improve Project Server 2007 database performance?

You have been using EPM for a while and recently started experiencing some performance issues? Perhaps the projects are taking longer to save or perhaps certain Project Centre views have stopped displaying projects….you get a message indicating ‘…there are no projects to display’. The reason may be fragmentation of database table indexes.

Over time you will experience database performance issues if they not properly maintained on a regular basis. Some of things to bear in mind when setting up the database maintenance plans are mentioned here. 

You can quickly indentify if there is any problem by running the following SQL query on the Draft and Published databases to determine the index fragmentation in the key tables.

Note: Feel free to run the query for other key tables if you wish for example msp_tasks, msp_assignments. In my experience the key indicator of problems has always been the index fragmentation of ‘msp_projects’ table. 

DBCC SHOWCONTIG (msp_projects)

And, run the following query on the Reporting database;

DBCC SHOWCONTIG (msp_epmproject)

Review of the result of the queries. The following example will help those who are not SQL DBAs/GURU!

Example output of the above query is shown below;

- Pages Scanned................................: 333557
- Extents Scanned..............................: 41805
- Extent Switches..............................: 262556
- Avg. Pages per Extent........................: 8.0
- Scan Density [Best Count:Actual Count].......: 15.88% [41695:262557]
- Logical Scan Fragmentation ..................: 75.11%
- Extent Scan Fragmentation ...................: 13.04%
- Avg. Bytes Free per Page.....................: 2853.9
- Avg. Page Density (full).....................: 64.74%

A low percentage for scan density is bad. A high percentage for logical scan fragmentation is bad. Further info on this can be found in the SQL online book.

To resolve the issue run the following queries on all the Project Server Databases. Rebuild Indexes in databases followed by updating Statistics. See below.

Note: If you are using project workspaces, then suggest you do the same on the content database(s).

Step (1) – Rebuild Index in Database

---T-SQL script which will rebuild each index of all tables of any particular database.
---Following script will work with SQL Server 2005 (SP2) and SQL Server 2008.
---It is simple cursor going over each table and rebuilding every index of database.

DECLARE @TableName VARCHAR(255)
DECLARE @sql NVARCHAR(500)
DECLARE @fillfactor INT
SET @fillfactor =
90
DECLARE TableCursor CURSOR FOR
SELECT OBJECT_SCHEMA_NAME([object_id])+'.'+name AS TableName
FROM sys.tables
OPEN TableCursor
FETCH NEXT FROM TableCursor INTO @TableName
WHILE @@FETCH_STATUS = 0
BEGIN
SET @sql = 'ALTER INDEX ALL ON ' + @TableName + ' REBUILD WITH (FILLFACTOR = ' + CONVERT(VARCHAR(3),@fillfactor) + ')'
EXEC (@sql)
FETCH NEXT FROM TableCursor INTO @TableName
END
CLOSE TableCursor
DEALLOCATE TableCursor
GO

Note: Keep the Fill Factor values between 75 and 100. I tend to leave this at 90 and works for me well. There are other considerations but I won’t bore you with all the superfluous details.

Step (2) – Update Statistics on Databases

sp_updatestats

Hope these precise steps helps all the EPM application administrators who have to double up as SQL DB administrators for their EPM deployment.

Note: Thoroughly test all changes on your test/development system prior to applying on live/production system.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

License type set to trial after loading Office Server Service Pack 2 (SP2) saga contd...

This is a continuation of licensing issue saga. Refer to previous post relating to this issue for background.
I had a query from a user who experienced this issue and received a ‘Failed’ message every time he entered the ‘correct’ license' key. Here is the full story…
 
The user logged in to SharePoint Central Admin (CA) site with own credentials, after upgrading to SP2, and noticed that the server was reset to trial mode.  See below.
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Tried to enter the correct license key but this failed to register.  Tried again a few times with no success i.e. failed every time.
The user then logged in to SharePoint CA with Shared Service Provider (SSP) credentials, deleted the ‘Trial Conversion Job’ and then tried to register the correct license key again.

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This time the operation was successful.

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Notice that the ‘Convert license type’ screen no longer indicates trial mode.

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Here is the moral of the story and a couple of key things to bear in mind when upgrading to SP2 and re-entering the license key';

  1. Ensure that you have the proper license keys to hand (either Project Server or SharePoint server) prior to progressing with SP2 upgrade.
  2. Always login to the SharePoint Central Admin (CA) site with SSP credentials when performing updates.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Duplicate projects appearing in categories?

if you have a requirement for users to be able to access projects within their division/department regardless of their location on Resource Breakdown Structure (RBS), i.e. projects added to custom Categories (division, departmental or location), then please read the following carefully. If not, this does not concern you.
 
You may encounter an issue of duplicate projects i.e. projects with the same name appearing in Categories. This is the behaviour of Project Sever 2007. You will see the same behaviour whether you use the manual approach of adding projects to categories or automatic i.e. programmatic.

Remember there are four Project Server Databases and you may be retaining multiple copies of projects in the Archive DB. When deleting projects you must consider deleting project (including versions) from the Archive DB, if not required. For example test projects or projects being re-created using the same name.

Note: Deleting projects from Draft & Published DB does not delete from the Archive DB, by default.

The ‘available projects’ section in Categories will show all projects in the system as they are permission objects/entities. Where you may be seeing multiple projects with the same name it may be as result of a project having been deleted and recreated with the same name in the Draft & Published without affecting the Archive DB. See example screen shot below of archived projects within PWA > Server Settings > Manage Categories > Custom Category.

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Consider the following scenario;

  1. Project1 created.
  2. System archives new/updated project overnight as this is a new project. Project1 now exists in Archive DB with its unique Project GUID. Note: This may be setup as automatic with say 1 or more retention copies.
  3. User deletes Project1 from Draft and Published (but not from the Archive database)
  4. User re-creates new project with the same name as before i.e. Project1.
  5. System archives new/updated project overnight as this is a new project. Project1 now exists in Archive DB with its new unique Project GUID. See example screen shot below of archived projects within PWA > Server Settings > Administrative Restore.

(click picture to enlarge)

Note: The end-users will only be able to see projects in Draft and Published (as per PWA permissions).

You can also review the list of archived project via PWA > Server Settings > Delete Enterprise Objects > Delete projects only from Archived database.

 

Friday, 22 May 2009

License type set to trial after loading Office Server Service Pack 2 (SP2)

Some of you may have already been informed by email regarding this. Those who are not aware of this issue please review this ALERT carefully! As this may affect you if you have already upgraded or are in the process of upgrading Project Server 2007 or MOSS. Note: The attached ALERT is an extract from Microsoft Support team.

Project Portfolio Server 2007 SP2?

For all those ‘die hard’ fans eagerly waiting for SP2 for PPS2007. Just received word that SP2 for PPS is now with an ETA of late June/early July. To be confirmed nearer the time.

I will keep you posted.

Taking Enterprise Project Offline - Recommended Steps

Want to take your Enterprise Project offline? Here are the recommended steps.
Note: Do not simply save your Enterprise project as .mpp file, work on it outside of EPM and then save the project back to project server using File > Save as option.

Taking a project offline

1. Connect to project server and open your project.

2. Click ‘connected’ status on Project professional and select ‘Work offline’.

3. File > Close

4. If there are changes choose to ‘Save’ and ‘Keep project checked out’.


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Working with offline project

5. To work on offline project start Project Professional and choose ‘Work offline’.


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6. File > Open and select your offline project from local cache.

7. If there are changes choose to ‘Save’ and ‘Keep project checked out’.

Bringing Enterprise Project on-line

8. To reconnect in the office, open the project in offline connect mode i.e. start Project Professional and choose ‘Work offline’.
9. Click ‘Offline’ status on Project professional and select ‘Connect to Server’


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Some Key Considerations when using offline Working Feature

You will be only be able to work within the limitations of the snapshot of the core Enterprise Configuration taken at the time of going offline. For example, when working offline;

  1. You will be limited to using the Project Team already created with Enterprise Resources i.e. you will not be able add more Resources from the central Enterprise Resource Pool.
  2. You will not be able to use the Enterprise Templates to create new projects.

What you will be able to do;

  1. Modify the project schedule as necessary (in its entirety if required).
  2. Assign/re-assign Enterprise resources, from the Project Team, to new and existing tasks.
  3. Update Enterprise attribute values (i.e. custom field values) for Project and Tasks.
  4. Use Enterprise view for monitoring & track project schedule and budget/cost.
  5. You can add local resources and then replace when online with Enterprise Resources.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Where have my changes gone? Creating local project views

Have you every inserted a column/field in ‘Gantt Chart’ view within Project professional only to find that this no longer exists next time you re-open your project from project server? If you spent a couple of hours configuring a project view and this happened, then you may not be pleased! Perhaps you may vent your frustration and anger on your computer……

The reason this happens is because Enterprise Views such as ‘Gantt Chart’ can only be modified by the administrators who have access rights to modify Enterprise Global.

If you want to keep local project configuration changes i.e. for views, tables filter and groups, you must ensure that these local project entities are named differently to Enterprise entities. For example create a copy of the Enterprise Table ‘Entry’ and rename to ‘Contoso_Entry’ before modifying.

How do I create a local project view?

It is important to remember that a View comprises of;

1. Table

2. Group

3. Filter

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Some users do not appreciate this and simply create a custom view not understanding that the associated Table is still an Enterprise Table.

Recommended steps to create local project views

Here are recommended steps for creating a new local view from scratch. In the example below, we will create a custom view for scheduling timephased costs for cost type resource ‘Consultancy’.

Step (1): Make a copy of an existing Enterprise Table for example Usage.

- Navigate to View > Task Usage View

- Select ‘More Tables’ from View > Table menu

- Select ‘Usage’ and Click ‘Copy’

- Name the new Table appropriately.

- Tick show in menu

- Within Field Name you can insert new fields or remove existing fields. Note: I prefer to do this after the table is created and associated with the new view. See step (5) below.

- Click ‘Ok’

Step (2): Make a copy of an existing Enterprise view for example Task Usage.

- Navigate to View > Task Usage View

- Select More Views from View menu

- Select Task Usage and Click Copy

- Name the new View appropriately.

- Associate the new table created in step (1) above.

- Leave default Group ‘No Group’. See note below.

- Select a built-in filter for example ‘Incomplete Tasks’. See note below.

- Tick show in menu

- Click ‘Ok’

Note: just as you can create a custom table, you can create a custom filter or group. I will post some additional info regarding this later.

Now we are ready to make some finishing touches.

Step (4): Select newly created view from the View menu.

Step (5): Modify newly created view and associated table

- Right click on field/column ‘Work’ and click ‘Insert Column’.

- Within the ‘Column Definition’ dialog box select field name ‘Cost’

- Align Title and Data as required.

- Click ‘Ok’

- Next, we need to add timephased assignment field ‘Cost’. This is done by right clicking on the right-hand side of the splitter bar and then selecting ‘Cost’

That’s it!! We can now start adding timephased costs for Cost Type Resource e.g. ‘Consultancy’ in our newly created local custom view.
 

Save and Check-in your Enterprise project.

Considerations

It is important to remember that a custom local project configuration will remain with the Enterprise project. This will not be available to other users or your other projects unless you choose to copy this configuration from project to project.
 
If there is a requirement to share the best practice configuration then the options are;
1. Migrate/configure the required view in Enterprise Global. Note: If you do not have appropriate access right, then pass on your local project file copy to your administrator to migrate the configuration to the Enterprise so that others can benefit.
 
2. If the above option is not feasible simply because there will be very many Enterprise views and/or different nature of works undertaken by various divisions, then the alternative is to migrate or create the local view within divisional Enterprise Project Template(s). This way, only the projects created from the divisional template will inherit the division specific project pro views.

My Tasks – Why do I see completed Tasks/Assignments in Current View?

Some of you may have encountered this issue before. If not already, then you will soon!
The definition of Current tasks should be in-progress, overdue and assignments due to start within set number of days as configured by administrator.

Consider a scenario, where a task/assignment in My Tasks is completed. This is done either by the Project Manager (owner) directly in the plan or the team member via collaborative task updates. When you next navigate to PWA > My Tasks to view current tasks, you will see the competed assignment. Over time, this list will get longer and longer as the number of projects are completed. Now, imagine if your business processes involved EPM timesheeting. When you Add Lines, your list will look enormous.


(click picture to enlarge)

Best Practises for dealing with this issue


Here are some of the best practice step when completing tasks/activities.
After updating the project with actuals (or % complete), Project Managers/Owners should;

  1. Set the ‘Publish’ flag for completed tasks to ‘No'. Note: use built-in filter to quickly identify completed tasks.
  2. Save Project
  3. Publish project
  4. File > Close and Check-in




(click picture to enlarge)


Doing this will stop the completed Tasks from appearing in My Tasks and My Timesheets. voilà…..sorted!!

It does involve a structured approach to ‘closing’ completed project activities/tasks but it pays off in the end.

Note: The alternative is to set the Project Resource ‘Booking Type’ to ‘Proposed’. I would not recommend this as this conflicts with Resource Management processes.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Why Can’t I add Timephased Actuals in My Tasks following SP2 Upgrade?

Does your EPM business process include adding timephased actuals in My Tasks i.e. not via My Timesheets?. If so, you may want to read about the following changes in SP2.
If, however, your EPM business process involves capturing actuals via My Timesheets and then importing timesheets to update task progress in MyTasks, then this does not affect you.

Pre SP2 Scenario

Prior to SP2, even if the Task Tracking Method was set to ‘Percent of Work Complete’, users could enter timephased actual in My Tasks. This was a flaw in the system. This feature should only have been available for projects with Task Tracking Method of ‘Hours of work done per period’.

Note: Light weight projects i.e. ‘Proposals and Activity Plans’ have Task Tracking Method hard coded to ‘Percent of Work Complete’. There is no means for project managers/users to change to any of the other method of Task Tracking.

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Post SP2 Scenario

Users/Team Members will not be able to enter timephased actuals directly in My Tasks if project Task Tracking Method is set to ‘Percent of Work Complete’. This flaw has been resolved in SP2. Users who had previously been able to do this may not see this as a positive change. This also applies to users of light weight projects i.e. ‘Proposals and Activity Plans’ as they have Task Tracking Method hard coded to ‘Percent of Work Complete’. The timephased actuals field will be disabled. See example below.

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For projects planned using Project Professional, users need to ensure that correct Task Tracking Method is used i.e. ‘Hours of work done per period’. For light weight projects, users will need to use My Timesheets to capture actuals and then import timesheets to update task progress in MyTasks.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

EPM2007 Post SP2 Apr CU – Fixes and Verification

You may be aware that post SP2 April CU was released towards end of April.
Issues that are fixed by this HF package are detailed below;

Project Server

1

When you edit a custom field through PWA for a project plan that has in-progress tasks, and then you reopen the project in Project 2007, the duration and percentage complete for these tasks are unexpectedly changed.

2

After you accept updates for assignments, Project 2007 shows different contours for actual work and for actual overtime work. If you save and publish the project, the resource's timesheet on the My Tasks page shows the same incorrect contours.

3

By default, the booking type for all resources is Proposed. This may cause issues. For example, assume that the resource booking type is set to Proposed for the enterprise resource. However, in the project, the same resource’s booking type is set to Committed. After you change the details about the resource and then publish the project plan, the booking type in the project changes back to Proposed. Therefore, resource pending updates for that project are lost. Additionally, resources cannot see their work on the My Tasks page.

4

Milestone becomes 100-percent completed if one of the following conditions is true:

· You use the QueueUpdateProject Project Server Interface (PSI) method two times to update the task constraint date.

· An update is made to a predecessor task.

5

On the approvals page, the timephased view starts at the beginning of the affected tasks instead of the date range where the new updates are at. For example, assume that you have a task that begins January 1 and ends December 31. Also assume that it is now May, and when you visit the updates page, you see the timescale starting in January instead of in May. This means that you have to scroll to the new May updates.

6

On the My Tasks page in Project Web Access (PWA), you perform grouping on one or two fields. In the list of tasks or assignments, if the leaf on which the grouping is performed is clicked, no tasks or assignments are displayed. Additionally, you receive the following error message:

The indicated project is not available in Project Centre.

7

After you accept updates and periods on the My Tasks page, an actual work contour of 0 hours is added to dates after the last date that has actual work for some assignments. This causes actual work to redistribute across the period.

8

When you set the site regional settings as Swedish, Norwegian, or Finnish in PWA, the sorting order in the Select Task – Webpage Dialog box is incorrect if one or more of the Å, Ä, or Ö characters is included in a project name.
In this situation, the sorting order in the Select Task – Webpage Dialog box starts by listing all the projects first, followed by all tasks.

9

When you visit the Assignment Details page directly from the My Tasks view, the Gantt Chart is always set to use the date range of the current date instead of the range that is set in My Tasks view.

10

On some assignments, when a task update that has actual work hours is submitted from PWA and accepted by the project manager, additional hours of actual work are incorrectly added to that assignment.

11

On the My Tasks page in PWA, if the data is displayed as being timephased, and any grouping is applied, you may receive the following error message when you try to print the view:

The "TaskPart" Web Part appears to be causing a problem. Object reference not set to an instance of an object.
Web Parts Maintenance Page: If you have permission, you can use this page to temporarily close Web Parts or remove personal settings. For more information, contact your site administrator.
Troubleshoot issues with Windows SharePoint Services.

12

If an enterprise resource task assignment has 0 hours of work associated with it, the values that you see for the summary resource assignments under the Other Projects and Commitments in the Resource Usage view may not match.

13

When you search specific Korean characters on the Edit Project Properties page, you may receive the following error message:

This project is currently checked out. No edits can be made to it while it is checked out.

Note This issue does not occur on the Manage User page when you search the same characters. The same issue also occurs in an English-language environment if you search some Chinese characters.

14

On the My Tasks page, you enter time on the Gantt Chart for a multiple-week task. However, after you click Save All, some time may not be saved.

15

When you delete a timesheet line in PWA and then add another line, the added line is empty. Additionally, you receive the following error message:

While communicating with the project server an error occurred. Check connectivity with your administrator to determine if further action is necessary.

16

The Resource Assignment page returns no data when the filter that is applied is based on an enterprise custom field.

17

When you delete resources in PWA or through the PSI, the deletion fails, but no error is returned to tell you why the deletion failed.

PWA version – Check the version of PWA via SITE SETTINGS, should read: 12.0.0.6504.
(click picture to enlarge)
Project Server Database Version Table. The alternative is to check the Project Server Database Version Table. Right click on the Version table and select ‘Open Table’.
The version should read: 12.0.6503.5000.
(click picture to enlarge)
I would recommend checking all the four Project Server databases rather than simply focusing on the Published DB. The version number should be the same in all the four DBs.

Project Professional 2007
This update should put the final 'nail in the coffin’ for the on-going project ‘check-in pending' issue.

1

In Project 2007, in the Open dialog box, when you sort projects by using the Last Modified field, the sorting is incorrect.

2

In the Task Usage view, the ACWP field is not displayed correctly in the grid pane.

3

After you accept updates and periods on the My Tasks page, 0 hour actual work contours are added to dates after the last date that has actual work for some assignments. This causes actual work to redistribute across the period.

4

After you perform a recalculation, task names disappear if a certain grouping type exists in the project plan.

5

Baseline values are reset when you save an .eds file to the server.

6

In Project Web Access (PWA), you check in a project. Then, you open this project in Project 2007. However, this project displays a status of "Check-in pending."

7

Project 2007 returns unexpected leveling results when you level on a day-by-day basis in Project 2007.

8

A project file together with child project is not checked in when you click the Close button (the "X" at the top of the window) to exit Project 2007.

9

If the total value length of a field exceeds 255 characters, you cannot filter custom fields.

To check if Project Professional 2007 has been upgraded correctly, review the version under Help > About Microsoft Office Project.
The version should read: 12.0.6503.5000

(click picture to enlarge)

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Thinking about upgrading to IE8? Known Issues

If you use EPM2007 and are thinking about upgrading to IE8, you will experience a visual issue in PWA > Home Page. The 'Reminders' and 'Project Workspace' webparts do not expand to the full extent of the window.
Note: Microsoft is aware of this issue. I am sure this will be resolved in the next cumulative update (CU).


click to enlarge

There are no known functionality/data related issues.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Status Reports – Users not able to view cc’d Responses?

Here is another thing that catches users out.

Users without appropriate rights will not be able to view CC'd Status Reports.


Note: click to enlarge figure
The users need to have the Global Permission enabled for ‘Edit Status Report Request’.

Dos and Don’ts of OLAP Reporting – Configuration Guidelines & Best Practise

I am often asked why certain custom fields don’t appear in OLAP reports/views. Here are some things to bear in mind. Hope this helps.

Dos

Carefully read the customization rules (detailed below) prior to specifying custom fields as dimensions or measures. More to the point, before specifying/designing custom fields for your reporting needs it very important to understand these rules.

Don’ts

Do not simply add all the custom fields to the cube i.e. more than actually needed for your reporting purposes. If you are not sure and add many unnecessary custom fields to the cube data, this will adversely affect performance.

Customisation Rules

Specifying dimensions and measures for cubes involves the use of Project Server custom fields. There are some restrictions when using custom fields as dimensions and measures. You must observe customization rules when adding a custom field as a dimension or measure to a Office Project Server 2007 OLAP cube. These rules include:

Custom Fields as dimensions

  • Must have roll up set to ‘None’
  • If type is TEXT must have a look up table. Dimensions support custom fields with lookup tables
  • Dimensions support Flag custom fields (which cannot have a lookup table).
  • Multi-value custom fields cannot be included in a cube. They are not supported because of a limitation in Analysis Services.

Custom Fields as measures

  • Measures support only Cost, Duration, and Number custom fields.
  • Must have roll up set to ‘Sum’
  • Date, Flag and Text CF are not supported as measures
  • You cannot add custom fields with formulas.
  • Use Calculated Measures for Minimum, Maximum, Average…
  • Task custom fields with a lookup table cannot roll up to summary tasks and cannot be used as measures.
  • Only custom fields without lookup tables can be measures for Task entities. Custom fields either with or without lookup tables can be measures for Resource or Project entities.
  • If Task custom fields have a Sum rollup for task summary rows, they can be measures.

You cannot add custom fields as measures for the time-phased cubes.

Fields that have an Assignment roll-down and attributes set to None can be dimensions or measures.

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

My Tasks - Grouping Funtionality (New feature)

A new feature has been added to 'My Tasks' with the SP2 update. We now have the capability to group tasks. However, the filtering functionality in this view seems to have not made it.

click to enlarge

Monday, 4 May 2009

Service Pack 2 for EPM2007 - How to verify installation?

After the installation of SP2, the following methods can be used to confirm if the updates have been successfully applied;

Server;

1) PWA version – Check the version of PWA via SITE SETTINGS

The version should read: 12.0.0.6421.



2) Project Server Database Version Table. The alternative is to check the Project Server Database Version Table. Right click on the Version table and select ‘Open Table’.
The version should read: 12.0.6422.1000
I would recommend checking all the four Project Server databases rather than simply focusing on the Published DB. The version number should be the same in all the four DBs.
Note: I have experienced a situation where the ProjectServer_Reporting DB failed to upgrade in Step 8 of 9.



Client;
To check if Project Professional 2007 has been upgraded correctly, review the version under Help > About Microsoft Office Project.
The version should read: 12.0.6423.1000


Note: The SP2 update includes all the updates upto and including Feb CU.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Service Pack 2 for Project Professional & Project Server 2007

The key changes/updates for Project Professional and Project Server 2007 are detailed below.

Key Updates for Project professional;

Enhancements/DCR;

For those who have struggled with issue of ordering of Enterprise Project Templates, you will be pleased to hear that this is now fixed with SP2.


Also refer to previous post regarding this. http://microsoftepmsolution.com/2009/04/ordering-enterprise-project-templates.html

Summary of Issues Fixed;

There are a number of changes to improve stability and reliability. Summary is shown below;

  1. Language packs - Fields that were inaccessible from within Project pro are available
  2. Active Cache checkin pending issues
  3. Saving to previous versions of mpp file formats
  4. scheduling engine fixes, VBA issues and Gantt Chart Problems

See below for full list of changes to Project Standard/Professional 2007;

1

Consider the scenario in which a project has been edited and saved by one user and then while that user has the project open, it is force checked in. Then, a second user opens the project and clicks Cancel on the message telling them that the project has been modified by another user. The second user opens it again and instead of seeing the message again, the project opens, and the edits of the first user are lost.

2

Custom code that uses the Project object model to update custom field lookup tables did not perform quickly. For instance, code that updates 1000 lookup table records that used to take about two minutes now takes a few seconds.

3

For Project Professional languages that support phonetics, the custom field "Add Field to Enterprise" functionality does not work if a custom field has a lookup table and if any of the phonetic values are blank.

4

If changes are made and saved to a checked-out offline project and then the project is published immediately after Project Professional is connected back to the server, Project may not actually publish the information.

5

If the Active Cache size limit is exceeded when you save an already-open project, you receive a warning message telling you the cache size has been exceeded. However, the project is not saved.

6

If you assign a cost resource to a task using the resource initials field, Project crashes.

7

If you have a Fixed Units task with a Must Finish On constraint, when you edit timephased actual overtime work, the task behaves like a Fixed Work task instead. This means that when you change the task's duration, the assignment's units change instead of the work value.

8

If you have nested subprojects and you open the top level master projects as read-only, the nested subprojects may get opened with read-write access instead of being opened read-only.

9

If you save a project to the XML file format, and you have a resource where the maximum units are less than 100 percent, the maximum units change to 0 percent or to 100 percent when the XML file is opened.

10

If you save to the 2003 MPP format, you may find that tasks you deleted reappear as blank rows. For example, you have three tasks, T1, T2, and T3, with IDs 1, 2, and 3. You delete T2. Instead of T3 becoming task ID 2, it is still task ID 3, and a blank row is where T2 used to belong.

11

If you use the Gantt Chart Wizard, the Gantt bar names as seen in the Bar Styles dialog box are changed to unrecognizable characters.

12

In Project 2007, you open a Project 2003 MPP file that contains a large lookup table. This may take a very long time.

13

In some cases, when a project is saved to the server and the save process fails, the next time you try to save the project, not all changes are saved.

14

In some situations, a project's data can get damaged in the local cache. After this happens, Project may still attempt to save the bad data to the Project server and may fail in the process. Then, you receive error messages that resemble the following:
<error id="12005" name="ActiveCacheQueuedMessageExecutionError" Violation of PRIMARY KEY constraint 'PK_MSP_PROJECT_CALENDARS'. Cannot insert duplicate key in object 'MSP_PROJECT_CALENDARS'. Violation of PRIMARY KEY constraint 'PK_MSP_PROJECT_CALENDARS'.
Now, Project goes through a process to fix the data before saving.

15

In the French, Portuguese, Polish and Hungarian language versions of Project Professional, when you insert a field into a task or resource views you see an error message stating that the field does not exist.

16

Because of password encoding/decoding changes in Project 2007, when you add and remove passwords from the same project file by using the "Save As" function, the passwords may become damaged, and you cannot open the files. As an example, you have a password associated with a project, and you Save As to remove the password. Later, you open the file, but you are prompted for a password. No matter what you enter, you cannot open the file

17

On some projects, when you attempt to level them on a day-by-day basis, Project hangs.

18

Password protection is removed from an MPP file, and during the process, you Save As the file to a new name. When you open the file a subsequent time, you are prompted to enter a password, and you are unable to open the project.

19

Project Professional may crash if you set a task to use a dependency on a deliverable. This occurs if the deliverable has been deleted from the SharePoint list but the project hasn't yet been updated to reflect this change.

20

Project Professional may crash in the following scenario. While connected to a server, you create, save, and close a project. Later, you delete the project from your local cache, and then while working offline, you create and save a project with the same name. Later, when Project Professional goes back online, it crashes.

21

Some formulas don't work correctly when the system list separator is a semicolon. As an example, the following formula works correctly when the list separator is a comma but fails when it is a semicolon:
Switch(([duration]=1 or [duration]=3)=true;"one";([duration]=2 or [duration]=4)=true;"two";[duration]>4;"more")

22

The ProjectBeforeSave event may not work correctly if a project is being closed as a part of the save process. The error "Run-time error '1004': An unexpected error occurred with this method." is seen.

23

The results of sorting and renumbering a task or resource list are not saved. For example, a task's ID equals 5, and after sorting and renumbering, the ID equals 2. After saving and reopening the project, you find that the ID equals 5 instead of 2.

24

When additional work is added to assignments that are on fixed duration tasks, the new work is spread incorrectly over a longer duration than expected. For instance, if you have an assignment that has 24h of actual work and then you increase the work to 32h, instead of the work being spread over an additional day, it is spread over three additional days.

25

When fixed costs are assigned to summary tasks, the accrual may not be correct. Instead of the cost getting spread across the task's duration, it gets spread to the earliest finish date of any of the summary task's subtasks.

26

When you enter a time-phased zero (0) Actual Overtime Work value at the beginning of an assignment, the assignment remaining work does not get rescheduled properly. Instead, the zero Actual Overtime Work entry is ignored and the work is not rescheduled.

27

When you save from Project Professional or from Project Standard to the XML file format, a resource's Maximum Units value is not saved correctly. For example, if a resource's Maximum Units value is set to 50 percent, the value changes to 100 percent when you save it to the XML file format.

28

You cannot set a task dependency predecessor or successor lag time by using VBA. For example, you run the following code:
ActiveSelection.Tasks(1).TaskDependencies.Add From:=ActiveProject.Tasks(1), Type:=pjStartToStart, Lag:="2d"
When you do this, you receive the following error message:
Run-time error '1101';
The argument value is not valid.

29

You have a resource with multiple cost rate tables defined. You are working in the Resource Usage view, where you see the timephased cost both at the assignment and resource level. Next, you change the assignment to use a different cost rate table. After this change, you see the new cost on the assignment, but it has not rolled up to the resource. Changing the view and coming back shows the correct value.

30

You start Project Professional, and you connect to a server profile in the offline mode. Later in Project Professional, you select the Work Offline command to go back online. But, Project Professional still says offline.

31

Your project has task durations that are less than one day, and you save to the XML format. When you open the XML file, these durations are changed to one day (1d).


Key Updates for Project Server 2007;

There are a number of changes to improve security, stability and performance. Summary is shown below;

Enhancements/DCR;

None.

Summary of Issues Fixed;

  1. Queue Service – modified to prevent consumption of large amounts of memory
  2. Database indexes have changed to improve performance
  3. fixes to Cost resource issues. Proper handling off tasks that have other resource types assigned to same task
  4. Fixes to resource plan, build team and scheduling engine

See below for full list of changes to Project Server 2007;

1

The cost on assignments increases unexpectedly. This occurs if all the following conditions are true: the cost resources accrual method is set to Start or to End, there is a work type resource assigned to the same task, and you update the work in the My Tasks view.

2

When you have a cost and work resource that is assigned to a task, and you update the work resource in the My Tasks view, the cost contour of the cost resource may be incorrectly changed.

3

You may be unable to see a user's RBS value on the Manage User's page if your browser's primary language preference is different from the Project Server's primary language.

4

Under some conditions, when you edit and then save a custom field on the Project Properties page, the process fails, and an error similar to the following is found in the Universal Logging Service (ULS) logs:
System.ArgumentException: Value was either too large or too small for a Decimal.Couldn't store <NaN> in NUM_VALUE Column. Expected type is Decimal. ---> System.OverflowException: Value was either too large or too small for a Decimal.

5

In the My Tasks view, if you display work in day units and your project's calendar is set to less or more than eight hours per day, the work value you see in the My Tasks view is displayed incorrectly. For instance, your project is set where one day equals 7 hours, and in My Tasks you enter 7 hours on a given day. After recalculation, the work appears as .875d instead of as 1d.

6

When certain projects that have invalid baseline data are saved to Project Server, the process fails, and you see an error message with details similar to the following:
"An unhandled exception occurred in WinProj.SaveProject."><error id="42"

7

You add the local StartX and FinishX custom fields to your project and publish. Then, you set dates to these fields in the My Tasks view. Later, you submit a change, and your manager accepts and then publishes the project. When you look at these fields in the My Tasks view, the dates you entered are missing.

8

When you provision a Project Web Access site, you are able to specify an instance of SQL Server for the Reporting database that is different from the database for the Archive, Draft, and Publish databases. If you edit the site properties, you can change the location of the Reporting database only one time. The next time you try, the option to do so is disabled.

9

You create a material resource with a cost value, assign it to a task with units greater than one, and then publish the task. You perform a query against the Project Server reporting database. When you compare the returned results from the TPAssignmentByDay table, you find that the value is different from the assignment cost seen in Project Professional.

10

You created an enterprise custom field and applied a formula to it. You selected the option to have summary tasks use the formula. Later, in the Project Details view, you look at the values on the summary task and find that the summary level does not have the correct value.

11

Consider the case in which you have an enterprise custom task field that you populate in Project Professional and then publish. You go to the My Tasks view, change the value for the custom field, and then submit the change to your manager. Once the manager accepts the update, you look at the task in your My Tasks view, and you notice that the value for the custom field reverted back to the previous value.

12

Project Center views that filter on enterprise custom fields and that use the "Does Not Equals" operator do not work correctly. Instead of seeing a list of filtered projects, you see no projects.

13

When there are around 5000 status updates waiting to be processed, performance degrades and the Project Server database shows a substantial increase in deadlocks.

14

If your timesheet title includes extended characters, when you import a timesheet into the My Tasks view, these extended characters do not appear correctly.

15

A formula is associated with an enterprise custom field. Later, the formula is invalidated, such as can happen when a field the formula relies on is deleted. As expected, the formula fails. However, other valid field formulas may also stop calculating. Now, the failure of one formula does not affect the calculation of other unrelated formulas.

16

When you work on the timesheet approval page and you approve a timesheet, a dialog box prompts you to choose the next approver. Certain extended characters in the approver's name may not appear correctly. For example, the letter "ø" appears as "�".

17

When you create a Resource Center view, there's an RBS filtering option that says "Filter Resources to user's RBS branch." This option does not work. Therefore, when a Resource Center view that has this option enabled is applied, instead of seeing only those resources that are in your RBS branch, you may see all resources.

18

Timesheets are created by team members to report time they have worked on tasks as well as nonproject administrative-type tasks. Once a timesheet is created, however, the project tasks are not updated to reflect the addition of tasks by a project manager

19

When you restore a project using the Administrative restore process, if a different project with the same name exists in the draft database, a conflict can arise with a resulting failure.

20

Loading the Build Team page in Project Web Access may take a long time depending on how many resources there are. For instance, previously it may have taken a couple of minutes to load, and now it takes a matter of seconds.

21

You work in the My Tasks view, and you create a new task. On the New Task page, you enter a start date, and you set work equal to zero because you are trying to create a milestone task. When you click submit, you see a message similar to the following:
Value must equal or exceed minimum value.

22

If a task with a cost resource assigned to it is published, the e-mail notification associated with the published task fails.

23

You install a hotfix or a cumulative update that includes new client Project Web Access controls (Pjclient.cab or Pjcintl.cab). You go to PWA to a location, such as the Project Center, and you are prompted to update the controls, and so you do this. However, after the process finishes, you find that the fix that you expect to see does not seem to be working. Under certain conditions, the new controls are not installed correctly. Therefore, even though you have installed the hotfix or update correctly, you are still using the old controls.

24

Several Project Server database performance fixes have been made, as well as performance fixes on various Project Web Access pages. For the database, it was found, for instance, that some tables and stored procedures that needed indexes were missing them, or in other cases, the indexes were not correct. As a result, a number of queries that used to take 30-40 seconds now run in 1-2 seconds. Additionally, a page like the Add or Edit Group page now takes seconds to populate the Available Users list instead of taking several minutes.

25

The Project Web Access resource plan page may not show the correct date format in the From and To fields or on the timescaled grid. For instance, if your regional settings are set such that dates are in the dd/mm/yy format, the dates in the resource plan always appear in the mm/dd/yy format.

26

Fixed-duration tasks that are scheduled on the server may cause resource assignments to get additional work when the tasks' duration is increased. For example, you have a fixed-duration task scheduled for today and tomorrow, but the assignment only works today. When the duration is increased, the assignment incorrectly gets additional work added to it.

27

Consider this scenario. Your manager creates a period status report, and you submit a report. Later, your manager deletes the status report request. However, you continue to see the periodic request for the status report. If you try to open one of the requests, you see the message "You do not have sufficient permissions to view the specified page. Please contact your administrator for permissions to view this page."

28

Under certain conditions and especially on farms where there are lots of workspaces and sites, the Project Queue service can leak memory leading to memory starvation on the server. Once the memory is leaked, the Queue service has to be restarted in order to free up the memory.

29

In rare cases, the Project Details Web part can be removed from the Project Details page. Once this happens, there's no user interface within Project Web Access to add it back.

30

You enter your work on the My Tasks view and you have the Timesphased view enabled. You also have tasks that are tracked on a Percent of Work and Actual and Remaining Work basis. In this case, you are incorrectly able to enter timephased work for these types of tasks.

31

When you compare the cost resource actual cost values in Project Professional with those in the Project Server reporting database MSP_EpmAssignmentByDay table, you see various rounding differences.

32

In some cases, database changes that are shipped as a part of an update are not applied correctly. This can happen most often if you provision a new empty Project Web Site on a server that has had database updates applied to it.

33

If you have a fixed-duration task where the assignment begins after the task's start date and if you enter a new start date for the assignment in the My Tasks view that is later than the assignment's start date, you may see progress and actual duration applied when they should not be.

34

On a fixed-duration task, if you enter time-phased actual work in the My Tasks view where the you complete all work earlier than the task's finish date, the remaining duration may be calculated incorrectly.

35

If you report and submit time from your My Tasks view but then your manager rejects the update, if your manager included comments with the rejection, the notification e-mail that is sent to you does not contain your manager's comments.

36

When you use the Korean version of Project Server 2007, you may see an error message similar to the following when you save changes on the Edit Project Properties page:
The following cost custom field has erroneous data: CF_Cost
The following date custom field has erroneous data: CF_Date
The value for the custom field is not a valid date, or it is outside the range for dates, which is January 1, 1984 through December 31, 2049.
This may occur for any enterprise project level date or cost field.

37

When you search for users on the Manage Users administrative page by using extended characters such as ä, ü, and ö, no users are found.

38

When projects are renamed, the summary resource assignment associated with the project may not get updated properly. Therefore, you end up with duplicate records in the reporting database. For instance, for a given assignment, you may see one record associated with the old project name and one for the new project name.

39

When the server queue service calls business processes that cause resource calendars to be loaded, the calendars may not get unloaded. Therefore, after time, the queue service may consume large amounts of memory.

40

Some Fixed Duration tasks that get scheduled on the server may lose progress. As an example, a task that was 100% complete becomes 99% complete because the task's finish date gets increased by a minute.

41

Consider the case in which you have two fixed duration tasks that have dependencies between them and they have resources assigned. Additionally, the dependent task has progress applied to it. These tasks are published to Project Server. In Project Web Access, you add actual work to the already partially completed assignment. But, upon recalculation, you find that actual work has actually decreased.

42

You have a fixed duration task that has a dependency to another ask. The task has progress applied to it. On the server, the progress on the task is reduced, but the change is ignored.

43

When an update is installed on Project Server, the Project Server Queue and Event services are not stopped while the update occurs.

44

When you try to provision a new Project Web access site, the process may fail. However, when you edit the failed site and try to correct the errors, you receive an error message that resembles the following: “The Project Web Access site specified can not be created because a site by that name already exists. Enter another Project Web Access path and try again.”

45

The Project Web Access Timesheet "Replace Actual with Planned" feature does not work. Instead of copying the planned work into the actual work fields, nothing happens. This feature worked correctly prior to the Infrastructure Update release.

46

You use the Active Directory Enterprise Resource Pool Synchronization function in Project Server. You try to troubleshoot some errors that you find in the Universal Logging Service (ULS) log. But, you cannot do this because the messages aren't correct and are missing some parameters necessary to understand the problem.

47

When provisioning a new Project Web Access site, databases that are versioned newer than the Farm could be used. Now, this scenario is blocked. You can provision a new PWA site using existing databases if database versions are older or equal to the Farm version.

48

When you work on the Project Web Access Resource Plan page, if you sort the grid of resources, the resource plan gets inadvertently checked back in and prevents you from saving the changes you made.

49

When more than one task in a project gets marked as the project summary task, the project and its tasks are not viewable in Project Web Access.

50

On long running Project Server Interface (PSI) calls involving timesheets, a process lock may expire and may cause problems. Hotfix 21266 that was previously released addresses this issue. However, there has never been a Universal Logging Service (ULS) entry to alert you to such problems. Now, if similar write lock timeout problems occur, the ULS log will contain an entry with details similar to the following:
"ProjectHasWriteLock:TimeOut Exceeded; Ignoring Write Lock"

51

You install Project Server 2007 into a farm on a Windows Server 2008-based computer where User Account Control (UAC) is enabled. Additionally, the SharePoint timer service and the Shared Service Provider (SSP) service accounts are different. In this case, the Project Queue service may fail to start. Therefore, no jobs are processed in the queue.

52

When status updates are accepted and applied on the server, the time to process them may be very long. For instance, an update that used to take 30 minutes now takes just a few minutes.

53

A number of functions in Project Web Access (PWA), such as the Project Center "Edit Project Properties" and "Resource Plan" functions, are disabled if the PWA site's regional locale settings are set to locations such as German (Switzerland).

54

When you save a resource plan that has been applied to a Proposals or Activities project, you may see a message similar to:
General error: An invalid value was passed to Project Server (Use this error information along with other errors to find out the cause of the problem.)
General error: Work value used is invalid. (Use this error information along with other errors to find out the cause of the problem.)
This problem occurs if you enter a value and then you later clear the value and attempt to save the resource plan.

55

If Project Server contains a formula that has a graphical indicator, and this graphical indicator contains a reference to another field, or the graphical indicator contains a Date or Duration constant value like "10d" or "5/1/08," the graphical indicator does not calculate.

56

If the Create New Proposal or Activity global permission has been denied, you still see the Proposals and Activities link in the global quick launch pane. Additionally you can click the Proposal and Activity menu options on the New menu in the Project Center view. Clicking any of these items produces an Error page which says you don't have sufficient permissions to the specified page.

57

The My Tasks view shows deleted tasks with a strikethrough font adornment. When you export these tasks to Excel, they do not properly show the strikethrough.

58

When the duration of a fixed-duration task is changed and calculated on Project Server, the work on assignments behaves like a Fixed Work task instead of like a Fixed Duration task. For instance, a 5d fixed-duration task with 40h of work on an assignment gets changed to 10d. Instead of the work increasing the 80h, it remains at 40h.


Contact me if you want to learn about WSS and SharePoint fixes/changes.