Project Online, Project Server 2013, the new Project TechEd Slides

Getting access to the new Project slides is in hot demand these days and voila! (see expect a lot more in the future…) http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/Australia/2012/OSP216   Microsoft Project Online Overview http://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/Australia/2012/AIT002   Project Server 2013, a Landmark Release!

Project Server 2007 Mainstream Support Ends on October 9, 2012 UPGRADE TODAY!

Dear community, important reminder that the Project Server 2007 mainstream support ends in a few days on October 9th 2012 to be precise! See for yourself on the official Microsoft Product Lifecycle site: http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?sort=PN&alpha=Project+Server+2007&Filter=FilterNO We have lots of content to help you upgrade to Project Server 2010 on TechNet: Upgrade and migration for Project Server 2010 as well as a rich partner ecosystem to help you move forward: http://www.microsoft.com/project/en-us/partners.aspx Want to upgrade to Project Server 2013 (note it’s still in Preview and not final), see this: Plan for upgrade to Project Server 2013 Start your upgrade today!

When your Project Server queue slows down

There can be a whole load of different reasons why a queue in Project Server might not be processing as fast as you’d like – and after listing a few of them I am going in to detail on one condition we have seen with a few different customers now, under some different scenarios.  All of these are equally as applicable to Project Server 2007 as to Project Server 2010 queue processing. 1. Poor database maintenance – see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc973097.aspx for Project Server 2010 and http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc973097(v=Office.12).aspx for the 2007 version 2. Large Shadow Tables – see http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2596531 3. Incorrectly configured queue settings – too many threads for the hardware you have – the 2007 reference is still one of the best descriptions of the Project Server queue – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc197395.aspx   4. Just busy – the queue is there to spread the work out – sometimes this might take a while (long duration ‘admin’ type plans publishing…) 5. Poor execution plans for the stored procedures that control the queue processing – the main topic of this blog! Getting in to more detail on point 5 – we have seen a few scenarios where the queue is processing really slowly – although SQL Server isn’t very busy and there appears to be no good reason that the jobs aren’t going through faster.  One customer’s observation (thanks Eric!) was that the jobs appeared to also complete in groups – that related to the number of threads.  For example if you had 8 threads running your Project queue (and of course plenty of hardware to support this quite high setting) then you might see 8 jobs running and some of these might have been expected to finish quickly – but they all seem to be waiting for the longest running job – then they all finish at once.  What appeared to be happening is that certain stored procedures that govern the queue jobs that ordinarily take just a few milliseconds might slow down and take half a second – or 10 seconds – or in the extreme 30 seconds to run.  And it was these stored procedures that decided which jobs get processed next.  A good way of summarizing this was that Project Server appeared to be taking more time deciding which queue job to run and not spending any time actually running anything!  Initially a reboot was the step that got things moving – but we wanted to be a bit smarter than the ‘turn it off and turn it on again’ approach. I’ll talk a little more about the scenarios where we have seen this – some of the symptoms – some of the remedies and then some of the quick fixes that can both get things moving again and which can also confirm the problem – as well as introducing the topic of execution plans and how SQL Server decides how to get answers from the database. An execution plan will detail how SQL Server goes about finding the data it needs – and will detail if specific indexes are used – or if perhaps just a table read is going to be quicker.  The plan will depend on the indexes available, the statistics available to understand the make-up of the indexes and the accuracy of those statistics.  Some of this comes back to point 1 in the list above – database maintenance – and some may depend on certain server settings – and even patches and versions of SQL Server in use.  Most of the slow downs we have seen relate to activities that will create a large number of queue jobs in a very short time.  Active Directory Synchronization, reporting database rebuild, mass deletion of projects or very heavy timesheet usage (or even automation) are the ones that spring to mind.  My theory is that the queue tables that were running along quite nicely while relatively empty suddenly find they have thousands of rows and the execution plan that is cached is no longer optimal.  SQL Server should quickly adjust for this – and we have certainly seen that Service Pack 1 of SQL Server 2008 R2 appears less susceptible to this problem.  There is also a recommended setting for Project Server – SET AUTO_UPDATE_STATISTICS_ASYNC ON (documented at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee662107.aspx ) that could avoid this problem – as potentially it may be triggered if the database is waiting on the statistics to update rather than just getting on with the work!  As the problem is quite rare – and we (and our customers) usually want to get things working rather than examine the slow system – we haven’t had a good chance to confirm some of these theories. One typical symptom, apart from things just running slow, is a particular event in the ULS log indicating a slow running stored procedure.  These are verbose level messages from SharePoint Foundation Monitoring, so may not be traces that are normally written to your ULS logs, but if they and they occur for some of the queue stored procedures such as MSP_ProjQ_Lock_Next_Available_Group  or MSP_TimesheetQ_Lock_Next_Available_Group.  The event ID to look for is b4ly and it might look something like tis: 08/09/2012 16:10:25.10 Microsoft.Office.Project.Server (0x36D0) 0x2E58 SharePoint Foundation Monitoring b4ly Verbose Leaving Monitored Scope (FillTypedDataSet — MSP_ProjQ_Lock_Next_Available_Group). Execution Time=21102.179988219601 I’ve highlighted the Event ID and the stored procedure name.  The execution time is in ms – so this is 21 seconds – v. slow.  You may also be able to track an increase in this time across your logs. As mentioned above we usually found that a reboot got things moving again, but once we understood the likely causes of the problem we could be a little more focused and fix things with less inconvenience to the users. How to Fix 1. Always worth getting your database maintenance working well – for this and many other reasons. 2. Set the recommended value for SET AUTO_UPDATE_STATISTICS_ASYNC 3. If Project Server is the only application running on SQL Server then the sledgehammer approach would be to run the following command within SQL Server management studio:  DBCC FREEPROCCACHE.  This will empty the stored execution plans from the procedure cache and then ALL stored procedures will need to recompile and the new execution plan should get things working faster. 4.  If other applications are running you probably don’t want to run that DBCC command – so instead you could just recompile a couple of the likely stored procedures: Draft DB EXEC Sp_recompile MSP_ProjQ_Lock_Next_Available_Group EXEC Sp_recompile MSP_ProjQ_Get_Status_Of_Jobs_List Published DB EXEC Sp_recompile MSP_TimesheetQ_Get_Status_Of_Jobs_List EXEC Sp_recompile MSP_TimesheetQ_Lock_Next_Available_Group I hope this helps if you do run in to this kind of behavior – and hopefully by keeping SQL Server patched and using our recommended settings it isn’t something that you should see happen – but just in case – this detail might save a call to me and my colleagues.

Project and Project Server August 2012 Cumulative Update

Do you remember as a child the summers seemed to go on forever – so it has been in Washington State this year – although it started late we still have blue sky and sunshine – can it really be August 50th Already?…  Sorry for the delay on the August 2012 Cumulative update for Project and Project Server 2010 and 2007 – but it is finally all released and the links can all be found on the posting over on the Project Administration blog at http://blogs.technet.com/b/projectadministration/archive/2012/09/19/microsoft-project-server-and-sharepoint-server-2007-and-2012-cu-announcement.aspx . Remember, for 2010 this now need SP1 to be installed – so if you try to load and get a message saying it doesn’t apply to your server this may be the reason.

Recent content about the new Project, Project Online, Project Professional, Project Server

Following recent webcasts, sessions and articles during the past month about The new Microsoft Project please find key content I’ve noticed. If I’ve missed any please let me know and I will gladly add to this list. In the meantime happy reading and watching! TechEd Australia (video): Microsoft Project Online Overview MPUG (video): Overview of the new Microsoft Project, plus QA with Senior Microsoft Product Manager Projects At Work (article): Tool Shop: Microsoft Project 2013 TechRepublic (article): Microsoft Project Professional 2013 new features preview Project Blog: Tasks Integration with Exchange Timelines Everywhere: See and share your work with ease in SharePoint and PWA Get Started with Project Web App SharePoint Tasks List plus Project – Better Together Adding SharePoint task lists to PWA an a lot more to come so please subscribe to the RSS feed !!!! Office Next blog: Click-to-Run and Office on Demand (good read to understand the new Project Pro for Office 365 service) SharePoint blog: Keep Your Team in Sync with Site Mailboxes Other blogs from MVPs, experts, product fans: EPMSource (Alex Burton’s blog, Project MVP) SharePoint (and Project Server Shenanigans) Nenad Trajkovski (Project MVP)

Register to Project Ignite Training to Ready Yourselves to the new Microsoft Project!

As announced by my colleague Jan Kalis: Don’t miss the unique opportunity – register for the new Project Ignite now! we have a great 3 day agenda for you at three locations (Sydney, Australia; Reston, Virginia, USA and Warsaw, Poland) in the coming month. I truly believe this is a historical moment for Microsoft Project and Project Server and hence readiness is one of the key to success so don’t wait anymore and REGISTER today!

Register to Project Ignite Training to Ready Yourselves to the new Microsoft Project!

As announced by my colleague Jan Kalis: Don’t miss the unique opportunity – register for the new Project Ignite now! we have a great 3 day agenda for you at three locations (Sydney, Australia; Reston, Virginia, USA and Warsaw, Poland) in the coming month. I truly believe this is a historical moment for Microsoft Project and Project Server and hence readiness is one of the key to success so don’t wait anymore and REGISTER today!

Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Server 2012: Hello World!

As announced last week: Visual Studio 2012 released to the web! Start your download today of Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Server 2012 (see this post Team Foundation Server 2012 and Project Server 2010 Integration ). What to learn what’s new, read product guides, etc. go here . Developers Developers Developers!

Project Server 2010 Administration – 12th to 13th September, 2012 (£795 + VAT)

When: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 at 9:00 AM – Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 5:00 PM (BST) Where: 1 Shottery Brook Office Park Timothy’s Bridge Road CV37 9NR Stratford Upon Avon United Kingdom Hosted By: Technology Associates Technology Associates is one of the leading IT solutions companies specialising in Microsoft Project and Enterprise Project Management Solutions. Since 1990, Technology Associates have provided deployment, consultancy, development and training services to more than 500 organisations including some of the world’s leading companies, and we have an international presence in countries in EMEA, USA, and APAC.     Technology Associates have deployed hundreds of EPM solutions and deployed more than 2,000 Microsoft Project solutions. The company holds Microsoft Gold Competencies in Project & Portfolio Management, Application Integration and as an ISV, along with eight other silver competencies. With such a stong technical tour-de-force we have built a solid reputation for delivering high quality services and solutions, and providing exceptional value for money. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, with Offices in New York, San Francisco, India and Barcelona, and a strategic partner network covering AsiaPac, Middle East and ROW, we work internationally in delivering IT solutions to our customer base in over 39 countries. Find out more at www.techassoc.com Follow us on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com /TechAssoc   Register for this event now at: http://talpsadmin2010120912-rss.eventbrite.com Event Details: Course Description: This course is designed to cover all the features and aspects of Project Server 2010 Administration. Attendance on the Introductory Project Professional 2010 course is an essential pre-requisite. Attendance on an advanced course with at least two to six weeks as a consolidation period is highly desirable . A ttendees ideally will have some experi ence of SQL Server, IIS, and SharePoint Server . Knowledge of network permissions, active directory and security models would be an advantage. Who Should Attend: Users who have a good knowledge of Microsoft Project 2010 and will be responsible for managing, maintaining and updating the Project 2010 Server database and user information. Course Content:   Upon completion of the course, delegates will be able to: Understand EPM 2010 Administration Concepts & Setup ·          Understand the different areas of the PWA Home page and links from it. ·          Understand authentication – types and logins. ·          Understand how to set up e-mail notifications for users and their teams. ·          Demonstrate how to save Microsoft Project information offline. ·          Demonstrate how to view, edit, and update projects & tasks ·          Understand how to reject, create, and delegate task assignments. ·          Understand how to link documents , issues, risks and documents to tasks. ·          Describe the Outlook integration. ·          Show how to view projects in the Project Center & how to create and maintain the views. ·          Show how to view resources in the Resource Center & how to create the views. ·          Demonstrate how to view resource and assignment data related to one or more projects. ·          Understand how to edit enterprise resource information. ·          Describe how to revi ew an archive of object data. ·          View and update task changes to a Microsoft Project plan. ·          View and update calend ar changes. ·          Set up rules to automatically update projects. ·          View a historical archive of task updates. ·          Understand Check In/Check Out of Projects and resources. ·          Understand Outlook integration. ·          Understand Categories/Groups/Permissions & Security Templates and how to use these to configure the system. Essential for analyzing the business and how EPM can be adopted. ·          Understand how d ata is stored in Project Server Databases and in SharePoint.   Project 2010 Server Administration ·          Understand the different Administration options. ·          Understand the communication and messaging process. ·          Understand the Task Views, Time Periods, Fiscal Periods and options. ·          Describe the provisioning process for creating workspaces. ·          Understand how to view and upload documents for projects and public documents. ·          Demonstrate searching of documents in the document libraries. ·          Understand how to create and edit an issue or risk. ·          Understand how to customize Issue and risk fields and views. ·          Describe what Microsoft Project Server is and what it is used for. ·          Demonstrate connecting Microsoft Project to Microsoft Project Server. ·          Understand the functionality of Microsoft Project Server. ·          Understand the different user types and the how they interact with Microsoft Project Server and the functionality of each, as well as how to modify permissions. ·          Understand the responsibilities of a Microsoft Project Server Administrator and adopt best practices. ·          Discuss the various views available, their purpose and how to customize them. ·          Understand the integration of SharePoint fr om the Microsoft administration perspective. ·          Understand the Databases in Project Server and how they interact. ·          Understand Reporting and Business Intelligence capabilities in EPM 2010. ·          Understand the Dashboard capability. ·          Understand customization of the Microsoft Project Web Access Client. ·          Describe license manag ement within Project Server 2010 ·          Discuss maintenance of clean data in the Microsoft Project Server database. ·          Understand how security works within Microsoft Project Server. ·          Demonstrate the process for setting permissions. ·          Under stand the process for time track ing and progressing updates. ·          Understand and edit the Resource Breakdown Structure. ·          Understand the Administration options in Project Server and how to use them. ·          Demonstrate and understand the significance of Outline code fields at Project, Task and Resource level. ·          Understand and apply the Portfolio capabilities and administer the settings in Project Server. ·          Understand ULS, Messaging logs, and the Queue services in Project Server. ·          Describe, understand and be able to apply Multi-value fields. ·          Recognise what the Active Cache is and how it works . ·          Understand the concept of web parts and SharePoint as a platform for Project Server.

Project Server 2010 Administration – 31st October to 1st November, 2012 (£795 + VAT)

When: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 9:00 AM – Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 5:00 PM (GMT) Where: 1 Shottery Brook Office Park Timothy’s Bridge Road CV37 9NR Stratford Upon Avon United Kingdom Hosted By: Technology Associates Technology Associates is one of the leading IT solutions companies specialising in Microsoft Project and Enterprise Project Management Solutions. Since 1990, Technology Associates have provided deployment, consultancy, development and training services to more than 500 organisations including some of the world’s leading companies, and we have an international presence in countries in EMEA, USA, and APAC.     Technology Associates have deployed hundreds of EPM solutions and deployed more than 2,000 Microsoft Project solutions. The company holds Microsoft Gold Competencies in Project & Portfolio Management, Application Integration and as an ISV, along with eight other silver competencies. With such a stong technical tour-de-force we have built a solid reputation for delivering high quality services and solutions, and providing exceptional value for money. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, with Offices in New York, San Francisco, India and Barcelona, and a strategic partner network covering AsiaPac, Middle East and ROW, we work internationally in delivering IT solutions to our customer base in over 39 countries. Find out more at www.techassoc.com Follow us on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com /TechAssoc   Register for this event now at: http://taps2010admin311012-rss.eventbrite.com Event Details: Course Description: This course is designed to cover all the features and aspects of Project Server 2010 Administration. Attendance on the Introductory Project Professional 2010 course is an essential pre-requisite. Attendance on an advanced course with at least two to six weeks as a consolidation period is highly desirable . A ttendees ideally will have some experi ence of SQL Server, IIS, and SharePoint Server . Knowledge of network permissions, active directory and security models would be an advantage. Who Should Attend: Users who have a good knowledge of Microsoft Project 2010 and will be responsible for managing, maintaining and updating the Project 2010 Server database and user information. Course Content:   Upon completion of the course, delegates will be able to: Understand EPM 2010 Administration Concepts & Setup ·          Understand the different areas of the PWA Home page and links from it. ·          Understand authentication – types and logins. ·          Understand how to set up e-mail notifications for users and their teams. ·          Demonstrate how to save Microsoft Project information offline. ·          Demonstrate how to view, edit, and update projects & tasks ·          Understand how to reject, create, and delegate task assignments. ·          Understand how to link documents , issues, risks and documents to tasks. ·          Describe the Outlook integration. ·          Show how to view projects in the Project Center & how to create and maintain the views. ·          Show how to view resources in the Resource Center & how to create the views. ·          Demonstrate how to view resource and assignment data related to one or more projects. ·          Understand how to edit enterprise resource information. ·          Describe how to revi ew an archive of object data. ·          View and update task changes to a Microsoft Project plan. ·          View and update calend ar changes. ·          Set up rules to automatically update projects. ·          View a historical archive of task updates. ·          Understand Check In/Check Out of Projects and resources. ·          Understand Outlook integration. ·          Understand Categories/Groups/Permissions & Security Templates and how to use these to configure the system. Essential for analyzing the business and how EPM can be adopted. ·          Understand how d ata is stored in Project Server Databases and in SharePoint.   Project 2010 Server Administration ·          Understand the different Administration options. ·          Understand the communication and messaging process. ·          Understand the Task Views, Time Periods, Fiscal Periods and options. ·          Describe the provisioning process for creating workspaces. ·          Understand how to view and upload documents for projects and public documents. ·          Demonstrate searching of documents in the document libraries. ·          Understand how to create and edit an issue or risk. ·          Understand how to customize Issue and risk fields and views. ·          Describe what Microsoft Project Server is and what it is used for. ·          Demonstrate connecting Microsoft Project to Microsoft Project Server. ·          Understand the functionality of Microsoft Project Server. ·          Understand the different user types and the how they interact with Microsoft Project Server and the functionality of each, as well as how to modify permissions. ·          Understand the responsibilities of a Microsoft Project Server Administrator and adopt best practices. ·          Discuss the various views available, their purpose and how to customize them. ·          Understand the integration of SharePoint fr om the Microsoft administration perspective. ·          Understand the Databases in Project Server and how they interact. ·          Understand Reporting and Business Intelligence capabilities in EPM 2010. ·          Understand the Dashboard capability. ·          Understand customization of the Microsoft Project Web Access Client. ·          Describe license manag ement within Project Server 2010 ·          Discuss maintenance of clean data in the Microsoft Project Server database. ·          Understand how security works within Microsoft Project Server. ·          Demonstrate the process for setting permissions. ·          Under stand the process for time track ing and progressing updates. ·          Understand and edit the Resource Breakdown Structure. ·          Understand the Administration options in Project Server and how to use them. ·          Demonstrate and understand the significance of Outline code fields at Project, Task and Resource level. ·          Understand and apply the Portfolio capabilities and administer the settings in Project Server. ·          Understand ULS, Messaging logs, and the Queue services in Project Server. ·          Describe, understand and be able to apply Multi-value fields. ·          Recognise what the Active Cache is and how it works . ·          Understand the concept of web parts and SharePoint as a platform for Project Server.