The reintroduced Microsoft Project Server Role Guides provide just the right lenses for particular audiences to get the job done.
Learning to manage, deploy and maintain new applications or new hardware is a constant challenge for IT professionals. Even when you’re intimately familiar with current technology, you must constantly maintain your skills as new versions are released, and best practices continuously evolve and change.
This is particularly true with a multifaceted platform like Microsoft Project Server. By virtue of its nature as a project-management solution, it inherently caters to many different types of users. Fortunately, there are resources to help guide you through the process of deploying, integrating and managing the latest version of Project Server.
The recently published “Microsoft Project Server 2010 Administrator’s Guide” is the beginning of an ongoing effort to bring back the highly regarded Project Server Role Guides that were popular with Project Server 2003 customers. The original series of Project Server 2003 Role Guides provided documentation covering all of the procedures and techniques common to users in particular user roles. When Project Server 2003 was released, there were Role Guides available for administrators, project managers, executives, resource managers, portfolio managers, team leads and team members.
Microsoft received a great deal of feedback from customers asking for a return of the Role Guides for Project Server 2010. Clearly, the Role Guides are important resources for all team members working with Project Server. “The Microsoft EPM [Enterprise Project Management] solution has many capabilities,” says Keshav Puttaswamy, Microsoft Project Product Team group manager. “Even within a single deployment, there are multiple audiences—from IT professionals to project managers to end users. Each audience cares about different aspects and has specific concerns. Role Guides have been incredibly useful in providing just the right lens for a particular audience so they have what they need to know to get their job done.”
Much of the feedback on the initial series of Role Guides was focused on three specific aspects:
The “Microsoft Project Server 2010 Administrator’s Guide” is available for download in PDF, DOCX and XPS formats. You can directly download and print the guide, or order it as a bound book through Amazon.com (this should be available soon).
The Office User Assistance Project Server IT Pro writing team is currently working on producing the next Role Guide: “The Microsoft Project Server 2010 Project Manager’s Guide.” This will also be available in the coming months. The group is looking to publish a portfolio managers’ guide later in the year.
The “Microsoft Project Server 2010 Administrator’s Guide” is laid out the same way a project server administrator would view the Project Web App Server Settings page. Each chapter covers a section of the Server Settings page (Security, Enterprise Data, Database Administration and so on). It documents the tasks and corresponding procedures you can execute in each section. The appendices include reference materials such as definitions of Project Server 2010 global and category permissions, permissions assigned to the default security groups and default categories, and default categories and category permissions.
To give you a sense of the kind of guidance and background the guide can provide, let’s look at a sample task thread based on a topic that’s core to any Project Server user or administrator: managing enterprise calendars.
Enterprise calendars capture a company’s predefined working hours, holidays and other schedule details. You use them to standardize the working time for all of the organization’s projects. In Project Web App, you can view a list of existing calendars, select a calendar to edit, or start to create a new calendar. However, to fully create or modify a calendar, you must also have Project Professional 2010 installed on the computer you’re using to access Project Web App.
Create a New Calendar
Project Server uses a standard enterprise calendar for scheduling. Some organizations may use multiple calendars. For example, if some of your organization’s employees work in another country, those workers will likely observe different holidays. You would need a different enterprise calendar for scheduling project work. You can create a new, blank enterprise calendar using Project Web App and Project Professional 2010.
To create a new blank enterprise calendar, follow these steps:
Figure 1 The function for creating a new calendar is clearly indicated on the taskbar.
Copy an Existing Calendar
If an existing calendar has many of the same holidays and other items you want to use in the new calendar, you can base the new calendar on an existing calendar. You’ll copy the existing calendar in Project Web App, then modify the copy in Project Professional 2010. For example, if your organization’s standard calendar captures all unique holidays and events, but you need a separate calendar to reflect a 24/7 working schedule, you can copy the standard calendar and modify it with the 24/7 schedule.
To create a new calendar as a copy of an existing calendar, follow these steps:
Figure 2 Copying a calendar is a straightforward taskbar command.
Edit an Existing Calendar
As you’re initially configuring Project Server, you can modify the default standard enterprise calendar to account for the working and non-working times your company observes. You can modify any enterprise calendar at any time by selecting the calendar in Project Web App and making changes in Project Professional 2010.
To modify an existing enterprise calendar, follow these steps:
Figure 3 The edit calendar function follows a consistent format.
Delete a Calendar
If your organization is not using a specific enterprise calendar, you can easily delete it in Project Web App. To delete an enterprise calendar:
Figure 4 Deleting a calendar is a command similar to create New, Edit or Copy.
This is a brief look at how the “Microsoft Project Server 2010 Administrator’s Guide” and the forthcoming Role Guides can help as you deploy and manage your own Project Server installation.