Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Microsoft Project Online Reporting Options

I've spent couple month without paying too much attention to my blogs - was busy implementing some organizational changes, products portfolio changes and preparing new product launches here at FluentPro Software. From now, I promise that will create couple blog posts every month.

In this post, I will provide high-level overview of existing reporting options for Project Online with some comparison. We will include our products but will try to be objective as much as I can :-) and will provide overview of the existing technologies / platforms.

Technologies are:
- Excel Services
- PowerView
- Power BI
- SSRS
- FluentPro EPM Pulse

If there is another technology - we would be more than happy to include into this comparison.

Comparison chart



Excel Services
Standard reporting feature. You use Excel to get OData Feed and then using Pivot Tables you can transform the data. Great for 90% of tasks, but remaining 10% when you need to present data in some specific way require a lot of work, using hidden sheet, referencing cells etc.
You can buy pre-built reporting packages from several PPM Partners.
Learn more: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-project-online-help/use-excel-2013-to-create-a-new-project-online-report-HA102923779.aspx?CTT=5&origin=HA104002027

PowerView
Great and quite easy tool to create interactive dashboards. Great for 90% of tasks, but for remaining 10% it is impossible to present data in some specific format. For example - value of 1 field with some formatting.
Learn more: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-project-online-help/use-excel-2013-to-create-a-new-project-online-report-HA102923779.aspx?CTT=5&origin=HA104002027

SSIS + SSRS
Using SSIS users can get ODATA feed and get it to SQL database. This bring ability to create datawarehouse and sync data from Project Online to it. Then you cna use full stack of reporting tools (for example SSRS). Unfortunately, reporting DB structure is not 100% matching OData feeds, so it requires re-working, mapping and other development activities to make Project Server SSRS reports working with this data. At minimum, your are required to create/buy VM with SQL Server, configure SSIS; SSRS in native mode, create DB, deploy and change SSIS packages, and schedule them to run. Then you need to move / change your SSRS reports.
SSRS reports can be embedded into PWA pages but there is still a challenge of double authentication - one for Project Online and one for VM + you need to manage security since VM is internet-facing.
Learn more: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/office/dn720853(v=office.15).aspx

FluentPro EPM Pulse
Disclaimer: We are subjective here since it is our product and we believe it is a great product.
With EPM Pulse users can build portfolio and project level dashboards using a "drag-and-drop" approach. EPM Pulse is based on "widgets", every widget is a chart that can be added to dashboard to show pre-defined information. IF needed, users can extend system by creating new custom widgets / modifying existing ones and this requires basic SQL knowledge; All widgets are re-usable; being created once can be used on multiple dashboards and moved to other PWAs. EPM Pulse supports rendering of SSRS reports and since we use data schema that is very close to Project Server Reporting DB, it is possible to use same reports from on-premises with only one minor change - adjusting naming of parameters.
Learn more: http://www.fluentpro.com/project-online/apps/epm-pulse-for-project-online/


Power BI
Latest and greatest powerful data visualization platform from Microsoft that can pull data from multiple sources. Supports big volumes of data. Great for creating high-level "picture". Requires additional subscription.
Learn more: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/powerbi/default.aspx


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

SSRS for Project Online

On Microsoft Project Conference, Microsoft announced that SSISwill support ODATA - that brings ability to dump data from Project Online into SQL Server database and use SSRS.

While it is great it is not a complete solution:

1. You need to create a mapping to data
2. You need to change  / adjust your reports
3. Data is not real-time - it comes on the schedule and your reports will not show the latest information.
4. You need your own or rented infrastructure (Azure or hosting)

FluentPro has an alternative solution and it is available now at the Office Store - FluentPro Online Reporting Services app for the Project Online - http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/store/fluentpro-online-reporting-services-WA104196765.aspx

There are 3 advantages of FluentPro Online Reporting Services :

1. We do render your existing reports that you have right now. You don't need to change your reports. We do your reports verification before we add it to your account.
3. We do not store your data outside
4. We do real-time data rendering - we always show you latest information from the Project Online immediately.

The App is distributed on a freemium model - it come with free execution points (5,000 points) and comes with several free reports that you can use any time until balance is used (one report uses anywhere from 20 to 300 points depending on complexity).  You can buy additional execution points any time.

Give it a try, it costs nothing but you can run timesheet reports, status reports and project charter.

Download App

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Solution Starters for Microsoft Project Server 2013

Our team migrated Solution Starters for Project Server 2010 to the Microsoft Project Server 2013 platform. We are distributing Solution Starters for Project Server 2013, free of charge, available for download with source code and with wps, ready for deployment. Please note - solution starters are available as-is, free of charge and FluentPro Software Inc, FluentPro Software Corporation are not responsible for any direct and indirect damage. Please try / install solution starters at your own risk.

Available Solution Starters for Project Server 2013:


  • Bulk Edit Tool
  • Excel Project Cost Capture
  • Programs
  • Project Workspace List Viewer
  • Report Builder Tool
  • Workspace Project Custom Field Web Part

We are happy to provide commercial support for Solution Starters. We can help you with all your needs in regards to the Solution Starters:


  • Deployment of Solution Starters to your servers
  • Troubleshooting of Solution Starters deployment
  • Customization of Solution Starters
  • Adding new features to the Solution Starters functionality


You can download solution starters from our website - http://www.fluentpro.com/solutionstarters2013.html .

Enjoy!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Migration of Project Server 2010 / 2013 to Microsoft Project Online

We are happy to announce that it was a 1 month since we released new version of FluentBooks for Project Server 2013 with 4 editions:

  • Standard edition for Project Server 2013 configuration management
  • Online edition for Project Online configuration management
  • Cloud Migrator for migration from Project Server 2010 / 2013 to Project Online
  • Cloud Extractor for migration from Project Online to Project Server 2010 / 2013 

During this this period number of our customers successfully migrated their Project Server 2010 environments from on-premises to the Project Online without any problems, issues and errors.

This was a great month for FluentPro - and thank you for the trust!

You can learn more about FluentBooks on our website - http://www.fluentpro.com/productsfluentbooks2013.html


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Part 3: Visualization of project lifecycle with help of Dynamic Workflow solution starter and FluentPro EPM Pulse for Project Server 2010


This is a part 3 of my series of post related to the project life cycle design and data visualization with the help  of EPM Pulse.

In this part, I will provide an overview of the process of building portfolio-level dashboards with the help of FluentPro EPM Pulse.

Portfolio is a group of projects. Organization can have several portfolios or only one that will contain all the projects that should be performed over a specific time frame. Projects can be included into the portfolio directly or using the Portfolio Analysis features of the Microsoft Project Server platform.

Portfolio dashboards display aggregated information about set of projects and how entire portfolio aligned with goals.

EPM Pulse has 4 sets of widgets that can be used in building portfolio dashboards:

  • Set of widgets that display project start / finish dates on charts ( when started, when planned to start, when planned to finish, when finished, started / late / on track, on which workflow phases / stages the projects are, completion on time)
  • Portfolio Financial information (Planned / Baseline costs, budgets, actual costs, cost distribution, costs by department, cost variances)
  • Project Execution Information (Planned / Baseline work, budgeted work, actual work, work distribution, work by department, work variances)
  • Resources-related information (Utilization, Over-allocation, Generic Resources, Availability, Capacity)
  • Portfolio summary for Risks and Issues

Using these widgets companies can visualize the state of their portfolio and what is the the most important - do some additional analysis and slicing/dicing of the data.

Selecting projects for dashboards


EPM Pulse provides ability to define quite complex rules for filtering projects. To access this functionality click on Project Filter button. Users can filter by any standard and custom project level field and use multiple conditions. It is possible to  manually select several project or use select all - this will select all projects that match that filter criteria - that means that list of projects in a dashboard can be dynamic and updated in real-time



Timeline

EPM Pulse has a powerful tool for navigating dashboards in a time - Timeline control.


It is visible on all dashboards and in all modes. Changes made to the timeline and project filter will be saved to the dashboard if in the edit mode.

Timeline has several options:
- Auto (earliest start date - latest finish date)
- Day (current)
- Week (current)
- Month (current)
- Quarter (current, calendar)
- Year (current, calendar)
- Custom (users can define custom range).

Note: Majority of the widgets are time-enabled, but there are some that are not - mostly ones that display summary of financial / work information for the entire portfolio. In the description for each widget user can find if it is not time-phased (this is specially stated on one's that are not timeline-enabled). Depending on timeline selection, widgets will use appropriate time scale, but user can override this by using the Timeline setting for the widget (where it is applicable). For example - user might want that Work Distribution widget will be always show data grouped by week, no matter what selected on the timeline.



Sample dashboards

We've created several sample Portfolio level dashboards - and as you will see they might be quite different. If required - users can change dashboards in minutes and without any programming, anytime.

Dashboard #1



Dashboard #2


Dashboard #3



After building 4-5 dashboards, creation of a new dashboard that contains about 10 widgets should take  about 4-5 minutes.

Integration of portfolio dashboards into PWA / SharePoint Sites

EPM Pulse portfolio dashboards can be build-in into any SharePoint site or PWA. The procedure is absolutely the same as embedding dashboard into PDP - add a web part and select dashboard (See blog post Part 2: Designing Project level dashboards with EPM Pulse for Project Server 2010 )

We recommend that users create a filter for projects  - that filter settings saved into dashboard and will be used by default when user not overriding them in the dashboard.

Please note that dashboards must be made "public".

Summary

This was a final post on this series. Please visit our blog for the new posts - soon there will be very similar post for Project Server 2013 platform, and instead of Dynamic Workflow solution starter we will use SharePoint Designer 2013.

Webinar about EPM Pulse

We would like to invite you to our webinar on about benefits of using EPM Pulse and Project Server 2010 together. Webinar will take place on June 11th at 9AM PST; You will learn more about EPM Pulse and creating a portfolio and project level dashboards.

Please sign up here - and it is absolutely FREE.


Other posts in this series






Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Part 2: Visualization of project lifecycle with help of Dynamic Workflow solution starter and FluentPro EPM Pulse for Project Server 2010

In this post, I will provide an overview of FluentPro EPM Pulse, overview of widgets in EPM Pulse that we've created and will show how to build project dashboards in EPM Pulse and  integrate them into PDPs and Project Sites.

In the next post - Part 3 - I will demonstrate how to create portfolio level dashboards with the help of EPM Pulse.

So Let's not wait any longer and let's get stared.

Assumptions

EPM Pulse overview

FluentPro EPM Pulse is a data visualization platform for Microsoft Project Server 2010 with a focus on self-service. That means that companies can give rights to regular project managers to create their own dashboards for that their projects so project managers can not only "feed" system with the data but also retrieve it and visualize in very easy way using visual tools.

There are 2 main features of EPM Pulse - they are  pre-built "Widgets" and Visual Dashboard Designer. Designer allows to add pre-built charts (we call them "Widgets") to the dashboard and re-position / resize them the way user wants.  We have built over 150 widgets for both portfolio and project level dashboards and it should cover 99% of all organization needs.  Using widgets provides the ability to build dashboards without any development. Add Widgets. Re-position. Re-size. Save.  It all takes just couple minutes per dashboard and seconds to make changes if required.

Building dashboards for different stages

As described in Part 1, we have multiple stages in our workflow and ideally we need to have one dashboard per stage but in fact, we can limit them this number to 4 dashboards since on Project Initiation and Project Selection stage, project is very likely is in the same "state":
  • Project Initiation / Project Selection Stage
  • Project Planning stage
  • Project Execution stage
  • Project Closing stage / Project Closed stage
Let's start building them.


Project Initiation / Project Selection 

On this stage, companies have only high level information about the project and a limited amount of information. Project schedule might exist but might contain only several tasks or proposed key milestones.
There is usually some indication of the requested budget. Project is resourced with resource plan.
We can build dashboard that will show:
- Values of several custom fields (Request Budget, Duration)
- List of Milestones
- Capacity /Planned work / Availability of the team from resource plan
- Planned Work distribution from resource plan
- Planned work by resource department

To create dashboard, click on a Link to EPM Pulse, Select project table and click on "Create New"
This will bring the new dashboard window.

1.  Click on Add Widget and select: Project Field Widget from Other tab, Planned Work By Project Department (Resource Plan) from Project Progress tab, Project Milestones and Planned Work Distribution ( Resource Plan) from the Project Summary tab and Project Team Availability (Resource Plan) from Resource Tab and click on Apply button

2.  Click on Add Widget and add one more Project Field Widget from Other tab; Click Apply button.

3. Select a project that is on stage Project Initiation or Project Selection using the "Project Filter" button

4. Click on Save and enter the name "Project Initiation Dashboard"

5. Click on Edit

6. Distribute / resize widgets and configure to display. For example, our dashboard can look as following:


For most of the widgets there are 2 dialogs for configuration of the widget setting and look and feel:


7. Click on Properties button, go to Options and select Public as Visibility

8. Save dashboard

Now, we have dashboard created and it should display information from the project. Several recommendations for data in "requests":

- Try to provide as much as possible information
- Create at least one task and set duration so project will have a duration
- Try to match dates in resource plan with  project start / finish dates
- Try to define one or several key milestones

Project Planning Stage

On the next stage, Project Planning Stage, we should be focused on the project schedule / milestones, work / cost distribution and resource availability. We will use the same approach for creating dashboard but will use slightly different set of the widgets.

Please add following widgets (just as a sample set):

  • Project Financial Summary (Baseline), Cost S-Curve, Planned Cost distribution from Financial Tab
  • Burndown Chart, Work S-Curve from Project Progress tab
  • Planned Work Distribution, Project Milestones, Project Performance Summary (Baseline) from Project Summary Tab


After re-positioning / re-sizing of widgets, dashboard that I just created looks as following:


Feel free to add / replace charts or create one more dashboard for this stage.
Note: Do not forget to make dashboard public - this will be required to add them to PDPs.

Project Execution Stage

On this stage we need to see in-flight information. Progress. Late tasks. Milestones.
Dashboard that I just created for this stage looks as following:


 (Screenshot displays not a full dashboard - it has one more level that did not fit into the screenshot)

Again - use creativity - EPM Pulse provides access to over 70 widgets, build multiple dashboards.

Project Closing / Project Closed Stage

On this stage we recommend displaying summary metrics from project how it was executed and perform a "lessons learned" analysis on the project. What went wrong? What was great and accurate? What can we improve with next projects?  We've developed a number of widgets for that as well - users can find multiple widgets focused on accuracy and variations that serve the best for these goals (for sure, we can display only what can be "measured", this is just one aspect of "lessons learned" or retrospective review).


Sample dashboard that I just created for this stage looks as following:



Now - we have 4 dashboards created and we can add them to the PDPs that we already have.

Adding dashboard to PDP

Go to Server Settings - Project Detail Pages and click on Project Initiation Dashboard PDP.
Go to Site Actions and select Edit Page
If there is no EPM Pulse Viewer webpart, add it - click on Add a Web Part, select FluentPro EPM Pulse on the left and select EPM Pulse Dashboard Simple Viewer. Press Add button


Go to the EPM Pulse Viewer webpart on the page and click on Edit Webpart and in first dropdown select Dashboard that we created (Project Initiation Dashboard).


That's it. Perform this step for all PDPs and now projects will display EPM Pulse dashboard on one of the PDP depending on project workflow stage.

Wasn't that extremely easy? Isn't that looks good? I would say - awesome!



Webinar about EPM Pulse

We would like to invite you to our webinar on about benefits of using EPM Pulse and Project Server 2010 together. Webinar will take place on June 11th at 9AM PST; You will learn more about EPM Pulse and creating portfolio and project level dashboards.

Please sign up here - and it is absolutely FREE.


Other posts in this series





Part 1: Visualization of project lifecycle with help of Dynamic Workflow solution starter and FluentPro EPM Pulse for Project Server 2010

It this post, I will try to provide a step-by-step instructions how to a full create environment with simplified workflow using Dynamic Workflow solution starter and later in next post we will visualize information using dashboards created in EPM Pulse. This will be a pretty big post - but it will allow users to get started with Project Server 2010 with workflow and great data visualization. Be prepared for some reading and couple hour of manual creation of configuration elements in Project Server (if you do not use FluentBooks for Project Server 2010).

This post will cover several sections:
  • Installation of Dynamic Workflow solution starter
  • Definition of Workflow
  • Create Fields & Lookup Tables
  • Define and create Drivers and Driver Prioritization
  • Create PDPs
  • Create Phases
  • Create Stages
  • Create Workflow
  • Create EPT

Assumptions

  • You have some experience of administering of Project Server 2010
  • You have Project Server administrator rights
  • For simplicity we will not use Departments feature in Project Server 2010
  • This post assumes that you have resource pool built and maybe using generic resources along with work and cost resources

Installation of Dynamic Workflow solution starter

I will assume that you have a Dynamic Workflow Solution Starter that you compiled and is ready for installation. If you don't:
- please go to http://archive.msdn.microsoft.com/P2010SolutionStarter, click on downloads and download source.zip
- open solution with Visual Studio 2010 and compile the Solution Starter
- You need to have following files in order to deploy Solution Starter:

Open the DeployPowerShell.Cmd file and edit its content - you need to edit Site URL:

--------------

@echo off
Set DeploymentPackageFolder="."

Set SiteUrl="http://w2008r2ps/demo2"
Set SolutionFolder="./"
Set SolutionName="DMDynamicWorkflow.wsp"
Set FeatureName="DMDynamicWorkflow_DynamicWorkflow"

cd %DeploymentPackageFolder%
PowerShell -file .\Deploy.ps1 %SiteUrl% %SolutionFolder% %SolutionName% %FeatureName%

pause

---------------

In my case, the URL with PWA where it will be deployed is http://w2008r2ps/demo2.
You need to log to the computer as farm administrator and run this script DeployPowerShell.Cmd from command line:



We strongly recommend to run RestartServices.bat after Dynamic Workflow solution starter install. This will restart IIS and Queue services.

To make sure that Dynamic Workflow in up and running, go to your browser and type the following URL:
http://w2008r2ps/demo2/_layouts/WrkSetng.aspx (replace http://w2008r2ps/demo2/ with you PWA url):


Click on Add a workflow:


In the window that displayed you should see the DM DynamicWorkflow  - that means it was installed and we expect it to be functional.

Designing a Project Server Workflow

To make things a slightly simplified, we will create a workflow with 5 Phases and 5 Stages (one phase can contain one or more stages, but we should be good with just one stage per phase). Our workflow will be potentially ready for the Portfolio Analysis and will include all the required elements:


Phase Stage PDPs Description
Project Initiation Project Initiation  - New Project Information
 - Strategic Impact
On this phase / stage, project request is initiated by users; All requests are captured so they can be later prioritized and only selected projects will go to detailed planning / execution. On this stage, initial planning is performed.
Project Selection Project Selection  - Project Summary
 - Strategic Impact
 - Schedule
 - Project Selection Dashboard
On this stage, the portfolio analysis component can be "plugged-in". In our scenario there will be no portfolio analysis, and only projects that are selected will move to the next stage.
Project Planning Project Planning  - Project Summary
 - Project Key Performance Metrics
 - Schedule
 - Strategic Impact
 - Planning Summary Dashboard
On this stage, detailed plan should be create, project should be resourced
Project Execution Project Execution  - Project Summary
 - Project Key Performance Metrics
 - Schedule
 - Project Status Information
 - Strategic Impact
 - Execution Dashboard
Project Execution and Tracking
Project Closing Project Closing Stage  - Project Summary
 - Project Status Information
 - Schedule
 - Statistics Dashboard
Project is completed or canceled. PMO, Mamangement and Project Managers shoud analyze information and perform a "lessons learned" exercise
Project Closed Project Closed  - Project Summary
 - Project Status Information
 - Schedule
 - Statistics Dashboard
Project is closed. This is the terminal stage of the project.

As you can see, I've listed all the Phases, Stages and PDPs that will be visible on those stages - and to make system more flexible, we will have different sets of PDPs for each stage.

There is one element that is missing in this table. It is possible also to control a "read-only" status of fields on specific workflow stages. Again, for simplicity, in this scenario we will make all the fields read-only on Project Closing and Project Closed stages.

So, our workflow structure is defined (designed), now we will get a technical section - creation of all elements.

Creating Custom Fields and Lookup Tables

Custom fields are created via Server Settings -> Enterprise Custom Fields and Lookup Table section

we will create following lookup tables with values:

Lookup Name Value
FP Indicator Black
Green
Red
Yellow
FP Project Type Program
Project
Portfolio Portfolio A
Portfolio B
Portfolio C
Program CM tools
FluentPro Audit Family
FluentPro Data Visualization Family
FluentPro PS Customization
FluentPro Web Tools
Project Site Tools Family
Resource Role Business Analyst
Coordinator
Developer
IT
Manager
Project Manager
Quality Assurance
Training Lead
Vendor


On the next step, we will create following fields:

Field Name Entity Type Lookup Table
Budget (Provided) Project Cost
Budget (Requested) Project Cost
Budget Document Reference Project Text
Business Objective Project Text
FP Project Type Project Text FP Project Type
Go-Live Date (Actual) Project Date
Go-Live Date (Forecast) Project Date
Major Accomplishments Current Period Project Text
Major Accomplishments Next Period Project Text
Portfolio Project Text Portfolio
Program Project Text Program
Project Description Project Text
Project Notes (General) Project Text
Project Progress Notes Project Text
Project Scope Project Text
Resource Role Resource Text Resource Role
Status - Budget Project Text FP Indicator
Status - Quality Project Text FP Indicator
Status - Red Explanation Project Text
Status - Resources Project Text FP Indicator
Status - Schedule Project Text FP Indicator
Status - Scope Project Text FP Indicator
Status - Update Date Project Date
Status - Yellow Explanation Project Text


Creating Drivers and Driver Prioritization

For our scenario - I will create 4 drivers and we will prioritize them - so we can define in future strategic impact for each of the projects.
To create drivers, to to PWA and click on Driver Library link in main menu on the left.

You will get to the page with drivers (it should be empty by default):




Use buttons on ribbon to create new drivers



Please note that you should define and create your own drivers that are specific for your organization.

To prioritize drivers, click on Driver Prioritization in PWA main menu. To create new prioritization, click on New on the ribbon. Window will appear where you need to enter prioritization name and select drivers that will be included into prioritization:


Then click on Prioritize Drivers and system will walk you via several steps of prioritization, depending on number of drivers included.

Creating PDPs

As next step, we need to create PDPs. PDPs are SharePoint pages that can display information from project level custom fields with help of special web part, called Project Fields web part. Users can place other webparts to PDPs - standard or custom. We will create 3 types of PDP:
 - PDP for project creation
 - PDP that will host EPM Pulse Dashboards
 - PDPs that will display information from project

We will create the following PDPs:

  • New Project Information
  • Project Selection Dashboard
  • Planning Summary Dashboard
  • Execution Dashboard
  • Statistics Dashboard
  • Project Summary
  • Project Information
  • Project Key Performance Metrics
  • Project Status Information

To create new PDP:
1. Go to Server Settings -> Project Detail Pages
2. Click on Ribbon on a Documents Tab and then on New Document
3. On displayed page enter PDP file name and select layout template (I prefer to use Full Page, Vertical;  other users prefer different layouts) and click on Create:


On displayed page, click add webpart and from dialog select a webpart:
- for Dashboard Pages, select EPM Pulse Simple Viewer webpart
- for "normal" PDP Pages select Project Web App -> Project Fields Webpart and select click on Add button.

Webpart will be added to the PDP.

To add fields to Project Fields web part, click on small dropdown arrow on webpart in top right corner and then click on Edit Webpart - > Modify (in Displayed Custom Fields Area) and then select fields that need to go to that web part. Below is a table with all fields for specific PDPs:

New Project Information
Business Objective
Finish
Owner
Portfolio
Program
Project Name
Start
Finish
Description
Key Performance Metrics
% Complete
% Work Complete
Actual Finish
Actual Start
Baseline Cost
Baseline Duration
Baseline Finish
Baseline Start
Baseline Work
Budget (Provided)
Budget (Requested)
Budget Cost
Budget Work
Cost
Cost Variance
CPI
Duration
Duration Variance
Finish
Go-Live Date (Actual)
Go-Live Date (Forecast)
Remaining Duration
Remaining Work
SPI
Start
Work
Work Variance
Project Status Information
Major Accomplishments Current Period
Major Accomplishments Next Period
Project Notes (General)
Project Progress Notes
Status - Budget
Status - Quality
Status - Red Explanation
Status - Resources
Status - Schedule
Status - Scope
Status - Update Date
Status - Yellow Explanation
Project Summary
Budget (Provided)
Budget (Requested)
Budget Document Reference
Business Objective
Finish
Go-Live Date (Forecast)
Owner
Planning Start Date
Portfolio
Priority
Program
Project Departments
Project Name
Project Scope
Start
Description

Create Workflow Phases

To create Phases, go to Server Settings -> Workflow Phases and click on "New Workflow Phase" button. In displayed window, enter the name of the Phase, Description ( Optional) and click on Save Button.


Phases that should be created listed below:

Phase
Project Initiation
Project Selection
Project Planning
Project Execution
Project Closing
Project Closed


Create Workflow Stages

As the next step, we will create Workflow Stages. To to Server Settings -> Workflow Stages and click on "New Workflow Stage":


Enter the Stage Name, Select appropriate phase and select and add PDPs that should be displayed on this Stage. At the bottom, you can select fields that should be required and read-only.

Please get list of PDPs for each stage from the following table:


PhaseStagePDPsDescription
Project InitiationProject Initiation - New Project Information
 - Strategic Impact
On this phase / stage, project request is initiated by users; All requests are captured so they can be later prioritized and only selected projects will go to detailed planning / execution. On this stage, initial planning is performed.
Project SelectionProject Selection - Project Summary
 - Strategic Impact
 - Schedule
 - Project Selection Dashboard
On this stage, the portfolio analysis component can be "plugged-in". In our scenario there will be no portfolio analysis, and only projects that are selected will move to the next stage.
Project PlanningProject Planning - Project Summary
 - Project Key Performance Metrics
 - Schedule
 - Strategic Impact
 - Planning Summary Dashboard
On this stage, detailed plan should be create, project should be resourced
Project ExecutionProject Execution - Project Summary
 - Project Key Performance Metrics
 - Schedule
 - Project Status Information
 - Strategic Impact
 - Execution Dashboard
Project Execution and Tracking
Project ClosingProject Closing Stage - Project Summary
 - Project Status Information
 - Schedule
 - Statistics Dashboard
Project is completed or canceled. PMO, Mamangement and Project Managers shoud analyze information and perform a "lessons learned" exercise
Project ClosedProject Closed - Project Summary
 - Project Status Information
 - Schedule
 - Statistics Dashboard
Project is closed. This is the terminal stage of the project.



Creation of Workflow using Dynamic Workflow solution starter

To create new workflow using the Dynamic Workflow Solution starter, go to URL


http://w2008r2ps/demo2/_layouts/WrkSetng.aspx (replace http://w2008r2ps/demo2/ with you PWA url):


Click on Add a workflow:



Click Next. Select a Workflow Stage from the drop-down and set the radio buttons as displayed on the next screen:



Add all stages as we defined above so your final workflow should look as displayed on next picture:

Click on Submit button - your workflow is ready to be used.

Creation of EPT (Enterprise Project Type)

Next step in our configuration is creation of EPT - Enterprise project type. EPT is a special "package" that defines what attributes should carry the project and combines all together workflow, project file template, project site template and set of PDP pages (for non-workflow project types).

We recommend to create a new project type that will be used to create projects with workflow that we designed but you can update any existing PDP.

Project Server Administrators can change Enterprise Project Type for project at any time if that's required as well as restart the workflow.

To create new EPM to to Server Settings - > Enterprise Project Types and click on "New Enterprise Project Type" button.

In displayed window, specify the Name of new EPT, Workflow name that we create on previous step, Project Plan and Project Site template (if any custom will be used) and click Save button.

I created EPT called FluentPro Project.

Our new EPT will be created and now we can start creating our projects and moving them to specific stages using Submit button on Workflow Status Page.


How to save time and not create everything manually?

You can download trial version of FluentBooks for Project Server 2010 and FluentBooks workspace that contains all elements except workflow. Using trial version, you can upload this workspace and it will create all elements in your PWA.

FluentBooks download: http://www.fluentpro.com/productsfluentbooks.html
Workspace Download: http://www.fluentpro.com/downloads/DynamicWorkflowWorkspace.zip  

Steps are pretty simple:

1. Accept EULA, download and install FluentBooks on your server or on desktop that has connectivity to PWA
2. Download workspace from the link above and unpack from zip
3. Start FluentBooks, go to File - Open and open this file
4. Go to Upload /Export and make check-box selection as shown on the picture below


5. Click on the button "Select All Elements"
6. Enter URL of your PWA and credentials (if you current user has admin rights, you can use "Use Current Account"
7. Press Export button and FluentBooks will upload all the configuration.

You will save at least 2-3 hours of your time with using FluentBooks - and this trial version is absolutely free.

Note: There will be no workflow created yet; after you create a workflow please update EPT and select workflow that was created.

Summary

We created all required elements and workflow. As next step, we will create several dashboards using EPM Pulse and we will integrate them into the PDPs that we created, so on every stage the corresponding dashboard will be displayed.

Other posts in this series



Friday, May 17, 2013

Deployment guide: Project Server 2013 and Microsoft Azure

On our blog related to Microsoft Project Server 2013 we just added new post about deploying Project Server 2013 on Microsoft Azure infrastructure.

You can find it here: Project Server 2013 on Windows Azure deployment

Try it - it is fun and quite easy.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Updated version of FluentPro Audit Pro is available

Today FluentPro Software is releasing a new version of FluentPro Audit Pro.

Audit Pro is a software product for Microsoft Project Server 2010 that creates audit log for all the changes in Project Server configuration, resources, projects and project schedules.

There are multiple improvements that were made, but the major improvement in a products is advanced support of project schedule changes logging from Microsoft Project Professional 2010.


  1. Now all edits from Project Professional are tracked in very detailed manner
  2. It is possible to configure which field's change should trigger the "log record creation". This is very useful feature when companies do not overload the audit log with all entries or with tracking changes to intrinsic and services fields.
  3. All edits from Project Professional  contain "Old" and "New" values

You can download a free version with basic audit details functionality from our website - http://www.fluentpro.com/productspsaudit.html 

If you are interested in testing a full version, please contact us and we will send you evaluations agreement for your review.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

FluentPro EPM Pulse is available as Subscription starting at $1/user per month

Based on multiple requests from our customers and prospects, we are announcing availability of subscription model for EPM Pulse. Now you can pay for EPM Pulse usage on a monthly basis, without long term commitments. And the price is very low - $1/user/month for viewers, and $7/user/month for dashboards authors.

For example - If you are 200 people company with 25 project manager who need ability to create dashboards,  EPM Pulse will cost you only $300/month. If you are a big company, you have an option to use unlimited license - it will cost only $800/month and you can use EPM Pulse for thousands of users.