Chapter 3. Knowing Product Limits and Overcoming Them
IN THIS CHAPTER
Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 is Microsoft's second-generation application for enterprise management. Unlike other enterprise management applications, Project Server evolved from the bottom up (desktop to enterprise) instead of top down. Microsoft added enterprise functionality and support for the project team while remaining true to the project managers and the desktop scheduling engine that is the de facto standard. This bottom-up approach provides a more solid foundation as a product, allowing project and task level detail to flow/aggregate up to support enterprise views. This reduces or removes potential inconsistencies of multiple subjective interpretation levels before reports reach executives. The top-down approach is good for high-level planning, but doesn't automatically break down into logical entities. It is easier to add the top than to add the bottom; having said that, Project Server 2003 still has room to grow to cover the top.
Fortunately, Microsoft Project has always had a commitment to be open to the solution developer community, allowing the market to evolve its own add-ins and solutions. Microsoft has continued this tradition into the enterprise world via an open database schema and incorporation of the Project Data Service (PDS) application programmer interface (API). This chapter discusses some of the areas where Microsoft's product is still growing and where the solution developer community has risen to the challenge.
This chapter addresses enterprise concepts and function areas that are either not currently addressed or not completely addressed in Project Server 2003. But, don't forget that one of the first challenges encountered during an implementation is the technical complexity of the solution. Microsoft's EPM solution is a blend of multiple Microsoft servers, technologies, and applications (IIS, SQL Server, ASP, XML/SOAP, ActiveX, and desktop applications). A vast amount of technical and implementation information is available online; however, the fastest, most cost-effective approach to getting up and running is to look up a registered Microsoft Project Partner on the Microsoft website, especially if you don't have all the prerequisite application and domain knowledge in-house.