Quick Post : Workflows not working on a PS2010 farm where the Web Front End Service is disabled

I thought I would post this little gem so I don’t forget it. Hopefully it will be of use to someone else as well.

In the last couple of weeks a few people have told me about issues they encountered running Project Server 2010 workflows on a farm where the web front-end service has been deactivated. Deactivating the service can make sense if you are configuring the farm for improved performance by removing the need to listen to and render pages, or when trying to reduce the attack surface (although this is a lesser concern).

Anyway, to cut a long story short, it seems that when you turn the services off, you need to tell Project Server that the service has been turned off and to update it’s workflow configuration settings.  Thanks to Sameh, one of the excellent support guys at Nintex who found the procedure hidden away in an MSDN article from August 2010  at


I haven’t had a chance to test if this on a Project Server 2013 farm using the SharePoint 2010 workflow engine, but I would imagine the same will apply.

Project 2013 Quick Start Guide Now Available

Microsoft have just published a number of Quick Start Guides for Office 2013, amongst them is this gem for Project 2013.

Project 2013 - Office 2013 Quick Start Guide

The guides themselves are pretty comprehensive and cover not only the feature areas of Project, but also Project Online and the new Reporting and Task path capabilities.

Project 2013 - Reporting and Task Paths

You can grab the the Office 2013 Quick Starts at Download other Office 2013 Quick Start Guides and the Project 2013 specifically at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/support/project-2013-quick-start-guide-HA103673696.aspx?CTT=5&origin=HA103673669

How to create a Windows 8 tile to access Project Server

I thought I would post this for those of you that are upgrading to Windows 8 and wanted to create a simple way of accessing Project Server. In this particular case I am going to show how to pin Project Online, but the same is possible with your on premise Project Server 2013 and 2010 instances.

Pinning from the desktop

To start, navigate to your Project Server instance in either Internet Explorer 10 on the desktop.

Project Online

Click on the Cog icon on Internet Explorer to open up the settings menu.

IE10 - Add site to Start Screen

Click on ‘Add site to Start Screen’, a dialog will be shown to confirm creating the shortcut.

Confirmation dialog

And that’s it for the desktop version. The shortcut is created.

Pinning from the Metro / Modern / Windows Store UI

The process is slightly different for the Metro / Modern / Windows Store UI version of IE.

1. Navigate to the PWA site in IE

Metro / Modern / Windows UI IE10

In the bottom right hand corner, click on the Pin icon.

IE10 - Click on Pin / Pin to Start

Choose Pin to Start, a dialog will be displayed giving you the option to Pin to Start.

Click on Pin to Start and there you have it.

As you can see the output from pinning is slightly different depending on the source of pinning.

Final Pinned Tiles

Personally I prefer the Metro / Modern / Windows UI pinning, it looks much more in place in my start screen.

Happy Pinning Smile

Where has Close tasks to update gone in Project Server 2013?

Close Task to update was an interesting feature that was used by the Project Manager to stop the selected tasks from showing up in resource task and timesheet views, therefore stopping users from recording time against those tasks.

Close Tasks to Update in Project Server 2010

In Project Server 2013, the close task to update capability has changed, to leverage a new ‘Locked’ capability which behaves in a similar manner, basically you can choose to lock a task through PWA and once locked and published, the task will no longer show up in the Task and Timesheets views.

To use the locked field you first need to add it to a view, in this case I have added it to the Task Summary view for a Project.

Task Summary - Add locked

When you open a project and choose that view you will see the new Locked field on the right hand side. By default all tasks will be set to ‘No’.

Project Server 2013 - Locked field

To lock a task, edit the project and change the value.

Add tasks to timesheet - after locked

When you publish the schedule the tasks that are locked will no longer appear in the task and timesheet views as can be seen in the table below.

Before After
Add tasks to timesheet - before locked Capture4

Project Server 2010 / 2013 Preview Setting Comparison

Project Server 2013 introduced a number of changes to where key settings are located throughout the product. Andrew Lavinsky wrote about it earlier this week and stole some of my thunder for this little tool I was putting together.. introducing the Project Server 2010 / 2013 Preview Setting Comparison spread sheet.

The tool maps the various server settings for Project Server 2010, Project Server 2013 On Premise and Project Online all in a handy filtered Excel spread sheet.

Project Server 2010 / 2013 Preview Setting Comparison

To use the spread sheet, pick the column for the relevant Project Server version and choose to filter.

Filter on a column

In this example, choosing Database Administration for the PS 2010 Setting Area will show that Database Administration is no longer in Server Settings, but has moved into Central Administration on PS2013 On Premise.

Filtered comparison

The spread sheet is based on the currently available Project Server 2013 On Premise and Online Preview versions and may change between now and RTM. It’s also a work in progress as there are some areas I have not quite tracked down yet, but stay tuned.

The comparison spread sheet can be downloaded from here.

Filtering Projects for Portfolio Selection

A question came up in the Project forums recently around how it was possible to filter the available projects for a portfolio analysis, so I thought I would post a little tip here, which from a majority of the Project Server 2010 implementations I have seen is usually forgotten or managed by business process.

When you create a portfolio analysis, Project Server allows you to choose which projects you want to use as part of the analysis, out of the box, this shows you all the projects currently within the PWA instance, irrespective of their status. This is fine, but can be confusing for end users who need to go in and manually pick out the projects they wish to include and can be prone to errors (you don’t want to include a project already selected in a project selection analysis again do you?).

Portfolio Selection - All Projects

Luckily the project selection component supports views. It’s tucked away in the top right hand corner but it’s there. Through the views we can choose to restrict the default view of the project selection dialog to show just those projects that are at a certain stage in the project lifecycle, for instance, ready for selection.

To configure the view, navigate to Server Settings > Manage Views and look for the Portfolio Analysis Project Selection views. By default Project Server creates a single Summary View. I would suggest leaving that view intact and create a new view that we will place a filter on, in this example I will call it the Projects for Select view. Within the view, choose the project custom fields you wish to have visible.

Configure the Project for Select view


In order to only show those projects at a certain stage, we need to add a filter to the view, to do this click on Filter and configure it as follows:

Configure the filter

In this example, the view will now filter for those projects that are in the workflow stage of 3. Select Checkpoint

Finally, assign the view security category as you would with other views and click on Save.

Select Projects - Filtered for correct stage

The new Portfolio Analysis Project Select view is now available to be used, ensuring only those projects that should be considered in the portfolio analysis are available.

Windows 8 Release Preview and Project Server 2010

Last week Microsoft released the latest preview of Windows 8, the release preview which you can grab from preview.windows.com. Being a fan of the bleeding edge, I downloaded and installed it onto my slate and have been loving it. However, a number of my colleagues reported that they were having issues using Project Server 2010 with the inbuilt desktop version of IE 10, running into ‘This Project Server 2010 feature requires at least Microsoft Internet Explorer 7.0’ error messages in parts of PWA including Server Settings and Manage Timesheets.

Project Server 2010 feature requires at least IE 7

Luckily the fix for this is pretty simple and requires you to set the browser mode of IE 10 to run in compatibility mode. To do so, either click on Tools > F12 developer tools in the toolbar, or click on the settings icon and choose F12 developer tools

F12 Developer Tools

This will bring up the developer tools where you can set the compatibility mode of the browser. By default this is set to IE10 mode which is causing the problem.

Browser mode : IE10


To change, click on the Browser Mode and change it to be IE10 Compatibility View and instantly you should see the error message disappear and the page render.


IE10 - Compatability View

Happy Windows 8’ing!!