When implementing the EPM solution, you must keep in mind that the solution itself is a combination of Project Server 2003 configuration and business process adjustment. Some business processes that were in place before implementation of the EPM solution may need to be reviewed and analyzed to make sure that they do not contradict the process flow in Project Server.
Although the majority of business processes can be mapped against the Project Server solution, there are cases where the software does not support certain functions. In the absence of these features, it is important that you have documented the business processes in place.
For instance, if a team member rejects an assignment, it is advisable to insert a note informing the project manager about the reason why she is declining the task.
Troubleshooting the Resource Allocation Process
It is important for the deploying organization to set up the proper resource allocation process to be followed by project and resource managers.
Although each deploying organization has its own specific methodology and policies for allocating resources, it is important that participants in the resource allocation process understand their specific role. For example, project managers are responsible for project schedules and for allocation of generic resources, whereas resource managers are responsible for substitution of generic resources with specific individuals.
In this case, the process flow could be represented by the following steps:
The preceding process can be easily mapped in Project Server 2003. But it is also important to remember that certain decisions have to be made by the project or resource managers.
It is important to remember that a task is marked 100% complete only when the project manager agrees that the task is indeed finished.
Troubleshooting Data Accuracy: Data Presented in the Database Is Inconsistent with Reality
One of the biggest challenges is to make sure that the information contained in the system is accurate and representative of the reality.
It is worth mentioning here that the deploying organization must set standards for maintaining the accuracy of data. As such, the deploying organization may set as a rule that all team members update their timesheets by a certain day of the week, and that project managers update and reconcile the data received from team members within 24 or 48 hours. In doing so, the deploying organization makes sure that all projects have been properly progressed and that the data is reliable. This in turn ensures that decisions based on the existent information in the database have a strong foundation.
Troubleshooting Portfolio Analyzer: Data Is Not in Sync with the Information from Project or Resource Center
Portfolio Analyzer is a powerful feature in Project 2003 based on OLAP cube generation and compiles data about every resource in every project for every assignment. As such, generation of a new cube is server intensive, and it is only generated when scheduled or when initiated by the system administrator.
Therefore, the Portfolio Analyzer may be updated only once a day, or once a week, at a certain time. Any changes made to project schedules and assignments after the OLAP cube processing is initiated are not reflected immediately. They will be reflected only when the OLAP cube is run again or at the next scheduled update. So, it is possible that between two updates, the data in the Project Center and the Resource Center will be different from the data that exists in Portfolio Analyzer.
It is recommended that the deploying organization establish a schedule for updating the OLAP cube and make that schedule available and known to anyone who has access to Portfolio Analyzer. This ensures consistency of data analysis and ensures that comparisons of various project and resource metrics are relevant.
Troubleshooting Incorrect Results for Projects in Progress When You Use the Portfolio Modeler or the Resource Substitution Wizard
Portfolio Modeler and the Resource Substitution Wizard are two useful features that can help project and resource managers understand what resources can work on a particular project. The two features were designed to help managers consider the appropriate trade-offs in cases where projects are competing for the same resources.
Most organizations only have a limited number of resources available to work on projects, and project and resource managers are often faced with questions on how to best deploy their resources so that the use of resources is maximized.
Essentially, Portfolio Modeler is a great feature to understand whether there are enough resources to cover the work needed for all projects, and, if not, how to best redistribute projects in such a way that the impact on schedule is minimized.
Given those constraints and the underlying technology, it is important to understand that if you want to use these tools on projects with actual data posted, you must schedule any remaining work after the status date. This ensures that you will receive the correct results.
Troubleshooting Adjust Actuals: Cannot Change the Remaining Work Field When Adjusting Actuals
If your organization has chosen to use the Managed Time Period feature of Project 2003, at times you may need to adjust the actual work entered by your resources after a time period is closed. You can also use this feature if a resource is absent and you need to enter actual work for the resource.
It is important to understand that you cannot change the Remaining Work field. This feature is only for changing the actuals reported by the resource. The adjustment is sent to the project manager who follows the usual procedures for reviewing and updating the change into the project schedule through the Updates page.
Troubleshooting the Updates: Cannot View All Past Task Updates
Project Server stores an archive of past task updates that the project manager has received. This allows the project manager to review the history of task updates received for all their projects and resources.
The administrator can specify the number of days for which the history is kept up to 60 days. Any task updates older than 60 days cannot be displayed.
Troubleshooting the Application of Rules: Setting the Rule Produces Unexpected Results
In some cases where you have many resources working for you, you might want to create a set of rules that automatically accept changes and updates from resources based on various parameters. For instance, maybe you will automatically accept updates when "% Complete" = "100".
To process the task updates using the rules, you must click the Run Rules Now button on the Apply Rules tab. This applies each time resource updates are to be processed. The drop-down box allows you to apply the rules to selected projects or to those specified in the rules. You can limit the rules by the types of tasks, certain projects, or certain resources.
Only those names of resources with permissions to send updates and delegate tasks are available when creating rules. Rules take precedence.
Troubleshooting Duplicate Global.mpt Files
When you use the Standard edition of Microsoft Project, or work offline using Project Professional, Microsoft Project loads not only your project schedule file but also another file called Global.mpt. This global file holds basic default configuration information about your project environment. This is a local Global.mpt. It is similar to a user profile that defines the way you want to view and use your project files. This global file was used in previous editions of Microsoft Project to allow people to share custom fields, views, filters, tables, reports, and calendars by using the Organizer.
With the Enterprise edition of Project, you now have an enterprise global file that is launched and merged with your local global file and project files when you connect to Project Server. The enterprise global, which is configured by the Project 2003 administrator, loads into memory and caches all enterprise calendar, views, tables, and field settings for your projects. Toolbars and menus are then added from the local global template filein particular, localized toolbars and menusnonduplicate custom items from the local global are added to the cached enterprise global file.
Enterprise global items are copied into the project on demand. The Project Professional user sees both the enterprise items and the local items, as long as the names are not duplicated. If duplicates are found, the user is given a chance to rename the local items. When the project is saved back to the Project Server, enterprise items are not saved in the project plan. However, if there is a need to work offline, the enterprise items can be copied into the project plan.
If you have a local view named the same as a view in the enterprise global, you get messages saying that you need to rename the local file. This often happens when you import files. To remove the local view and this message, close the project, make sure that you are not in the view you want to remove, and select Tools, Organizer. Select the View tab and remove the view using the Organizer for the project.
Troubleshooting Versions: I Cannot Delete the Published Version
A version is a complete copy of the plan when it was published in Project Server and all the versions are stored on EP.
The published version is always the version for any project plan created within EP. It is the authorized copy of the project plan, and the published version name cannot be renamed or deleted.
Data from timesheets is generated only from the published version.
Saving of a project plan to a new version is not related to the process of saving a new baseline within the project plan.
The saving of a new version does not affect enterprise resources.
Troubleshooting Resource Calendars: Tasks Extend Their Duration Unexpectedly
Each resource has her own calendar. By default, the resource calendar is based on the standard calendar, which defines only weekends as nonworking time. You may edit the standard calendar to define a companywide enterprise calendar. The resource calendar then will reflect your organization's holidays but not a particular resource's vacations or other individual exceptions. Some resources may be on a different work schedule (consider equipment or part-time resources) and need to be assigned a unique calendar customized to match the actual availability of the resource. Usually, in the enterprise environment, the administrator manages the resource work calendars, and the project manager may not change them. If no custom resource calendar has been defined for a resource, the standard calendar is the default for each resource.
The advantage of a resource calendar is that the Project Professional scheduling engine will not schedule the resource during the time period indicated as nonworking for the resource. If a task is scheduled during the time period a resource is shown as unavailable, the Professional scheduling engine moves the task's end date out to account for that time off.
Resource calendars take precedence over other types of calendars. However, if you are also using a Task calendar, you can specify on the Advanced tab in Task Information to ignore resource calendars and schedule a task to ignore the resource's nonworking time.