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Infrastructure Update Intel

posted July 28th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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Update: Please see Christophe Fiessinger’s blog post concerning Known Issues with the Infrastructure Update

Popularity: 89%




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Infrastructure Update Caveats for Cost Resources

posted July 16th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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While reviewing the white paper that describes the recent Project 2007 Infrastructure Update in detail, I came upon some interesting information at the end of the document.

Before I start, I first want to thank and congratulate Microsoft on a job well done with the quality and quantity of documentation they’ve provided for this update. Compared to the sometimes-cryptic KB Articles that typically accompany hotfixes and updates, the Infrastructure Update’s documentation is outstanding.

That being said, I do have some concerns relating to the changes in Cost Resources, which are a new way in Project 2007 of accounting for costs associated with a project. Cost Resources are typically used to account for non-work costs such as travel expenses. The Infrastructure Update makes some significant changes to the way that Cost Resources function, and while I am a big fan of the idea of Cost Resources, I cannot help but be concerned by some of the caveats I’ve quoted below:




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Advice when Posting to the Project Server Support Newsgroups

posted July 16th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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Gary Chefetz has made an interesting post over at ProjectServerHelp on how to write a great post when you look for help in the Microsoft communities newsgroups. He makes several interesting points:

  • Always include version information
  • If possible, always include specific error information (preferably a stack trace or direct copy from the event/ULS log
  • Include information about any troubleshooting performed to-date
  • Do not assume that similar error messages equate to similar problems, since software tends to use “catch-all” errors for many problems.

As someone who frequently answers questions in the newsgroups, I think that these are all very important. They cover some of the biggest timewasters in the newsgroups (for both users and experts alike). When posting, try to follow his advice — doing so should help cut down on the time-to-resolution for users seeking assistance in the newsgroups.

You can check out his post here.




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Project and Project Server 2007 Infrastructure Update

posted July 16th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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For those of you that haven’t heard yet, yesterday morning Microsoft released the long-awaited Infrastructure Update for WSS, the Office Servers (including Project Server), and Project 2007.

You can read an overview of updates here, and read detailed information in this white paper.

This update promises significant performance and stability improvements to the entire line of Office Servers, WSS, and the Project Client. If you haven’t already (or have only read the overview), I strongly recommend you read the white paper. It contains 30 pages of information about the update, and contains a lot of important information (including user scenarios to avoid).

From the overview:

Project Server

  • Timesheets and My Tasks stability and usability improvements
  • Queue Management user interface improvements
  • Logging Tracing improvements
  • Project Server performance improvements
  • Project Server 2003 to Project Server 2007 migration fixes



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Project Server 2007 Version Reference

posted May 8th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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Quick post today… just for reference, the version numbers for the various major hotfixes and service pack.

RTM: 12.0.4518.1016
SP1 (KB 936984): 12.0.6218.1000
Post-SP1 Hotfix Rollup (KB 941426): 12.0.6300.5000
April 3rd, 2008 Hotfix (KB 950816): 12.0.6309.5000

Update: Chris Fiessinger posted an article back in December detailing the four ways to retrieve the version information from Project Server. The version numbers above should align to those returned by the PSI and within the Published DB.

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Retrieve the Guid of a Custom Field Using its Name

posted May 7th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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Within the Project Object Model, the Application object has a method, FieldNameToFieldConstant(), that returns a PjField constant for use by the various SetField() and GetField() methods throughout the object model. More information on the SetField Method (and other associated methods) can be found here.

Unfortunately, when using the PSI, there’s no quick way to lookup the Guid for a field. This can be a problem, since the various CustomFieldsRow objects (Task, Resource, Assignment, and Project) do not include the name of the custom field, only the UID (for an example, look at the ProjectCustomFieldsRow entity in the Project 2007 SDK).

Retrieving custom field information in the PSI is accomplished by using the CustomFields web service. The code below is a class that implements a method to retrieve the Guid of a custom field using the field’s name and entity type. I had to chop the code up a lot because of space constraints, so I apologize for the excessive line breaks. This code assumes that you’ve set up a Web Reference to the CustomFields web service named WebSvcCustomFields.



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Creating or Viewing Views in Data Analysis can cause Analysis Services to become unresponsive

posted April 23rd, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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At a previous client, I encountered an issue where, when creating or viewing certain views in Data Analysis, the Analysis Services service would spike in processor/memory utilization and become unresponsive.

I have recently discovered that this is a known issue in environments that have an interaction between Office Web Components and SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services with Service Pack 2 (which means Project Server).

Although I’m not 100% sure, I believe the KB that covers this issue is KB936251. The symptoms seem to fit.

At any rate, I have been told that the resolution was included way back in SQL Server 2005 Cumulative Update 2. I recommend that you install the current CU, which is CU7, due to the number of fixes it contains. UPDATE: I’ve recieved information that CU6 is a better choice due to some issues introduced by CU7. I’ve posted a followup article here.



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Create a Custom Timer Job to Enforce Changes to PWA Permission Levels

posted April 14th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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In our previous article, we discussed Permission Levels for Project Web Access sites. We talked about how they were too liberal for most organizations and how to change them.

Unfortunately for us, the fact of the matter is that any changes you make to the default permission levels (in PWA or in a PWS) are not permanent, since the two Membership Synchronization processes overwrite them.

The PSI Methods for these two processes (QueueSynchronizeMembershipForWssSite and SynchronizeMembershipForPwaAppRootSite) can be found in the WssInterop service, which resides at http://ServerName/ProjectServerInstanceName/_vti_bin/psi/WssInterop.asmx. As previously discussed, both of them will delete and recreate the permission levels (or roles, depending which part of what document/interface/article/SDK you read) whenever triggered either by you or by Project Server.



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EPM Streamlines Your Activities

posted April 4th, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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This is part three of the Understanding the Value of EPM and EPM Consultants series.

One of the best aspects of Project Server is that it does the grunt work of collaboration and data collection for you. As Project Managers, we spend a lot of our time having meetings, preparing for meetings, reviewing and gathering status, and ensuring our plans are in line with expectations. Project Server allows you to handle the legwork for many of these tasks automatically.

Consider a standard status report that a team member fills out. Typically, these reports contain a list of issues, risks, past and future tasks, and a matrix of how their time was spent. The unfortunate downside of this method of communication is that the list of issues, risks, and tasks often becomes complicated and unwieldy on long projects or ones with more than a few people. Some teams choose to work around this by decreasing the detail provided in the report, but doing this obviously decreases the value of this report.



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Adjust the Default Project Web Access Permission Levels

posted April 3rd, 2008 by Stephen Sanderlin
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At many of my clients, I encounter situations where the default Permission Levels created by Project Server for Project Web Access sites cause problems. Typically, everything is going along just fine when suddenly one day PWA has a different theme or the “My Tasks” or “My Timesheets” page is blank and/or throws an error. While on occasion the error is legitimate, usually it is due to an inexperienced user editing the Shared version of the page. If you haven’t encountered this issue yourself, at this point you may be wondering how this is possible… The simple answer is that for many organizations, the default Permission Levels grant too much power to non-Administrative users.

When you provision a new Project Web Access site, Project Server creates four Permission Levels (described in this technet article):

  • Web Administrators (Microsoft Office Project Server)
  • Project Managers (Microsoft Office Project Server)


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