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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Project Server - Working offline with the Project

Quite often i have seen post on Project Forums regarding working on Projects in offline mode. The good news is that Project Server does allow users to take the Project offline and work, and when connected back to the server can synchronize the changes back to the server. But there are certain steps needs to be followed to accomplish this to avoid corruption of project data OR to end up with different versions of project files on the server.

First, you'll have to take a project "offline." In this process the project is stored in the cache on the computer you're using to take it offline. To take the project schedule offline:
  • File - Info - Manage Accounts - Work Offline
  •  File - Close
  • Specify "Save" the file; "Keep project checked out"; and click OK
  •  Close and exit Project Professional.
Now, to open and work on Project offline:

  • Open Project Professional and connect in offline mode.
  • Click "Work Offline."

In case you want to verify that you really are working on the Project offline, you can always check the 'connected' indicator at the left bottom of the Ms Project. A globe with the red mark reflects that the Ms Project is open in the offline mode, and the globe without the red mark appears while connected with the server.

Once connected in a offline mode, you can open the Project schedule from the cache. To open the Project file from the cache:
  • Click File | Open.
  • Click on the project schedule to open.
  • Click Open.
You can now update the project in the offline mode. The reason, we have checked-out the project and then disconnected from the server, is to prevent the change in the project schedule at the same time from a different user. After you've made your changes, save and close the project schedule:
  • File - Save.
  • File - Close
While doing this, you must aware about this important step that: Don't check in the Project schedule. Just close Project Professional.
To bring an offline project back online and synchronize with the server: 
  • Open Project Professional and connect to Project Server
  • Make sure that the lower right corner indicates that you're connected to the server:
  • File - Open.
  • Select the project plan and click Open (do not double click the Retrieve Projects from the server)
You can now verify, from the status bar, that Ms Project is connected with the server and your offline Project schedule changes are automatically synchronized with the server.

Save the Project schedule to the server, and Publish (if required). And there you go, you have updated the Project schedule offline and synchronized it back to the server successfully.

Please drop a line if you find it useful, and happy scheduling.


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