PowerBI Preview available to try now

It has been a long wait time but PowerBI preview is now available globally for everyone to try. From having already seen and played with the next PowerBI release I can say that this is a massive upgrade. Especially those of you interested in Dashboards will be very satisfied with the new UI that also works on Ipad and Iphone. Furthermore, the refresh jobs for all your data sources can be refreshed every hour. There is a whole world of new BI features in this release so hurry up and try it out.

Link to PowerBI preview sign up:


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March “PU” package ready for download

A new set of “Public Updates” for Project Server 2010 and 2013 are now available for download. As there are multiple important steps to follow I am linking directly to the blog post by Brian Smith, Senior Escalation Engineer, Microsoft


The February CU´s for SharePoint and Project have been released

Great news – the cumulative updates for SharePoint Server, Project Professional and Project Server are all released and available for download.

remember, if you are using Project Online and/or the “click-to-run” edition of the Project Client, you dont need to do anything as the updating happens automatically

There is a lot information to cover and for that reason I Refer to the official Microsoft documentation found at the links below:

Link to Project Client 2013 February CU


Link to Project Server 2013 February CU


Link to SharePoint Server 2013 February CU


New Microsoft PPM E-learning concept

Being a busy Project Manager makes it very difficult to find the time to attend a Microsoft Project course. At the same time, finding a course that teaches “Best Practices” rather than the complete tour of functionality, can also be tricky. I guess this is why the Microsoft PPM Partner, Project Sensei, decided to build a new learning experience around Microsoft Project/PPM, which is now available for all of us. Great news!

Two of the strong selling points are learning at your own pace while paying a small fee compared to on-site training. Even better, I have arranged a 10% discount for my blog readers if you decide to try it out. Just add the coupon code “PPMBLOG” during your purchase.

From having already tried out a handful of the course chapters, I can strongly recommend any klind of PPM users to try it out. The concept of learning from “Best Practices” is simply the best, and most efficient way, to get up to speed.

You can find the courses here: https://www.senseiprojectsolutions.com/training/elearning/


New Project Online features on the Office365 Roadmap

The Office365 Roadmap site is the place to go to learn about what has been “rolled out”, is “coming soon” and is “under development”. The last couple of weeks, new functionality has been rolled out to all Project Online tenants but also interesting, you will also see some new Resource Management features that are now under “Development”.


Resource Engagement Workflow

Project managers, working in Project Pro for Office 365 can systematically place resource requests in order to build their project teams. Soon thereafter, Resource managers working in Project Online will be able to view, modify, accept or reject those requests. Also, decisions made by Resource managers will be available to Project Managers within Project Pro for Office 365 to review and plan accordingly


Capacity Management Capabilities

Resource Managers can benefit from configurable color coded heatmaps to better predict the utilization of   their resource pool in Project Online. These heatmaps will also support seamless drill-down capabilities all the way down to individual resources and their assigned Projects.


Go to the Office 365 Roadmap site

Project Online – Virtual Academy


Are you running Project Online? Are you in need of a basic understanding of what it offers and how to configure it? Last week Microsoft released three new learning videos targeting topics such as “getting started”, “configuration” and “administration”… AND THEY ARE ALL FREE TO WATCH AND DOWNLOAD!

The presenters are some of the most experienced Microsoft Project supporters, Brian Smith and Adrian Jenkins.

Video 1

Project Online: Getting Started

Office 365 Support Corner is an ongoing series of on-demand courses that cover leading Office 365 support issues. ​Check out this course on Project Online, the newest member of the Project family. Find out what this subscription service is and what it isn’t, and learn what you need to know to get up and running with Project Online smoothly and quickly.



Video 2

Project Online: Next Steps

​​If you have a new Project Online tenant, this is your opportunity to learn more about its capabilities and what you need to configure to deliver business value for your users. In this session, walk through the Project Management Office (PMO) level configuration necessary to support your business needs.



Video 3

Project Online: Administration

​Understanding the administration options for Project Online is key for a successful experience, both from the tenant administration within Office 365 and the Project Management Office (PMO) administration for your projects. In this course, get insight into what you have control over within Office 365 Admin Center and the PMO administration within each Project Web App (PWA) site.


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FIX: Windows 8.1 solution to: Where is my “add a wireless display” option?

Just came back from a great MVP conference at Microsoft Redmond. Everything at this conference so I cant share any details. Instead I will share something completely different and not reated to Project Online.

I took the time to buy the great new piece of hardware called “Microsoft Wireless Display Adaptor”, which allows all devices with Windows 8 and 8.1. to project their screen without any cables. Perfect and what every man should wish for this Christmas!


Installing the little device was very simple – just plugged it into my projector. Getting my Surface (Windows 8.1) to project was much harder.

You are told to just click on you “devices” button, hit “project” and then “add wireless adaptor”. Problem is that button is just not there.

The solution is simple but took me a lot of time to figure out, as the product is brand new and don’t have its own blog. That is why I will share the answer here. It turned out it was all related to my Surface Pro 3 having a Cisco VPN client installed.

FIX: Navigate to your WIFI network setup and remove “Deterministic Network Enhancer”. Go back to your devices and projector page – now you will find the “add wireless adaptor”. Easy and I hope I just saved you some hours of troubleshooting.



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Project Online Reporting with “Scheduled Refresh”

This post is simply to give a very direct answer to a questions, I have been asked several times the last couple of months.

I want to have my Project Online reports to be automatically refreshed. I know PowerBI can do this but have many licenses do my organization have to buy?

The answer is simple – you need only one user to have the PowerBI license in order to access the PowerBI area, add the reports and setup the scheduled refresh. The benefit is crystal clear, users no longer have to manually trigger the the “Refresh Data Connection” and wait for the update to be done.

Here is a little drawing of how it looks:

PowerBI image

Now, before you buy a PowerBI license, you should also understand the many other benefits that PowerBI brings to your tenants. To fully understand these capabilities I would recommend navigating to this page: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/powerbi/default.aspx

…maybe you will end up buying more than just one license after having experienced the many other cool features.


Project Online Performance – getting better and better

[UPDATED 21-10-2014]

A Microsoft Office Blog post that lists recent performance and scale enhancements to Project Online. These should now be live across all our worldwide tenants.




[From 16-10-2014]

This blog post is about my experiences with Project Online when it comes to performance –page load times etc. Over the last few weeks Project Online has received some serious performance enhancements to the point where I can happily say there are no performance issues anymore. It also demonstrates how cloud is enabling Microsoft to respond quickly to customer & partner feedback. Read on to learn what was done and what to expect in your own Project Online tenant.

1      History

Can your enterprise rely on Project Online’s speed and user satisfaction? I have personally used Project Online for testing purpose ever since it was first released in early 2013. Since then I have been involved in five implementations for larger customers in different industries and experienced performance challenges for variety of reasons – BUT NOT ANYMORE.

2      Issues and action plan

After having talked with many of the users at my customers, it was clear that much of the performance issues were around the same features:

  • Accessing Project Center
  • Navigating around different Project Details Pages
  • Doing a “save” job on a Project Detail Page
  • Accessing and publishing from the Schedule Web Part
  • Bad response from lookup items e.g. loading views and user names
  • Refresh jobs doing reports

Through my MVP channel, and in collaboration with Microsoft Product group, we decided to focus on a specific customer, run short iterations of improvements and track the impact. This particular customer has 200+ projects with workflows, uses ODATA with Excel Services for pretty much all of their reporting needs. All in all a very good case.

3      Solution and great performance

Today I can confidently say that we have a very happy customer base. The many small fixes had a great impact and resolved all the issues. All of these updates will also help you, as they are being deployed to all Project Online tenants.

4      What to expect?

  • Project Center
    • Loading a view in Project Center is now extremely fast. Most loads even with 200 projects takes just about 1 second.
    • Opening a project from Project Center has also been improved by changing the way users are moved from the Project Center view to the Project Details Pages.
  • Navigating around different Project Details Pages
    • The load of another PDP while working with a project feels incredibly fast even though these are loaded with feels, web parts or even graphics such as a workflow page.
  • Doing a “save” job on a Project Detail Page
    • Doing a “save” job on a PDP also does a “publish” job. For that reason, Project Online needs to a couple of jobs. This is also one of the areas where you will feel a great difference and especially if you deactivate the WSS sync job between projects and their team-sites
  • Accessing and publishing from the Schedule Web Part
    • Only one thing to say here – improved!
  • Bad response from lookup items e.g. loading views and user names
    • The load of look-ups is now done much more smooth and for that reason the PSI calls as a whole have received improvements
  • Refresh jobs doing reports
    • This is actually one of the areas in which I have not personally experienced any issues and I am pulling all Project and Task level data using OData as the source. Nevertheless, you do experience issues with the refresh jobs, the solution is simply to add Power BI to you tenant and add you reports. That way you can easily setup a background refresh job so that users do not have to do that anymore.


5      Most important

The many and great performance improvements by Microsoft will be, or have already been, deployed automatically. However, there is one thing that you have to do yourself, and which can lead to the final and most impacting performance improvement for all users. This is to disable WSS synchronization if you do not need your team-sites to be automatically populated with the resources added to your projects.

I advise all customers to skip this synchronization job as it is much easier for many to simply use the “share” button found in every team site. The output from doing this is a performance improvement that you will notice everywhere in Project Online.

6      Be aware

As a final remark, I feel it important to say that I have seen a couple of cases where users are complaining about bad performance. At the same time, I could not recreate the performance described when accessing the same tenant from my personal laptop. In these cases, when the users logged on an external WiFi/hotspot they felt an increase in the performance increase of up to 300%. For this reason your network department should also consider how they setup firewalls, routers and broadband when dealing with Software as a Service. It also means you should always try to access you tenants from an external access point to make sure your own network is not the bottleneck.

7      Microsoft Support

I would like to take the opportunity to also give a great “THANK YOU” to the Project Online product team at Microsoft. You have been extremely helpful and fast in all your responses. Keep up the good work.

Resource Management – 3 Key Questions

From having been involved with implementing multiple PPM solutions focusing on resource management, I have discovered six critical rules and questions that all organizations should be able to answer before you start implementing. These are questions that consulting companies can help identifying, but surely, they are also questions that organizations could start looking at themselves. Regardless, having clear some clear answers will certainly drive the implementation with a much lower risk of failing.

In this post, I will introduce you quickly to the most important rules and questions that you need to deal with. Several others obviously exists but are some that would be shared in a workshop. Should be interested in this kind of assistance feel free to contact me.

Question 1: How much transparency is needed?

Have an executive sponsor define the business requirements for resource planning and transparency.

An example could be the rule of 18/6 – 18-month demand forecasting on roles and 6 months ahead on the actual people allocated to the Projects.



Being able to have this “rule” defined by the CXO/Top level will be the most important driver for defining the rest of the resource management processes needed and regardless of the IT Tool chosen for the task.

Question 2: What is the definition of resource capacity?

What formula can be used to calculate availability for projects and operational activities? To answer this question top-level management must once again step up and create a uniform understanding of the term resource capacity.



In the above example, the FTE is set to have an 8-hour capacity every day x the amount of days within a month. Subtracted from this are the operational/non-project related activities. This leave you with a base project capacity that can be subtracted with the amount of hours already allocated to running Projects. This would leave you with a resource having 50 hours of capacity for new Projects. You could deal with this in many different ways but you simply need the uniform formula and understanding to be implemented for all project managers and resource managers.

Question 3: Which roles are used to calculate capacity?

Having defined the capacity is just half of what is needed to succeed. You also need to make sure that all capacity from an organizational standpoint is based on a 1:1 relationship. This means that each resource can be associated with one role and role only. You might have resources with multiple skills and competencies, but still they have one role that you would calculate your capacity on. As an example, I might be good at .net, java, speak German and have 10 years of experience. However, I can’t calculate my capacity on these skills as they are all available at random points in time.

What is needed instead would be to define me as a Developer thereby calculating my capacity on the Developer level. The problem is that many organizations have resources who would find it hard to accept to have just one role. In some rare cases, a solution for that could be to use the corporate titles instead e.g. Senior Project Manager etc.



The above illustrates the differences between the role based capacity view and the competencies.

As a final remark, having answered the questions would still be just the beginning of some hard work ahead with the tool implementation. The good thing is that you would now be able to save a lot of “discussion” time and have the change management path cleared for some of the toughest obstacles. Good luck with your implementation.


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