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.

http://blogs.office.com/2014/10/21/performance-scale-improvements-project-online/

 

 

[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.

2 comments

  1. Great article Peter and thank you for sharing with the project community so we know relief is on the way. Thank you also to Microsoft in taking a practical approach and working with Partners and clients to optimise the product. Yet another great and compelling example of why Project Online just makes sense! Go the Cloud! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s