#Microsoft #MSIgnite Day 3 #Office365 #Cloud #SharePoint #ProjectOnline #Apps / #Add-ins

May 7, 2015 at 3:34 am | Posted in Administration, Functionality, Information | Leave a comment
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Day 3 of Microsoft’s Ignite conference I went to sessions covering what’s next for SharePoint 2016 for an IT Pro, a session on App /Add-in provisioning and deployment, planning for Internet performance and capacity, how to deploy Project: online and server and the final session was on a developer session for Project.

The first session of the day was on what’s was new for SharePoint 2016 for an IT Pro covered all of the new features and changes in SharePoint 2016 that will improve the performance, deployment and availability of SharePoint. As most of you know, my focus is Project / Project Server / Project Online (the site title gives that away :)) so I was keen to hear about what was going to change in the SharePoint world as that will directly impact Project Server too. All of these great new features that the SharePoint product team are introducing in SharePoint 2016, Project Server 2016 also benefits from these.

The key changes mentioned this morning were that SharePoint 2016 requires Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 10 for the OS and SQL Server 2014 SP1 x64 or SQL Server vNext x64. SharePoint 2016 no longer supports a standalone install using SQL Express, SQL Server will need to be installed on the box. The upgrade path from previous version is the database upgrade approach. If the SharePoint farm is earlier than 2013, the databases will need to be upgraded to SP 2013 before SP 2016.

SharePoint 2016 uses a MinRole approach for User roles / services, Robot services and cache services. The user services are for all user generated requests such as page loads, project, excel and one note etc. The robot service all for all system generated requests such as timer jobs and provisioning. I’m sure you can guess what the cache role is for :). The roles are setup on the install using the configuration wizard, you can choose whether the server is a web front end, application server, search, distributed cache or a specialised role. The specialised role option enables you to determine the server role by starting / stopping the services running on the farm (like 2007, 2010 and 2013). There is a new health analyser for the MinRole feature. This health rule will check that the correct services are running on that server based on the role selected on the install. If the specialised role is selected that particular server will be ignored by the new health check.

Patching of SharePoint 2016 has greatly been improved as mentioned here. There is now zero down time for build to build patches with SharePoint 2016 as this a an online process where as before the process took services offline. The patches are also a lot smaller, with a lot less MSI and MSP files so the patching process is quicker.

The software boundaries have not yet been confirmed but will be increased, the indicated boundaries are content DBs in the Terabytes, 100,000 site collections per content DB, the list threshold will be great than 5000, the max file size has been increased to 10 GB and character limit restrictions removed, index items increased to 500 million items.

Other key changes include, a change to the user profile service to remove the built in FIM service, this is now possible to use an external FIM server. The Project Server database has been merged into the SharePoint content DB but it is still licensed separately. Links are now durable so that if a link to a document is emailed to a colleague then at a later date the document name changes or the document is moved in 2013 the link would be broken but in 2016 the link would still work as the links are based on resource ID based URLs. There are options to view how the systems is used, browsers, sites accessed etc. to give you insight and have a better understanding of trends. There are improvements to the “Follow” functionality so that it works across on-premise and online. Hybrid deployment configuration is now possible via the UI rather than PowerShell.

The second session I went to was around app / add-in provisioning and deployment, nothing new here in the technology just an overview of what can currently be done. Only new (ish) change is the name, apps are now known as add-ins.

The third session I went to was planning for Internet performance and capacity with Office 365. This session covered the things your network admins should be aware of. If migrating from on-prem to Office 365 (or any cloud based solution for that matter), it is key that you have good baseline information for the network bandwidth usage so that you can work out if you need a more bandwidth. For Exchange / Outlook: http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/Exchange-Client-Network-8af1bf00 for Skype for Business (Lync): http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=19011 for OneDrive for Business: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=44541&751be11f-ede8-5a0c-058c-2ee190a24fa6. Other general recommendations for SharePoint are around caching with proxies, also considering using WAN accelerators and for working with documents using the Office Web App rather than the rich clients. For Outlook it is recommended to use Cache mode and by pass any proxies and also use the latest version of the Outlook client.

The fourth session was on Project Online and Project Server – an intro into deployment for both environments.

The last session of the day for me was the developer session for project. This covered general best practice for developing add-ins for Project and Project Online. A demo of the new Project client JavaScript APIs that now allow you to write back to the project plan from the task pane – a great improvement for the task pane add-ins for Project. You can also get all tasks in one go too which is.

This evening finished with an MVP social event at the House of Blues which was great.

That’s it for today.

#Microsoft #MSIgnite Day 2 #Office365 #Cloud #Office #SharePoint #ProjectOnline #PowerBI

May 6, 2015 at 6:26 am | Posted in Administration, Functionality, Information | Leave a comment
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Today was the 2nd day of Microsoft’s Ignite conference, a summary of my 1st day if you missed it can be found here: https://pwmather.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/microsoft-msignite-day-1-office365-cloud-office-sharepoint/ – one thing I did miss off this was the end of the day keynote that gave details into Microsoft Research – a great summary here.

So today started out with the Project Portfolio Roadmap, this session announced some key changes for Microsoft PPM – these were highlighted in a blog post yesterday: https://pwmather.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/projectonline-projectserver-2013-improvements-office365-msignite/ so i won’t cover these again. Look out for blog post covering these topics in detail soon.

The next session I went to was the Power BI overview where some improvements were discussed around new visualisations, content packs and the Power BI designer. Power BI is a great data visualisation tool!

The 3rd session of the day for me was the Tools and Tips for administering Office 365. This session demonstrated some great new report dashboards and Power BI content packs for visualising usage data for Office 365. There will also be workload specific roles in Office 365, so not just the usual Global admin, billing admin etc. there will be SharePoint Admin, Skype for Business Admin etc. Also improvements to the Office 365 Admin mobile app such as push notifications were on the roadmap. It was also clear PowerShell will still play a key part in Office 365 admin. A blog post can be seen here: http://blogs.office.com/2015/05/05/whats-new-in-office-365-administration-from-microsoft-ignite/

The final session of the day for me was Building Solutions with Office Graph. Office Graph is very exciting and opens up a lot of opportunities to be able to map the relationships between people, content and interactions from all of the Office 365 workloads.

Walking around the Expo hall I came across the MVP wall which was cool:


That’s it for now until tomorrow.

#ProjectOnline / #ProjectServer 2013 improvements #Office365 #MSIgnite

May 5, 2015 at 3:52 pm | Posted in Administration, Functionality, Information | 2 Comments
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Just a quick post to highlight some of the new features and changes that are coming to Project – these were publicly announced today at the Ignite conference. Look out for full detailed posts later this week.

The improvements include:

  • multiple time lines in Project Pro
  • write back support for task pane apps in project desktop
  • resource engagements – a great new feature that enables the project managers to make resource requests and send those to the resource manage to accept / reject
  • resouce heat map chart – great visualisation for resource capacity
  • investments in the Project Server 2016 architecture including all of the project sql objects moving into the  SharePoint content database – much easier the manage!

Great improvements from the Project Product team :)

#Microsoft #MSIgnite Day 1 #Office365 #Cloud #Office #SharePoint

May 5, 2015 at 12:20 pm | Posted in Administration, Functionality, Information | 4 Comments
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I am lucky enough to be at Microsoft’s Ignite conference this week, there are several of my CPS colleagues here with me too: Alan Eardley, Ivan Lloyd and Sacha Cohn. I will try and blog a summary each day if I can.

So on day one we arrived at the conference center ready to start the day. We collected our passes the day before so didn’t have to queue up to do that luckily! When we arrived at 07:30 in the morning I was surprised how many people where there already. After breakfast we headed to the main hall for the keynote, even at 08:10 in the morning there was a swarm of people heading there:



Inside the man hall was very impressive, the pictures below do not do it justice:



The keynote’s were interesting, some new things demonstrated and discussed. This included all of the changes and new features coming to the cloud. These are summarised already on the following Microsoft cloud blog:


Office productivity too:


Also a great demo showing the new features Windows 10 has to offer – having only really read about Windows 10 and not having installed it yet, this was very impressive. I am looking for to this operating system.

Other key announcements were Office 2016 Public Preview, Skype for Business improvements, Sway for Business and Education. A good round up can be found here.

I then went on to look around the Expo hall, WOW this was impressive. So many booths and I would have been there all day if I went to all.

After lunch I went evolution of SharePoint session, the key takeaways for this for me were that the SharePoint 2016 server roles can be set on the install using the configuration wizard. In previous versions the server role was defined by the services that were running on the server, for SharePoint 2016 when running the configuration wizard as you install there will be role options such as Web Front End, Application, Search, Distributed and an option or a customised role. Cache SharePoint 2016 will have “zero down time” patching (great news!) and the are going to be improvements in the hybrid models for the SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint Online. NextGen portals were also mentioned including Delve and Office 365 videos. There will be an update released later this year for SharePoint 2013 to include Delve.

The last session I went to was for Excel 2016, this session gave an overview of what was coming in Excel 2016 client. The key takeaways for me here were that Excel 2016 will have components natively in the product rather than add-ons, by this i mean things like Power Map, PowerPivot and Power Query will be included in Excel 2016 by default and no longer require separate add-ons. The advantage to this is that the usage of these tools will be more intuitive and accessible, this also enables automation of Power Query using VBA etc. There is a new function is Excel 2016 that does exponential smoothing for Forecasting – this was pretty cool how simple Excel 2016 will make forecasting for time series data. Another great feature is the Time Grouping option so that you can group time data by month, by quarter, by year etc. at the click of a button without having to write the DAX query. New chart types will also be in Excel 2016, these include Tree Map, Sunburst, Waterfall, Box & Whisker and Histogram & Pareto.

That’s it for now, hope to have a summary for Day 2 later :)

#ProjectOnline / #ProjectServer View Resource Calendar Exceptions #JavaScript #jQuery #Office365 #SharePoint

May 1, 2015 at 10:41 am | Posted in Add-on, Administration, Configuration, Customisation, Functionality, Information | Leave a comment
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This script will enable the users to view the resource calendar exceptions for a particular resource. The script can be downloaded from the script gallery below:


To get the script to work you will need to download the following jQuery library: jquery-2.1.1.min.js – jQuery download Another version of this library may work but this was the one I used / tested with. Upload this library to your PWA site collection then update the script file with the correct location. I uploaded this file to the style library as you can see in the code below:


This example script does use the /ProjectServer REST API, so users will need access to that for this to work.

Once the script is downloaded, upload this to the PWA site collection, in this example it was uploaded to the shared documents library. Choose where you want the script to be accessed, in this example I created a new page, added a content editor web part on the new page then referenced the uploaded script using the content editor web part:


Once loaded, the page will look like this:


If no exceptions are found the table will display “No data available in table”, change the select menu to another resource that does have exceptions in the resource calendar and these will be displayed:


This only uses intrinsic fields so should work for any Project Online / Project Server environment but do test it thoroughly first. You might want to improve the error handling etc. before deploying to a production environment. Also remember this does require the user to have access to view resources via the /ProjectServer REST API for this to work.

The script is provided "As is" with no warranties etc.

Want to disable #Lync / #Skype #IM presence in #MSProject 2013?

April 15, 2015 at 9:26 am | Posted in Administration, Functionality, Add-on, Customisation, Information, Configuration | Leave a comment
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If you want want to disable the Lync / Skype for Business presence in Project 2013, see the steps below.

Lync / Skype for Business Presence enabled:


Lync / Skype for Business Presence disabled:


To do this, install the April 2015 Cumulative update for Project 2013 (fully test on a test machine before using in production): https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2965279

Then create the registry key as detailed in the KB article.

You can either do this manually or via PowerShell, an example PowerShell command can be seen below:


This will create the following key:


Always back up the registry before making any changes (manually or via PowerShell etc.)

To enable Lync / IM presence again update the DisableIMStatus key value data to 0 and restart Project.

#ProjectServer and #SharePoint 2010 / 2013 April 2015 Cumulative Update #PS2010 #SP2010 #PS2013 #SP2013 #MSProject

April 15, 2015 at 7:56 am | Posted in Administration, CU, Fixes, Functionality, Information | Leave a comment
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The Office 2013 April 2015 Cumulative Updates are now available, please see the links below:


Project Server 2013 April 2015 Server Roll up package:

Project Server 2013 April 2015 CU:

Project 2013 April 2015 CU:

Also worth noting, if you haven’t done so already, install Service Pack 1 http://support2.microsoft.com/kb/2880556 first if installing the April 2015 CU.

The Office 2010 April 2015 Cumulative Updates are now available, please see the links below:


Project Server 2010 April 2015 Server Roll up package:

Project Server 2010 April 2015 CU:

Project 2010 April 2015 CU:

SP2 is a pre-requisite for the Office 2010 April 2015 CUs.

As always, fully test these updates on a replica test environment before deploying to production.

#ProjectOnline / #ProjectServer reporting on auto / manually scheduled tasks #BI #Office365 #Excel #PowerQuery #PS2013

April 13, 2015 at 9:49 am | Posted in Add-on, Administration, Configuration, Functionality, Information, Reporting, Workarounds | Leave a comment
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One issue or query that has been raised a few times is that when reporting on manually scheduled tasks and auto scheduled tasks the Start / Finish date fields do not show the same data that they do in Project or PWA for the manually scheduled tasks. For example, take a look at the example project plan below:


If I generate a reporting for this project using the equivalent fields from the OData API, see below:


As you can see all tasks have start and finish dates. The Manually scheduled tasks that are either blank or have text displayed in Project Pro contain dates in the report. These default to the Project Start date. The OData query used is below:


This can be quite misleading from a reporting point of view. There are two options (probably more but two documented here!), these are detailed below in order of preference:

Option 1:

The preferred option would be to create a calculated field in the report, in this example, as I am using Excel I will create this in Power Query. I have my dataset in the Power Query Editor like below:


The OData query used is below:


Now click Add Column > Add Custom Column:


Give the column a name then create the formula:


Click OK to add the new custom column, repeat for the finish date:


After re-ordering and removing some columns my dataset now looks like this in the Query Editor:


The final change is to update the Data Types of the columns, in this example I updated the TaskStartDate and TaskFinishDate columns to Date/Time and my calculated DisplayedStartDate and DisplayedFinishDate columns to Text:


Now I am happy with the query I click the Close & Load button on the Home tab:


This will load my data into Excel:


As you can see the data displayed in my calculated columns on my report match the data in the fields on my Project Plan:


Option 2:

The other option is to create new Enterprise Custom Fields in Project Online that are calculated. Using Start date as an example, create a task level text field that is based on  formula, the formula would be =[Start]. I have called the field “DisplayedStartDate”. In Project Pro:


In my updated Excel Report:


The OData query used is below:


As you can see this also gives the correct data but does introduce two additional calculated task level fields in your Project Online configuration. It is recommended to keep the task level calculated fields to a minimum – ideally below 5 for performance reasons hence this option being the least preferred. 

#Project #MVP Award #ProjectOnline #PS2013 #ProjectServer #MVPBuzz #Microsoft

April 1, 2015 at 5:47 pm | Posted in Information, Personal | Leave a comment
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Some good news, I’m very pleased to announce that my Project MVP award was renewed for the third time after first being awarded in April 2013. I am really grateful for the recognition, especially as I still enjoy helping out the Project and Project Server / Project Online community so much. It is kind of a hobby of mine I guess, or maybe just an obsession!

#ProjectServer and #SharePoint 2010 / 2013 March 2015 Cumulative Update #PS2010 #SP2010 #PS2013 #SP2013 #MSProject

March 12, 2015 at 7:47 am | Posted in Administration, CU, Fixes, Functionality | Leave a comment
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The Office 2013 March 2015 Cumulative Updates are now available, please see the links below:


Project Server 2013 March 2015 Server Roll up package:

Project Server 2013 March 2015 CU:

Project 2013 March 2015 CU:

Also worth noting, if you haven’t done so already, install the March 2013 Public update: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2768001 or Service Pack 1 http://support2.microsoft.com/kb/2880556 if installing the March 2015 CU.

The Office 2010 March 2015 Cumulative Updates are now available, please see the links below:


Project Server 2010 March 2015 Server Roll up package:

Project Server 2010 March 2015 CU:

Project 2010 March 2015 CU:
<no update this month>

SP2 is a pre-requisite for the Office 2010 March 2015 CUs.

As always, fully test these updates on a replica test environment before deploying to production.

For more details see: http://blogs.technet.com/b/projectsupport/archive/2015/03/11/microsoft-project-server-2010-and-2013-march-2015-pu-announcement.aspx

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