Now that you’ve worked through the process of publishing projects and task assignments, and you’re familiar with updating progress for a project, it’s time to explore the other collaborative features in Project Web Access. These include the reminders engine, document libraries, and issues lists.
These features enhance the core progress-tracking process with features that every team can use to improve intramural communications and share information pertinent to everyone’s work on a project. Use these wisely to boost productivity.
Figure 15-1 shows the home page for an administrator with a full menu of options. The Project Web Access navigation system is adaptive and displays menu selections according to a user’s group membership. The main menu bar displayed across the top of the page, in this instance, shows all possible selections. If I had logged on using a project manager account, the Admin selection wouldn’t be displayed. By default, team members won’t see the Resources, Updates, and Admin selections on their version of the menu when they log in.
Figure 15-1. The Project Web Access home page
The menu on the left side of the page represents a submenu of selections, which change according to the main menu selection. When you’re deeper into the site, this menu is often presented in two sections as you saw in the last chapter and as you’ll see when you step through the various navigational areas in this chapter. Note that you can collapse this section and get it out of your way. This is particularly useful when you’re accessing views.
The center section of the home page contains an at-a-glance look at the most important events of concern to a typical user: updates, tasks, and issues. Like its counterpart main menu selection, the Updates section of this page displays only for users who receive updates to project plans. Because everyone who uses the system is eligible to receive tasks and issues, these sections display for all users. The Links section (shown) and the additional home page content (not shown) appear as defined by the system administrator.
Finally, on the right side of the home page, several links are provided. Two of these links concern integration with Outlook, and the “Subscribe to receive e-mail notifications” link is redundant with the link on the left.
The activities listed in the left menu under Activities in Home are displayed according to group membership. The available selections are as follows:
Home Page returns the user to the Home Page view from another activity.
Change password allows a user to change his or her password.
Set my e-mail notifications and reminders allows any user to set reminders for him- or herself.
Set e-mail reminders for my resources allows managers to set reminders for resources they manage directly or through project plans. This section doesn’t display for resources.
Go offline allows a user to take his or her timesheet offline.
Only users defined with Project Server authentication can change their passwords in Project Server. Passwords for users defined with Windows Authentication must be changed according to domain policy. The system displays an error if you make this selection while logged on as a Windows authenticated user. If you’re logged on with a Project Server account, making this selection displays the Change password page, as shown in Figure 15-2.
Figure 15-2. The Change password page
The reminders and notifications engine provides automated notification based on specific events and criteria-based daily notifications based on individual selections. Users may opt out of the notifications and reminders that are user-determinable, but they may not opt out of reminders and notifications set by their managers. The following user actions can generate e-mail notifications to the resources and/or manager affected:
Publish project plan
Publish all information
Request assignment status
Publish new and changed assignments
Delegation of lead role
New task requests
Status report requests
Status report responses
Open new issue
Modify an existing issue
Document changes (new, delete, modify)
Task list delegation
Rejected assignments by resource
Rejected task updates (by manager)
Rejected new tasks (by manager)
Rejected calendar updates (by manager)
Rejected task delegation requests (by manager)
Removed from a status report (by manager)
When you select the “Set my e-mail notifications and reminders” option from the left menu or click the “Subscribe to receive e-mail notifications” option on the right side of the home page, the system displays the page shown in Figure 15-3. Note that many selections are turned on by default. The “my resources” section applies only to managers.
Figure 15-3. The “Set my e-mail notifications and reminders” page
Select the “Set e-mail reminders for my resources” option from the left menu to open the page shown in Figure 15-4. When you set reminders for your resources, you may choose to have the reminder go to your resource only, to yourself only, or to both. Keep in mind that “my resources” means that the resource is attributed with an RBS value in a subordinate leaf to your own value, or that the resource is managed by you on a project.
Figure 15-4. The “Set e-mail reminders for my resources” page
From the Project Web Access home page, two selections allow you to display information from Project Web Access in Outlook or link to it from Outlook. On the right side of the home page are two links for this purpose:
Display Microsoft Project Web Access in Microsoft Outlook places a shortcut to Project Web Access in Outlook or displays a Project Web Access page as the home page of a new or existing Outlook folder.
Or display a digital dashboard in Outlook allows the user to select a link for an existing digital dashboard link and create a shortcut to it in Outlook or display it as the home page of a new or existing Outlook folder.
Clicking the link “Display Microsoft Project Web Access in Microsoft Outlook” displays the dialog box shown in Figure 15-5. This dialog box automatically inserts a link or displays a Project Web Access page according to your selections. You choose the particular page to display from the drop-down list at the top of the dialog box. These selections include the following:
Analyze projects in Portfolio Analyzer
Analyze resources in Portfolio Analyzer
Clean up Microsoft Project Server database
Create a new personal or shared to-do list
Create a new task
Customize Microsoft Project Web Access
Manage SharePoint Team Services
Manage enterprise features
Manage my to-do lists
Manage users and groups
Model Projects with Portfolio Modeler
Notify your manager of a change in your working days
Figure 15-5. Display Project Web Access content in Outlook
Selecting the “As the home page to a new Outlook folder” radio button creates the folder in Outlook. Choose the “As the home page to an existing Outlook folder” radio button if you already have a folder in mind or have created one for this purpose. Both selections result in the selected Project Web Access page displayed in Outlook, as shown in Figure 15-6.
Figure 15-6. Portfolio Analyzer displayed in Outlook
Microsoft Project Web Access leverages the offline capabilities of Internet Explorer and the operating system to provide timesheet and status report functionality offline. This is limited to a date range selected by the user and limited to entering timesheet information for later posting to the server and the editing and creation of status reports that can be later uploaded to the server. Click the Go offline link on the home page to open the Go offline page shown in Figure 15-7.
Figure 15-7. The Go offline page
Once you click the Go Offline button, the display will change while the system takes a snapshot of your Project Web Access information. The system copies this information into your offline folders. While it completes the go-offline process, the system reports saving each page. Toward the end of this process, the system displays the message shown in Figure 15-8.
Figure 15-8. The system displays interim information while taking your pages offline.
Upon completion of the process, the system displays the confirmation alert box. Clicking OK in the alert box causes the system to redisplay the home page, which now has a very limited menu selection available, as shown in Figure 15-9. Note that the selection that once was Go offline is now Go online.
Figure 15-9. The Project Web Access offline home page
Taking Project Web Access offline adds a link to your Favorites menu, as shown in Figure 15-10. To access your offline pages, use this link. You may now add hours to your timesheet, and edit and create status reports. These remain local to your machine until you reconnect to Project Server and choose to go online.
Figure 15-10. Access your offline pages from the Favorites menu in your browser.
Once you’re back in the office and can establish a connection with your Project Server, you can go back online by clicking the Go online selection in the offline home page. (Refer back to Figure 15-9 to see this link.) Clicking the Go online link presents you with several choices, as shown in Figure 15-11. Click the Go Online button to update any data you’ve entered on your local machine and synchronize it with the server. Click the Reset button to abandon any data entered and reconnect as if you never went offline to begin with. The third selection, Stay Offline, allows you to remain offline in the odd event that you made this selection by accident.
Figure 15-11. Go back online.