Just finished up at the Microsoft Project 2010 Ignite conference in Sydney and wanted to share some of the great things I learnt over the week. The sessions were very good over all I must say and it was good to meet many of the familiar names in both the .AU EPM field but also the Redmond guys who came down.

I’ll post here all my notes taken, basically covering significant items that I learnt and some questions asked and / or answered. Note though that this list is in way a complete list of content covered as basically all the hundreds of things that I have previously learnt over the past few months beta testing are not mentioned in these notes! Also the order is as it was discussed so mostly relates to the agenda, but of course some questions or items discussed were of course off topic.

Day 1

Points of Interest:

  • Release date for General Availability of Office 2010 scheduled for June!
  • Project Server 2010 requires SharePoint 2010 Enterprise version as a minimum.
  • 2007 PWA CAL will upgrade to a full PWA 2010 AND SharePoint Enterprise 2010 CAL if on Software Assurance.
  • Portfolio Server CAL’s upgrade to full Project Server 2010 CAL’s with SA.
  • Full pricing is to be released very soon, and is apparently very similar to the current pricing.
  • Project Pro 2010 is not backwards compatible, ie it cannot connect to PS2007.
  • Synch to SharePoint lists requires only Project Pro (not Standard) 2010 and SharePoint Foundation 2010 (WSS4)
  • Synch to SharePoint task function is fully disabled when connected to a Project Server (interesting).
  • PWA requires Internet Explorer 7 as a minimum, and does not support Tier 2 (other modern) browsers unlike SharePoint
  • Team Foundation Server 2010 for Application Lifecycle Management supported out of the box with a connector, however so far only a client based sync connector is released, the server to server connector will be released soon. Also no support for any previous versions.
  • Project Web App views published data, e.g. Project Centre, but editing a project opens the working or draft copy. (Something to watch out for)
  • MPP format has changed again with PPRO2010 and is not backwards compatible unless the option is specifically selected on save.

Questions asked or answered:

  • Office version required for PS2010 is mainly revolving around Excel Services 2010 which requires Excel 2007/2010 for editing. However no Office version is required for just viewing reports, etc. (Not sure what Word requirements there are for editing / saving, assume the same as 2007)
  • Migration / import from other data sources such as Primavera is not considered. (Not really surprising)

New Buzzwords:

  • Demand Management (my favourite new topic!)
  • Top Down Portfolio Management (included in PS now with PPS)
  • Project Lifecycle Management – preferred to Demand Management as is more accurate to describe the workflow features.

Day 2

Points of Interest:

  • Project Workspaces are now created at the very outset of any workflow or new project, before the first publish. This has the effect in particular if you change workflow mid process and that results in a workspace change then manual extra effort would be required.
  • The SDK will include a tool to visualise workflow through a webpart (like in Portfolio Server)
  • The SDK will also include a tool to pull workspace data (artefacts) into a PDP (Project Details Page).
  • UMT plans to release a few products to supplement the features omitted from Portfolio Server 2010 such as a Project Financial Management and Application Management add-on’s.
  • Timesheets include a new function ‘Send Status’ which performs a status update (submit task updates) of selected or all timesheet lines, without requiring a full timesheet submit.
  • New Timesheet option in settings to require Status Manager approval prior to Timesheet manager approval of a timesheet. (This should address most of the rejection scenario issues in Tied-Mode)
  • Surrogate Timesheets have been completely replaced by the new Delegate functionality.
  • OLAP cubes no longer require the DSO (and thus backwards compatibility components), they are now built using AMO.
  • Project file properties (File->Properties) now selectively stored in the RDB, such as keywords, etc. This would be particularly useful for search.
  • No more OWC (hurrah).
  • Report viewer users do not need direct security permissions on database, this is handled by the Secure Store which uses the appropriate service account. This does not apply to editing of reports.

Things to read:

  • Power Pivot! (Awesome name!)
  • Eigen Vector (which is the formula behind the Portfolio optimiser percentages)

Day 3

Points of Interest:

  • Must check out the BI content on the Project Programmability blog.
  • Visio Services is great for dynamic data driven charts and diagrams, however it does not accept parameters (like Excel Services) which may limit some uses (such as in a project workspace template).
  • Hosted option “Project Online” to be announced soon, which will comprise of a slightly cut down EPM solution for entry level clients.
  • Still not possible to set a baseline using PSI.
  • Delegation feature is basically equivalent to giving someone your password.
  • However delegation is only valid in PWA or with Project web parts, and not in SharePoint including workspaces, or in Project Pro.
  • AD synchronisation and WSS permissions sync have been ‘greatly improved’ to prevent dead-locks, etc.
  • New option for Project Managers via PWA is the ‘project permissions’ option which allows project level security permissions to be assigned by the project owner, negating the need for the use of delegates for project access. (Love it, more user self service!)
  • Project Pro no longer provides the password prompt option, however as it uses Claims based authentication it relies on IE settings and so if IE prompts for password then so does Project Pro.
  • Now need to always think of Project Server as having 5 databases, as the SharePoint content database stores so much important data such as BI, workflow, PDP’s etc.
  • Bulk Update option in Server Settings provides WSSRelinker tool functionality.
  • Playbooks upgrade for 2010 to be released near release date.
  • Playbooks has been fixed to not rely on GUID’s and instead use names to prevent migration issues.
  • A new tool is to be released to migrate PDP’s and workflow like Playbooks.
  • WSS_Logging database is a new SharePoint 2010 feature and provides fully documented performance / issue logging for the farm.
  • The SharePoint Developer Dashboard feature provides very detailed page stats once enabled, detailing things like load times per web parts, SQL stored procedures called, etc.
  • SQL database mirroring is now also supported in 2010.
  • Manually scheduled tasks still have the old duration, start and finish stored as “Scheduled Start, etc”.
  • RDB stores the scheduled start / finish etc as the normal date field, and stores the new manual values separately, and also contains a task field indicating if the task is auto / manual.

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