Reasons for Implementing or Upgrading to Project Server 2010
by Jamie Wyant, Senior Project Manager
Project Server 2010 has officially been released and offers many additional features that Project Server 2007 did not. Based on an organization’s needs it may make sense to either upgrade from Project Server 2007 to Project Server 2010 or implement Project Server 2010 in a new environment.
The purpose of this article is to explain some of the most important updates Microsoft made to what seems to be a very impressive release of Project Server. One of the most impressive features in Project Server 2010 is Demand Management. Portfolio Server is now included with Project Server 2010 in a single platform.
This means Project Server 2010 is now a complete end to end Portfolio and Project management system. Portfolio Server allows a user to prioritize and select projects for execution while providing full lifecycle management capabilities.
When deploying Project Server 2007, Portfolio Server 2007 needed to be procured and implemented separately to take advantage of the same capabilities for Portfolio Management that exist in Project Server 2010.
This meant additional costs and administration. Project Server and Portfolio Server are tightly integrated in the new version. As a result, the solution provides top down portfolio management capabilities with bottom- up project management capabilities that support the entire project life cycle.
The addition of Portfolio Server allows organizations to ensure they are investing in the right projects and helps align resources and investments with strategic goals. Project Server 2010 also offers built-in configurable workflow capabilities which can enable organizations to customize the governance process for all types of work.
For instance, a proposal for a major project can have one predefined workflow whereas a proposal for a minor project can have a different workflow governance process. This provides an auditable, scalable and intuitive governance process that can be adapted to address an organization’s need for process changes going forward.
Project Server 2010 installation is much simpler than in 2007. When installing SharePoint Server 2010, the prerequisites are automatically installed saving the installer time. There is a trade off though. Even though the installation is simpler, there are many more features in Project Server 2010 than there were in Project Server 2007, therefore; administration will not become any easier.
Project Server administrators will be happy to know that there are no more Active X components required to use Project Web Access. This is good news because in a lot of environments user machines are locked down, meaning they can’t install programs. In these types of environments, a package would have to be created to deploy the Active X components or a user with administrator permissions on the desktop would need to log in and install the Active X components.
Also, when service packs came out for Project Server 2007, the Active X components needed to be reinstalled. Project Server 2010 also offers a new feature called Departments which enables system wide filtering. This feature allows the system to be customized for each department and segregates data based on the audience.
For example, in the past, different departments within an organization may have wanted separate reporting codes from other departments. This meant a separate instance would have to be created. Project Server 2010 and the “Departments” feature make the need for a separate instance obsolete.
Project Initiation, workflows, reporting codes, views and reports can be specific to each department. The Project Professional 2010 client has been overhauled to include some very powerful features. For instance, the Manually Scheduled tasks feature allows for organizations to increase user adoption by allowing users to manually schedule tasks similar to the way they do it in Excel.
The idea here is that the more the user is in Project Professional 2010, the more comfortable they will become with the software and eventually be able to leverage the real benefit of scheduled tasks. Also, projects can now be opened and edited directly through Internet Explorer.
There is also an improved developer experience. It is now easier to develop and deploy workflow driven processes. Also, the enhanced API for Portfolio Management services makes development more efficient. Business Intelligence has been greatly improved by the introduction of Excel Services and the Business Intelligence Center in Share- Point Server.
Developing reports in Project Server 2007 was not always a fun process, depending on the data that needed to be pulled. The integration of Excel Services allows users to attach Excel workbooks to data connections, to the reporting database, and OLAP cubes in Project Server to build reports.
Reporting capabilities in Project Server 2010 are nearly limitless with Share- Point’s commitment to Business Intelligence. Time and Task Management has also become more flexible. Most notably is the Single Entry Mode that allows users to submit a single update to update both timesheets and task progress. In Project Server 2007, a third party tool was needed to have a single time and task entry mode.
Also, the interface for entering the updates has been standardized so users will find it much more intuitive to use. In terms of upgrading from Project Server 2007 to Project Server 2010, there are two options: Database attach or In Place Upgrade. The Database attach option enables you to attach a copy of your Project Server 2007 databases to Project Server 2010. When the Project Web App is created, it will point to the restored databases.
A major advantage of doing the Database attach upgrade is minimal downtime because the Project Server 2007 environment can remain intact during the upgrade. The In Place Upgrade allows you to install Project Server 2010 on the same hardware as Project Server 2007 and then migrate everything in a single process (as long as Windows Server 2008 64-bit is installed on the Project Server 2007 server).
Advantages of an In Place Upgrade include: the upgrade can happen on the same computer and farm settings are preserved and migrated. Regardless of the approach taken, Project Server 2010 must be installed on Windows Server 2008 64- bit OS.