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Wednesday, May 03, 2006 #

"How tightly integrated is Project Server and Visual Studio Team Server?" ... A Question from My Recent Webcast

 Your question: "How tightly integrated is Project Server and Visual Studio Team Server?"


My answer: "Not very integrated, yet."



Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server provides many of the same functions for coordination and collaboration that Project Server 2003 does.  Each uses a WSS site as the basis for collaboration and coordination of documents, tasks, issues, etc.  It would be pretty logical if both could be built on top of the same WSS sites, but that is not the case. 


So, why not just get by with Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server?  Because it is a tool of the techies, for the techies, and by the techies.  It is a great tool to manage the Software Development Lifecycle, but that is only a subset of project management.  The Project Server tool was created because a proper project team needs to include a cross-functional team of people for whom Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server would be all but impenetrable.  Sponsors, business analysis, subject matter experts, deployment and support professionals, will all have a much easier time dealing with Project Server 2003.


So, my recommendation is to use Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server for the development team but use Project Server for the overall project team.  Again, to me, the integration is more one of workflow than technology.  The handoff to the development team would be a milestone in Project Server, and concrete deliverables would be the product of the handoff.  There are some clever workarounds that you could pursue, but clever is rarely a good idea in these matters.

  1. Project Initiation:         Project Server
  2. Project Planning:         Project Server
  3. Project Execution:       Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server
  4. Test and Validation:    Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server
  5. Deployment:                Project Server
  6. Productionalization:      Project Server
We can certainly imagine that 2007 will bring new opportunities for cooperation between these two important tools.
P.S. Yes, I know that "Productionalization" isn't really a word but I'm uncomfortable with "Institutionalization"... it sounds like it's off to the funny farm.


posted @ 1:12 PM | Feedback (51)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 #

Anything Can Be an Advantage...

Anything Can Be an Advantage...

Absolutely anything can be an advantage.  I grew up on Vashon Island Washington, in Puget Sound between Seattle and Tacoma.  During eighth grade at McMurray Intermediate School, we were visited by an absolutely spell-binding guest speaker. 

This gentleman was about fifty and held the entire seventh and eighth grade student body in full thrall for over an hour.  He was the most charismatic and amazing speaker I have ever run across in my life.  He had developed throat cancer some years before and had to have his larynx removed surgically.  As a result he breathed through a little tracheotomy hole in his throat and no longer had vocal chords.  Like most people with this problem, he was able to use a little mechanical buzzer as an artificial voice box.  Unlike most people with this problem, he learned how to speak without using his mechanical buzzer, by learning to swallow air and belch it back out again.  He used these long belches as an artificial voice.  This man spoke to us at length by continuously burping.

I remember him as if it were yesterday.  Of course, I have no idea what he was talking about.  Presumably it was a chat on the evils of smoking and throat cancer, although it could have easily been a speech against baseball's infield-fly rule, or against the evils of durable powers of attorney.  The point is that he burped the whole hour-long speech to us in a student-body assembly in full view of the teachers and administration, and retained the respect of the grown-ups.

To say that he was popular with the seventh and eighth graders would be the height of understatement.  If he had been ambitious and politically savvy, he could have called for an election and been unanimously declared to be student body president on the spot.  With a little prompting, we would have probably been willing to start some kind of religion around this talent of his.  By burping instructions to us, he could have easily had us standing around malls and airports raising donations from passers by.  It was just that cool.

Looking at it from his perspective, he was probably a little nervous.  Trying to make a speech to a large and unruly crowd of middle schoolers without the benefit of a voice box probably seemed like a tall order.  Little did he know the impact he would have.  Speakers come and go, but a man who can belch out a long talk for an hour is a force to be reckoned with, as far as middle schoolers are concerned.

I will remember him until the day I die, and I have never smoked in my life.  I am also vaguely uncomfortable with the infield fly rule and durable powers of attorney.

posted @ 9:48 PM | Feedback (14)

Friday, March 31, 2006 #

Microsoft is about to rock the world...

Bill English of Mindsharp has given me a contract to write two chapters of the SharePoint Portal Admin Companion, to be published by Microsoft Press.  My responsibilities are to write:

  1. The architecture chapter, and
  2. The chapter on SharePoint and Project Server integration. 

Needless to say this is a great challenge and an honor.  To get ready for the assignment, I’ve spent the past week working through the 2007 version of these products with Bill and his team at MindSharp.  Also present have been the team from Combined Knowledge in the U.K., and P3C Consulting also from the U.K.  It’s been great fun to explore the 2007 software with this team and begin to organize my thoughts on Microsoft's new architecture. Here is my initial reaction… “Wow.”  This is a new era for Microsoft.


Regulatory changes like HIPAA and Sarbanes Oxley have mandated the need to provide information management, protection, and process control across the enterprise.  It is no longer enough to write a letter using Word.  It is now important to be able to show why the letter was written, to whom it was sent, what was in it, and how the information was derived, and how the information impacted decisions that were made.


This means that the ability to manage, protect, audit, distribute, redact, and destroy information must be an enterprise infrastructure service that permeates all systems.  This is, in my opinion, the next big thing in information technology.  Microsoft is “stepping up to the plate” in a big way.


In the past, client/server architecture was a huge shift in architecture and process.  In the beginning it was treated as a unique, awkward, and controversial technology.  Now it is a normal and pervasive part of the IT landscape.  It is a natural and organic part of operations, and no one really thinks about it much any more. 


The same was true for e-commerce and e-business, remember?  It was awkward, new, and seemed quite unnatural.  E-commerce and e-business technologies are now a normal and organic part of the IT landscape as well.  It is a natural and organic part of operations, and no one really thinks about it much any more.


Document and workflow management strategies will, I think, be in the same category.  The idea of integrating and managing the flow of information (as opposed to data) throughout an organization’s technology base seems bewildering and confusing.  It seems like the industry is making “much ado about nothing.”  In five to ten years, the idea of producing uncontrolled “orphaned” documents without having to consider their source and audience will seem as bizarre as using a dumb-terminal would today.


Microsoft is making a giant leap toward this integration goal.  Where they have lagged in the beginning phases of past technology shifts, they obviously intend to be in the forefront of integrating document management capabilities into their software infrastructure.



posted @ 8:35 AM | Feedback (18)

Tuesday, March 14, 2006 #

Project Server 2003 Overview, a Three Day Class

Project Server 2003 Overview, a Three Day Class
April 3 to 7, Minneapolis Minnesota
For Registration Information Click Here
Do you need to:
  • Get up to speed quickly?
  • Provide an evaluation for your company?
  • Provide a Pilot Project?
  • Provide an executive summary for your leadership, including strengths and weaknesses?
  • Organize an implementation project, and aren't sure how to get started?

Who should attend?

  • Members of project teams responsible for implementing Project Server 2003.
  • PMO personnel who are going to use Project Server 2003 as an Enterprise Project Management tool.
  • IT executives responsible for project management tools and methods
  • Anyone tasked with evaluating Enterprise Project Management tools and technologies.

What you will get

  • A firm understanding of project management principles and best practices as they relate to MS Project Server 2003.
  • A firm understanding of MS Project Server 2003 architecture, strengths, and weaknesses.
  • A preliminary plan for implementation
  • Preliminary project documents to guide an implementation or evaluation project
  • A useable 'image' of MS Project Server 2003 to use for evaluation purposes.


DAY 1: Understanding Project Server and its Role in the Enterprise

Module 1: Introduction to MS Project Server 2003

Microsoft Project 2003 is a special purpose software suite. It is designed to make project teams more successful by providing collaboration and management services throughout the project management process. In order to fully understand what MS Project Server 2003 is and how it works, it is vital to first understand formal project management concepts. Key topics include:

  • What is the role of Microsoft Project Server 2003 in Microsoft’s architecture?
  • What is the key to successful project management and how does Project Server 2003 help get you there?
  • Lab: Understanding PMO workflow
Module 2: Understanding MS Project Server 2003 Components

In this module, we will discuss the design concepts of a Microsoft Project Server 2003 implementation. A clear understanding of the project management concepts in Module 1 in addition to an understanding of the Microsoft Project Server 2003 architecture will provide a solid framework that places the administrator in command of the MS Project Server 2003 environment. Key topics include:

  • What are the weaknesses and strengths of Project Server 2003?  
  • Why is Project Server 2003 different from other Microsoft Tools?  
  • Lab: Writing a project charter for MS Project Server 2003 implementation
Module 3: Integrating Project Management Workflow into the Microsoft Architecture

In order to receive the maximum benefit from Project Server 2003, the system administrator and the project managers must work together. This means that key administration tasks must be mapped into the project management process itself. This provides clear communication and helps prevent human error in administering enterprise project management. This module will help the administrator understand the key hand-off points in the project management workflow, where the project manager will need to update MS Project 2003. Key topics include:

  • What are the roles of the Project Manager and the System Administrator?
  • How do we know if our Project Server 2003 implementation is successful?
  • How MS Project Server 2003 improves a project’s chances of success
  • How to use Project Server 2003 to manage “Enterprise” milestones, phases, and artifacts
  • How to use Project Server 2003 to manage collaboration and communication
  • Lab: Writing a project communication plan


DAY 2: Deployment and Configuration Planning

Module 4: Installing Microsoft Project Server 2003

After a thorough knowledge of Microsoft Project Server 2003’s organization and logic has been obtained, we will examine the key factors in a successful implementation. These topics include:

  • Readiness assessment
  • System requirements
  • Installation planning, process, and execution
  • Lab: Creating the Deployment Plan
Module 5: Configuration

Configuration of Microsoft Project Server 2003 requires a collaboration between the system administrators and the project managers. The resulting configuration will speak the ‘native language’ of the project manager while providing clear and measurable administration processes for the administrator. Topics include:

  • How to use Project Server 2003 to manage project initiation and organization
  • How to use Project Server 2003 to manage program management and organization
  • How to use Project Server 2003 to manage portfolio management and organization
  • Lab: Creating a sample project to deploy MS Project Server 2003
Module 6: MS Project Integration

In order to work effectively, MS Project Server 2003 requires MS Project be integrated as a client-side interface for the project managers. This module will explain how this integration works, how it is set up, and what its strengths and limitations are. Key topics include:

  • MS Project connectivity
  • MS Project dependencies with MS Project Server 2003
  • Balancing Freedom and Control
  • Lab: MS Project connectivity and synchronization


DAY 3: The Project Server 2003 Driven PMO

Module 7: Project Initiation and Server Administration

MS Project Server 2003 represents a tool for collaboration between the Project Manager, Project Team, and System Administrator. This module will determine who is responsible for which aspect of MS Project Server 2003 operations. Topics include:

  • Using Project Server 2003 to control Project Initiation.   
  • Using Project Server 2003 to control Project workflow
  • Data stewardship and ownership
  • Lab: Workflow checkpoints for project initiation
Module 8: Project Coordination and Reporting

The three most important aspects of successful project management are communication, communication, and communication. Above all, MS Project Server 2003 is a collaboration and communication tool for the project team. This module discovers how to implement a formal project communication plan into MS Project Server 2003. Topics include:

  • Identifying the communication objectives
  • Using Project Server 2003 to execute the project communication plan
  • Lab: Configuring and using MS Project Server 2003 to execute the communication plan
Module 9: Security and Privacy

Microsoft Project Server 2003 provides tools and services to prevent the accidental distribution of alteration of information. This module will explore those capabilities. Topics include:

  • Overview of MS Project Server 2003 Security Architecture
  • Implementing and validating security and privacy controls
  • Regulatory compliance issues
  • Lab: Establish security for the team

posted @ 8:58 AM | Feedback (28)