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.

Project Server 2010 to 2013 Migration Reference Sheet

Following on from the last few upgrade and migration posts, I thought I would pull together a simple reference sheet that takes you through the migration process from Project Server 2010 to Project Server 2013.

Project Server 2010 to 2013 Migration Reference Sheet

The sheet takes you through the key steps and commands required to migrate between Project Server 2010 and Project Server 2013.

The reference sheet can be downloaded from http://sdrv.ms/12qUa8M or by clicking on the picture above.

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.

Some common errors when upgrading / migrating to Project Server 2013

The process of upgrading from Project Server 2010 to Project Server 2013, or migrating between environments can be quite complex, requiring a number of steps to be completed in the correct order. In this post, I am going to document some of the common and uncommon errors that you may run into. I also intend to update this post as I uncover more.

Unmounted Project Service Database

Unlike SharePoint Content databases, Project Service databases need to be mounted before you can run a Test against them. If you do not mount them, you will see the following error.

Test-SPProjectDatabase : Could not find the ProjectDatabase instance (looking for database name: ‘ProjectWebApp’, service name: ‘demo2013’)

Test-SPProjectDatabase: Could not find the ProjectDatabase instance

To rectify this issue, make sure you mount the Project Database prior using

Mount-SPProjectDatabase –Name <ProjectServiceDatabaseName> –WebApplication <WebApplicationURL>

ConvertTo-SPProjectDatabase returns a ‘There are no addresses available for this application’ error.

The ConvertTo-SPProjectDatabase is used during an upgrade to convert the four Project Server 2010 databases (Draft, Published, Archive and Reporting) into one consolidated Project Service database with the different schemas.

ConvertTo-SPProjectDatabase returns a 'There are no addresses avaialble for this application' error

You will see the ‘There are no addresses available for this application’ error if you try and run this command and the Project Service App is not started. To rectify this, navigate to Central Administration and ensure the Project Service App is started and recycle the box, then try again.

Compilation Error – Microsoft.Office.Project.PWA.IDS does not contain a definition for ‘Licence_Copyright_Text’

You may run across this error message when navigating to a PWA instance that originated in Project Server 2010.

Compilation Error – Microsoft.Office.Project.PWA.IDS does not contain a definition for ‘Licence_Copyright_Text’

Compilation Error – Microsoft.Office.Project.PWA.IDS does not contain a definition for ‘Licence_Copyright_Text’

This error occurs when a 2010 PWA site has been mounted but the PWA site wasn’t upgraded using the following command:

Upgrade-SPSite -Identity <PWA URL> -VersionUpgrade

The PWA Settings option is missing from the Site Settings Menu

In Project Server 2013, the Server Settings menu item has been replaced by a PWA Settings option on the Site Settings menu. When performing an upgrade from Project Server 2010, this menu option is not automatically added when using the DB Attach method via PowerShell.

In the screenshot below you can see that the upgrade has been completed successfully, but the PWA Settings option is missing.

PWA Setting menu option not available

To fix this error, ensure you enter the following PowerShell command:

Enable-SPFeature –Identity pwasite –URL <URL of PWA site>

This will enable the pwasite feature which provides the PWA Setting menu link.

Migrating PS 2010 to PS 2013 Walkthrough

CogsIn this post I am going to take you through the process of migrating Project Server 2010 into Project Server 2013.

Usually there are two ways of doing a migration, either an in place upgrade, where if you were particularly brave, you would take your production system and then run the installer for the new binaries on it to upgrade. I say ‘Brave’ because frequently this method of upgrade would be fraught with danger, not giving you sufficient options for dry runs or rolling back.

The other option was a database attach method, where you would build up your target environment on the new version, then migrate the databases from the old version and ‘do the upgrade’. With Project Server 2013 and SharePoint 2013, Microsoft have finally stopped supporting the in place upgrade, which in my opinion was one of the best moves ever. So for this post, we will be walking through the DB attach migration method, where we will take the four Project Server databases and the associated SharePoint content database and migrating that into Project Server 2013.

Now for the purposes of this walkthrough, I am going to assume the following:

  • You have already built a SharePoint 2013 and Project Server 2013 On Premises solution and performed the base configuration (accounts, binaries, install accounts and run the config wizard)
  • You have created a Project Server 2013 Service App in Central Administration
  • You have started the Project Service on the various servers.
  • We are only migrating the Project Server data and associated content (PWA site and project workspaces), we will not be migrating any additional SharePoint content you have in your source farm
  • You are not changing domains as you migrate the data.

Oh and most importantly, this walkthrough is for instructional purposes only, I accept no responsibility if this doesn’t work and corrupts your data. Backups and snapshots are your friends but no replacement for testing this time and time again before doing it for real.

Backup the Project Server 2010 source environment

To start with we need to back up your PS 2010 environment, ready to migrate it over to the target 2013 environment.

In SQL Server, choose to backup the four Project Server databases and the content database that holds the PWA site collection and Project workspaces. To do this, right click on the database name, choose Tasks and then Backup.

Backup Databases

Now in a real production migration scenario there are a number of other options you may need to consider, including outage notices, restricting users from accessing the system during the migration etc etc. I am not going to cover those here. This is just to give you a broad walk through of the process.

Restore the databases to the Project Server 2013 target environment

Restore the five databases backed up previously to the Project Server 2013 database server using the following method:

Right Click on the Database node and click on Restore Database…

Restore Database

Choose Device (1), select the location where the database backup files are located (2), add the backup device (3), click ok (4) and ok (5) again to commence the restore.

Restore Database - Devices

Repeat the above for each of the databases to be restored.

Once the files have been restored, ensure the databases have the correct permissions to allow the upgrade process to be performed, in my case this was granting my setup account access db_owner access.

Set Database Permissions

On the target farm, open up a SharePoint Management Shell in Administrator mode (ensure you have logged onto an account with sufficient privileges to perform the upgrade).

Test and Mount the SharePoint content database

The first step in the migration process is to mount the SharePoint content which includes the PWA site content, the Project Detail Pages, and Project Workspaces that were created under the PWA site and any custom lists or libraries you may have added.

Before doing the actual migration, 2013 provides a couple of handy PowerShell commands to ‘test’ the databases against the target environment before performing the migration. In this case, the test command will analyse the SharePoint content database and highlight any items referenced in the database that may not be present in the target environment, like missing web parts, features etc.

To run the test command, enter the following in the Management Shell prompt:

Test-SPContentDatabase -Name <databasename> –WebApplication <web application name>

(of course replacing the items in the ’s with your values). In my example I entered the following:

Test-SPContentDatabase -Name PWA_WSS_Content_80 –WebApplication http://demo2013

and received the following results:

Test-SPContentDatabase output

Here the test command has identified a number of issues in the content database including missing assemblies and in this case that the content database is a Classic mode (the default for 2010) and the target web application is in Claims mode (the new default in 2013) and provides some steps to rectify it.

Notice at the top you can also see whether the problem found would block the upgrade or is an error. The goal of this step is to test, identify and then rectify any conditions that may impact the upgrade process as you can see below, the test command can be pretty comprehensive in the info it provides.

Once you are happy that all the potential upgrade blockers have been addressed then the content database can be mounted for real with the following command:

Mount-SPContentDatabase <databasename> –WebApplication <web application name> -NoB2BSiteUpgrade

The final flag is quite important, it signifies that you are upgrading a SharePoint 2010 database to SharePoint 2013.

In my example I entered the following

Mount-SPContentDatabase PWA_WSS_Content_80 –WebApplication http://demo2013 –NoB2BSiteUpgrade

Mount-SPContentDatabase output

The mount process can take some time to complete depending on the amount of content in the database. Once its completed, all that is required is to make sure your account has access to the PWA site collection you’re upgrading using the following command:

Set–SPSite -Identity <SiteCollectionName> -SecondaryOwnerAlias <account>

You can check if this command was successful by viewing the Site Collection Administrators through Central Administration.

Site Collection Administrators

In this migration the test command identified that we were attaching the classic database to a claims based database, so it is also necessary to migrate the users in the content db to their claims equivalent. To do so, enter the following Powershell command:

(Get-SPWebApplication <web application url>).migrateUsers($true)

Migrate Classic to Claims Users

Test and Upgrade the PWA Site

Before we attach the Project databases, we need to perform the actual upgrade of the PWA site, this is not performed as part of the SharePoint content database mount above. Once again there is a handy test PowerShell command that can be leveraged:

Test-SPSite –Identity <url of the PWA Site to test>

In my case this would be:

Test-SPSite –Identity http://demo2013/pwa

which will return any errors or warning that may cause the upgrade to fail:

Test-SPSite output

Again, the goal here is to identify any errors or conditions that may cause your upgrade to fail. In this case, I only have two warnings, so I am happy to continue and upgrade the site using the following command:

Upgrade-SPSite –Identity <url of the PWA Site> –VersionUpgrade

So in my case this would be

Upgrade-SPSite -Identity http://demo2013/pwa –VersionUpgrade

Upgrade-SPSite output

The important piece here is the –VersionUpgrade flag, this ensures the PWA site will be upgraded from Project Server 2010 to Project Server 2013 and is ready for the Project databases to be attached.

Convert the Project Server Databases

With Project Server 2013, there were a number of massive changes in the infrastructure and plumbing designed improve performance and maintainability. One of these key changes was the consolidation of the number of Project Server databases, from four down to one, making it much easier to maintain multiple PWA instances and stopping the proliferation of databases that you would get with Project Server 2010.

As part of the migration, it is necessary to perform a consolidation of the Project Server 2010 databases, again using a new PowerShell command:

ConvertTo-SPProjectDatabase -WebApplication <WebApplicationName> -dbserver <DatabaseServerName> -ArchiveDBName <ArchiveDBName> -DraftDBName <DraftDBName> -PublishedDBName <PublishedDBName> -ReportingDBName <ReportingDBName> -ProjectServiceDBName <ProjectServiceDBName>

On pressing enter, you will be asked if you want to convert the databases, choose yes.

ConvertTo-SPProjectDatabase output

Once completed, checking the SQL Server will show the consolidated database, in this example the ProjectServiceDB has been created.

Under the covers, the concept of separating the various draft, published, reporting and archive data is still present, but instead of four separate databases, there is now just one database with four schemas (dbo for reporting, draft, published and ver).

ProjectServiceDB Schemas

Mount, Test and Upgrade the Project Service Database

Next we need to mount and test the freshly created Project Service Database to ensure there are no issues which may impact the database being upgraded. To do so, enter the following command:

Mount-SPProjectDatabase –Name <ProjectServiceDBName> –WebApplication <webapplicationname>

in my case this will be:

Mount-SPProjectDatabase –Name ProjectServiceDB –WebApplication http://demo2013

Mount-SPProjectDatabase Output

Once mounted, the database can be tested as follows:

Test-SPProjectDatabase -Name <ProjectServiceDBName>

in my case this will be

Test-SPProjectDatabase –Name ProjectServiceDB

This will check various aspects of the newly consolidated database, including the schema version and things like the security roles.

Test-SPProjectDatabase Output

Once you are happy there are no UpgradeBlocking errors, you can then proceed to upgrade the Project Service Database to the new 2013 schema using the following command:

Upgrade-SPProjectDatabase -Name <ProjectServiceDBName> -WebApplication <webapplication to mount against>

in my example this would be:

Upgrade-SPProjectDatabase -Name ProjectServiceDB -WebApplication http://demo2013

Upgrade-SPProjectDatabase Output

Again, this PowerShell command will modify the database, so you need to answer the confirmation prompt in the PowerShell window.

Mount, Test and Upgrade the ProjectWebInstance

Now that the PWA site collection has been upgraded, the Project Server databases consolidated and had their schemas updated (if required), the next step is to mount, test and upgrade the ProjectWebInstance. This is effectively the wiring up of PWA site collection to the Project data.

As with the other steps in the upgrade, there are three components, mounting the database so Project Server and SharePoint know about it, Testing it for potential issues and then performing the upgrade of the Project data itself.

To mount the ProjectServiceDB, enter the following PowerShell command:

Mount-SPProjectWebInstance –DatabaseName <ProjectServiceDBName> -SiteCollection <url of the PWA site>

so in my example this will be:

Mount-SPProjectWebInstance –DatabaseName ProjectServiceDB -SiteCollection http://demo2013/pwa

Mount-SPProjectWebInstance Output

The mount process shouldn’t take very long at all to complete.

To test the ProjectWebInstance, use the following PowerShell command:

Test-SPProjectWebInstance –Identity <url of the PWA site>

In my example, this would be:

Test-SPProjectWebInstance –Identity http://demo2013/pwa

Like the other test commands, the output of this command will show if there are any potential issues that would stop the ProjectWebInstance being upgraded

Detailed Test-SPProjectWebInstance output

As you can see in the screenshot above, the default output is not so useful, but it does show if there is likely to be an issue. If you want to see a little more detail and stop the unhelpful ‘…’ truncation, modify the command a little to output to a text file where you can see all the info:

Test-SPProjectWebInstance –Identity http://demo2013/pwa | Format-Table -Wrap -AutoSize | Out-File -FilePath c:\output.txt

This will result in:


Once you are happy with the results of the test command, we can perform the actual upgrade using the following:

Upgrade-SPProjectWebInstance -Identity <Url of the PWA site>

in my example this would be:

Upgrade-SPProjectWebInstance -Identity http://demo2013/pwa

Upgrade-SPProjectWebInstance output

You will be prompted if you want to perform the upgrade, answer yes. When the prompt comes back you are nearly there.

Finally, now that all of the various databases have been successfully upgraded and wired up, all that is required to do is to make sure the PWA features have been activated in the PWA site (things like . To do so, enter the following command:

Enable-SPFeature -Identity pwasite –URL <url of the PWA site>

in my example this would be:

Enable-SPFeature -Identity pwasite –URL http://demo2013/pwa

And that’s the primary content migration completed.

But we’re not there just yet….

Now that all of the various databases have been migrated, tested, upgraded and wired up, just like in Project Server 2010, there are a few post migration tasks you will need to perform.

In all the migrations I have done from 2010, the first task post migration is to ensure the administrator account of the PWA site we have just migrated is correct. To check this, in Central Administration go to the Manage Service Apps and choose your Project Server Service App. In my case I saw something like the following showing that the Provisioning had yet to be completed successfully, even though I had completed all the steps above.

Manage Project Web Apps - Warning

Open the context menu and choose edit, the properties for the PWA instance will be shown.

Edit Project Web App - Change Administrator

Here you can see the administrator account is incorrect and still showing the admin account of the source 2010 environment.  The fix is really simple, enter your target administrator account details and press Edit. After a little churning and ‘Waiting for Resources’ you should see the following and can now get into your PWA instance.

Manage Project Web Apps - Provisioned

The last thing you will need to do is to perform a bulk update of the Project Sites to reassociate with the target server name and to set up the various content types.

To access the Bulk Update Connected Project Sites feature (as it has been renamed in 2013), choose to Manage the Project Web App we just migrated in the Manage Project Web Apps screen above, this will bring up the instance settings for configuration.

Manage PWA Settings

Click on Bulk Update Connected SharePoint Sites and select the site paths and most importantly the ‘Update Content Types’ and ‘Synchronize site Permissions’ options and click on Update.

Bulk Update Connected SharePoint Sites

And that’s it…

All being well you will now have a fully working migrated Project Server 2013 instance, with all the data you had in 2010 successfully migrated over into 2013.

Completed PWA Migration

Of course, in the real world it won’t be this plain sailing, there will be missing features and web parts that you will either have to deactivate or remove, there may be multiple content db’s for your SharePoint content or you may run into errors because you missed or skipped a step. My advice, as always is to test your migration, test it several times and then test it again.

In the next few posts, I will look at some other common migration  scenarios, including porting your data between a Production and Dev/Test 2013 environment, migrating data between environments of different patch levels and taking a look at some common errors you may run into during all of these, and how you can fix them.

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

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.