Quick Start Guides for Project Server & Project Online

I’m a little late to the party with this, but Microsoft have released a number of excellent Quick Start Guides taking users through key concepts in Project Server and Project Online which I thought I would share with the readers of this blog.

Project Quick Start Guides

The quick start guides cover a number of topics and can be obtained from the links below:

Get started with Project Online

Create Projects in Project Online

Track Work with Project Online

Create projects in Project Web App

Track work in Project Web App

App Review–Fluent Pro’s EPM Pulse for Project Online

EPMPulse LogoAt the Project Conference, Microsoft announced some improvements to the reporting capability of Project Online through the introduction of support for SSIS. However, there is a solution available now that will enable you to create powerful dashboards in Project Online from the guys at Fluent Pro called EPM Pulse for Project Online which you can get going in minutes which is available now in the SharePoint app store.

Example Dashboard

Once installed, EPM Pulse will provision an instance within Fluent Pro’s infrastructure that will be used to render your dashboards, which can take a few moments the first time you install. The EPM Pulse instance reaches into your Project Online tenant  and pulls out the relevant data to render the reports.

EPM Pulse Dashboard Provisioning

The app allows you to create multiple dashboards which can be shared or private and cover different timeframes and projects.

EPM Pulse Dashboards

EPM Pulse allows you to choose from a selection of predefined widgets covering Analytics, Financial, Portfolio, Resources, Risks and Issues & Workflow which you can place on your dashboard and move around using full drag and drop. Each widget is added to the dashboard and is automatically configured to pull in the relevant data, but can be further refined to change the title to something more meaningful for your organisation and the look and feel.

Available Widgets

The authors have done a fantastic job of abstracting away the complexity of configuration, whilst still giving the user a huge range of configuration options to make sure the dashboards show the information your organisation needs. Of course it doesn’t end there, dashboards can also be exported to PDF / PNG, viewed in Full Page mode and also shared with other parties.

Fluent Pro’s EPM Pulse is licenced under a subscription with monthly subscription options for users that design dashboards and users that consume the data within them and can be downloaded from the SharePoint App Store.

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.