#ProjectOnline – 1 PWA site collection for all or 1 per department? #O365 #PPM #PMOT #Office365 #MSProject

March 20, 2017 at 6:55 pm | Posted in App, Configuration, Customisation, Functionality, Information, Installation | Leave a comment
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A question I hear a few times from organisations is “We have a new department or business unit coming on-board with Project Online, do we need a new PWA instance for them or can we use the one we already have?” The answer isn’t normally a straightforward yes or no. This post aims to cover most of the questions you need to ask when considering using the existing PWA site collection or creating a new one for a new department / business unit.

The first thing to consider is the Project Online limitations for the data such as number of projects per PWA site, check out the limits here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Project-Online-software-boundaries-and-limits-5a09dbce-1e68-4a7b-b099-d5f1b21ba489. Check how many projects you currently have in the PWA site collection and how many more the new business unit expect to add into the PWA site collection – if you are going to be reaching the limits on a PWA site collection then consider a dedicated PWA site collection for the new business unit. The number of PWA site collections in each Office 365 tenant will not be an issue – you can have up to 9,999. Just because you can have lots of PWA site collection doesn’t automatically mean the answer is a new PWA site collection each time!

One PWA site collection will support different PWA configurations for each business unit or department (custom fields , Enterprise Project Types etc.) by making use of the Department functionality to separate those configuration items. So for example, the R&D department only see configuration items relevant to them. So if the new business unit has different custom field / EPT requirements, that shouldn’t be a problem using a single PWA instance.

Whilst talking about configuration items, there are some items that are at the PWA site collection level that can’t be configured / tailored to each business unit or department. These would be some of the Time and Task Management options such as Time Reporting Periods, Timesheet settings and Task settings. Also some settings under the Operational Policies such as Additional Server Settings. If the new business unit has different requirements for time capturing they would need a dedicated PWA instance.

Another important aspect to consider is – will these different business units require access to the same enterprise resources to assign to tasks? Will they need to view the true resource demand / availability for these resources in one place? If this is the case then the easiest option is for the new business unit to use the same PWA site collection.

If there is a requirement to see the data from each business unit together in PWA, for example in a project center view then a single PWA site collection would be required. Similarly, if both business units projects needed to be included in the organisations portfolio strategic analysis for cost and resource requirements, a single PWA site collection will be required.

Reporting is another key factor, if the reports need to show data from all business units / departments then a single PWA instance is easier but it is still possible to generate reports that use data from multiple PWA site collections. With multiple PWA site collections this is something that can be worked around providing there was common metadata between the PWA site collections to enable projects from both PWA site collections to be viewed in the same report.

Then there is the management of the PWA site collection/s. It might be that the organisation has a central PMO function that administers the PWA site collection – adding another PWA site collection will increase their workload.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, here are just a few of the things to consider when deciding on using the existing PWA site collection or a new PWA site collection when a new business unit / department are coming on board.

#ProjectServer 2016 environment migration / rollover steps #PowerShell #PS2016 #MSProject #SP2016

January 19, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Posted in Administration, Configuration, Functionality, Information, Installation | Leave a comment
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This blog post will detail the PowerShell commands required to carry out an environment rollover / migration using Windows PowerShell where possible. The steps below use the database approach to rollover the Production environment to the Test / Development environment.

As a prerequisite I would recommend taking full backups of the Test / Dev farm to enable the environment to be rolled back if required. Use your usual farm backup procedures.

Test / Dev environment Prep

Firstly connect to the Test / Dev Application server and launch the SharePoint 2016 Management shell.

Type the following:

Remove-SPSite -Identity ‘<TEST/DEV PWA Site URL>’

You can check in Central admin in the Project Server Service Application to check that the PWA site has been removed.

Using the SharePoint 2016 Management Shell, remove the existing content database from the web application that hosted the PWA site collection that was removed in the previous step.

Type the following:

Dismount-SPContentDatabase ‘<Content database name>’

Test / Dev environment SQL Prep

Take a backup of the PWA Content database from the Production environment and copy this over to the Test / Dev SQL server and restore the database. The database required is:

  • Content database that contains the Production PWA site and Project Sites

Make a note of the database name used when this database is restored as it will be required later.

Test / Dev environment configuration

Using the SharePoint Management Shell, mount the restored content database to the web application that will host the PWA site collection.

Type the following:

Mount-SPContentDatabase ‘<content database name restored in previous step>’ -DatabaseServer ‘<Test / DEV SQL Server>’ –WebApplication <web application URL>

Post Provisioning

The Project Server Cube settings will need to be updated – update the SQL AS server / cube name.

Any Excel based reports in PWA will need to be updated to use the ODC files / connection strings from the Test / Dev environment as they will currently point to the Production ODC files / connection strings. This is done by opening the Excel reports in Excel, changing the ODC file / connection strings then saving the file back to the library.

All projects will need to be republished on the test / dev instance so that the project site features such as the issues and risks sync works as expected. There are other ways to fix that but republishing the projects is the easiest / safest option from what i have found.

CPS’ PS+ solution is an Award Winner at the #Microsoft Partner Awards #WPC16 for #PPM #ProjectOnline / #ProjectServer

May 31, 2016 at 5:24 pm | Posted in Add-on, Administration, Configuration, Customisation, Functionality, Information, Installation | Leave a comment
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I am pleased to announce that CPS’ PS+ solution was an Award Winner in the recent Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards 2016 in the Project and Portfolio Management Competency.

PS+ logo



For a full list of winners and finalists see:


Great work to all the partners that received awards.

#ProjectOnline / #ProjectServer #Project site provisioning using #Office365 PnP remote provisioning #SharePoint #PowerShell

May 4, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Posted in .Net, Add-on, Administration, App, Configuration, Customisation, Functionality, Information, Installation | 1 Comment
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For many years now Project Server deployments have used Project Sites or known as Project Workspaces before Project Server 2010. Typically most deployments have custom requirements for the sites so custom site templates were created from a site created using the default Project Site template. The updated custom site template was then linked to the Enterprise Project Type so that new projects created used the new site template. The biggest issue with this approach was that if you wanted to update the site template later on down the line all of the existing project sites would either need manually updating or writing code to traverse through all the existing sites and make the changes. With the new online world in Office 365 there are other things to think about too. If you create a new custom site template based on the default Project Site template then Microsoft roll out a new feature in the base Project Site template – your new project sites wont get that change either. This is where the PnP remote provisioning engine is great. For a while now – at least a year or 2 I think, the best practise is to stick with the default site templates Microsoft provide, so the Project Site template for example. The Enterprise Project Types should use the default Project Site template so each new project gets a site created using the default site template. But what about my custom lists, or columns or views I hear you ask – deploy the custom artefacts once the site is created from the default site template. In this post I will give you a very quick introduction to the Office 355 PnP Remote Provisioning engine which is part of the PnP core component. PnP, known as Patterns and Practices – details can be seen here: http://dev.office.com/patterns-and-practices. This will enable you to deploy your custom site artefacts.

For this example we will look at the PowerShell variant: https://github.com/OfficeDev/PnP-PowerShell but is also available with managed code. To get started with the PowerShell version follow the steps in the GitHub link to get the components installed. I have created a project / project site using the default Project Site template and added a new list called Change Requests that is linked to a Site Collection Content type in my root PWA site collection:


This list has two views:


I have also updated the default Risks list to use custom content type and included one new column:


I have added my new column to the All Items view:


This is the new site template I want to use. Typically this is where you would save as a template but not for this example.

Once the PnP components are installed on your machine, connect to the source project site using this command – update the Url for your site:

Connect-SPOnline –Url <source site URL> 


Enter credentials if prompted to do so.

Now use the following command to extract the site:

Get-SPOProvisioningTemplate -Out C:\Temp\PnP\NewTemplate.xml


This process will extract the site definition and create an XML file in the specified location:


At this point the XML should be modified to remove unneeded properties. For example, as this project site is linked to a project already the property bag will contain certain properties referenced to the source site – I don’t want to overwrite these settings on my target sites so I removed the property bag entries highlighted below.


I have also removed properties for configuration I don’t need to update, other lists etc.  See an example below, I have only left the two lists I have added / updated:


I don’t cover this here but I used Visual Studio – really one for the devs out there.

Once you are happy with the source XML file you are ready to deploy this to the existing project site/s. In this example I have a test project site created by the default Project Site template that has not been modified:


In PowerShell I now connect to the test target site using the command below – update the Url for your site:

Connect-SPOnline –Url <target site URL> 


Then run the following command to apply the changes:

Apply-SPOProvisioningTemplate -Path C:\Temp\PnP\NewTemplate.xml


Once completed the test target site should be updated, in this example, with a new list and updated risk list. Once you are happy with the test target project site you could repeat the process on other project sites. I have found some settings are not set correctly and some do generate errors in PowerShell but there are usually monthly updates the PnP code so always ensure you regularly update the modules using the Update-Module command.

This is a very simple example using PowerShell, in production you might have a full script that has a list of Project Sites you want to update and get the script to update them all etc. Or better still, go down the manage code route and create an event driven SharePoint provider hosted add-in to do it. Either way, fully test this process on test project sites / projects first before any production projects / project sites!

#ProjectServer 2016 is RTM #SharePoint #PS2016 #SP2016 #Office2016 #PPM

March 18, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Administration, Functionality, Information, Installation | Leave a comment
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A quick post to highlight some great news this week, Project Server 2016 RTM has been released, the announcement is here:


To view what is new for Project Server 2016 see the MSDN link below:


Some great reasons there for those clients still using the on-premise software to upgrade from earlier versions of Project Server.

To view what has been deprecated or removed in Project Server 2016 see the link below:


To find all of the Project Sever 2016 documentation start here:


#ProjectOnline Resource Management Feature #PPM #PMOT #PMO #Office365 #Office2016 #PS2016 Part 2

October 29, 2015 at 1:13 am | Posted in Administration, Configuration, Functionality, Information, Installation | 1 Comment
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This is part two of the mini series on the new Resource Management feature that is being rolled out to Project Online, the first part on upgrading / activating the feature can be seen here:


In this post we take a look at what this feature has to offer from a Project Manager and a Resource Manager point of view.

For the purpose of this demo, I have created a new simple test project called “Pauls Resource Engagements Test” that can be seen below:


I have also created two test resources, “TestRes1” and “TestRes2”, see below:


Notice only “TestRes1” has been marked as requiring an engagement – this is to demo the different behaviour. The new field “Requires Engagements” indicates this. This is set against the resource using the new resource attribute as detailed in post 1 but can be seen below:


Both these resources have been added to my project team. So firstly I am going to assigned the resources to those test tasks to see what happens. TestRes1 who requires the approval is assigned to Task1 and TestRes2 is assigned to Task2 and the project is saved and published. Notice the new icon in the indicator column for Task 1 only as TestRes2 on Task 2 doesn’t require the approved engagements:


This is telling the Project Manager that the assignment is created without an approved engagement. Right-clicking on the icon gives the ability to view a new feature, “Fix in the Engagement Inspector…”


Clicking this loads the Inspector:


Clicking the “View Engagements conflicts in Task Usage” loads the following:


Here the PM can easily create an engagement request using the “Create and save new engagement for this assignment’s resource” button under actions or assign the task to another resource using the “Assign the task to a different resource” button. These actions are also available without accessing the Inspector, right-clicking the icon in the indicator column for the assignment row gives these options:


Clicking the Create new engagement option will load this dialog box:


It will default to the Resource and the task start and finish dates. The PM then has the ability to add a description and comments plus change the allocated by options:


Clicking OK then updates the Inspector to give the ability to submit the engagement:


Clicking the “Submit my engagement for review” will then create the request for the Resource Manager to accept / reject. The Inspector then indicators that there is a proposed engagement that covers the assignment:


Putting the Resource Manager hat on I will jump to the Resource Center in PWA. I select “TestRes1” in the grid then click the “Resource Requests” button on the ribbon:


This loads the following page:


Here I can change the views, check resource assignments, check the new capacity planning feature, edit the engagement, delete the engagement, add a new engagement or accept / reject the engagement. Firstly I will look at the new Capacity planning page:


The default view here shows a heat map for the engagements but my test engagement doesn’t appear here and it is only proposed and not committed as I am yet to accept it. I can check the checkbox “Include proposed booking” and my engagement data will appear for this example assignment:


There are other configuration options on the ribbon such as units, timescales and thresholds for under and over capacity. Also on this page is the ability to change the view:


In this example I switched to the Resource Utilisation view:


The others are similar, just show the data differently. These can be exported to various other formats uing the Download option:


Now I will switch back to the Resource Requests page and Accept the engagement request by selecting it and clicking the Accept button:


The Resource Manager then has the ability to add comments:


The engagement then updates to committed:


Putting my Project Manager hat back on, I switch back to Project Pro and I see that I still have a warning:


To fix this I need to refresh the engagements in this project. To do that, change the view the the “Resource Plan” view and click the Engagements tab:


Now click the Refresh button on the ribbon:


The engagement status has now updated to Committed. Switching back to another view and the warning has been removed:


Switching back to the Resource Plan view, the Project Manager can open the engagement and see the comments:


Clicking in the Format tab the Project Manager can change the view settings:


On the Engagements tab the Project Manager can create new engagements, launch the inspector, submit engagement requests for approval or refresh the engagement data:


A new request has been created for TestRes2 called Test and the details planned using the time phased grid:


Once submitted the Resource Manager will see this in the Resource Request page for TestRes2 – this time showing the time phased view:


In this example, as the Resource Manager I will edit this request to add 8 hours for the 3rd, 5th and 6th November:


Then I will click the Accept button. As the Project Manager in Project Pro, I refresh the engagements and see the changes:


The Resource Manager can also create engagements for resources in the Resource Center using the Add Engagement button in the resource requests page:


This gives the Resource Manager the ability to create engagements for the resources selected from the resource center grid, in this is example I only had TestRes1 selected:


As before, the Project Manager would need to refresh the engagements in the project to see the updates.

Next up part 3 where we will look at some quick reporting options for engagements.

#ProjectOnline Resource Managements Feature #PPM #PMOT #PMO #Office365 #Office2016 #PS2016 Part 1

October 15, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Posted in Administration, Configuration, Functionality, Information, Installation | 5 Comments
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Following on from the announcement that the Resource Management feature in Project Online was being rolled out (link below), my test Project Online tenant now has this feature.


In part 1 of this short series of posts i will provide some links for articles that explain this feature then I will look at enabling this feature on my environment and show you what happens once this feature is enabled. The later posts will look at using this new feature.

Firstly some links for this new feature:


http://blogs.technet.com/b/projectsupport/archive/2015/09/23/project-online-resource-management-and-capacity-planning.aspx – lots of useful links in the article

Once this feature is available to your tenant you will see the status banner like below displayed in the Resource Center page and the PWA Setting page:


On the Additional Server Settings page you will see a check box for Activate on the “New Resource Management Features Available” setting:


Part of this post will be to see how this changes existing resource plan data, so before I tick that setting I will just detail some of the test data I have so we can see the impact of this change.

I have a test project called “PM test project” – all these years of blogging and my imagination for dummy projects (and tasks) has not improved!

I only have one task on this project that the “Admin Admin” resource is assigned to, the admin admin resource is the only resource on the project team:


In the resource plan for this project I have two other resources with work:


The ProjectData APIs have the following data – quick example put together for this project in Excel:

Assignment and Assignment Timephased data:


The rest of the Assignment Timephased data:


I will now Activate the Resource Management features. Checking the check box gives this pop up:


Click OK then click Save on the Additional Server Settings page – only do this when your organisation is ready to use the new features. Fully test this on a test PWA instance first before production.

Whilst this processes, this setting in Additional Server settings will update to show the status of the resource plan data:


Once that has completed successfully the “New Resource Management Features Available” section will disappear, we can then see what has happened to that resource plan data.

Once the process is completed, the resource plan work will be deleted as can be seen in the example report from above after refreshing the data:


That resource plan work has been created as engagement requests, see the new example report below:


The rest of the Engagement Timephased data:


As you can see the data from the resource plan has been copied to the engagements data. The proposed resource plan work is only a proposed engagement. The engagements feature has the following endpoints for the ProjectData API:

  • /Engagements
  • /EngagementsTimephasedDataSet
  • /EngagementsComments

We will look at these in more detail in a later post when we look at Engagement reporting.

A quick look in the “PM test project” in Project Professional 2016 and we can see these engagements, change the view to the Resource Plan then click the Refresh button on the Engagements tab to update the engagements:


The engagements can also be seen in the Resource Center, select the resources then click the Resource Requests button on the ribbon:


This will load the Resource Requests grid for the selected resources:


As well the resource plan data migrating to the resource requests / engagement some other changes happen. The old Resource Plan buttons are replaced with the new Resource Plan buttons, these just open up the project in Project Pro 2016 with the Resource Plan view:


A new resource attribute will appear on the edit resource page, this is called “Resource requires approval for all project assignments”:


With this set the resource will require an approved engagement request for project assignments.

Also a new category permission is available, this is “Manage Resource Engagements”:


This controls access to the resource engagements.

There is also a new Capacity planning feature accessed from the resource center, select resources and click the Capacity Planning button:


This loads a new page with some reports / views:





As the Resource Plans have been removed, the resource utilisation setting has moved to Project 2016 on the Project Information dialog box. This is where you can specify how the resource utilisation is calculated, either from the Project Plan, Resource Engagements or Project Plan until and specify a date.

Finally the Portfolio Strategy Analysis functionality has been updated to use the new engagements, the setting “Resource capacity impact for projects outside the analysis” has been changed to have the following options: “Only committed assignments and engagements affect capacity (recommended)” or “Committed and proposed assignments and engagements affect capacity”. The option on the setting “Project start and finish dates” has been updated to “Use Project Resource Utilization Settings”.

That’s it for the upgrade / activation part. Next up we will look at creating new resource requests and the process around that.

#ProjectOnline Resource Managements Feature rolling out #PPM #PMOT #PMO #Office365 #Office2016

September 24, 2015 at 5:20 pm | Posted in Administration, Configuration, Functionality, Information, Installation | 1 Comment
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The new Project Online Resource Managements feature might now be available on your Project Online tenant – if it is not yet then it probably will be soon! It hasn’t quite made it to my test tenants yet but when it does I will create a few posts on this new feature. For now see the links below for details:



#ProjectServer 2016 Preview is now officially available #PS2016 #MSProject

September 17, 2015 at 8:09 am | Posted in Administration, Configuration, Functionality, Information, Installation | Leave a comment
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Project Server 2016 preview is now officially available (it has been in the SharePoint 2016 preview for a few weeks). See the link below for details:


Download today and take a look.

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

September 9, 2015 at 10:43 am | Posted in Administration, CU, Fixes, Functionality, Information, Installation | 1 Comment
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The Office 2013 September 2015 updates and cumulative updates are now available, please see the links below:


Project Server 2013 September 2015 CU Server Roll up package:
***Update, ignore the comment below, the Server roll update package is now available: https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/kb/2986195 ***

***There is no cumulative / server roll up package this month*** See: http://blogs.technet.com/b/stefan_gossner/archive/2015/09/08/september-2015-cu-for-sharepoint-2013-is-available-for-download.aspx

Project Server 2013 September 2015 update:

Project 2013 September 2015 update:

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

The Office 2010 September 2015 updates and cumulative updates are now available, please see the links below:


Project Server 2010 September 2015 CU Server Roll up package:

Project Server 2010 September 2015 update:

Project 2010 September 2015 update:

SP2 is a pre-requisite for the Office 2010 September 2015 updates.

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

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