App Review–UMT 360 Workflow Visualization

One of the most common add-ons to Project Server 2010 environments was the workflow visualization solution starter that provided a graphical overview of where a project was in it’s demand management workflow. In 2013 and Project Online, Microsoft introduced an out of the box workflow visualisation component, which is pretty good at showing the stage transitions, but can be limited if you have more complex processes you want to visualize.

Enter UMT 360 with their Workflow Visualization app, available in the SharePoint app store. UMT 360 takes the excellent visualization component from UMT 360 for PPM product and have spun it up as a stand alone SharePoint app.

When first opened, the app will display all workflows currently configured within your PWA instance and lets you choose which workflow you wish to set the visualization up for.

UMT360 Workflow Visualization - Choose Workflow

Once the workflow has been selected, the app will call into the workflow and pull out the various stages and branches and render a graphics automatically for the workflow. In my simple workflow, I have three simple sequential stages which the app picked up easily.

Automaticall rendered graphic

You can choose to further customise the themes of the visualization or choose to upload your own graphics that will be substituted.

Choose a rendering theme

Once you’ve configured the app, all that’s needed is to add the app part to your workflow overview project detail page via the Edit Page > Add a Web Part.

Add the webpart

Then to see the visualization, open up a Project where the EPT is using the workflow you chose at the beginning and voila.

The final visualization

On the whole the UMT 360 Visualization app is pretty solid, as I was preparing this review there were a few times when the app took longer than expected to render, but that could either be my Project Online tenant, or something that the UMT guys can easily address with an update or a simple progress cue.

The UMT 360 Visualization app is available from download in the SharePoint app store, you can sign up for a free time limited trial, or subscribe to the app for the low price of $1.99 per month.

App Review–Nearbaseline’s Bulk Edit

imageAny organisation that uses Project Server will quickly get to the point where they need to modify or add new custom fields as their organisational process or requirements change. As any Administrator will tell you, adding new custom fields is simple, however updating all the projects to reflect the new custom fields is not. Enter Bulk Edit, a popular 2010 solution starter that has been given the app treatment by a few partners. In this post we are going to look at the first and most impressive, Nearbaseline’s Bulk Edit, available in the SharePoint app store.

Once installed, the app can be accessed from the Site Contents menu, or directly from Project Centre view.

Bulk Edit in the Project Centre Ribbon

When the app opens you will be shown all the fields that you can edit by default and given the option to choose which ones you wish to update.

Bulk Edit - Select the custom fields to edit

Once loaded, the app will show all the projects within your PWA instance and the fields chosen above in a grid so you can easily see the relevant fields to update

Bulk Edit - Modifying the fields and synchronising back

As you change fields in the app, it will synchronise the update back to Project Server and show you the status with a simple tick or cross. What makes this app truly great is that the author really thought about the key use cases when performing a bulk update and added support for ‘autofill’ using a little nub similar to what you see in Excel and added filters / sorting to help you classify and find the projects you wish to update.

Bulk Edit - Update Status

Bulk Edit - Filter and sort fields

All in all, Nearbaseline’s Bulk Edit is great free app addition for your Project Server / Project Online environment.

The Appie Awards…

 Last night at the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced the winners of the ‘Appies’, recognising the best apps in the Microsoft Office and SharePoint stores. The awards highlighted a number of great apps covering SharePoint, Office and Project, including:

  • Campagna and Schott for their CS Task Board app, a runner up in the Best UI award;
  • CPS’s Project Task Auditor, winning the Most Business Value award for Project client apps; and
  • Sensei’s Project Dashboard, winning the Most Interesting Scenario, Project category.

Personally, whilst I didn’t get a chance to enter any of my existing, or new apps into the awards, I was really excited that Nintex (who I work for in my day job) won three categories including Most Interesting Scenario for SharePoint, Most Downloaded SharePoint app & the People’s Choice for Nintex Workflow for Office 365 and runner up in two categories for Nintex Forms for Office 365 :)

So given that there are so many great apps out there in the store, I thought this would be a good time to do some mini reviews of the apps for Project Server, so over the coming weeks will be diving into a few of them in a bit more detail, including:

Stay tuned :)

Project Conference Session videos now available on Channel 9

Hot off the press this morning, the session video’s for the Project Conference are now available to watch via Channel 9.

Here are a couple of my favourites so far (and I may be biased)..

Click me to to go the video

Future of Business Productivity Keynote – Check out the great demo with the Nintex Workflow for Office 365 app.

Click me to to go the video

My session Implementing your organizational process in SharePoint, Project Server and Office 365 with Nintex

And finally, the great vision keynote where the future direction of the business is revealed and Ludo and Heather show off their comedic skills whilst doing some great demos Smile

Click me to to go the video

Enjoy.

Multiple Timelines revisited

At the Project Conference I was chatting to someone who was convinced that it wasn’t possible to have different tasks highlighted on different timelines in the Project client, so I thought I would post this walk through to confirm how it can be done.

To start, we need to create another timeline. I covered this a while back in this blog post, but for the sake of completeness will go through it again.

In Project, click on the View Tab and find the Timeline group.

Select a timeline

Click on the drop down and choose More Views…

Choose More Views

In the dialog, select the Timeline view and then click on Copy

Copy the Timeline

Give the new timeline the name ‘Executive Timeline’ and click on OK

Creating the Executive timeline

Now all we need to do is choose the timeline we want to start adding tasks to. In this case I have chosen the Executive Timeline

Adding Tasks to the Executive Timeline

and have gone through and added the first three phases and coloured them as per below.

Colouring the Executive Timeline

Next change the timeline to the normal timeline, notice it’s empty to start with and hasn’t carried over the tasks added to the previous executive timeline.

Normal timeline

You’re now free to start adding different tasks to this secondary timeline quite independently of the the Executive timeline we created before.

Adding Tasks to the Normal Timeline

Now there are some things you need to consider if you are using multiple timelines:

  • Make sure you have the timeline you wish to add the tasks to visible before adding
  • If you’re Synching the Project Schedule with a SharePoint Task List, then only the default out of the box timeline appears to be picked up.

Using Project Server 2013 / Project Online–make sure you read this…

The Project Support blog today published a post about a pretty nasty bug that has been found in Project Server 2013 and until very recently in Project Online that could cause you to lose resources across schedules.

Full details of the bug and the actions you can take to address the issue if you have encountered it can be seen at http://blogs.technet.com/b/projectsupport/archive/2014/02/06/project-server-2013-and-project-online-what-happened-to-my-resources.aspx.

If you have encountered any issues with lost resources including resource names turning into numbers, or mysterious material resources appearing, I would highly encourage you to read the above blog.

Speaking at the Project Conference

imageI am pleased to confirm that I will be speaking at the forthcoming Project Conference in Anaheim in February 2014. For those of you that haven’t been to a Project Conference, I absolutely recommend you do your best to get to one, the quality of speakers, presentations, networking and all round Project and SharePoint knowledge under one roof is second to none.

Once again I will be representing Nintex, a silver sponsor of the conference and presenting a session entitled:

Implementing your organisational process in SharePoint, Project Server and Office 365 with Nintex

With SharePoint and Project Server 2013, organisations have never before had such a rich platform to manage projects, ranging from lightweight project sites in SharePoint through to Project Server 2013 and even Office 365. Ensuring this platform can be customised to meet your exact process requirements is essential to get the most out of your investment. In this session you will learn how Nintex products can be leveraged to quickly, simply and effectively enhance and augment SharePoint & Project Server 2013 to meet your organisational needs.

I am hard at work building some awesome demos and content to knock your socks off. So please make sure you get along to see how Nintex can help.

It’s not too late to register, so head on over to www.msprojectconference.com  and I hope to see you in Anaheim.

The Appies are coming…

appiesIn case you had missed the news, Microsoft have announced The Appies, a competition around creating an awesome app for SharePoint, Office 2013 or our favorites, Project Server, Project Online or the Project client (Jeremy had the scoop a few weeks ago and coined the Appies name which I think is pretty apt).

To qualify for the Appies, all you need to do is submit a new app or update an existing app between November 25th 2013 and January 31 2014 to be automatically entered.

So what can I win you may be asking?

Well, if you’re an app developer or vendor, the prize is pretty awesome, expanding the reach and promotion of your app by being:

  • Featured in the App Village for all of the attendees to view.
  • Featured in the Office Store.
  • Part of a specific marketing app awareness campaign as part of SharePoint Conference 2014
  • Featured in a video produced by Microsoft that will be presented to everyone in the Microsoft field
    Each app entered will be judged in six different categories, so there are plenty of chances of winning:

  • Best User Interface
  • Most Interesting Scenario
  • Most Business Value
  • Most Downloaded App
  • Peoples Choice App
  • Best International App

So what better way of spending some of that downtime around Christmas than by getting cracking on building an app and entering.  To get you started, here are some useful links:

Building your first Project Server app – http://epmsource.com/2013-apps/

The SharePoint 2013 App Playbook session from TechEd Australia

image

dev.office.com – Microsoft’s dedicated site for all Office app development

Apps for SharePoint – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/office/dn448479

Apps for Office  – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/office/dn425028

Project Task Pane Apps – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/office/aa905469

Good luck Smile

 

Check out the MS Project Podcast

MS Project Podcast - On the airEarlier in the week I was lucky enough to be interviewed for the MS Project Podcast by Prasanna Adavi and David Fletcher.

The interview was a little about Nintex Workflow for Project Server, some Office 365 and a fair dose of my love of all things Project Server.

The episode is available at ttp://www.msprojectpodcast.com/post/65349292852/ep-2-nintex-workflows-project-server-2013-and or you can subscribe to the ongoing podcast at http://feeds.feedburner.com/msprojectpodcast

This is a great initiative by Prasanna and David and I encourage you all to get subscribing and sharing your Project stories with them Smile

Have your say.. SharePoint & Project Server App Development

Thanks to Jeremy Thake for the heads up, but I thought I would repost this here to alert some of the Project Server community that build apps for SharePoint and Project Server and read this blog.

Microsoft have launched a public UserVoice community to collaborate on feedback for the SharePoint app model moving forward. If you’re not familiar with UserVoice, it allows you to submit ideas and vote & comment on other user ideas.

Welcome to the Office Developer Platform UserVoice!

Let us know what you would like to see in future versions of the Apps for Office and SharePoint APIs and capabilities, MSDN documentation, code samples, and architecture guidance. This site is for suggestions and ideas.

There are already some great items up there, including a couple I have submitted.

 

Office App Development UserVoice Community

If you’re developing apps for SharePoint or Project Server, make sure you get involved and be heard.