Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Microsoft EPM - Managing Programs/Master Projects, Part2 - Key Considerations

The use of Master Projects should be considered when;

- Consolidated schedule status (including Critical Path) reporting is required across multiple 'modular' projects (team plans)

- Simultaneous access to sets of activities by multiple users is required

- Managing very large projects with thousands of tasks/activities

- There is a requirement for managing Project Artifacts (project documents, Risks and Issues) from a common location

- There is a need to collaborate on dependencies across projects or large distinct phases/sets of activities

- There is a need to manage resource overallocation and prioritisation of projects

In the next post, we will review the options for ‘External Project Dependency Management’ within Microsoft EPM.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Microsoft EPM - Managing Programs/Master Projects, Part1 - Background

The term Master Project within EPM is a carryover from the earlier versions of Project. This is sometimes referred to as a program, portfolio of related projects, or simply a collection of projects say for reporting purposes.

There are times where a user may need to look at several projects at once to gauge the impact of a change to all of the related projects in one instance. Alternatively, the user may wish to use the consolidated project function to create a combined view across multiple projects to re- allocate resources so that any overallocations are addressed.

The concept of Master Project for a single user using Project Standard, i.e. with outside the Enterprise, is simpler as compared to when using this feature within the enterprise. An enterprise system is a collaborative environment where there are multiple Project Managers/Owners involved. When using the Master Project concept within EPM2007, certain best practices need to be adhered to. These will be detailed in the following posts. So, stay tuned.

Can Projects be considered ‘Archived’ by simply adding them to a special ‘deny’ Security Category in EPM?

I was asked earlier by an EPM administrator if this was an option to consider. My answer to him was, ‘it depends…..

This maybe an option in very small deployments with limited requirements. If you are planning to use this approach, you need to carefully consider the following;
    This process is not Archiving, but merely hiding projects i.e. making it not visible to users. These projects will still exist in the live databases.
    Build up of Projects, over-time, in the system may start effecting system performance. Conversely, it may be a small deployment but holding few very large projects with extended durations and assignments. If these completed projects are not archived and removed from your live databases, they will start hampering your system performance.
    Your Disaster Recovery will be dependent on the size of your live databases.
    With this approach, the completed projects are hidden, hence there is no instant access to associated project Workspaces i.e. no continued access to important project documents from within PWA environment unless you manually make a note of the URLs.
    Reporting capability will be hampered by the clutter/build-up of completed projects in the live databases over time.
    Admin over-head of manually adding projects to ‘deny’ security category. Or, additional expense of custom code/tool which automates this addition, but still providing limited capability mentioned above.

Hope this clarification helps.

Friday, 18 February 2011

SharePoint Foundation 2010 - the trial period for this product has expired!!

Have you installed SharePoint Foundation with Search Express? Don't panic if you see this warning message in Central Admin. Below is an explanation from Microsoft along with the Workaround.


This is a false alarm. It is not time bombed and your farm will continue to work. If you click on the health analyzer warning you will see
"Explanation : The licensing information not available". The MSSx sku does not have licencing module since its a free product. By default the rule "Trial period for this product is about to expire." is enabled in the health analyzer. The bug here is that we didn't disable this rule. The rule kicks in and its unable to find the licensing module and throws an exception (you can find it in the LOGS folder).

Workaround: In central admin go to "Central Admin" => Monitoring => "Review Rule Definitions" => click on "Trial period for this product is about to expire" rule under configuration and edit it. Uncheck the "Enabled" checkbox.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

FREE Add-in to Resolve the EPM Issue of completed Assignments Appearing in My Tasks Current View

This is with reference to my earlier post ‘My Tasks – Why do I see completed Tasks/Assignments in Current View?’.

I promised earlier to release the code to help automate the process for setting the ‘Publish’ flag to ‘No' for completed tasks. If you need an automated resolution for this issue, please send your request here (use promo code ‘Publish’) and one of the technicians will email you the add-in along with very simple setup instructions and support you thereafter. The beauty about this add-in is that it runs on SAVE event, behind the scene, automating the manual steps that one would have to take…saving your team valuable time & effort! And it is completely FREE!! Enjoy!


Other Business Productivity Add-on tools to help you get the most out of your Microsoft EPM & SharePoint Solutions can be found here.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Microsoft EPM & SharePoint Business Productivity Add-on Tools/Utilities

Below are some of the Business Productivity Add-on tools to help you get the most out of your Microsoft EPM & SharePoint Solutions.

EPM Archive & Recovery Solution (ARS)

  • Admin tools to mass archive and recover projects and associated workspaces.
  • End-User tools for self-service archive of own projects and recovery, if required.
  • Continued access to project artefacts in workspace even after archiving.

Contact Us

Personal Backup and Recovery (PBR)

  • End-user tool for self-service backup of own live project prior to undertaking major changes or doing what-if-Analysis.
  • Continued access to project workspace.
  • End-user ability to restore any of personal backups following finalisation of Analysis.


Auto Save Project Copies to SharePoint

  • Project Professional add-on for automatically saving copy of live project to associated SharePoint Workspace.
  • Compare current state of live project with earlier saved copies e.g. Monthly forecasts.
  • Ideal for management of critical projects.

Contact Us

EPM Resource Rate Replicator

  • Reduce Administration by simply changing the rate structure for one Template/Generic skill Resource and automatically applying to Group of Resources of similar skill/attribute.
  • Ideal for Resource Managers who are responsible for maintaining resource rate structures for their skill group.

Contact Us

Timephased Usage Data Export to Excel

  • Export Resource Usage Data from Project.
  • Export Task Usage Data from Project.
  • Export Resource Rate Profile from Project.
  • Easily export to Microsoft Excel for further analysis.
  • Export data similar to MSP Usage views.

Contact Us

EPM Resource Overallocation Alerts

  • Proactively monitor your Enterprise Resources’ demands in EPM by receiving alerts & notifications if overallocated.
  • Get more done, manage by exception.
  • Ideal for Resource Managers where demand management is critical.

Contact Us

For further info, please contact: or

Microsoft EPM Archive & Recovery Solution (ARS)–Administrator & end-user 'self-service' Tools

This is with reference to my following earlier posts EPM2007 Project Archiving – Recommended Steps (OOB) and EPM2007 Project Restore– Recommended Steps (OOB), covering manual steps for archiving and recovery of projects.

The manual approach for archiving and restore may work for smaller deployments or instances with small number of ‘live’ projects. But, if we have a medium to large deployment or we are in a situation where we simply have very many ‘live’ projects we may need to start thinking about automating some of the processes to streamline our operations. Archiving your projects and workspaces will not only help with the system performance but more importantly, your SQL database backups and disaster recovery where you might be mirroring or log shipping to another site. Whatever approach you take whether manual or automatic…keep your system lean and mean’.

Below is some information on a packaged solution that completely automates the entire process of EPM Project & SharePoint Workspace Archive & Recovery, making the most of your existing investments in Microsoft. Doing more with less effort! This solution will help improve the adoption of the overall Microsoft EPM/SharePoint Solutions. I am sure this will help adoption of EPM/SP in existing deployments, especially which have accumulated a lot of ‘old’ completed projects and need some means of automated archiving (by admin and end-user ‘self-service’) but want to retain access to project workspaces i.e. documents etc and the option to easily recover, if required.


(click picture to enlarge)


For further info, please contact: or