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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

#SharePoint and #ProjectServer 2016 RTM is OUT

Project Server 2016, on premises, Released to Manufacturing (RTM) version is released last week.

Project Server is fully integrated within same SharePoint installer, and once SharePoint installation will be completed, Project Server service application will be available to be used.

Microsoft has also announced that Project Server/SharePoint 2016 will be generally available in Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center in early May 2016.

You can refer to my last blog to follow step by step to stand up SharePoint 2016 farm:

Project Server 2016 RTM to download:

Language Pack for SharePoint 2016:

Project Server 2016 tech-net documentation:

SharePoint Server 2016 tech-net documentation:

Whats new for Admins in SharePoint 2016:


Saturday, December 19, 2015

#SharePoint or #ProjectServer 2016 Installation - Step By Step

SharePoint/ProjectServer 2016 Beta 2 version is available to explore now, and in this blog post I will walk through installation steps to help users follow and setup an on-premises SharePoint server 2016 farm.

Note that Project Server service application is now included within a same set of setup files. We don't have to install separate setup files for Project Server, you will find Project Server Service application to choose to configure as part of farm configuration step.

During the installation process, I will highlight any new/additional steps or installation screens specific to SharePoint 2016. Also note that this installation is carried using Beta 2 version, that is 99% feature complete as Microsoft has quoted and must be very identical to the RTM version coming next year.

Hardware and Software requirement for SharPoint Server 2016 can be found here:

For testing purposes, I am preparing a single server farm and I have a separate database server that is running SQL Server 2016 CTP 3.0.

Exactly like SharePoint 2013, lets start with installation of prerequisites. 

Pre-requisites options: 

SharePoint server expects certain pre-requisites to be installed prior to actual SharePoint installation. Below are our option to prepare SharePoint server with pre-requisites:
  1. Online installation, using Pre-requisite tool (recommended)
  2. Manual installation of pre-requisites by downloading required setups files.

For offline installation (option-2), you can download below required pre- requisites and install on server. Please always refer to this MSDN to check for any changes in pre-requisites and their respective download links:

·        Web Server (IIS) role
·        Application Server role
·        Microsoft .NET Framework version 4.5.2
·        Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Native Client
·        Microsoft WCF Data Services 5.6
·        Microsoft Information Protection and Control Client (MSIPC)
·        Microsoft Sync Framework Runtime v1.0 SP1 (x64)
·        Windows Server AppFabric 1.1
·        Cumulative Update Package 7 for Microsoft AppFabric 1.1 for Windows Server (KB 3092423)
·        Microsoft ODBC Driver 11 for SQL Server
·        Update for Microsoft .NET Framework to disable RC4 in Transport Layer Security (KB2898850)
·        Visual C++ Redistributable Package for Visual Studio 2012
·        Visual C++ Redistributable Package for Visual Studio 2015

In this blog post, I am using pre-requisite tool that comes with SharePoint setup to configure my server.

Installing Pre-requisites

Run setup as administrator, and choose install software pre-requisites.





5. After restart, the pre-requisite tool will resume with remaining installation.

6. Summary screen will show status as below:

At the end of installation, go through the completion status screen as above to identify if any pre-requisite got failed while installation

Installing SharePoint Server 2016:

Choose Install SharePoint server from setup dialog, and follow the screen shots to complete the installation process.


2   2. Accept the agreement check-box, and continue:

3. Choose a file location, if it’s different then the default location mentioned:


5. At the end of installation of setup binaries, run the configuration wizard to complete the configuration and create farm:


7. Choose create a new server farm to create a new SharePoint 2016 far. Connection to an existing farm option can be used to join new server to an existing farm.

8. Define the required configuration fields below and proceed:

9    9. Pass-phrase is important, so define and save it somewhere to refer later if required. As it would be required to add another server to scale up your existing farm.

10. Below screen is part of new enhancements/change to SharePoint 2016 deployment process. This will let you choose your server role within a farm, earlier it was all about manually setting up a required application services based on server role in a farm.

11. And the final configuration dialog box let you choose port number for your Central Admin site:

12. Configuration summary page:


13. Below step may take a while to complete:

14. At the end of successful configuration, you will be presented with summary configuration. Click finish to launch Central Administration website:

15. Once Central Administration site launched, you can choose wizard to configure services

16. Another change to SharePoint 2016 deployment process is that Project Server is now part of same SharePoint installation as service application.

Project Server always was an application service in SharePoint, but previous versions requires separate set of setup files to be installed to enable Project Server application service in existing SharePoint farm.

17. And here you have a shiny new SharePoint Server 2016 farm ready for you to explore J

More to come soon, keep visiting my blog.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Great new #Enhancements to #ProjectOnline

This is to quickly share about 3 excellent new enhancements to Project Online rolled out today.

1. Email Notification

Email notifications in Project Online keep you on top of what’s coming, let you know when things are due and what’s currently on your plate.

This feature is available from today.

2. Project IDs
This was much awaited!
Until today I have to use JS or other solutions, in order to generate unique ID for each project.
This is now going to be available as OOB option, and can be configured as part of the Enterprise Project Type (EPT) settings. 

Each EPT has its own project ID definition. You can specify a fixed Pre- and Postfix, Starting Number and Minimum Digit Padding. The project ID can be added to a number of views throughout PWA and in custom reports. It can also be programmatically updated using CSOM.

Note, that this feature is still in final touches mode, and yet to be released.

3. Increasing custom field limits for reporting

This enhancement is simply overwhelming. 
Reporting from Project Online was an issue with prior limitation of 45 custom fields.

With this new enhancement introduced, increased new limits on ALL custom field types are:

Project custom fields
Timesheet custom fields
Task and Resource custom fields, combined
450 text fields
450 text fields
450 text fields
450 lookup tables
450 lookup tables
450 lookup tables
450 of all other custom field types (cost, date, duration, number, flag)
450 of all other custom field types (cost, date, duration, number, flag)
450 of all other custom field types (cost, date, duration, number, flag)

This change is valid from today.

Life is getting better with Project Online :)

Friday, November 27, 2015

#Project Online and #ProjectServer - Reporting Enhancements

Reporting is an integral factor to any successful PPM deployment, and Microsoft is continuously investing in reporting capabilities, making it bigger and better.

In this blog post, I will bring together few recent updates to reporting options that can help get the best out of Project (online and on-premises) data, and will share links to all the sources available.

1.      SSRS – SQL Server Reporting Services

SQL Server Reporting Services are amazing, it enables you to create interactive, tabular, and graphical or free form reports from relational, multidimensional, or XML-based data sources. SSRS is the most powerful tool to surface data on to reports till date, from simplest to highly complex reports, SSRS is your tool.

And now there are some good new related to SSRS devotees, Microsoft has recently announced about the number of enhancements to Reporting Services in SQL Server 2016.

SQL Server 2016 preview version is already available for some time now, and Microsoft SQL team has released number of new Reporting services features to preview version:
Few of the highlighted items are as below:

·       Pin Reporting Services report items - Including charts, gauge panels, maps, and images - to Power BI dashboards. Dashboard tiles always show up-to-date data thanks to scheduled refresh. Click a dashboard tile to drill through to the complete Reporting Services report.
·      Design reports using Visual Studio 2015 with an updated version of SQL Server Data Tools.
·       ·      Uses .NET Framework 4.x code in report expressions, report code, referenced assemblies, and extensions for report security, data processing, rendering, or delivery.

Some more details here:
·      ·      Position report parameters the way you want : I am quite excited about this particular enhancement, for the first time ever, you see the Parameters pane in Design view, handing you, the report author, design-time control of parameter positioning:
·       ·      Export reports to PowerPoint
·       ·      Create Treemap and Sunburst charts
·       ·      Design reports in an updated version of Report Builder with a modern theme
·       ·      View and interact with reports in modern browsers (thanks to a new HTML5-based renderer)
·       ·      Print reports from modern browsers (without installing an ActiveX control)

Below is the summary of all the information published till date:

1.      Power BI and Project Online

Power BI is around for some time now, Microsoft Power BI is a collection of online services and features that enables you to find and visualize data, share discoveries, and collaborate in intuitive new ways.

In new Power BI experience, Power BI displays dashboards on the Power BI service that are interactive, and can be created and updated from many different data sources. Based on the same technology as Power View, Power BI Desktop supports existing Power View reports and provides the future path to a HTML5 based interactive report experience on-premises.

In this blog post, I am particularly interested in mentioning how the Project world can take leverage of Power BI offerings.

Lately Power BI team has introduced a Power BI pack for Project online users. The Project Online content pack for Power BI allows you to explore your project data with out-of-box metrics such overdue projects or a burn-down of current project work.

Also with new SSRS capabilities as mentioned above, Pin to Dashboard, we can now pin any existing Project chart to Power BI dashboard very easily. This help an end user in particular, to quickly put together a nice dashboard using several existing SSRS reports without seeking support from technical wizards.

Glimpse of few project reports from Power BI pack are below:


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Announcing Availability of #SharePoint and #ProjectServer 2016 BETA 2 versions

A while ago I have shared about the release of SharePoint and Project Server 2016 preview versions, available for users to install only for evaluation purposes.

And here comes another great news, Microsoft has recently announced general availability of Project Server and SharePoint 2016 Beta 2 versions.

Earlier this month, November 2015, at European SharePoint conference 2015 Microsoft’s top leadership has made this big announcement. Jeff Teper, Microsoft’s corporate vice president OneDrive and SharePoint, has announced in a conference that:

SharePoint 2016 Beta 2 will be released before the end of November, and should be out before US Thanksgiving (November 26). It will be 99 percent feature complete, so we should get a better view of what SharePoint 2016 RTM will actually look like.

The Beta version is available to download and use, only for evaluation purposes. You can find links to relevant sources at end of this post.

Now as Microsoft has announced that it’s a 99% feature complete release, which means that we can safely anticipate about what we going to receive as RTM release in next year. I would like to quickly bullet point the updates to Beta version since the Preview version.

·       Profile synchronization with Microsoft Identity Manager
·       ·       Data Loss Prevention
·       ·       Extensible Hybrid App Launcher
·       ·       Profile Redirection

Please note, for Preview version users, that you will not be able to upgrade from SharePoint Server 2016 IT Preview to Beta 2. You have to implement it as a fresh installation.

And here are the links to all the sources and download page for SharePoint and Project Server 2016 Beta:
SharePoint 2016
Project Server 2016
Download SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2, this also includes Project Server 2016 Beta 2 binaries as an improvement to the current deployment process. Project Server will be available as a service just like other SharePoint services.

Announcement about SharePoint Server 2016 and Project Server Beta 2 Versions Quick Start Guide

Explore SharePoint Server 2016 Beta 2

Explore Project Server 2016 Beta 2

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.

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