Project Server 2013 Upgrade Process

There are a lot of changes under the covers with Project Server 2013 including a consolidation of databases, retirement of BCM, stopping in place upgrade support (nobody really did that did they?) and the underlying changes to SharePoint that means upgrading a PS instance is not as simple as it once was. To address this, the product team have released a fantastic poster outlining how to upgrade from Project Server 2010 to Project Server 2013.  The poster is for the preview only at the moment and may change before the RTM, but it’s handy enough to help you get an evaluation environment up and running containing your migrated data.

Project Server 2013 Preview upgrade process

The Project Server 2013 upgrade process can be downloaded as a Visio diagram or as a PDF document. Also, keep an eye on http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc197692(v=office.15) for details of all Recently published content for the Project Server 2013 Preview.

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Microsoft PowerShell Command Builder

At the SharePoint Conference in Anaheim, Microsoft released a pretty nifty PowerShell Command Builder for SharePoint. Whilst it doesn’t look to support Project Server PowerShell commands just yet, it does support SharePoint Server 2010 which as Project Server practitioners we all need to roll our sleeves up and do something to now and again.

PowerShell Command Builder Design Surface

The tool itself uses a handy drag and drop interface to select what you wish to do and then prompts you to enter the relevant information for the command. When your finished you can simply copy it to your clipboard to paste into the SharePoint PowerShell window.

PowerShell Command Builder - Add Farm Solution

The SharePoint PowerShell Command Builder is built in Silverlight 4  and can be accessed at http://www.microsoft.com/resources/TechNet/en-us/Office/media/WindowsPowerShell/WindowsPowerShellCommandBuilder.html. There is also a handy getting started guide here.

Update: I just noticed that if you right click on the Command Builder, you get the option to install it locally.

Install on your computer

File not found error when viewing risks or issues

Every now and again whilst using the Project Server Demo and Evaluation pack, I run into an ‘File Not Found ‘ error when clicking on a risk or issue in a project workspace.

Risk / Issues - File Not Found

On investigation in the ULS logs, the actual error is:

ULS Error - FileNotFoundException

The important part of the error message that gives away what the problem is is the ‘http://moss.contoso.com/pwa’, which is not the site we are using, but it is the site the workspace is looking at to get the risk or issue form.

Fixing the problem is relatively easy thanks to Project Server’s Bulk Update Project Sites. This capability replaces the WSSSiteRelinker tool that was one of the key tools of a Project Server consultant with the 2007 release. When project workspaces are restored from a different machine it is necessary to repoint them at the new PWA instance under the covers.

To run the Bulk Update Project Sites tool, navigate to Server Settings > Bulk Update Project Sites.  Once in the screen select Previous Site Path (this should be populated with all the relevant options), in our case http://moss.contoso.com and http://project.contoso.com. Enter the site URL, in our case PWA (not there is no proceeding /, this is added automatically. Then in the new site path, choose the relevant web application, in our case http://project.contoso.com and the site path, PWA.

Update Bulk Project Sites

The really important option is the Update Content Types section that says:

When migrating content to a farm that did not contain Project Server, the content types of Project Issues, Risks, and Documents may be altered such that item links are broken. If you notice that item links are broken after migration, you should update content types.

This is what is causing our error, so it’s important it is checked. Once this is all done, click on Update and let Project Server do its magic. Once it’s completed, I did an iisreset, I am not sure it’s strictly necessary, but I did it anyway.

Finally, all that is required is to test the risk or issue list again…

Risk / Issue - All Fixed

and voila, it’s working again. Of course, as this is your demo image, make sure you backup or snapshot the VM image so you don’t need to fix this again in the future. Now of course this error can also occur in non demo images if you have done a upgrade / migration, in which case all of the above steps still stand.

Speaking at Tech.Ed Australia 2011

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I am absolutely thrilled to announce I will be presenting alongside SharePoint MVP Brian Farnhill at Tech.Ed Australia 2011 a session entitled:

‘A SharePoint Developers Guide to Project Server 2010’

It’s just meant to be – Project Server and SharePoint server are better together, and this is the session that will show you why. Come and join us as we take you on a tour showing how the two products work together, and how you can deliver better solutions by integrating the two. Get to know how developers can leverage both of these great tools together and how you can deliver more value, what the features of the tools can offer and what you need to know as a developer to start solving real world business problems.

We are hard at work on some cool demo’s to show and it is shaping up to be an excellent session.

Tech.Ed Australia 2011 is on the Gold Coast between the 30th August and the 2nd September, registrations are now open. Find out more at http://australia.msteched.com/

Common errors when a PWA site is deleted ‘incorrectly’

Disclaimer: This post isn’t going to be up to the level of one of Brian Smith’s technical posts and is based on my own experiences and testing. You’re mileage my vary and I encourage you to vigorously test anything detailed in this post before attempting yourself, I accept no liability should you run into issues etc etc.

Recently there have been a number of posts in the project forums from users that have been running into issues when they have deleted a PWA instance incorrectly. Now what do I mean by incorrectly? Well, by deleting the PWA instance any way other than via the Project Server Service Application > Delete Instance.

So to start, what are the errors you can run into?

The Project Web App Path Site is invalid. Correct path and try again.

The most obvious error is not being able to create a new PWA instance with the name of an instance you had previously deleted incorrectly, even though the Project Server Service Application is showing that particular instance does not exist. From my experimenting this can occur if the PWA site collection is deleted from the ContentDB manually (in the example below, the PWA2 site collection).

The Project Web App Site Path is invalid. Correct path and try again

Note this error will also be seen if you are legitimately trying to create a PWA instance with a duplicate path.

Event 7626  – Cannot start queue

The second common error is a number of Event 7626 in the Event viewer indicating the queue’s (both Project and Timesheet) cannot be started. Again, this was seen when the /PWA2 site collection was manually deleted.

Event 7626 : Cannot start queue

The exact errors you may see (for the search engines) are:

Cannot start queue. SSP: <Guid> SiteUID: <Guid> Url: Queue: ProjectQ

Cannot start queue. SSP: <Guid> SiteUID: <Guid> Url: Queue: TimesheetQ

The database specified is already used by another project server. Enter a different server or database name and try again.

This error can occur if the user deletes the ContentDB hosting the PWA site collection and no other PWA instances exist using those Project databases. As you would imagine, you can also see this error if a legitimate PWA site is using those databases, so make sure you are certain.

The database specified is already used by another project server

So how to fix it?

The easiest fix is to restore the deleted site collection or contentdb from a backup, and then delete the site correctly via the Project Server Service Application.

If you don’t have backups then you are going to need to remove the left over configuration manually, using some PowerShell as outlined below.

1. Find the Project Server Service Application

The first command below will bring back all service applications where the TypeName contains the word Project and assigns them into an object called $serviceapp:

$serviceapp = get-spserviceapplication | ? {$_.TypeName –like “*Project*”}

Powershell - get-spserviceapplication

The second command takes the object and then formats the output as seen above. If you don’t see anything returned, then there are either no Project Server Service Application configured, or you may have typed the command wrong.

2. View the Site Collection Properties

Now that the $serviceapp object contains the service application instance, the next thing we want to do is see the site collections associated with it.  To do this, type the following:

$pwainstances = $serviceapp.Sitecollection

$pwainstances

This will find the various site collections associated with the instance:

Powershell - Instances in site collection

In this case, there are two instances associated with the Project Server Service Application, the good /PWA one and the incorrectly deleted /PWA2 one.  Notice even though the underlying site collection has been deleted, SharePoint still thinks its there in the configuration.

3. Remove the configuration for the incorrectly deleted instance

To remove the configuration of the /PWA2 site, enter the following:

$toberemoved = $pwainstances | ? {$_.Id –eq “<Id of the instance to delete>”}

$toberemoved

Powershell - Select individual instance

The second $toberemoved shows that the object contains the PWA2 instance that is to be removed. To perform the actual removal, enter:

$toberemoved.Delete()

Finally, perform a check to make sure the instance was deleted as follows:

Powershell - Delete site collection

If all went well, the object $toberemoved should be empty meaning the configuration within SharePoint has been removed and you should be free to go and create your PWA site again without error.

Downloadable Project Server Technet IT Pro Content

Overnight Microsoft have released all the current Technet IT Pro content for Project Server in a single convenient compiled help file, making it incredibly easy to reference all those guidance notes and best practice when on a machine not connected to the internet.

Project Server CHM

The file can be downloaded at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=8e434c5c-0c6e-41e2-86ad-79fa30558feb. Remember to unblock the file via a Right click / Properties before viewing or the file may not render.

Three ways to toggle resource over-allocation indicators in Project 2010

Project 2010 introduces a new visual indicator that shows when a resource is over-allocated within the Gantt chart view.  This is a great feature that ensures resource over-allocations are front and centre when people view the schedule, instead of being buried away on a resource tab.

Resource Overallocation Indicator

However there are times when you may want to suppress these indicators without hiding the whole indicators column, which may contain other important information. Project 2010 provides a number of mechanisms to help you suppress these indicators:

1. Right Click on the indicator and choose ‘Ignore Problems for this task’

Ignore Problems

2.Uncheck the ‘Show warning and suggestion indicators for this task’ in the Task Inspector

Task Inspector

3. Add the ‘Ignore Warnings’ column and change the value of all tasks to be ignored to ‘Yes’

Ignore Warnings