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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Announcing Availability of #SharePoint and #ProjectServer 2016 Preview versions #ProjectServer2016


And finally the wait is over, and we have the preview version of SharePoint 2016 On-Premises and Project Server 2016 On-Premises available to explore. I am excited to share the news of availability of preview versions.

SharePoint Server and Project Server 2016 IT Previews only provides a first look at a select set of new changes, and moving forward with future preview releases, Microsoft will continue to add new capabilities.


Announcing availability of SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview and cloud hybrid search


During last few months, we have been talking about it. Microsoft has introduced/demonstrated some exciting new features, and improvements to the products during last few months.
Finally it’s the time to explore those capabilities.

As a first steps towards my journey to explore Project Server 2016 and SharePoint 2016, I am sharing important links about the release. And in next coming days I will be sharing first hand details about SharePoint and Project Server 2016 features and improvements.

Title
SharePoint 2016
Project Server 2016
Download SharePoint Server 2016 Preview, this also includes Project Server 2016 binaries as an improvement to the current deployment process. Project Server will be available as a service just like other SharePoint services.

SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview Quick Start Guide


SharePoint Server 2016, and Project Server 2016 IT Preview

New and improved features in SharePoint Server 2016 and Project Server 2016 IT Preview


What's new for IT pros in Project Server 2016 Preview


What's deprecated or removed from SharePoint Server 2016, and Project Server IT Preview

Known Issues in SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview




Keep visiting my blog for exciting new posts about Project Server 2016 On Premises in coming days.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

#Project2016 - A Short Review

Few weeks ago Office products of 2016 preview version were released, that includes Office 2016 suite products, plus Project and Visio. 
All of these products are available in desktop and office 365 formats for trials.
I have shared the links to download/install preview of Office and Project 2016 in this post a while ago.
Since then I wanted to write my first hand review of Project 2016.
And here it goes:

Installation of Project 2016
First thing first, installation challenges.
Prior to installing Project 2016, same goes for Office 2016, you need to uninstall 2013 version of the same product as they both can’t stay together.
Anyone can uninstall, and then install the new version, right? Not really.
This wouldn’t be as simple as it sounds like if you also ever have installed Project 2013 office 365 version on your machine along with Project 2013 desktop version.
At least in my case, I have tried every possible way of removing 2013 version, but Project 2016 was kept crashing soon after it starts. Here, and may be few other places, have described a solution to an issue but it never worked for me and eventually I end up installing to a fresh VM that has no traces of prior version.

How it looks like
Exactly the same as its predecessor:


Compatibility with Project Server 2013

It works with Project Server 2013.
You can configure account to connect with PWA instance in a usual way.



The Ribbon

No changes in terms of design, or layout of tabs or options within those tabs. So no learning curve.


The first thing you will notice is: Tell me what you want to do  option on ribbon.

This is not just an online/local search option which can bring you list of URLs or commands to match you search, its much more than that and quite intuitive to use.

For instance I wanted to create/insert a milestone task in my project, I did:


Considering the first option most relevant to my requirement, I clicked on the first one Insert Milestone, and result is below:

Not only this helps you list down all the commands close to your requirement, it also performs action.
In past I have seen requirement of having interactive tutorial or guide which can help user with Project options while schedules. 
This option can fill that gap to some extent.

Multiple Timelines
Timelines were introduced in Project 2013, another way of presenting attractive summary of your schedules.

In Project 2016, it goes one step forward.
You can now create more than 1 timelines within same schedule.
Created one below to depict Project and Project summary tasks:


To create 2nd or more, click on timeline bar to insert another timeline:


And here goes 2nd timeline bar to present milestones of project:


The much awaited option, though not visible yet but would be either in a final version or once you will connect Project with Project Server 2016: Resource Engagement

Image taken from MS blog

Detailed description of Resource Engagement can be found here.

Enjoy Projecting 2016 J


Saturday, May 23, 2015

#Office #Project And #Visio 2016 Preview Available


This is to spread the word, with great excitement, that Project 2016 preview version is now available for trial use.

If you do not have required Office 365 subscription to try Project or Visio 2016, you can download using below links and trial product keys:

Project

product key: N46MP-733KG-T8MR9-VV9JX-HCFG4

Visio

product key: W9WC2-JN9W2-H4CBV-24QR7-M4HB8
Few weeks back, at Ignite 2015, preview version of Office 2016 was announced. You can browse here to download Office 2016 desktop version for trial. Or if you have an Office 365 subscription, home or enterprise, you can find details here to download new version.



An important point to note regarding Office 2016 preview version, is that it cant be installed side by side to Office 2013 (not sure if its true for Office 2010 as well). So you have to uninstall Office 2013 prior to install Office 2016 preview.

Enjoy.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

#Microsoft #Ignite 2015 Wrap up #ProjectServer #SharePoint 2016

So the week of MS Ignite is over, and there is whole lot of information to absorb.

I had been closely following to all the happenings and announcements, and in this post i will summarize my take away of information related to SharePoint and Project Server.

So Microsoft has confirmed, that SharePoint Server 2016 (and Project Server) will become generally available in second quarter of 2016, with a public beta planned for last quarter of 2015. 

Microsoft has also confirmed that they will continue to release on-premises version of SharePoint/Project Server, however considering MS's Cloud first strategy, every new feature will be released first Project Online and later to On-Premises version through a update/CU/SP.

Project Online/ Project Server 2013:

Following were the announcements in Ignite related to Project Server 2016:
  • Resource Engagement:

Resource management functionality is a major gap in current PPM version. 

There isn't any proper mechanism in current PPM solution, that can allow Resource Manager to control allocation of resource to Projects. And Project Managers to formally request to block required resource for certain period of time to ensure availability of resource.



You can find this feature demonstrated during Ignite session: IT Project and Portfolio Management in the Cloud

  • Multiple Timelines in project professional, so instead of one you can now create multiple timelines in Project Pro 2016 and then later use it in your presentation or share through an email.
  • Visualizing Resource Capacity using Heat Map.

  • Project Server 2016 would 'literally' be available as a service in SharePoint 2016. So no need to install any separate binaries for Project Server. Separate license would be required though to enable Project Server service.
  • PWA database would be merged to SharePoint content db, so there will only be one database for each PWA instance and the schema for PWA would be "pjrep -". means less Admin work.

Sharepoint 2016: 

Any improvements to SharePoint architecture would definitely leverage Project Server performance as well. There were quite few announcements been made related to SP 2016, such as:

  • introduction to MiniRole approach to define server role within a farm. 

Role Name
Description
Special LoadReserved for services to be isolated from other services, I.e. 3rd party, PerformancePoint, etc.
Web Front EndServices end user requests, optimized for low latency.
Single Server FarmProvisions all services on the server for a single server deployment.  This role is provided for evaluation and development purposes.
SearchReserved for Search services.
ApplicationServices the backend jobs or the requests triggered by backend jobs, optimized for high throughput.
Distributed CacheServices distributed cache for the farm. Optionally, the server assigned to this role can load balance end user requests among the web front ends.

  • for implementation and deploymentSharePoint 2016 requires Windows Server 2012 R2 or Windows Server 10 for the OS and SQL Server 2014 SP1 x64 or SQL Server vNext x64
you will find detailed hardware and software requirements of SharePoint 2016 here: 



  • zero down time to build patches with SharePoint 2016,
  • Delve people profile will be part of SharePoint 2016. If i understood correctly, then it would be first released for SharePoint online, and then may later be pushed to On-Premises version
There is so much more that its difficult to consolidate everything in one post. So i will keep on writing about new stuff to be released later this year. For those who are interested to catch up Ignite sessions, please browse Channel 9 for your favorite sessions and watch.

Please also register for this great upcoming webinar , will be presented by my colleagues, to find out first hand information and opinions about all the happenings during 5 days of Ignite sessions.

PPM Updates From Microsoft Ignite



Friday, April 24, 2015

Remove Gap between WebParts #ProjectServer #PDP

In Project Server/Project Online world, we deal with Project Detail Pages (PDPs) all the time to place custom fields using Basic info web-part.

There is often a need a when we have to drop more than one basic info web-part to a same page to group similar fields. I usually do this when i have to put similar fields under one group heading.

When you add custom fields to the page using more than few webparts, following potential issues can occur:
  1. Due to an extra padding automatically included by default for each webpart. You will observe a noticeable gap between each webpart on same page. And OOB configuration of webpart doesn't have any way to reduce this gap. So in some cases, it may become unacceptable for customer. 
  2. Dropping custom fields on same page using several Basic info webparts can also cause alignment issue between custom fields. 

Below image depicts both issues:

And here comes an easy solution to reduce the gap between webparts, add the below css to PDP using content editor webpart, and it will reduce spacing to 0:


<style type="text/css">
     .ms-webpartPage-root {
         border-spacing: 0px !important;
     }
       .ms-webpartzone-cell {
         margin: 0px !important;
     }
 </style>

For alignment of custom fields, use below JavaScript through content editor webpart on the page:
(you can use width value to adjust width of page according to your need)

<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1/jquery.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script><script type="text/javascript">
$( document ).ready(function() {

    $("tr td.ms-formlabel").width("500px");

})
</script><br/>

(source of above JavaScript code is from Martin Laukkanen's blog)

Lets witness the magic now:
Before:                                              After:  
    

 until next time.

Friday, March 20, 2015

#Microsoft Ignite #Project Sessions #ProjectServer #SharePoint

Updated 24/05: Updated all the below topics with Channel 9 recording links.

This year's most talked about event is Microsoft Ignite 2015.



Unlike previous times, when Microsoft used to host separate conferences to showcase different technologies during different times of the year. This time Microsoft will be hosting an inaugural, unified Microsoft commercial technology conference the week of May 4, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.

This can give attendees an opportunity to explore broader range of learning opportunities across all of Microsoft’s technologies, including actionable best practices from industry experts.

Being someone with Project and Project Server passionate/specialist/learner/consultant etc. etc. I have extracted Project related topics from that huge sessions catalog which Microsoft is updating every day with new content. 

There would be 8 sessions focusing on Project Server, Project Online and Project by some known industry experts. To all the PPM relevant audiences out there, this is something you can look for from MS Ignite 2015.

1. Microsoft's Vision and Roadmap for Work, Project, and Portfolio Management 


Session focus on sharing Microsoft vision for work, project, and portfolio management and provide insights into our future product investments.
Target Audience: C-level

2. Microsoft Project Pro for Office 365: An Overview

Session to showcase features available in Microsoft Project so you can impress your boss, deliver your projects on-time and under-budget, and be the envy of all your co-workers.

Target Audience: IT Generalist

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK2

3. IT Project and Portfolio Management in the Cloud

Jean Donati, Krishna Mamidipaka and Mike McLean

This session will highlight end-to-end Project Portfolio Management using Project Online and Project Pro for Office 365.

Target Audience: C-Level, IT Generalist

4. Developer to Developer: Meeting Custom Needs with Microsoft Project

Aesha Shah, Dan MacDonald and Eli Sheldon

Session about the App Marketplace, CSOM API, remote event receivers, and a little bit about workflow. Making the transition to Project Online may be easier than you realize.

Target Audience: Developers, Technical Consultants

5. Real World Reports: Business Intelligence in Microsoft Project Online and Project Server 2013

Allan Rocha, Andrew Lavinsky and Mike McLean

Session focus on BI capabilities of Project online and on-prem versions to demonstrate how you can create real-time reports and dashboards using tools such as Microsoft Excel 2013, Excel Services, Microsoft PowerPivot, Power View, and OData.

Person like me would definitely be looking forward to attend this session. Another point to consider about this session is its presenters, Allan and Andrew, both are known names within PPM industry and have track record of presenting some awesome sessions in past.

Target Audience: Developers, Technical Consultants

6. How to Deploy Microsoft Project: Online and Server

Nadin MeraliChris Boyd and Sean Li

This sessions will take you step-by-step through the deployment process.

Good opportunity to learn/re-visit about recommended practices of deploying solution, especially if it’s a large scale deployment.

Target Audience: Implementers, Technical Consultants/Specialists

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK31

7. Supporting Microsoft Project Online and Project Server: Tips and Tricks

Brian Smith

Learn the tips and tricks for successful troubleshooting of issues both in Project Online and Project Server. Some of the tools described will be applicable to Online and on-premises customers, such as client side logging and web debugging – and also some specific on-premises tools to help understand ULS logs and database issues. A glimpse of how Microsoft supports the cloud is also included.

Listen directly from Microsoft support public facing, well known within PPM community, Brian Smith. A must attended session for technical experts and support experts.

Target Audience: Implementers, Technical Consultants/Specialists

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK31

8. Microsoft Project Online Customization: Best Practices

Chris O'Brien, Chris Boyd and Alex Matyushenko

This session covers best practices that MS have learned in the past two year of running the service. It discusses how to customize Project Online for better performance.

Target Audience: IT Decision makers

http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/Ignite/2015/BRK3177

To know about all the sessions, click here: Microsoft Ignite sessions

It would definitely be an awesome learning platform, providing the fact that Microsoft is also planning to showcase SharePoint 2016. You can learn about few SharePoint 2016 related sessions here: Top 3 sessions to learn more about SharePoint Server 2016 at Microsoft Ignite

Good luck to all those who are attending.

Until next time.



I am Back.

Its been a while that i was away.

Those who were wondering, if any, about my whereabouts. Its my pleasure to announce that i am alive and rocking :)

Last year had been a massive year for me, both at personal and professional fronts.
Became a father for 2nd time, and relocated to a different place. It all became a little too overwhelming during past few months, more than i have anticipated, but its all settling down well now.

So its about time to get back to business. Time to pen down more stuff. Time to reconnect.

Lets rock & roll.


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Project Server 2013 More Symptoms to Lost Resource Issue #PS2013 #LostResources #ProjectServer

In relation to a famous Lost Resources issue in Project Server 2013, i would like to share few more symptoms that can help you to identify this issue and apply the relative fix. Also the purpose is to feed search engines with more relevant data to help us lead to right direction.

By the way if anyone has already applied April 2014 CU, or planning to apply, then note that the fix for this issue is available as part of this April 2014 CU. But the fix will not solve any existing affected projects, and you need to follow Brian's advise mentioned in his blog (URL available below) to fix it.

Also more details and immediate fix, in case you are not planning to apply CU, is available here at Brian Smith's blog: Blog and Fix

Following are my findings related to the same issue:

Error on Project Page in PWA:

The general error statement on PWA page is not so helpful :)



Queue Error:

You will find project stuck in queue with percentage completed less than 100%, and error details would be:

  • Microsoft.Office.Project.Server.BusinessLayer.Queue.Message:
    • ProjectPublishFailure (23000). Details: id='23000' name='ProjectPublishFailure' uid='187759d1-663f-e411-8b70-0050569b2beb' projectuid='1201772f-00b0-e311-baa9-782bcba8cb82' messagetype='Microsoft.Office.Project.Server.BusinessLayer.QueueMsg.PublishProjectMessage' messageID='16' stage='' blocking='Block'





Using JOB ID mentioned, searching ULS Log will help you find below details:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

#ProjectServer2013 RollUp Formula field Calculation Issue #PS2013 #ProjectServer

OK this post is actually about sharing an issue i came across lately, with the hope to get a fix through any of the coming CUs. And the hope is high, with the recent news of getting scheduled CU more frequently now :)

Out of lot of improvements we are enjoying with Project Server 2013, one of them is having a scheduling capabilities built within  PWA, and now PWA schedule webpart do all the formula processing as well without open/publish the same project from Ms Project. Unlike its predecessor, where any formula field requires MS Project push to get populated, and hence we had dependency to Ms Project even in the presence of web client and it was nightmare sometimes to explain to end user that why they need to buy more Ms Projects licenses to cope up with web based client limitations.

But recently i found that 'Task level number type roll up formula field, if copied to Project level number type formula field - doesnt work' :(

Now let me try to illustrate above through an example to make it more clearer:
And before i start, note that my server is patched with SP1 (re-released) + Jul 2014 CU.

1. Create a task level number type field, lets name it: %Weight
2. Create a task level number type formula field, with roll up Sum calculation for summary rows:

           Lets name it:  %WeightedProgress = ([% Complete] * [%Weight]) / 100

Here %complete is a default field, and %Weight is the one we have created at step-1 and will be manually updated by users.

3. Create a project level number type formula field:

          Lets Name it %ProjectProgress =  %WeightedProgress

As you can see, i am only copying data of task level formula field to project level field in order to show the data in project center.

Using PWA web scheduler:

1. I have entered %Weight for following 2 tasks, %Weighted Progress is 0 for each task because %Complete is 0, and hence at project level roll up value is also 0.



2. Update %Complete of first task with 50%, and %Weighted Progress will be calculated using formula and became 10 at task level and Project roll up level. Publish project.


 3. Open Project Center and observe % Weighted Progress, its showing 0 which was the task roll up at project level before we have made any changes.



4. Open project, and update %Complete of 2nd task with 50% and that will change %Weighted Progress value to 25. Publish project.

5. Open Project Center, and observe %Weighted Progress, its showing 10 which was the task roll up at project level before we have made change to 2nd task.


By now you may have learnt that its following a unique pattern while updating project level custom field. That its showing you previous value at project center level once you publish your project, although at Project level it updates at the same time.

So the first time when at Project level it was 0, in Project Center it was appearing blank.
Second time when at Project level it was 10, in Project Center it was appearing 0.
Third time when at Project level it was 25, in Project Center it was appearing 10.

Lets update our project plan one more time to assure our conclusion.

6. Open project, and update %Complete of Task A with 100% and that will change %Weighted Progress value to 35. Publish project.


7. Open Project Center, and observe %Weighted Progress, its showing 25 which was the task roll up at project level before we have made change to Task A.



So Fourth time when at Project level it was 35, in Project Center it was appearing 25.

I hope an issue is clear, now a workaround to this is to open/publish using Ms Project and everything will work like a charm, just like old times (Project Server 2010).

Though its not workable in my current scenario because not all the end user have Ms Project on their PCs.

With the hope that we get fix to this issue soon :), see ya next time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

#ProjectServer and #SharePoint 2013 SP1 re-released #ps2013 #sp2013 #office2013

There is lot of noise over the web related to Service Pack 1 of MS Office 2013 products, it was released with much of an applaud then deactivated due to issue and then re-released with lot of clarifications :) because in between deactivation and re-release of SP1, April 2014 CU for Project Server and SharePoint 2013 was also released.

So let me kill all this unnecessary noise with the final announcement that Service Pack 1 is now available to download, and all the clarifications in a nut shell is that Just apply this SP1 to your environment even if you have applied the previously released SP, and also feel free to apply this SP1 if you have April 2014 CU in place.  don't forget to  run the configuration wizard in the end :)

Also do not forget that unlike old times, this SP1 is not a roll up package, which mean you should install SharePoint 2013 SP1 + Project Server 2013 SP1 and then run the configuration wizard in the end.

Download links for updated SP1:

For details please see Brian Smith post, you can find details of almost all the queries in your mind on his blog post.

Also see Stefan Bogner's post for details related to Service Pack 1 release announcement and clarifications.

As always try any patches in your test environment prior to apply to production.

Happy patching :D

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