Archive for December, 2007
I noticed this on the TFS Version Control Site, and thought this might be interesting for those using Team Foundation Server. For our group sometimes there are some issues with the Resolution of conflicts when checking in. The proposed interface looks good to me. Love to hear other feedback!
Okay, so there is no such thing as the perfect schedule, but there are good and bad practices for creating a schedule using Microsoft Project. Some other tools don’t allow some of these bad practices, but Project just goes ahead and lets you do it – this allows lots of flexibility but if you’re not exactly sure what you are doing then it can lead to some “interesting” results. So here’s my list of best practices for using Project, and this might get you a little closer to the perfect schedule. There are a couple of tools which will help with some integrity checking of project plans, either for Project Server or for the client, post a comment or email me if you want further details and prices.
Learn the formula that Project uses to schedule
Project uses the following formula for calculating the schedule; Work = duration * units. Learn it, understand it, do the algebra and enjoy it! Without this understanding you will always be frustrated with Project.
Set the Project Start or Finish date
Instead of placing a constraint date on the 1st task in a project to define when the project starts, set the Project Start date or Finish Date as required.
Figure 1 – Set the Start or Finish date of the project
All tasks should be linked
Following on not linking summary tasks, every task such have both a successor and predecessor, except of course the last task and first task. Thinking about these relationships help you identify the relationships between the tasks.
Minimise the use of constraint dates
Using constraint dates stops Project from dynamically scheduling the project schedule. Instead, learn to use the different task types and scheduling options, including FS, SS, FF and SF types, plus lags times (in terms of days, % of the task durations and –ve / +ve lags). Sometimes it really is necessary to use constraint dates, (e.g. Must Start On), but learn how and when to use them, and read and understand the scheduling messages that Project gives you.
Note that if you manually type in a Start date, or drag a task on the Gantt Chart, then a constraint type of Start No Earlier Than is applied to the task.
Figure 2 – Define the Task Dependency and lag
Instead use deadline dates
Deadlines are very useful, but not often used – so instead of setting a constraint, set a deadline instead, and project will warn you if you’re going to miss the deadline.
Figure 3 – Set the deadline and project will tell you if it won’t meet it!
Learn about task types
There are three task types, fixed effort (the default), fixed work and fixed duration. If you don’t understand what they mean, then I suspect you don’t understand the scheduling formula of Work = duration * units either.
Milestones tasks should not have resources assigned to them
Again, I see this with customers and it really is bad form. Milestones should identify a point in a project (often a deliverable, e.g. “code complete”), and hence don’t need resources assigned to them.
Don’t assign resources to summary tasks
In fact, don’t assign anything (costs, resources, % complete etc) to summary tasks. Summary tasks are just that, summaries of the tasks below, so if you manually change any of the values then the values of the summary tasks won’t make sense, so don’t change them!
Don’t link summary tasks
How many times do I see customer’s doing this? It won’t cause corruption if you do, it’s just that really you should only link actual tasks, rather than summary tasks. So instead of linking summary tasks (which are often phases in a project) consider creating a milestone exit task and a start task for each phase.
Project Auditing tools
There are various commercial auditing tools available. The following screen shots give you an idea of their potential.
Figure 4 – Server based auditing tool
Corey Ladas has a post about document work standards. This got me to thinking, how in our kanban we might document our work standards. Our issue is that we are going all electronic. We will have an overhead display to flash the kanban boards.
I had never thought about using information radiators for your standards in the way Corey suggests. Since the group at Corbis uses physical Kanban boards, Coreys comments make sense in that situation. For our situation, I want to try using a Wiki (as Korey suggests) and tying that into our reports somehow.
Since we have the latest version of Sharepoint, I'll experiment using that wiki, and somehow tying it into our Reporting Services reports. I'll report back on that. I'd love to hear what others are doing.
How to install WSS and MOSS SP1
Service Pack 1 for SharePoint is here. The SharePoint Team blog has a great full length article on all of fixes and tweaks. You can read it here Announcing the Release of WSS 3.0 SP1 and Office SharePoint Server 2007 SP1.
Saving and using Baselines
You should save the baseline when:
You have developed the project plan as fully as possible. (However, this does not mean that you cannot add tasks, resources, or assignments to the project after work has started, for this is often unavoidable.)
You have not yet started entering actual values, such as a task’s percentage of completion.
p to 11 baselines in a single plan. (The first one is called Baseline, and the rest are Baseline 1 through Baseline 10.) Saving multiple baselines can be useful for projects with exceptionally long planning phases in which you might want to compare different sets of baseline values. For example, you might want to save and compare the baseline plans every month as the planning details change. To clear a previously set baseline, click Clear Baseline on the Tools menu, Tracking submenu. To learn more about baselines in Project’s online Help, type create baseline.
Three ways to update project progress
Overall Project Progress
The simplest approach to tracking progress is to report that the actual work is proceeding exactly as planned. For example, if the first month of a five-month project has elapsed and all of its tasks have started and finished as scheduled, you can quickly record this in the Update Project dialog box.
Task updates using % Complete and Actual Start
After work has begun on a task, you can quickly record its progress as a percentage. When you enter a completion percentage other than 0, Project changes the task’s actual start date to match its scheduled start date. It then calculates actual duration, remaining duration, actual costs, and other values based on the percentage you enter.
I found these cool links while trying to find about AJAX. For some unknown reason my custom AJAX based webparts are not working on SharePoint 2007 sites. I was looking for fix so find these links
Updated Articles on ASP.NET AJAX with SharePoint – Updated SDK
ASP.NET AJAX in Windows SharePoint Services
Two new Project Server 2007 tools have been released today on CodePlex:
EPM 2007 Log File Report tool
EPM 2007 Queue Watch tool
|The Project Server 2007 Log File Report Tool enables the import and the reporting of log file generated by your EPM & SharePoint farm. The Log File Report Tool will import log files (in an SQL database) from all servers in your farm with the ability to filter them by date. Once the import is complete you can easily search for specific log file messages using the following filtering criteria: Area, Category, Level, Process, Server as well as date and created reports.||
The Project Server 2007 Queue Watch Tool will help you monitor all queue activities for a specific Project Web Access (PWA) instance. This tool leverages the standard Project Server Interface publically documented web services to query and retrieve jobs in the Project Server queues, further you can configure the tool to filter the information retrieved by Message Types and Job types.
The Queue Watch Tool is available as a WinForms application. It was written by EPM World Wide Center of Excellence (WW COE) to efficiently monitor and troubleshoot queue activities for Project Server 2007 farms.
A special thank you to Mike Shughrue from the EPM WW COE for creating these useful tools, as well as Boris Scholl from the Product Marketing Group for reviewing the code and documentation.
If you are aware of any useful tools for Project Server 2007 and you would like to share them with the community via CodePlex please send me an email.
CodePlex is Microsoft’s open source project hosting web site. You can use CodePlex to create new projects to share with the world, join others who have already started their own projects, or use the applications on this site and provide feedback. A word about Microsoft’s role: Microsoft does not control, review, revise, endorse or distribute the third party projects on this site. Microsoft is hosting the CodePlex site solely as a web storage site as a service to the developer community.
CodePlex Questions and Answers
- Q: Is the tool supported?
- A: There is no support in terms of CSS/PSS. We expect the support being a CodePlex community effort. Please note that the customization code uses standard supported web service calls available out of the box in EPM2007.
- Q: Is the tool free?
- A: Yes.
- Q: Can I distribute the tool and the source code to customers and partners?
- A: Customers and Partners can use both. Please point them to CodePlex as they have to agree on the license terms
- Q: Can a partner distribute the tool and code as is?
- A: No, but he can point his customer to the website to download it, so he makes sure that the customer agrees with the license terms.
- Q: Can a customer install the customization and use it?
- A: Yes the customer can, but he/she is responsible for testing it and running it.
- Q: Can I suggest changes to it?
- A: Yes, join the CodePlex community or send us an email: email@example.com
- Q: Will this tool be distributed in other ways (i.e. DVDs)?
- A: No.
- Q: What skills do I need to modify or change the tool?
- A: C#, Project Server Interface, and a good understanding of the EPM 2007 data schema.
- Q: I’m trying to modify the code and do have questions. Who do I ask?
- A: Go to the Discussions forums on CodePlex.
- Q: What are all the EPM projects released on CodePlex?
- A. Check this: http://www.codeplex.com/Project/ProjectDirectory.aspx?ProjectSearchText=epm
FYI I have just completed the install of Project Server 2007 + Service Pack 1 (and Office Server 2007 + SP1 as well) using Windows Server 2008 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) from MSDN.
I used this two great posts from Bill Baer to complete the install:
- Installing Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 on Windows Server 2008
- Slipstream, not a phenomenon in Physics
Two screen captures to prove it (check bottom right corner
Expect more posts in the future about the advantages of running PS 2007 on W2K8 (IIS7, hypervisor-based virtualization …).
In the meantime for more information about Windows Server 2008, please check the official Microsoft site here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/default.mspx
Forms Based Authentication in Office SharePoint Server 2007 and Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 & SharePoint SDK Update21 December 2007
FYI two important updates from the SharePoint world:
- Forms Authentication in MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0
Steve Peschka, SharePoint Ranger and notable guest blogger here who has posted several widely read and referenced entries about authentication, is the primary author of 3 just published authoritative technical articles on forms based authentication in MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0:
- Forms Authentication in MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0 (Part 1 of 3): Introduction
- Forms Authentication in MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0 (Part 2 of 3): Forms Authentication Samples
- Forms Authentication in MOSS 2007 and WSS 3.0 (Part 3 of 3): Differences Between Forms Authentication and Windows Authentication
ont color=”#0000ff”>Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 & MOSS SDK Update. e release of Service Pack 1 for SharePoint it’s SDK got updated similar to the update EPM SDK.
Check these two links for more information:
Subscribe to this new blog to stay up to date with SharePoint developer documentation: The official blog of the SharePoint Product Group
Handy tool for your WSS/MOSS/EPM deployments.
Tools to help database administrators manage the performance of Microsoft SQL Server.
Do you know which databases or applications are using the most resources on your server? How will a service pack upgrade, configuration change or application change affect your production SQL Server? The RML Utilities for SQL Server provide you a set of tools and processes to answer these questions and much more.
The RML utilities allow you to process SQL Server trace files and view reports showing how SQL Server is performing. For example, you can quickly see:
Which application, database or login is using the most resources, and which queries are responsible for that
Whether there were any plan changes for a batch during the time when the trace was captured and how each of those plans performed
What queries are running slower in today’s data compared to a previous set of data
You can also test how the system will behave with some change (different service pack or hotfix build, changing a stored procedure or function, modifying or adding indexes, and so forth) by using the provided tools to replay the trace files against another instance of SQL Server. If you capture trace during this replay you can use the tools to directly compare to the original baseline capture.
- RML Utilities for SQL Server (x86) – http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=7EDFA95A-A32F-440F-A3A8-5160C8DBE926&displaylang=en
- RML Utilities for SQL Server (x64) – http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=B60CDFA3-732E-4347-9C06-2D1F1F84C342&displaylang=en