Speaking PMI Chapter Meeting, Oct 2, 2018 Agile is not Always the Right Answer

Would you use the agile approach to build your house or have your government build missiles using agile?  How to Determine the Right Scheduling Approach for your Project

Agile is an adaptive approach to managing projects, however there are many other predictive scheduling approaches that may work better. This session covers the strengths and weaknesses of Agile, Critical Path Method, Resource Critical Method, Critical Chain, Earned Value and Earned Work approaches and how to determine which approach works best for your project management needs.  This topic is based on the research of Eric Uyttewaal, who is also the author or Forecasting Programs, Critical Path 2.0 and Forecast Scheduling 2013 and 2016.   After this session, you can choice the best tool for managing your project.

Link to more information: Click Here for PMI Chapter Meeting Info

PIC Mattrix

Speaking SQL Saturday Atlanta, Sept 22, 2018

Create IaaS SQL Server Test Premise Environment in Azure Cloud

Speaker: Michael Wharton
Duration: 60 minutes
Track: Cloud Application Development & Deployment
Level: Intermediate
Why create a SQL Server Test premise environment in Azure cloud? One of the first steps into moving to Azure cloud, is building an environment that looks a feels like premise but only in the cloud. This session is an overview of getting started with basics of Azure environment, such as Accounts, virtual networks, Storage and creating virtual machines.. Once we fly by reviewing several building blocks, we then build Active Directory VM, SQL Server VM and App Server Tier VM using Azure portal and PowerShell.
You may ask what does this have to do with project?  Its a foundation for building a TEST Project Server in Azure.  The savings is that you only pay for when its needed. Things like SharePoint patches or software development.
SQL Saturday Atlanta

Window Server patch breaks SharePoint

Ouch!  A windows server security patch of the .NET Framework can break SharePoint.  The following link goes into details about the security patch its effect.

Click link for more details about patch and fix

RedmonServerDown

Microsoft does not have a fix for SharePoint. I recently had a customer apply the patch and then removed the patch.   This doesn’t work but worth a try.   The only option for recover is to restore the windows image from a previous backup.  It a good practice to always back up the windows image before applying patches.

Here is my suggestion

  1. Windows server image backup of all the servers and all SharePoint databases.
  2. Apply patches
  3. Run SharePoint Configuration Wizard on each server.   This is often overlook by window server engineers because they don’t understand that patches really don’t get applied to SharePoint until the wizard is run
  4. Test and verify SharePoint.

Hopefully patches work and SharePoint is running.  If not, the backups can get you back to your happy places.

 

 

 

 

Installing SharePoint 2019 (Public Preview)

Before running Project Server 2019 can be tested and reviewed, SharePoint Server 2019 must be installed.   On July 24, 2019 Microsoft announce and release the SharePoint 2019 Public Preview.  Click here to download SharePoint 2019 Public Preview.

Installing the public preview is relatively simple process.  Install a either Windows Server 2016 or 2019 on a VM or physical server.  I like using Azure VM because there is a SQL Server 2016 running on Windows server 2016.   If not using Azure VM, then SQL Server 2016 or 2017 also needs to be installed.

Once the windows server is setup, then download installing bits, install SharePoint and run the SharePoint configuration wizard.   This is works great for quick get me started. I use PowerShell script that does the same thing as the SharePoint Configuration wizard.  The reason for the script is that I can name the SQL databases and the Wizard doesn’t allow for this.  Link to MyProjectExpert ProjectServerTools   Download for PowerShell configuration wizard. I left my notes inside the PowerShell to remind me of what some of the functions do.

Another tool that I recommend for installing SharePoint 2019 Public preview is AutoSPInstaller Online. Link to AutoSPInstaller   Its a great tool and at the time of this writing, it may not have all the functionality for SharePoint 2019, but I am sure its coming.

Migrating Project 2016 to Project 2019

I will be speaking on migration from SharePoint/Project Server 2016 to 2019 at the SharePoint Saturday in Charlotte August 11, 2018.

Migrating from SharePoint 2016 to 2019 is not going to be to difficult as previous SharePoint Migrations. The session goes over reviewing the requirements and looking at options for cleaning up SharePoint sites and web applications and then goes thru steps with migrations from 2016 to 2019 and using PowerShell to make it easier and more predicative

Click link for more information at SharePoint Saturday in Charlotte, NC

Click link below for my PowerPoint presentation that contains slides and scripts.

2018-08-11 SharePoint 2019 Upgrade V6

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Limited PowerApps Features for Project Online

There is a lot of excitement about PowerApps and how it is designed for non-programs to build apps.   Yes, it can create basis phone apps based on SharePoint list, however I am a little disappointed in the features available with project online.  That is what this blog is about. I wanted to see what I can do for me when using Project Online.  In a word, I believe it is weak and doesn’t provide many useful features.  However, I am optimist that Microsoft will be adding to the Power App library for project online.

My initial reason for digging deeper inside the PowerApp tool was that I had a client who wanted the project online time sheet feature setup with Power Apps. Project online  was being evaluated and several other competitors and admit the competitors user interface was much easier to work with however they didn’t have all the powerful features found in project online.  I assume Power Apps could build an interface to to project online time sheets. As I explored Power Apps capability, I realized that it wasn’t there.  Paul Mather blog provides a work around for export PWA into SharePoint list and then building power apps from the list.  Very clever, however updates do not go back into PWA database

PowerApps usually start with a home page.   Figure 1 shows the basic functionality provided when using project online. The basic features are 1) List projects, 2) Create project, 3) Create Resources, 4) Listing tasks, 5) check in and publish projects and 6) checkout projects.  Displaying Power Bi reports is a supper feature but it is really just a standard Power App.

Figure 2 shows a simple list of projects.  Project list provides a pathway for listing tasks once a project is found and selected from list.  Project List page is create by using ProjectOnline.ListProject function which is a connection function for retrieving list of projects.

Figure 1. PowerApp home page     Figure 2. Project List

The next two functions that are available is CreateResource and CreateProject. As it can be seen in Figure 3 and 4, there are few parameters that are based to project online.  I am not seeing a whole lot of value at this point in time, however I believe the number of fields and functions will grow in the future.

Figure 3. Create Project            Figure 4. Create Resource

Figure 5 shows Task List feature listing all the tasks for a project. The feature doesn’t provide a method for updating task in the field.  Again, maybe in a future release but not much for now.  Figure 6 shows Power BI reporting page and I see a lot of potential with this aspect of a project PowerApp.

Figure 5 List Tasks                         Figure 6 Power BI reports

All-in-all it looks like a good first step and look forward to seeing Microsoft building many more function calls that will enable developers bring project online closer to the PMO fingers tips.

 

 

 

 

 

Rebooting the Project Management Office (PMO)

The PMO much like a computer becomes ineffective and inefficient over time and sometimes requires a reboot.  Rebooting a computer resets the system, clears out cache, releases memory and updates drivers.  Once the computer system is back up and running it runs faster and more efficient. The PMO often needs a reboot as well.   The PMO’s process become stall and outdated, executive management have come and gone, people are asking why are we doing it this way and newer software has been release over the years.  And over time the PMO becomes ineffective and needs a reboot as well.
The average lifetime of a PMO is about five and half years.  This sad fact actually makes sense as well.  Think about what has happen in five years after a PMO launches.  Executive management and sponsors have probably been promoted, left the company or perhaps retired, which means someone else has inherited it.  Processes and procedures have become stall and ineffective over time. The PMIS (Project Management Information System) lacks the latest features and hasn’t kept up with the latest enhancements. Project managers are incorporating agile into their processes creating chaos and confusion.  The original vision and purpose of the PMO has changed over time.  The PMO role and reach may need to expand and align with human resources or contract management.   It’s clearly evident that many events can occur in the past five years and instead of letting the PMO continue to become ineffective, perhaps it just needs a reboot.

What does it mean to reboot the PMO?   It really simple.  It’s just a matter of revisiting the vision and purpose of the PMO and ensure that it still aligns up to it business’s mission.  Realignment of the PMO may include some of the following steps below:

  1. Verify PMO executive support
  2. Write a PMO reboot plan and schedule
  3. Review the PMO vision and core values
  4. Review the PMO scope such as portfolios, program and projects
  5. Review the PMO maturity model.
  6. Review the staffing and resources required for PMO
  7. Review PMO training, mentoring and coaching
  8. Review PMO mythologies and processes
  9. Review PMO reporting meeting management requirements
  10. Review PMO standards for reporting
  11. Review PMO security and access permissions
  12. Review PMO tools, project and PMIS software

The last step is the main point of my blog; the review of PMO tools, project and PMIS software.  Companies often upgrade project server to a more current version without thinking about ​rebooting the PMO.  In many cases the project server upgrades are done without reflecting on what has changed over the years and how the new features can be incorporated into the PMO.

Personally for me, I think Microsoft Project server solution is the right solution for many companies, however, before spending money on upgrade, maybe it’s a time to bring in another PMIS solution.  Or perhaps it’s the right time to expand the maturity of the PMO and incorporate the other project server features such as timesheets, resource engagements, portfolio management or workflow to name a few.

In summary, every​ five years is a good time to reboot the PMO and make grow the maturity of the PMO.​