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Benefits of Enterprise Project management

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Deploying Enterprise Project management with Microsoft Project Server and Web Access

Microsoft Project Server extends project information to management and team members. The enterprise resource pool and enterprise global simplify the project administrator's workload. provides an organization with . Benefits include electronic distribution of Project Information to a wide community of authorized users. Project Server also offers integrated timesheets for tracking of actual work by team members.

Brian Mullen Project Server Experience

Brian Mullen is a Microsoft Certified Profession in Planning Deploying, and managing a Microsoft Project Enterprise Solution. (mark 82%). Brian Mullen has helped numerous organizations evaluate, install, configure and deploy Microsoft Project server with Project Web Access and Project Professional. This includes role-based training for administrators, project managers, team members, resource managers, and executives. Clients have included:

I.S.P. Project Server Clients
ClientDateDescription
Bunting Coady ArchitectsJan to Sept 2003Installed Project Server software with Windows consultant. Configured software to meet Bunting Coady requirements. Brian created procedure and training manuals and presented training.
Teligence CommunicationsApril to July 2004Installed, configured and deployed Microsoft Project Server within Teligence. This assignment included document all procedures and training material.
Ritchie Bros AuctioneersDec to April 2006KLR had installed Project server. We installed timesheets to support SRED (Scientific and Educational development) reporting. A custom extract was written using Excel and Pivot tables for finance to capture SRED hours.
Microsoft Project Server 2007 launch Conference in SeattleJan 2006Attended by 1,600 Microsoft Project Partners and experts from around the world. Keynote was by Steve Ballmer.
Coast CapitalMarch to April 2006)Coast Capital had been using Microsoft Project Server with six project managers. They needed some higher-level project administration tips to speed their rollout
WorkSafe BCDec 2006Implemented Project Server in the Center of Excellence within WorksafeBC to track process improvement initiatives.
CardiomeMay to June 2006We installed Project Server software in one day with the IT director. Organization did not seem to pursue introduction to the organization.
InterwrapMay to August 2006At Interwrap, we configured Project Server and trained the project managers. We developed several custom views for executives. We modified security so each project manager could only update their own projects.
KLR ConsultingDec 2005 to Jan 2007Served as Project Server Administrator and mentor. During 14 months of employment. Installed Project Server 2007 beta over 2 weeks.
VAE NortrakDec. 2007 to Dec. 2009VAE Nortrak manufactures Railway installations with plants in US and Richmond. We implemented Project Server phases I and II. Phase I focused on scheduling of Engineering department. Phase II evaluated other applications in the organization.

Project server not a desktop application like Word, Excel or Project Professional. You donít just install it and start working. Project Server is a sophisticated information system with a high-level of functionality beyond Project Professional. For example the timesheets capability is almost a mini-subsystem in itself.

The enterprise global allows access to the latest views, tables, filters and fields as soon as they are created.

Project Server is a more complex than project professional in desktop mode. We have installed a dozen project server systems including Project Server 2007. It takes a day to install the software with a knowledgeable Windows expert. When the software is installed you only have the administrator's id. It then takes about a week to configure the application. Users and security are setup. The enterprise resource pool and first projects are loaded.

Project Server requires a high-level of discipline with additional expertise to succeed. You need several administrators: A windows security expert to setup and monitor security, a project administrator to manage custom project views and an assistant administrator to manage resource calendars.

Successfully deploying Microsoft Project Server has four distinct phases. Each phase must be completed before the next phase.

Phase NameProject Server deployment phase descriptionPhase steps
1. Enterprise project management Requirements definition Before you install project server, run through the list of features and determine how you want to phase the installation. Strategize your implementation carefully as you will encounter some resistance from project managers. Their project plans which were private now become very public. Also determine the custom views that you want. Some of the questions asked during requirements analysis include

  • Who will be authorized to do what with Project Server?
  • Type of authorization preferred?
  • If and when do you want to implement timesheets.
  • Many team members resist capturing time.
2. Install Project Server softwareInstallation is not trivial. The installation manual has about 75 pages. The servers, user ids and passwords need to be setup. The fastest we have done was within one day. The installation requires two people: A windows expert and a Project Server expert. Project web access is built on SharePoint and requires SharePoint expertise.

Organization needs to know when making system changes that they impact installed software.
3. Configure Project Server softwareThis takes several days for a simple installation. Once Project Server and Project Web Access software installed, you have one administrative user. As Windows experts donít understand Project Server data model and donít know how to do the configuration. Experience counts for a lot here. A project administrator required to support Project Server on an ongoing basis. Configuration includes the following activities
  • Setup users within security groups.
  • Import resource pool.
  • Import projects.
 
4. Project Sever deployment with users.Once Project Server is installed and verified, you can rollout the system for project managers, team members, resource managers, executives and other users. This includes documenting projects as they are developed, providing training to all the project server. User Training for Project Managers, Portfolio Managers, Executives, Resource managers, Team leads and team members.

Successful Project Server Deployment

Project server not a desktop application like Word, Excel or Project Professional. You donít just install it and start working. Project Server is a sophisticated information system with a high-level of functionality beyond project professional. For example the timesheets capability is almost a mini-subsystem in itself.

Microsoft Project Server and Web Access methods and tools
Benefits of Enterprise Project management
  1. Sharing of project status based on project plans.
  2. Management insight.
  3. Improve profitability of projects.
  4. Reduce communication overhead. 
  5. Security to protect mission-critical information. 
  6. Improve collaboration between executives, project managers and team members.
  7. Ability to quickly implement standards.
  8. Central definition of resources.
  9. Better management of resources.
  10. Better management of proposals.
    Project Server benefits
  • All project data stored in a single SQL database.
  • Controlled access to project data
  • Central resource definitions in enterprise resource pool.
  • Custom (enterprise) fields stored in one place so much easier to standardize over all projects.
  • Project Server keeps track of who has each project checked out.
  • Project administrator can check in projects that have someone has forgotten.
  • Web Access Benefits
    • Access to project data over the internet for authorized users. 
    • Electronic assignment of tasks via resource web pages.
    • Electronic distribution of on-demand reports over the internet
    • Security
    • Improved communication with project team
    • Electronic Time sheets
    • Simplified view creation
    • Protection and sharing of project views in enterprise global.
    • View definitions include tables, filters and groups so views are easier to understand, create and maintain.
    When to deploy Project Server in an organization?
    1. Many project managers each managing multiple projects and resources.
    2. Multiple timelines must be integrated.
    3. Multiple concurrent projects with consecutive dependencies.
    4. Communication and reporting needs 
    5. Need to share selected information with clients and outside agencies For example you want to share some information with clients but not necessarily rates and cost information. 
    6. Security
    7. Multiple geographic locations for projects.
    8. Want to store project information stored in central database.
    9. Many resources shared across projects.
    10. Organization has experienced users of Microsoft Project.
    Steps to deploy Project Server in an organization
    1. Assess current Project Management environment
    2. Define Requirements for Project Server installation
    3. Define Project document requirements
    4. Identify existing and new users including responsibilities
    5. Gather existing project management functions and reporting in spreadsheets
    6. Identify custom fields required
    7. Cleanup existing project data
    8. Install Microsoft Project Server
    9. Configure Project Server
    10. Define security and users
    11. Define custom fields and views
    12. Load enterprise resource pool
    13. Load existing projects
    14. Train user groups
    New Functions in Project Professional
    1. Tools -> 
      • Build Team
      • Substitute resources
    2. Enterprise options
      • MSO P/S accounts
      • Open Enterprise Global
      • Open enterprise resources
      • Import project to enterprise
      • Import resources to enterprise
      • Backup Enterprise global
      • Restore Enterprise Global
    3. Collaborate
      • Publish new & changed assignments
      • Request progress information
      • Update project progress
      • Project Center
      • Resource Center
      • Portfolio Analyzer
      • Portfolio Modeler
      • Risks 
      • Issues
      • Documents
    ISP offers a wide variety of in house Training courses to clients
  • Project Management
  • Microsoft Project
  • Business Process Improvement
  • Information Engineering
  • Systems Analysis
  • Features and functions with Web Access
    • Security
    • Improved communication with project team
    • Time sheets
    • Simplified view creation
    • Trainers

    Benefits of Project Server implementations

    Project server offers many benefits to an organization.

    1. Executive overview of project portfolio

    Progress reports can be on-demand and Executives can drill down into the detail.

    This project overview may trigger change management issues with Project Managers.

    They resist having people looking over their shoulder.

    2. Web Access

    Project information can be accessed over the web and can be viewed by an authorized user anywhere in the world.

    3. System security.

    The increased access requires security to prevent unauthorized access by outsiders. 

    4. Electronic collaboration

    Project Server enables electronic collaboration. When a project manager publishes an assignment it appears in the team members task list. Team members can report work in timesheet format and report back to the project manager. Project status reports are replaced with on-demand views that report the latest information.

    When project manager delegates tasks, these show up in team members to-do list. As team members capture progress, project plans are updated automatically. Project server collaboration reduces effort to prepare emails to project team members

    Project web access is an Internet based application that allows powerful graphic reports that assist resource managers with workload analysis.

    Can link Outlook to Project Web Access so tasks flow into Outlook and people can record actual work and task completion.

    5. Document management

    SharePoint provides capabilities to manage documents, risks and issues and cross link these with tasks.

    ISP ensures project success through proven methods and tools. We learn from the best practices of leading organizations and continuously improve of methods. Training introduces these strategies to an organization. Coaching speeds their adoption. Brainstorming stimulates thinking and unlocks peopleís creativity throughout all project phases and activities.

    Planning tools like Microsoft Project help capture, manage and communicate decisions associated with project management.

    Comparison of Microsoft Project with Project Server and Web Access

    Microsoft Project was a standalone application based on single user files. The Microsoft Project reports are limited and have not been changed since very early versions. Microsoft Project took a modular approach breaking view and report components into separate components (views, tables, filters, groups, forms and fields. These components stored in (local) global area stored on local workstations. This makes synchronizing custom views across multiple workstations difficult. Copy to custom objects to local global using tools-> organizer. To move objects to Global.MPT on other workstations, copy the object to a Shared Objects file on the network and then each person in the organization can open the Shared Objects file and copy the new objects to their local Global on their workstation.
    Concurrent documentation supports communication and helps decisions stick. The ISP project management course materials now include a thousand pages of course material.

    ISP offers a wide variety of in-house training courses to clients. The most popular are Project Management and Microsoft Project. You can see a detailed agenda for each course by clicking on the course name in the table below:

    Comparison of Web Access views with Web Access Views

    Creation of Web Access views greatly improved with Web Access

    Comparison of Microsoft Project views with Web Access Views
    Feature Microsoft Project Stand alone Project Server with Web Access
    View construction Project Standard U$ 750 approx
    Project professional U$1200
    Project Server U$ 1200 approx
    Web Access U$200 per workstation
    Project storage Projects scattered amongst many directories and files making consistent reporting a challenge. Projects stored in one central Project server database which simplifies updating, reporting, security and backup, 
    Resource pools Local resource pools stored on the network which may become corrupted. Only one user may update a local resource pool in read/write mode. All resources stored in an enterprise resource pool. 
    Distribution of standard objects such as views, tables, filters, fields, reports and groups. Local global resides on each workstation. Project administrator must ensure team members keep their global areas updated. All custom objects stored in the Enterprise global which simplifies distribution of standard objects such as tables, views and reports. The latest version of custom objects become available when each user opens Microsoft Project. 
    Definition of views Views are built from separately defined tables, groups and filters. Views and the various components cannot be protected.  Web Access views built from tables, filters and groups defined within the view. Easier to understand and protect.
    Access to project information Over the internet through web access or Microsoft Project Professional
    Electronic assignment of tasks Interface to Microsoft Outlook.
    Capture of actual work on tasks Total actual work can be captured for any task or assignment but incremental updates harder to keep track of. Electronic Timesheets update projects automatically after approval.
    Electronic distribution of reports Project produces traditional reports, exports to excel, html and Outlook. Web Access provides access to project information over the web. Authorized users can request visual display of task information on demand. This simplifies the project managers job.
    Reporting across multiple projects Project data stored in individual files which must be consolidated to generate cross project reports. Project data stored in centralized database in Project Server. Reporting done via project center
    Custom fields used to capture and calculate client defined fields. Also to display data in tables and reports. Local custom fields stored in local global. Must be transferred manually into other projects. Major challenge to keep custom fields standardized over many projects. Enterprise custom fields stored in Enterprise global simplifying the project administrator's job.

    Views in Project Server simpler to construct than Microsoft Project views.
    Comparison of Microsoft Project with Project Server and Web Access
    Comparison criteria Microsoft Project (stand alone) Views Microsoft Project with Project Server Web Access views with Microsoft Project Server
    View construction Views build from reusable components: Views, Tables, Filters and Group. Each view contains its own Tables, filters, groups
    Graphical presentation of workload. Limited graphical representation Graphs can included in Web Access views. Graphical information understood and analyzed faster.
    Reuse components in multiple views Advantage: components can be reused in multiple views Advantage: components can be reused in multiple views Disadvantage: components cannot be shared between views. Possibility of damaging views Users can change views. Deletion of view components (tables, filters and groups) can break views so they donít work anymore. Views can be protected so users can use but not change views.
    Protection of views Anyone can change or delete a view, table, filter or field. Custom objects can be protected against unauthorized changes
    Sharing custom objects Views are stored in local global and to share views the contents of the local global must be copied to other workstations. Views are stored in Enterprise global on the server simplifying sharing of standardized views.
    Making views accessible to Microsoft Project users. New views must be uploaded to client workstations. Views become available as soon as they are created and permissions granted.
    Web Access Views can be exported to web pages Web Access pages provide dynamic access to project data.
    Project web site management Project manager must maintain web sites. Web access build on Microsoft SharePoint with lots of Website management functions

    Click here List of Recommended books on Project Management, Team Building, Estimating, Software Development methodologies, requirements definition, and Microsoft Project.

    Copyright Dec. 16, 2010 Brian Mullen, I.S.P. information systems planning corp. 
    Last updated: Dec. 15, 2010