Microsoft Project 2002 Enterprise Project Management Architecture GuideThis content is no longer actively maintained. It is provided as is, for anyone who may still be using these technologies, with no warranties or claims of accuracy with regard to the most recent product version or service release.
Microsoft Project Professional 2002
Microsoft Project Server 2002
Microsoft Project Web Access 2002
Summary: Microsoft Project 2002 introduces enterprise project and resource management functionality to the Microsoft Project family of products. Before developing your custom applications, be sure to read this overview of Microsoft Project 2002 architecture and features. (17 printed pages)
Microsoft® Project 2002 has expanded its product family to include a complete enterprise project management solution. Microsoft Project 2002 integrates the enterprise functionality previously provided by eLabor.com Enterprise Project into Microsoft Project. The solution includes the following products:
- Microsoft Project Server Provides timesheet, status report, portfolio reporting and modeling, enterprise resources, an enterprise global template, and templates to quick-start new projects. Microsoft Project Server requires Microsoft Windows© 2000 Server or later, Microsoft Internet Information Services 5.0, and Microsoft SQL™ Server 2000.
- Microsoft Project Web Access Provides a browser-based client that allows team members, resource managers, and executives to enter or view timesheet information and view portfolio reports. Microsoft Project Web Access requires Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 or later.
- Microsoft Project Professional Provides a desktop client that allows project managers to create and edit project plans and enterprise resources. Project plans and resources are saved to the Microsoft Project Server database. Microsoft Project Professional runs on Microsoft Windows® 98 and later, as well as on Microsoft Windows NT® 4.0 Workstation and later.
The Microsoft Project enterprise project management solution supports a wide range of users with features designed to support the needs of each member of a project team or organization. These team members may include:
- Executives can use Microsoft Project Web Access to quickly access reports of project status across their organization. Reports are available for project portfolios, projects, and resources. The Portfolio Analyzer, online status reports, and project documents stored on SharePoint™ Team Services enable executives to see trends across projects and resources. The Portfolio Modeler allows executives to model projects with interactive project staffing and scheduling tools.
- Project managers can use Microsoft Project Professional to create and edit project plans. The integration of Microsoft Project Professional with Microsoft Project Server ensures that project managers can easily access resources from the list of enterprise resources and provide information required by an organization's project management office (PMO). With the new Build Team from Enterprise and Substitute Resources features, project managers can quickly and easily staff their projects based on the availability of resources and the match between resource skills and the skill requirements of the project. Microsoft Project is also integrated with Microsoft Project Web Access. Project managers can now access reports, status reports, and project plan updates from within Microsoft Project. Microsoft Project Professional seamlessly integrates new enterprise project management features into the familiar Microsoft Project user interface.
- Team members can use Microsoft Project Web Access to access timesheets, status reports, and project-related documents. Team members can quickly view their timesheets for assignments that need to be completed, and report progress on the assignments to the project manager. Team members can create and access status reports and project documents to simplify communication between members of a project team. Microsoft Project Web Access provides team members with a single place to access and work with project information.
This white paper describes the:
- Architecture of Microsoft Project Professional and Microsoft Project Server.
- Enterprise features in Microsoft Project Professional.
- Enterprise features in Microsoft Project Server and Microsoft Project Web Access.
- Lifecycle in planning and deploying Microsoft Project Professional.
- Extensibility for Microsoft Project Professional and Microsoft Project Server.
The design goals for Microsoft Project Professional include:
- Enterprise scalability and performance Microsoft Project is designed to support hundreds of project managers and thousands of team members. The enterprise project management solutions within Microsoft Project are based on the Microsoft .NET server platform and can be scaled up and scaled out.
- Ease of use The enterprise project management features of Microsoft Project are integrated into Microsoft Project, Microsoft Project Web Access, and Microsoft Project Server. Users familiar with earlier releases of Microsoft Project will find the new enterprise features to be natural extensions of the Microsoft Project user interface. Microsoft Project Web Access allows team members and managers to access timesheets, reports, documents, and analysis tools by using Internet Explorer.
- Flexibility Microsoft Project provides a flexible enterprise project management solution. Customers can begin by using a limited number of enterprise features and then use additional features as needed. Microsoft Project was designed to fit how customers work rather than forcing customers to adopt a specific methodology or make significant organizational changes before experiencing benefits.
- Extensibility Microsoft Project is designed to allow customers, partners, and solution providers to extend its enterprise project management solution. Microsoft Project Server provides a Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) interface and an extensibility model to allow third parties to access enterprise project data from their own applications or clients as well as extend the functionality of the server. Microsoft Project Server also supports extensions to its security model, online analytical processing (OLAP) cube creation process, and the user interface for Microsoft Project Web Access users.
The following are some of the new concepts introduced in Microsoft Project 2002. An understanding of these concepts is useful when reading the architecture section, which ties the concepts together.
- Enterprise global template The enterprise global template allows users to define and reuse elements such as views, field definitions, and macros. When Microsoft Project Professional is started, the enterprise global template that is stored in the Microsoft Project Server database is loaded. The enterprise global template contains all the fields in Global.mpt (the global file that has always been included with Microsoft Project), plus additional enterprise-only fields. Administrators can define the value lists and look-up tables for these fields, and they can define whether the fields are required. This process ensures that all enterprise projects use a consistent set of fields to generate cross-enterprise reports.
- Enterprise resources Microsoft Project 2000 uses a pool of resources to enable multiple project managers to share a common set of resources, thus allowing project managers to view how a resource is used across multiple projects, and to gain an accurate picture of the resource's workload and availability. Microsoft Project Professional can access resources from the enterprise resources stored in the Microsoft Project Server database. Microsoft Project Professional adds only the required enterprise resources to a project and adds only one summary record for each sharer project using the resources added to a project, unlike use of a local resource pool file. This change allows Microsoft Project Professional to support large numbers of enterprise resources (more than 1000) while improving performance when project managers access and add resources from the group of enterprise resources to a project.
- Check-in, checkout, and publish Microsoft Project Professional can open and save projects to the Microsoft Project Server database. Projects can be opened read-only or read/write. Projects opened read/write are checked out from the database. No other users can open the project read/write while the project is checked out. When a project is closed, the project is checked into the Microsoft Project Server database. In addition, the project is also automatically published. Publishing a project allows other users to view changes to the project through Microsoft Project Web Access.
- Online and Offline To support mobile users, Microsoft Project Professional can save enterprise projects offline. These projects are saved and checked out from the database. Working offline, a project manager can work on a project while disconnected from the server, and then easily save changes back to the server when reconnected. To access offline projects, users can start Microsoft Project Professional offline using a server profile. Microsoft Project Professional then uses a cached copy of the enterprise global template to provide access to all projects saved offline from that server.
Microsoft Project enterprise project management features are based on an n-tiered application using the Microsoft .NET server platform. The client tier of the application is provided by Microsoft Project Professional and Microsoft Project Web Access. Microsoft Project Professional is a desktop application. This application is used to create, edit, and save projects, enterprise resources, and the enterprise global template. Microsoft Project Web Access is a Web-based application that runs on Internet Explorer. Project teams use this Web-based application to access timesheets, status reports, project reports, and project analysis applications.
The middle tier of the architecture is provided by Microsoft Project Server. Microsoft Project Server combines aspects of an n-tiered Web server application with a two-tiered client-server database application.
Customers can also choose to use the document library and issue tracking features provided by the integration of Microsoft Project Server with SharePoint Team Services (included with Microsoft Project Server). This tier runs on Windows 2000 Server (or later).
The database tier of the solution is provided by Microsoft SQL Server 2000. Microsoft Project Server merges and extends the Microsoft Project 2000 and Microsoft Project Central database schema.
The following section describes the system architecture for Microsoft Project enterprise features and the way that the components of the architecture are used to support several key user scenarios.
Systems Architecture Diagram
Microsoft Project enterprise project management solution includes the following layers:
- Client Layer
Microsoft Project Web Access provides access to timesheet, project views, status reports, to-do lists, and document library and issue tracking (through SharePoint Team Services integration). Microsoft Project Web Access consists of a set of ActiveX® controls (primarily a grid control) and HTML pages (provided through Active Server Pages [ASP pages]) running in Internet Explorer 5 or later. While Microsoft Project Web Access provides limited offline features, it is primarily intended for users connected to Microsoft Project Server.
Microsoft Project 2002 runs on Microsoft Windows 98 Second Edition and later as well as Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 Workstation and later. Microsoft Project Standard and Professional can publish information to Microsoft Project Server and update information from Microsoft Project Server into project plans. This is the workgroup functionality originally provided in Microsoft Project 2000. Microsoft Project Professional can also open and save enterprise projects and resources from Microsoft Project Server.
- Application Server Layer
Microsoft Project Server provides both workgroup and enterprise project management features to client applications. Workgroup features primarily interact with Microsoft Project Server using the server business object. This object is called by Microsoft Project when project plans are published to the server. Clients communicate with the business object by posting XML documents to Microsoft Project Server ASP pages.
Enterprise features interact with Microsoft Project Server using the Project Data Service (PDS). Requests from Microsoft Project Professional to read or save enterprise projects or resources to the server are first made by an XML request to the PDS. The PDS checks the permission for the authenticated user and then returns a list of available objects and/or connection string information. Microsoft Project then uses the connection string information to bind to the enterprise database using ODBC. Requests from Microsoft Project Web Access for enterprise resource information are also made to the PDS. In this case, the PDS checks security and then directly queries the enterprise database and returns resource information to Microsoft Project Web Access. The PDS is indirectly involved when administrators use Microsoft Project Web Access to generate a Portfolio Analyzer OLAP cube or when users create and analyze models using Portfolio Modeler.
Microsoft Project Server runs on Windows 2000 Server or later and requires IIS 5.0 or later.
- Database Layer
Microsoft SQL Server provides the database layer services for Microsoft Project. Microsoft Project Server merges and extends the Microsoft Project 2000 and the Microsoft Project Central database schema. Microsoft Project Standard interacts exclusively with the workgroup tables. Microsoft Project Professional and Microsoft Project Web Access can work with both the workgroup and enterprise tables.
An important scalability improvement in the Microsoft Project Server workgroup features is the use of view tables. When Microsoft Project Central users accessed a project view, Microsoft Project Central queried for the location of the project in the workgroup tables and then used the Microsoft Project OLE DB provider to bind to the project (saved as an .mpp file or in a database). This process occurred each time a user accessed the project. In Microsoft Project Server, the OLE DB provider is invoked when a project is published to the server. The records produced by the OLE DB provider are written to a set of MSP_VIEW tables. These tables contain timephased data for all projects published to the server. Project views are then created by performing SQL queries on these tables—as opposed to views being created by invoking the OLE DB provider. The end result of the new architecture is that the load on Microsoft Project Server and Microsoft SQL Server is significantly reduced.
The enterprise features in Microsoft Project Server include a significant revision in the way that Microsoft Project binds to the project database. When Microsoft Project 2000 opened a project from a database, it bound directly to the Microsoft Project tables in the database. If the user's Data Source Name allowed read/write access to the database, Microsoft Project could open and save changes to any project in the database—even those projects managed by other project managers. Microsoft Project Professional uses connections that don't require Data Source Names to bind to SQL Server views of the project database. The SQL Server views contain only the information required to open the projects or resources selected by the user. This information only exists in the SQL Server views while Microsoft Project is opening or saving a project or resources. The Microsoft Project architecture provides application-level security through the PDS and database-level security through SQL Server views.
The figure below illustrates the Microsoft Project 2002 architecture.
Figure 1. Microsoft Project 2002 Architecture
The following sections describe several typical usage scenarios to illustrate the Microsoft Project 2002 architecture.
Microsoft Project Professional Startup
As Microsoft Project starts, it opens the enterprise global template to read the default settings, such as calendars, views, tables, and fields. Microsoft Project Professional can use both a local global file (like earlier versions of Microsoft Project) and an enterprise global template. The enterprise global template is stored as part of a Microsoft Project Server database. As part of the Microsoft Project Professional start process, the user must choose from either the local profile or one of the predefined server profiles. The profile specifies the Microsoft Project Server and server user account to be used by Microsoft Project.
After the user specifies the profile, Microsoft Project makes a request to the PDS to open the enterprise global template. The PDS queries the Microsoft Project Server to determine whether the user has permission to open the enterprise global template. If the user has adequate permission, the PDS then prepares the SQL Server views for Microsoft Project, and finally passes connection string information to Microsoft Project using XML.
When Microsoft Project has the connection string information, the Microsoft Project serializer creates an ODBC connection to the SQL Server views in the Microsoft Project Server database. Microsoft Project then loads the enterprise global template into memory. Once Microsoft Project has read all required information into memory, the connection to the database is terminated. Finally, Microsoft Project opens the local global file and loads any toolbar or menus from the local global file into memory. This final step is required for users who need multi-language support.
Saving a Project to Microsoft Project Server
Saving a project from Microsoft Project Professional to Microsoft Project Server includes several new processes. First, Microsoft Project detects whether a local or server profile is being used. If a server profile is being used, the Microsoft Project Professional Save dialog box is displayed, rather than the typical Microsoft Office Save dialog box. As Microsoft Project opens the Save dialog box, it checks to determine if the in-memory version of the enterprise global template has any project fields defined. These fields are displayed in the Save dialog box. The user can then specify values for the fields. For required fields, the user must specify a valid value before saving the project to the Microsoft Project Server database.
When the user clicks Save in the Save dialog box, Microsoft Project makes a request to the PDS. The PDS queries the Microsoft Project Server to determine whether the user has permission to save the project to the database. If the user has adequate permission, the PDS then prepares the SQL Server views for Microsoft Project and finally passes connection string information to Microsoft Project using XML.
When Microsoft Project has the connection string information, the Microsoft Project serializer creates an ODBC connection to the SQL Server views in the Microsoft Project Server database. Microsoft Project then saves the project to the database. The Microsoft Project connection to the database is then terminated. At the completion of the save process, Microsoft Project calls the PDS to indicate that the save was successfully completed and to make the project available for access. The PDS updates the checkout fields in the database and then calls the Microsoft Project Server business object. The business object then calls the Project OLE DB provider (on the server) and publishes the saved project to a set of database tables (MSP_WEB_VIEW_xxx) used with Microsoft Project Web Access views.
Viewing a Report Using Microsoft Project Web Access
Microsoft Project Web Access uses Internet Explorer to access project and resource information on the Microsoft Project Server. Microsoft Project Web Access provides reports based on three different data sources:
- Project Center reports are similar to those available from Microsoft Project. Users access these reports by logging on to the server through Microsoft Project Web Access and then navigating to the Project Center. When the user clicks a project in the Project Center, Microsoft Project Web Access calls the Microsoft Project Server security object to check if the user has See Project permission for the selected project. If the user has adequate permission, Microsoft Project Web Access opens the project views page. Users can then select from views they have been granted permission to see. When a view is selected, Microsoft Project Web Access queries the MSP_WEB_VIEW tables for the required data and then binds the resulting data to the Microsoft Project Web Access ActiveX grid control. This set of interactions is identical whether accessing projects published through Microsoft Project 2000 or Microsoft Project 2002 Standard, or saved through Microsoft Project 2002 Professional.
- Resource Center reports display enterprise resources, values for all enterprise resource custom fields, assignments, and remaining availability. Users access these reports by logging on to the server using Microsoft Project Web Access and then navigating to the Resource Center. Microsoft Project Web Access queries the MSP_ASSIGNMENTS and MSP_WEB_VIEW tables, and binds the resulting data to both the Microsoft Office Web Chart control and the Microsoft Project Web Access grid control. These reports are available only on resources assigned to tasks using Microsoft Project Professional.
Creating a Portfolio Analyzer Cube using Microsoft Project Server
Microsoft Project 2002 supports OLAP through the Portfolio Analyzer feature. Portfolio Analyzer uses components in all three tiers of Microsoft Project. The database tier uses Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services to create an OLAP cube. The middle tier uses the Portfolio Analyzer cube generation service to create a set of fact and dimension tables (used by Analysis Services) based on data in a number of tables in the Microsoft Project Server database. The client tier (Microsoft Project Web Access) uses the Microsoft Office Web PivotTable® and PivotChart® controls bound to the OLAP cube.
Microsoft Project Professional
This section describes the key features unique to Microsoft Project Professional.
- Integration with Microsoft Project Server database Microsoft Project Professional includes features to allow it to start using the enterprise global template, open projects and templates saved in the server database, add enterprise resources to projects, and save projects to Microsoft Project Server.
- Build Team dialog box Allows users to add enterprise resources to a project by manually selecting resources or by querying for resources based on availability or attributes.
- Resource Substitution Wizard Allows users to automatically assign enterprise resources to tasks in one or more projects based on the skill requirements of tasks and resource availability.
- Summary assignments When enterprise resources are added to a project, Microsoft Project Professional works with Microsoft Project Server to add one assignment for each enterprise project using each resource. Project managers can then see a resource's actual remaining availability, and Microsoft Project is better able to work with large numbers of resources.
- Offline support Allows users to save checked-out enterprise projects to their local computers. Users can then edit project plans even while they are logged off the server and easily save the changes back to the enterprise database when they log on to their server.
- Integration with Microsoft Project Server Microsoft Project Professional is designed to work with Microsoft Project Server. Users can create Microsoft Project Server accounts, which allow Microsoft Project to automatically log on to a project server. Projects are automatically published to the server when saved.
Microsoft Project Web Access Features
This section describes the key enterprise project management features unique to Microsoft Project Web Access:
- Project Center Allows managers to view and edit details for enterprise projects across an organization.
- Resource Center Allows managers to view and modify settings for enterprise resources. Resource managers can access detailed assignment and availability information from the Resource Center.
- Portfolio Analyzer Allows managers to use powerful OLAP tools to see and evaluate how enterprise projects and enterprise resources are performing across an organization.
- Portfolio Modeler Allows managers to identify staffing problems across projects in an organization and then to model how staffing changes affect schedules, costs, and workloads. Model results can be saved as reports, which can then be used with the Microsoft Project Professional Resource Substitution Wizard to apply the model to project plans.
Microsoft Project Server Features
This section describes the key enterprise project management features unique to Microsoft Project Server:
- Enterprise global template Microsoft Project Server allows opening, editing, and saving an enterprise global template from the server database. Microsoft Project Professional users connecting to the server read the enterprise global template when starting up Project. This allows an organization to distribute and manage project and resource management standards.
- Enterprise resources Microsoft Project Server allows resources to be opened, edited, and saved to the Microsoft Project Server database.
- Enterprise templates Microsoft Project Server allows templates to be opened and saved to the Microsoft Project Server database. Microsoft Project Professional users can view templates saved to the server database and create new projects based on the templates.
- Integrated database Microsoft Project Server integrates the Microsoft Project database and the Microsoft Project Web Access database. The integrated database simplifies application and database management and provides Microsoft Project Professional users with a seamless user experience as they open and save projects and resources.
- Integrated security Permission to access Microsoft Project and Microsoft Project Web Access data is managed through the Microsoft Project Server administrative features. Security for Microsoft Project Server is supported per user per project and resource at both the application and database layers. Integrated security simplifies application management and significantly improves security.
- Project Data Service Requests to access or update enterprise data are made to the Microsoft Project Server PDS. The PDS provides a SOAP interface that allows third-party client applications to access the same Microsoft Project Server features as Microsoft Project Professional and Microsoft Project Web Access. In addition, the PDS provides an extensibility model that allows third parties to extend the functionality of Microsoft Project Server.
- Portfolio Analyzer cube generation service The cube generation service creates the Portfolio Analyzer fact and dimension tables based on the Microsoft Project Server database. The service then calls Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services to generate an OLAP cube based on the fact and dimension tables. Administrators can manage the service through Microsoft Project Web Access. Third parties can include their own data in the Portfolio Analyzer cube.
This section provides a brief overview of the planning and deployment cycle for the Microsoft Project enterprise project management solution. Detailed information on the planning and deployment process is available in the Microsoft Project Server Data Migration white paper. Microsoft Project enterprise project management solution leads the market in its price and performance combination. To get the most from Microsoft Project enterprise features, customers should provide adequate time for planning, deployment, and training.
Understand Your Users
Microsoft Project 2002 provides two clients and a flexible security system for managing access to enterprise data. In general, enterprise users can be grouped as follows:
- Team members Team members are assigned work. They need to be able to view their assignments and report progress on those assignments. They also need to be able to access information about the assignments, such as related documents, spreadsheets, or diagrams. Microsoft Project Web Access can be an ideal solution for these users.
- Resource managers Resource managers delegate work to team members and monitor both projects and resources. Microsoft Project Web Access allows users to perform these tasks as well as limited editing of resource information. For comprehensive enterprise resource editing and creation, users need Microsoft Project Professional.
- Executives Executives view reports on projects and resources in their organizations. Microsoft Project Web Access provides easy access to enterprise reports.
- Project managers Project managers create, edit, and save project plans to Microsoft Project Server. These users need Microsoft Project Professional.
- Portfolio managers Portfolio managers manage the enterprise global template and enterprise templates. In some organizations, they may also manage the enterprise resources. These users need Microsoft Project Professional.
- Administrators Administrators implement and manage Microsoft Project, Microsoft Project Server, and Microsoft SQL Server. These users manage access to the server and the server database. Microsoft Project Web Access provides access to the Microsoft Project Server administrative tools. These users also use tools provided with Microsoft Windows Server and Microsoft SQL Server.
Based on this information, customers can:
- Identify the number of each type of users in a deployment.
- Identify the number of licenses for each Microsoft Project client product: Microsoft Project Web Access or Microsoft Project Professional.
Understand Your Information Requirements
Customers are typically motivated to deploy an enterprise project management solution to:
- Gain better visibility of the performance of projects across an organization.
- Improve the use of resources in an organization.
- Tie business objectives, priorities, and decisions more closely to the performance of projects and the work of resources.
A key element for each of these goals is reports. To begin the planning process, we recommend that customers carefully study existing (or requested) reports used to track and document project performance. Analysis of the reports should identify the projects and resources that should be included in specific reports; how projects, tasks, and resources are categorized; and who requires access to various reports.
Based on this information, customers can:
- Define enterprise custom fields in the enterprise global template to ensure that projects and resources can be consistently categorized.
- Define Microsoft Project Server views to provide access to the required project and resource information.
- Define Microsoft Project Server groups and categories to enable users to access the reports that they need to perform their jobs.
Understand Your Infrastructure Requirements
Microsoft Project Server provides a highly scalable enterprise project management solution, primarily by relying on the Microsoft .NET server platform. In considering hardware requirements, you should evaluate the total number of users in each of the user types described above, as well as maximum concurrency loads. User actions can range widely in the resulting load on Microsoft Project Server and Microsoft SQL Server. For example, saving enterprise projects results in a brief but high spike in server CPU utilization. If your organization contains a large number of project managers (for example, over 50) actively managing a large number of projects concurrently (for example, 4 to 5 projects per project manager), you should consider a solution configuration that uses a dedicated views generation server.
Server configuration options can take advantage of a number of scale-out options:
- Single physical server running Microsoft Project Server and Microsoft SQL Server This configuration is adequate for departmental configurations with approximately 100 users and 1 to 10 project managers.
- Two physical servers In this configuration, one server runs Microsoft Project Server and a second runs Microsoft SQL Server. This configuration can support a wide range of users depending on speed and configuration of the servers. Up to 2000 users and 50 project managers could be supported.
- Three physical servers In this configuration, one server runs Microsoft Project Server, a second runs the Microsoft Project Server views generation components, and a third server runs Microsoft SQL Server. Views generation requires the Microsoft Project OLE DB provider to be run, which generates high CPU loads on a server. In organizations where a large number of projects are active concurrently, this configuration can significantly improve performance for all Microsoft Project Server users.
- Three or more physical servers This configuration features two or more servers using the Windows Load Balancing Service to create a Web server farm. Each server in the Web server farm runs Microsoft Project Server. These servers use a common Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft SQL Server cluster (where high availability is important). This configuration also supports an optional dedicated server running the Microsoft Project Server views generation component.
Administrators need to determine whether their environment can support Windows user accounts. Microsoft Project Server provides the best user and application management experience when user accounts are configured with integrated Windows Authentication. Microsoft Project Server also supports user accounts directly authenticated by Microsoft Project Server. Microsoft Project Server authenticated accounts can require additional application management and cannot use some enterprise features, including Portfolio Analyzer.
Based on this information, customers can:
- Identify the number of physical servers and required server software
- Identify server setup and configuration including the creation of application accounts
If you are currently using earlier versions of Microsoft Project, you should consider how to migrate existing project plans to Microsoft Project Server. For details on data migration, see the Microsoft Project Server Data Migration white paper. In general, the data migration strategy suggested below focuses on using Microsoft Project 98 and Microsoft Project 2000 features to standardize projects and resources as much as possible before importing the global, resource pool, and projects to the Microsoft Project Server database.
- Standardize the use of custom fields, calendars, and views To simplify the process of importing projects to Microsoft Project Server, projects should be standardized as much as possible. It is extremely important that imported projects use a standard set of calendars. Since enterprise projects use calendars from the enterprise global template (stored in the server database), project schedules may change significantly if they use calendars that vary from the enterprise global template calendar. Where possible, projects should use standard look-up tables for outline codes where these similar custom fields are used across projects. One simple method for standardizing on both calendars and custom fields is for project managers to use a Global.mpt in a shared folder.
- Standardize the use of resources To simplify the process of importing resources to Microsoft Project Server, projects to be imported should use a resource pool. Using a resource pool ensures that resource names and calendars are consistent across all projects using a resource.
In general, it is recommended that you initially deploy Microsoft Project Professional and Microsoft Project Server to a relatively small number of project teams. By piloting Microsoft Project on a small group, you can evaluate and fine-tune the configuration of the enterprise global template, Microsoft Project Web Access views, and Microsoft Project Server security with minimal effects on your organization.
The following are general guidelines for choosing groups to be included in the pilot:
- Executives or managers for the group should view the set of projects in the pilot as a meaningful and relatively independent portfolio. Typically, all the projects reporting to a specific manager should be included in the pilot. Projects in the pilot should NOT contain external dependencies to tasks in projects outside the pilot.
- Resources in the pilot should only be assigned to projects in the pilot.
- The pilot group should be current Microsoft Project users.
- The pilot group should currently conduct regular project status reviews.
Groups that meet these guidelines will generally require the least training to participate in the pilot, will most easily see the value in migrating to Microsoft Project 2002, and will provide the best test of the configuration of your Microsoft Project Server.
Extensibility and Interoperability
Microsoft Project 2002 provides customers and solution providers an extensible project management platform for both the client and server. A Microsoft Project Software Developer Kit (SDK) will be available shortly after Microsoft Project 2002 is available. The SDK provides detailed descriptions and sample code for extending Microsoft Project and Microsoft Project Server. In addition, you can review selected extensibility features of Microsoft Project 2002 by reading the Microsoft Project 2002 Project Guide Architecture and Extensibility and Microsoft Project Server Architecture and Extensibility white papers.
Microsoft Project Professional
Microsoft Project 2002 continues to provide a rich object model and support for Microsoft® Visual Basic® for Applications. Developers can access and automate most of the features available from the Microsoft Project user interface, including the new enterprise project management features. New for Microsoft Project 2002 is the ability to open and save projects as XML documents. XML can be extremely useful when exchanging data between applications or systems. The Microsoft Project XML schema is provided in the document Microsoft Project XML (Projxml.xml) that is shipped on the Microsoft Project 2002 CD-ROM. In addition, Microsoft Project 2002 introduces the Project Guide, which integrates HTML pages with the Microsoft Project client. While Microsoft Project 2002 is shipped with a full set of Project Guide pages, developers can replace and extend Project Guide pages with full access to the Microsoft Project object model. Customizing Project Guide pages allows developers to integrate custom solutions into the Microsoft Project user interface.
Microsoft Project Web Access
Microsoft Project Web Access continues to support reuse of the Microsoft Project ActiveX grid controls and Web parts based on Microsoft Project Web Access pages. New for Microsoft Project 2002 is the ability to extend or modify the Microsoft Project Web Access menu structure directly from the Microsoft Project Web Access administrative tools.
Microsoft Project Server
The PDS is the key middle tier object for the Microsoft Project enterprise project management features. Developers can call PDS methods through its SOAP interface. PDS allows custom solutions for accessing many of the enterprise features of Microsoft Project Professional and Microsoft Project Web Access. One key feature of the PDS is support for programmatically defining and updating enterprise outline codes. Where customers want to keep the Microsoft Project Server enterprise codes consistent with the schema of other business intelligence or line-of-business solutions (such as general ledger, customer relations management, or employee relations), custom applications can be written to query for schema definitions in external systems and then use PDS calls to update the corresponding enterprise codes in the Microsoft Project Server database. In addition, developers can extend the set of methods exposed by the PDS by registering extension objects on Microsoft Project Server.
Developers can extend the Microsoft Project Server security system. This capability allows solution providers to extend the Microsoft Project Server with new functionality (for example, risk management), yet allow access to the functionality to be controlled through the Microsoft Project Server administrative tools.
Developers can also extend the data used by the Portfolio Analyzer OLAP cube generation service, allowing integration of project data with other project or resource data in the Portfolio Analyzer views.
Microsoft Project 2002 introduces enterprise project and resource management to the Microsoft Project family of products. Microsoft Project Professional, Microsoft Project Web Access, and Microsoft Project Server provide an integrated enterprise project management solution that combines ease of use, a centralized project and resource database, and powerful reporting and analysis features. Microsoft Project Web Access provides Internet Explorer users with reporting, analysis, and modeling tools for projects and resources across an organization. Microsoft Project enterprise project management features are built on the Microsoft .NET enterprise server platform, allowing customers to scale Microsoft Project from a single server to high-availability configurations with a Web farm and clustered database servers. Microsoft Project Server provides a rich middle-tier service, the PDS, which enables customers to integrate project management data with other business intelligence and line-of-business solutions using a SOAP interface.
For More Information
More information on Microsoft Project Standard, Microsoft Project Professional, and Microsoft Project Server will soon be available online. Watch for these articles on the MSDN Microsoft Project Developer Center:
- Microsoft Project Server Architecture and Extensibility white paper
- Microsoft Project Server Data Migration white paper
- Microsoft Project 2002 Project Guide Architecture and Extensibility white paper
This is a preliminary document and may be changed substantially prior to final commercial release of the software described herein
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