3 problems tracking operations in Project – Part 2

In part 1, we outlined the problems that many customers encounter managing operational work in Project. We need to capture this information for higher fidelity resource capacity. However, previous methods required more work on the part of Resource Managers than desired.

In this article, you’ll see how to set up an operational project plan template that enables you to treat each week as a distinct unit. You’ll also see how to set up the project in Project Professional and how to configure an Operational Project Enterprise Project Type.

Part 3 will also show how to set up the project using PWA only. The requirement is to enable the Resource Manager to manage the project easily via Project Web App. You’ll also be taken through how to use this setup in a day to day fashion and will see timesheet and approval configuration. Lastly, you’ll see how this information appears via Power BI reporting.

If you have comments or questions, please leave them below in the comments field.

 

3 problems tracking operations in Project, and how to fix them.

Many organizations struggle to manage resource capacity. If they are following the OPRA Resource Capacity model, the need to track recurring operations work immediately becomes necessary. This article is based on real world experiences while managing large Project Implementations. Current tracking methods will be examined and some suggested approaches will be presented.

The old way of tracking Operations has issues.

In the past, the primary method used to track recurring operations work is to create a project that contains a yearlong task with all members of a support team. The theory is you can track all operations easily for the fiscal year, which many companies use as boundaries.

However, this approach makes three core assumptions, which causes numerous headaches for the operations manager.

  • Operations work is just like Project work
  • You will always use the same amount of operations work every week
  • No one will join or leave your operations team during the year

Myth #1: Operations work is like Project work

Project work is scheduled for a given week, team members do the work and status is reported. This is where the similarities between Project and Operations work ends.

If you do less work than scheduled in true Project, the incomplete work is typically moved forward into the following week. If you do more work than scheduled, the finish date should come in.

Operations work, however, is about reserving resource capacity for a type of activity. Thus, the difference in how we treat time variation is where the treatment of Project work and Operations work diverges.

If you go over or under time on a given week for an Operations task, it has no impact on the future of the task. You don’t move unutilized operations time forward as you don’t get that unutilized capacity back. You don’t move the end date in if you use more than planned. You simply record what was used, usually for a given week.

Therefore, each reporting period for Operations work should be treated as discrete tracking entities that have no forward schedule impact and preferably, can be closed.

Myth #2: Level of effort never varies

The reality is that the level of operations work varies week to week, sometimes greatly. There are times during the year where you know there’s more operations time. For example, a year end close process might be extremely taxing for the Finance support team. The ability to capture this seasonality would improve the ability to manage capacity for project work tremendously.

Also, if you are using planned hours on Operations work faster than originally planned, using the one long task will result in support calls. You may enter October with no remaining time left, resulting in the task disappearing from timesheets.

This again points to a need for discrete tracking entities that can be managed individually for a given time frame.

Myth #3: Teams never change

The year long task has a serious user management issue when it comes to tracking team composition. Adding and subtracting team members to the task requires Project Pro and a fair bit of Project knowledge to do properly.

When Heather joins the team in August and the operations task started in January, how easy is it to add Heather in a way that doesn’t mess up the current team tracking? The same is true if Sanjay leaves the team in April. How do you easily remove his remaining time?

This process is typically beyond the training of most Operations Managers. They shouldn’t need to be a tool expert to simply manage their team as this creates a situation that detracts value from the data.

The one long task also doesn’t lend itself to adjusting operations assignments so that you can easily reflect greater project demands in key weeks.

All of these usability questions lead us to a requirement that the solution should be usable by a user in Project Web App and doesn’t require a PMP to execute.

Requirements synopsis

Our desired Operations management solution should be:

  • Discretely managed, such that variances in time entered do not impact the overall timeline
  • Ability to individually adjust the time and team composition of tracking periods
  • Straightforward to manage, using only PWA

In our next post, a suggested solution that meets these three requirements will be presented. You’ll also see examples how it can be used in real-world settings. If you have a question or comment, feel free to post it below.

Project Dashboards in One Day Using Microsoft Power BI – Project Online – Sept 14

“Want your Project reporting to look like this?”

Then this is the class for you! The big difference between our class and ones you’ll find elsewhere is that we go beyond the tool knowledge to share real world experience with these questions.

  • How should I approach my BI need?
  • What things should be considered when creating dashboards?
  • What are the best practices?
  • How much is this going to cost me to license?
  • What security aspects should concern me?

Why you should take this course

To save you and your company time and money. Project management depends on great data. It’s the lifeblood of your team for making decisions and taking action. You need data for decisions and you are spending a lot of time and money currently, trying to get to that data.

According to Forrester, half of a department’s annual reporting needs are ad hoc, which works out to be about 50 reports a year. They also added that the fully loaded cost of an individual report is $3200-$6100 per report. Each report can eat up up to 32 hours of time to develop and test. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in throwaway report investment.

Learn a faster, cheaper way to explore your Project data. Power BI is well suited to enable quick ad hoc reporting where you spend the majority of the time developing the data set, rather than the individual report. This helps you save money and reduces the cost of developing ad hoc reports.

Who should take this course

If your company uses Project Online and you are a:

  • Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Power User
  • Project Server/Online Administrator
  • SharePoint Administrator
  • Consultant

You need this class if you are expected to use data from Microsoft Project to do your job effectively. The class assumes no prior knowledge of Power BI and Data Concepts

What is required for this class

  • Access to your Microsoft Project Online instance
  • Install Microsoft Power BI Desktop
  • If you don’t have Project Online yet, don’t worry. We have one you can use, for this class.

What you will learn

In this training course you will learn how to create Project Dashboards using Power BI, from Project Server data.

You will learn how to use Power BI in a multitude of situations, including ad hoc analysis and the creation of formal dashboard. You will learn about the Power BI components: Power BI Desktop, PowerBI.com, Power BI mobile applications and how they can be used with Microsoft Project Server/Online.

You’ll also receive an introduction into the core functions of Power BI; Data extraction, loading and transformation using Power Query Formula Language (“M”) and DAX. You’ll receive some guidelines on how to extract Project data in fast manner.

You will discover some data modeling practices that will ensure you have maximum flexibility in analysis. You’ll also learn some visualization best practices to ensure you can tell your digital story effectively.

You’ll learn best practices for maintaining content with your organization. This course provides an end to end view of Power BI for Project reporting, so that you are able to use Power BI immediately for your needs.

What you will get

You’ll get the tools to immediately get started on your design. You’ll receive:

  • Design spec that prompts the asking of the right questions
  • PowerPoint-based layout templates for dashboard paper prototyping
  • Tried and true BI design approach
  • Data dictionary of the Microsoft Project data store
  • Relationship diagrams for all Microsoft Project entities

5 critical value-adds you will take back to your company

  • You’ll have a jump start on a standard BI development approach
  • You’ll deliver new insights into your data.
  • You’ll have a great understanding of how Power BI can be used and implemented
  • You’ll learn techniques to make your dashboards perform well with project data
  • You’ll gain insight into how others are leveraging Power BI within their companies.

How will the class be conducted?

The class will be conducted live in an 8 hour session over Skype for Business, from 9 AM – 12 PM and 1 PM to 6 PM Pacific Time, with a lunch break from 12 PM -1 PM and other breaks during the day.

The sessions will occur on Wednesday, September 14, 2016.

This class will be recorded and made available, in case you miss part of the class or are unable to attend live.

Need an earlier time? Look at this Central time alternative.

What’s the cost?

Only $199 to learn how to unlock the power of your Project data.

Questions?

Contact us directly at info@tumbleroad.com.

Curriculum

  • Introduction to Power BI
  • Getting Data from Project
  • Using Power Query M for Data Retrieval and Transformation
  • Data Modeling with DAX
  • Data Visualization Techniques
  • Content Administration and Deployment
  • Licensing and Planning Considerations

Project Dashboards in One Day Using Microsoft Power BI – Project Online – Sept 13

“Want your Project reporting to look like this?”

Then this is the class for you! The big difference between our class and ones you’ll find elsewhere is that we go beyond the tool knowledge to share real world experience with these questions.

  • How should I approach my BI need?
  • What things should be considered when creating dashboards?
  • What are the best practices?
  • How much is this going to cost me to license?
  • What security aspects should concern me?

Why you should take this course

To save you and your company time and money. Project management depends on great data. It’s the lifeblood of your team for making decisions and taking action. You need data for decisions and you are spending a lot of time and money currently, trying to get to that data.

According to Forrester, half of a department’s annual reporting needs are ad hoc, which works out to be about 50 reports a year. They also added that the fully loaded cost of an individual report is $3200-$6100 per report. Each report can eat up up to 32 hours of time to develop and test. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in throwaway report investment.

Learn a faster, cheaper way to explore your Project data. Power BI is well suited to enable quick ad hoc reporting where you spend the majority of the time developing the data set, rather than the individual report. This helps you save money and reduces the cost of developing ad hoc reports.

Who should take this course

If your company uses Project Online and you are a:

  • Manager
  • Business Analyst
  • Power User
  • Project Server/Online Administrator
  • SharePoint Administrator
  • Consultant

You need this class if you are expected to use data from Microsoft Project to do your job effectively. The class assumes no prior knowledge of Power BI and Data Concepts

What is required for this class

  • Access to your Microsoft Project Online instance
  • Install Microsoft Power BI Desktop
  • If you don’t have Project Online yet, don’t worry. We have one you can use, for this class.

What you will learn

In this training course you will learn how to create Project Dashboards using Power BI, from Project Server data.

You will learn how to use Power BI in a multitude of situations, including ad hoc analysis and the creation of formal dashboard. You will learn about the Power BI components: Power BI Desktop, PowerBI.com, Power BI mobile applications and how they can be used with Microsoft Project Server/Online.

You’ll also receive an introduction into the core functions of Power BI; Data extraction, loading and transformation using Power Query Formula Language (“M”) and DAX. You’ll receive some guidelines on how to extract Project data in fast manner.

You will discover some data modeling practices that will ensure you have maximum flexibility in analysis. You’ll also learn some visualization best practices to ensure you can tell your digital story effectively.

You’ll learn best practices for maintaining content with your organization. This course provides an end to end view of Power BI for Project reporting, so that you are able to use Power BI immediately for your needs.

What you will get

You’ll get the tools to immediately get started on your design. You’ll receive:

  • Design spec that prompts the asking of the right questions
  • PowerPoint-based layout templates for dashboard paper prototyping
  • Tried and true BI design approach
  • Data dictionary of the Microsoft Project data store
  • Relationship diagrams for all Microsoft Project entities

5 critical value-adds you will take back to your company

  • You’ll have a jump start on a standard BI development approach
  • You’ll deliver new insights into your data.
  • You’ll have a great understanding of how Power BI can be used and implemented
  • You’ll learn techniques to make your dashboards perform well with project data
  • You’ll gain insight into how others are leveraging Power BI within their companies.

How will the class be conducted?

The class will be conducted live in an 8 hour session over Skype for Business, from 8 AM – 12 PM and 1 PM to 5 PM Eastern Time, with a lunch break from 12 PM -1 PM and other breaks during the day.

The sessions will occur on Tuesday, September 13, 2016.

This class will be recorded and made available, in case you miss part of the class or are unable to attend live.

Need a later time? Look at this Pacific time alternative.

What’s the cost?

Only $199 to learn how to unlock the power of your Project data.

Questions?

Contact us directly at info@tumbleroad.com.

Curriculum

  • Introduction to Power BI
  • Getting Data from Project
  • Using Power Query M for Data Retrieval and Transformation
  • Data Modeling with DAX
  • Data Visualization Techniques
  • Content Administration and Deployment
  • Licensing and Planning Considerations

The Truth Shall Make You Miserable

Lack of Faith - Vader- Project Dashboards

When companies begin making their data more accessible via Self-Serve Power BI, they soon reach a critical break point in those efforts. The Project dashboards tell them something that isn’t pleasant or doesn’t match the narrative been publicized.

The Reality in Your Project Dashboards

Performance indicators go red. The data shows the stellar progress that was planned isn’t happening. Operational demands for time are much higher in reality than assumed in planning. In short, it shows the harsh reality, as captured in the data.

This is a moment of truth for organizations. Are we going to embrace the transparency or will we attempt to control the narrative?

Data Quality Challenges

The first question is normally, is this data accurate? This is quite reasonable to ask, especially at the beginning the data stream may not be as clean as it should be.

The approach to this answer can decide your success going forward. For some, questioning the data is a prelude to dismissing the use of the data. For others, it’s a starting point for improvement.

The data deniers will provide many reasons why “we can’t use the data.” They will complain that the data is inaccurate or incomplete. Therefore, they can’t trust their data to integrate its use into their daily work or to use it to make decisions.

These data deniers may have other hidden reasons for their position, such as political or power base protection reasons. Moving to data-centric culture is a big change for many organizations, as you have to be open about your failures. No company is always above average in every endeavor.

Data deniers also fear how business intelligence might impact their careers. If the corporate culture is such where punishment is meted out when the numbers and updates aren’t desirable, likely data transparency won’t be welcome.

Change the Focus of How Data is Used to Succeed

The key to overcoming the data fear is to change the intent for its use, moving the focus from punishment to improvement.

For the successful companies using data, they embrace two simple facts. One, the data is never perfect and that it doesn’t have to be to effect a positive change. Two, they’ve defined the level of granularity needed in the data to be used successfully.

How Imprecise Data is Changing the World

We see this approach in our personal lives. For example, the Fitbit device is not 100% accurate or precise. Yet, millions are changing their behavior of being more active because of the feedback that it provides. based on relatively decent data. You may also be carrying a smart phone, which also tracks your steps. Between the two, you would have a generally good idea of how many steps you took today.

From a granularity approach, we aren’t generally worried about whether I took 4103 steps or 4107 steps today. We took 4100 steps. Hundreds is our minimum granularity. It could easily be at the thousands level, as long as that granularity meets your information needs.

Cost Benefit of a Minimum Level of Granularity

One area we see this type of data accuracy dispute in the corporate world is with cost data. It’s been engrained in our psyche that we have to balance to the penny. Our default data granularity is set to the cent.

While that may improve accuracy and precision, it doesn’t make a material difference in the impact. For example, if your average project budget is $2M, then worrying about a 5 cent variance is a percentage variance of 0.0000025%. I’ve seen organizations who get wrapped up in balancing to the penny and waste an inordinate amount of time each week getting there.

Instead, let’s define a minimum granularity in the data such that a 1% variance is visible. For a $2M average, you would round up at the $10,000 point. Doing so then reduces work attempting to make the data perfect. Any variances of that size are significant enough to warrant attention and are more likely to stand out.

Implementing Self-Server BI using products like Microsoft Power BI and Marquee™ Project Dashboards will enable your organization to gain great improvements as long as they are willing to accept the assumptions above. The truth may make you miserable in the short term as you address underlying data and process challenges. In the long run, you and your company will be better served.

Please share your experiences in the comments below.

Use metadata to drive Microsoft Project reporting logic

The need to extract Microsoft Project Task level data in an efficient manner is growing as many Project Server and Project Online clients are creating Power BI models over this data. Unfortunately, many did not account for this BI need when creating their project template structures. This leads to Project template designs that make it difficult or impossible to extract usable data from the Project Server/Online data store.

Microsoft Project Task names should not drive meaning outside of the project team

One common issue is making the task names in your project template meaningful to needs outside of the project team. You might have standard task names for Finance or for the PMO for example.

If you have told your PMs that they cannot rename or add tasks to their plans, you have this issue. You have encoded information into the structure of the project plan. The issue is that this way of encoding makes it very difficult to extract data easily using tools like SSRS and Power BI.

We’ve seen this before, when Content Management Systems were new

This was a common problem early on in file systems and SharePoint implementations in the 90s and 00s. A few of you may remember when we had to adhere to these arcane file naming conventions so that we could find the “right” file.

For example, you had to name your meeting notes document using a naming convention like the following. Client X – Meeting Notes – 20010405 – Online.doc. If you accidentally added a space or misspelled something, everything broke.

Metadata, a better approach

With the advent of search, we were able to separate the data from the metadata. This encoding of metadata into the file name data structure went by the wayside. Instead, we now use metadata to describe the file by tagging it with consistent keywords. Search uses the tags to locate the appropriate content. We also do this today for nearly all Internet related content in hopes that Google and Bing will find it.

If we reimagine Project Business Intelligence as a specialized form of search, you see that the metadata approach works to ensure the right information can be found without encoding data into the project plan structure. There are many benefits to using this approach.

Example: Phase 1 tasks encoding before

For example, today I might have the following situation, where the phase information is encoded into the structure.

image

Example: Phase 1 tasks encoding after

The metadata approach would yield the following structure instead.

image

Metadata benefits

The biggest benefit is agility. If your business needs change, you can your data tagging strategy quickly without requiring restructuring all of the projects. You can roll out a new tagging strategy and the PMs can re-tag their plans in less than a day.

Another benefit is consistency. Using Phase and TaskID, I can extract the Phase 1 tasks consistently from across multiple projects. This also has the side effect of reducing the PMO’s auditing effots.

You can better serve the collaboration needs of the project team while still meeting the demands of external parties. Project plans are simply the notes of the latest state of the conversation between members of the project team. It is intended for servicing their communication and collaboration needs. The PM is now free to structure the plan to serve the needs of their project team. They simply have to tag the tasks accordingly, which is a minimal effort. These tags can be used to denote external data elements such as billable milestones, phase end dates, etc.

Lastly, the plan structure makes better sense to the team and is easier for them to maintain. Top level tasks become the things that they are delivering instead of some abstract process step. The task roll-up provides the health of and progress toward a specific deliverable.

How do I implement project metadata in Microsoft Project?

It requires three steps in Project Server/Online.

  1. Create a metadata value lookup table
  2. Create a task custom field (you may need more than one eventually, but start simple)
  3. Add this metadata field to your Gantt views for the PM to see and use

Note: Don’t use multi-value selection for this need as this creates complexities in the BI solution.

Below is an example of a lookup table created to support this metadata use. One use of it was to support a visualization of all implementation milestones for the next month across the portfolio. The query looked for all milestones with a Reporting Purpose equal to “Milestone.Implementation” to extract the appropriate milestones.

To create a task custom field and lookup table, please refer to this link for the details. Note, you can use the same approach in Microsoft Project desktop using Outline codes.

Metadata Lookup Table

The Reporting Purposes lookup table supports two levels of values. This enables multiple classes of tags, such as milestones and phases. This exercise focuses on the Milestone.Implementation value.

clip_image002

Metadata Custom Field

Create the Reporting Purpose task custom field and attach it to the Reporting Purposes lookup table. Specify that Only allow codes with no subordinate values is selected. This prevents the user from selecting Milestones without selecting a more specific purpose.

clip_image004

I hope you find this article useful. Please post questions and comments below.

How to show Implementation Milestone Dates in Project Center

This technique illustrates how to use formulas to extract dates from tagged milestone tasks within your project plans and show the dates in the Project Center.

This technique has been tested with Project Online and Project Server 2013 On Premises. However, I don’t see a reason why it wouldn’t work in Project Server 2010. The primary difference is that 2010 will require a round-trip of the data in Project Professional to calculate the formulas.

Scenario

I’ve had several clients ask “Can we show the next Implementation date in Project Center?”. The challenge is that the Implementation milestones are task level data. The Project Center only shows project level data, therefore you must extract and transform the data to show it appropriately.

Since you may have multiple Implementation milestones, this technique will show the next upcoming Implementation date. If there is no upcoming date, it will show the most recent past Implementation date. This way, the field should always show data.

Using Metadata Instead of Task Names

My first job in industry was converting old RPGII programs on the IBM System 38. I quickly learned the evils of using content as data as that was a very common technique in those days. This technique led to users accidentally breaking processes by inadvertently adding a space or changing a term. If you’ve told your users not to update a task name or the name of some other element, you too are using content as data.

Search engines later taught us to use metadata tags to separate functional data from content. Thus, this technique requires the creation of a task metadata field for tagging tasks with a specific reporting purposes. The illustrated design only allows one tag per task.

The benefit of this technique is that it is agnostic to the names of tasks and milestones, as long as they are tagged appropriately. PMs can change the task names and plan structure to meet their needs as long as they tag the tasks and milestones appropriately.

Metadata Lookup Table

The Reporting Purposes lookup table supports two levels of values. This enables multiple classes of tags, such as milestones and phases. This exercise focuses on the Milestone.Implementation value.

image

Metadata Custom Field

Create the Reporting Purpose task custom field and attach it to the Reporting Purposes lookup table. Specify that Only allow codes with no subordinate values is selected. This prevents the user from selecting Milestones without selecting a more specific purpose.

image

Extracting the Data

The technique takes advantage of the rollup capability within Project, that enables a task level value to be rolled up to Task 0 (Project Summary Task). Task 0 values can be retrieved and used in Project formulas, thus translating the task data to project data.

Task Custom Date Field Setup

Two task level formula fields are needed to determine which Implementation date is available as stated in the requirement above. Show me the next Implementation date or if not available, show me the most recent past Implementation date. These requirements constitute two separate conditions leading to the need for two separate task formula custom fields.

Next Implementation Task Date

The first task custom date field is Next Implementation Date. This field determines if there are one or more Implementation dates in the future. The future is defined as any date equal to or greater than today on any task marked with a Reporting Purpose value of Milestone.Implementation.

The rollup is used to retrieve the soonest Implementation date if there are multiples. When defining this field, specify the rollup behavior as Minimum so that the Implementation date closest to today will be shown. 

image

Formula

IIf([Reporting Purpose] = "Implementation" And [Finish] >= Now(), [Finish],

IIf([Reporting Purpose] = "Milestone.Implementation" And [Finish] >= Now(),

[Finish], ProjDateValue("NA")))

This formula may appear a bit odd when examined closely. It appears that there are duplicate conditions specified. This is done intentionally as a workaround to a difference between PWA and Project Professional in formula evaluation during the schedule edit.

The Reporting Purpose custom field is hierarchical so the tagged value is Milestone.Implementation. In PWA, the formula only sees the “Implementation” part of the value when you edit the schedule. The first check ensures that PWA evaluates the formula correctly. In Project Professional, the formula sees the whole value. The second check of the full value is added to ensure Project Professional evaluates the formula correctly. Both checks prevent data from being inadvertently deleted when editing in across both platforms. If neither value is found, the field is set to a special date value of NA, using ProjDateValue(“NA”).

Previous Implementation Task Date

This field helps determine if the most recent past Implementation date. This field determines if there are one or more Implementation dates in the past. The past is defined as any date less than or equal to today on any task marked with a Reporting Purpose value of Milestone.Implementation. The same double check of the Reporting Purpose is required to keep the editing behavior consistent.

image

Formula

IIf([Reporting Purpose] = "Implementation" And [Finish] <= Now(), [Finish],

IIf([Reporting Purpose] = "Milestone.Implementation" And [Finish] <= Now(),

[Finish], ProjDateValue("NA")))

Rollup to the Project Level

A Project level custom date field is created to perform the logic of determining the correct Implementation date to display in the Project Center. The formula checks the Next Implementation Task Date for a value of NA. If found, it assumes there is no future date and uses the most recent past date. If NA is not found, it uses the soonest future date.

image

Formula

IIf([Next Implementation Task Date] = ProjDateValue("NA"),

[Previous Implementation Task Date], [Next Implementation Task Date])

Add to the Task Summary View in PWA

I now add the Reporting Purpose, Previous Implementation Task Date and Next Implementation Task Date fields to the Project Task Summary view. This enables the PM to mark the appropriate tasks in PWA if desired. It also helps you see the effects of the formulas.

When I edit the project in PWA, I will see something like the following. Here, I’ve created a project with four Implementation milestones, two in the past and two in the future.

image

Today is April 16, 2014, so the next future Implementation date is 4/25, which is what should be shown in the Project Center, as seen at 1 below.

image

I hope you have found this technique to be useful. Please post any questions in the comments.

Don’t Get Burned By Your Security Templates

image

Problem

If you’ve ever tried to use the built-in security templates in Project Web App, you may have accidentally messed up your security model without realizing it. This problem applies to Project Server 2003-2013 versions.

Security templates are designed as a way to quickly apply or reapply permissions for predefined roles, when creating new groups and categories. However, the out of box implementation can lead to issues if you don’t realize the impact of applying them.

Background

Groups and Categories have what is known as a many to many relationship.  A group can be associated to multiple categories and a category can be associated to multiple groups. The default security model relationships are shown below where blue boxes represent the Groups and orange boxes represent the Categories.

image

We’ll use Resource Manager as an example of the security template issue. Resource Manager has four relationships out of box by design:

  • My Organization so that they can see all resources and build team on any project
  • My Projects so that they can view any project of which they are part of the project team or own
  • My Resources so they can only see their resources below them in the RBS so that the Resource Manager can add them to a Resource Plan
  • My Direct Report which is reserved for you to customize functionality for the resources directly below the Resource Manager in the RBS The heavy lifting in the security model is at the intersection points between Group and Category. The intersection is where you set the what allowed Project and Resource actions (Group) can be taken on the data returned by the Category. If you’ve seen a “troubled” security model, it’s usually because this nuance was lost on whoever was maintaining the model.

Scenario

NOTE: PLEASE DON’T DO THIS PROCEDURE WITHOUT READING THE ENTIRE ARTICLE FIRST

Felix is a Project Server administrator who accidentally changed some category permissions in production on the Resource Manager – My Projects intersection. “No problem”, thinks Felix, “I’ll just reapply the Resource Manager security template and all will be good.”

    Felix then does the following actions.

He goes to PWA Settings under the Gear.

image

He clicks on Manage Groups under the Security section.

image

He clicks on the Resource Managers group to edit.

image

He scrolls down to Categories to access the Category permissions for the group for My Projects.

He selects My Projects in the Category list to show the permissions. At the bottom of the category permissions section, he selects the Resource Manager template and clicks Apply.

image

All good right? Not exactly.

The Issue

Remember, Resource Manager Group has four category relationships.

image

However, if you go into Manage Security Templates, there’s only one entry for Resource Manager.

image

So, which relationship does this security template represent? Was it the right one for Felix to apply? You don’t know without further research.

Suggested Fix For This Situation

If you choose to use Security Templates, I highly recommend doing the following prep work. This recommendation is based on the real world experience of managing two Fortune 250 company implementations and having cleaned up numerous security models for other companies. An hour or two of prep now will prevent tears later on.

Create a new template for group permissions and one for each intersection for the category permissions using this procedure. http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc197679.aspx If you’ve heavily customized your security model, you will need to create a diagram similar to the one I have above first.

The resulting template list for Resource Manager will be as follows.

  • Resource Manager – Group Permissions Only
  • Resource Manager – My Organization
  • Resource Manager – My Projects
  • Resource Manager – My Resources
  • Resource Manager – My Direct Reports
    Now, when Felix applies a security template, he knows exactly which one he is applying to the security relationship.

Resources

You can find the default Project Server 2013 group and category permissions at these links for constructing your templates.