MS Project Server 2010 – Initial Configuration/Basics

Understanding the Initial Configuration Process

In Project Server 2010, you must perform the initial configuration of your system from two locations:

  • Project Web Access
  • Project Professional 2010

With Project 2010 you can use both Project web Access and Project Professional to define custom fields and to set various system configuration options, create custom enterprise Views, Tables, Filters, and Groups in the Enterprise Global file. You use a combination of both tools to define a custom field containing a formula, to create custom enterprise Calendars, and to add resources to the Enterprise Resource Pool.

Before you begin configuring Project Server 2010, you must become familiar with both the Project Web Access user interface and the administrator interface. You must also create a Project Server login account in Project Professional 2010 which you use to connect to your Project Server instance.

Using the Project Web Access User Interface

When you log in to Project Web Access with a valid user account the system presents the Home page. Figure 1-1 shows the Home page for a user with Project Server administrator permissions. The Project Web Access Home page consists of three parts: a Quick Launch menu on the left, a main content area in the middle, and [when applicable] a menu ribbon at the top. If you are already familiar with SharePoint websites, you will instantly recognize the Project Web Access user interface as a standard SharePoint site layout. In Project Server 2010, the entire Project Web Access interface is fully embedded into SharePoint. All of the Project Web Access pages function just like any other SharePoint site. In fact, you can quickly and easily customize your Project Web Access site by dragging and dropping web parts from the SharePoint web part gallery just as you would for any other SharePoint application.

Figure 1-1

The most noticeable change in PWA’s user interface is the Ribbon bar at the top of page. This Ribbon has done away with the file menu system and matches all other Microsoft Office products. It will dynamically appear based on the type of content that needs to be manipulated. The Quick Launch menu contains links to all of the relevant areas of Project Web Access, based on your security permissions. The main content display or workspace is area contains information about your portfolios, projects, and tasks. This is the main focus of each page, and is where you will enter and review data. There is also a new “status bar” on the project display page which gives you information about the current project (IE. Check out status, modified date and version). Figure 1-2 shows a typical project view through PWA. The upper right corner of each Project Web Access page contains several additional options.

  • Click the Help icon to see context-sensitive Help displayed in a floating window.
  • Enter search terms in the Search field to search the Project Web Access site.
  • Click the Welcome System Account pick list to do things like change you’re My Settings information or log out of Project Web Access.

    Figure 1-2


Using the Quick Launch Menu

The Project Web Access user interface offers a Quick Launch menu on the left side of every primary page. This menu lists your viewable selections, based on your role in the project management environment. In Figure 1-2 shown previously, the Quick Launch menu contains menu options available on the Quick Launch menu include:

  • The HOME link which returns you to the default page displayed each time you log in to Project Web Access. Keep in mind the Home
    link might have a different name customized for your organization. The Home link is the initial screen you see when you login.
  • The PROJECTS section contains project related links. Click the Project Center link to navigate to the Project Center page where you can view your project portfolio. Click the Approval Center link to work with any approvals in your queue. Click the Workflow Approvals link to display any workflow approvals that need attention. If you click the Projects section heading, the system displays the Project Center page.
  • The MY WORK section contains three subordinate links depending on your security permissions. Click the My Timesheets link to view your tasks in a timesheet view. Click the Issues and Risks link to view Issues and Risks assigned to you. Click the Tasks link to view any Tasks that are assigned to you. If you click the My Work section heading, the system displays a special three-zone page which allows you to quickly switch between the Tasks page, a Timesheet page for the current reporting period, or a Schedule page showing your scheduled work rendered in a SharePoint calendar format. This is one of the only sections of the Quick Launch menu that has this special selection. In all other cases, clicking the header item on the Quick Launch menu takes you to the first subordinate menu selection. Note that opening the three-zone page takes longer than selecting these individually as the system preloads the information for all three pages when you make this selection.
  • The RESOURCES section contains resource related links. Click the Resource Center link to navigate to the Resource Center page where you can view and work with resource information. Click the Status Reports link to navigate to the Status Reports page where you can create or respond to a Status Report request. If you click the Resources section heading, the system displays the Resource Center page.
  • The STRATEGY section contains business strategy related links. Click the Driver Library to access the business driver items. Click the Driver Prioritization link to see a prioritization of business drivers. Click the Portfolio Analyses to analyze portfolios.
  • The BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE section contains only a single link. Click the Business Intelligence section heading to access reporting and other BI information.
  • The SETTINGS section contains links for managing personal and server settings. Click on the Personal Settings link to manage your personal settings. Click on the Server Settings link to manage server settings. Click on the Manage Timesheets link to manage your time sheets. Clicking on the Settings link will take you to the Personal Settings page.
  • The LISTS section contains links for viewing various lists.
  • The LIBRARIES section contains links to manage site documents. Click the Shared Documents link to navigate to the Shared Documents page where you can share public documents with all users. Click on the Drop Off Library to access the Drop Off Library. Click on the Project Documents link to access project documents. Click on the Site Pages link to access the site pages. Clicking on the Libraries section heading to navigate to the All Site Content page where you can see all Document libraries.


Navigating the Ribbon command interface

Every Project Web Access (PWA) page that contains a data grid has a ribbon at the top of the data grid. The ribbon is a command interface that brings many controls out from hiding and onto the page where they can do the most good. Similar to the UI in products like Microsoft Word 2010, the ribbon is a toolbar that appears across the top of each page and displays many of the most commonly-used tools, controls, and commands. Figure 1-3 shows a typical Ribbon.

Figure 1-3


The number and types of controls that appear on the ribbon vary according to context and depend in part on the type of page you are viewing, the level of control the your administrator has granted to users, and your permission level within the site.

While the ribbon represents a new way of organizing and presenting the controls within Project Web Access, in general, the controls themselves have changed very little from previous versions. All of the original functionality that you may be used to is still there, but presented in a different way.

At the top of the ribbon are a series of tabs which relate to the different kinds of functions that can be performed within a given page. For example, when you open the default page for a list or library, the page opens with the Browse tab selected. The Browse tab has no ribbon-based tools associated with it. Depending on your level of permissions and the type of page you are viewing, other tabs, such as Edit, Share & Track, Publishing, and List Tools or Library Tools may appear as well. To use the ribbon controls, click the tab that corresponds to the kind of task you want to perform. The controls associated with that tab will appear in the ribbon. Find the control or function that you want to use and click it. Within each tab, ribbon commands and controls are segregated into groups. Each group contains functions related to a specific task. For instance, the Manage Views group contains all of the tools necessary to create, modify, and manage your different views. Figure 1-4 shows a sample group.

Figure 1-4


The Site Actions menu and the Task Panes, such as the Datasheet View Task Pane, provide additional functions that may not appear on the ribbon. You can access the Site Actions menu by clicking Site Actions on the ribbon. To use a Task Pane, click Show Task Pane on the ribbon. A Task Pane may not be available for all pages.

Manipulating the Data Grid

As I previously mentioned, a number of Project Web Access pages contain a data grid that displays task, resource, and assignment data. Some data grids, such as the Project Center page, have a vertical split bar separating the grid into two sections, while other pages contain a single grid only. For example, notice that the Project Center page shown previously in Figure 1-4 consists of two sections, the task list on the left side of the split bar, and the Gantt Chart on the right side.

Figure 1-4


To work with the data in the grid most effectively, it is important to know how to take the following actions:

  • Move the Split Bar: You move the split bar in the grid by floating your mouse pointer anywhere over the split bar itself. When the mouse pointer changes from a single arrow to a double-headed arrow, click and hold the mouse button to “grab” the split bar, and then drag it to the new position on the screen.
  • Sort the Grid Data: To sort the data in the grid, click the column header at the top of the column on which you want to apply sorting. The first time you click the column header, the system automatically sorts data in the grid in ascending order based on the values in the selected column. To sort a column in Descending order, click the column header a second time. To indicate that you applied sorting to any column, the system adds an arrow symbol to the left of the column name in the column to which you applied sorting. An up-pointing arrow indicates an Ascending sort, while a down-pointing arrow indicates a Descending sort.
  • Change Column Widths: To change the width of any column in the grid, position the mouse pointer anywhere on the right edge of the column you wish to change. The mouse pointer changes from a single arrow to a double-headed arrow. Click and hold to “grab” the right edge of the column, and drag the edge of the column to the proper width.
  • Move Columns: To move any column in the grid click and hold the column header of the column you wish to move, then drag the column and drop it in its new position in the grid. The system displays a thick black vertical line in the grid at the locations where you can place the Organization column to a new position between the Project Name and Start columns.


Printing the Data Grid

Project Server 2010 allows you to print a report from a data grid or export the data grid information to Microsoft Office Excel. To print a data grid, click the Options tab under Schedule Tools. Then click the Print button (Figure 1-5). The print window will show formatting exactly as it is in your project. If you wish to reformat the columns etc…, click the Cancel button on the print box, edit the columns in the new print window, then use Internet Explorer’s print button to bring the print box back up.

Figure 1-5


A new Internet Explorer window will open and show the data grid and standard print box as shown in Figure 1-6. Choose your printer and click the Print button.

Figure 1-6


Exporting the Data Grid to Excel

In addition to printing the data grid, you can also export the data grid to a Microsoft Office Excel workbook. To export a data grid, click the Options tab under Schedule Tools. Then click the Print button (Figure 1-7).

Figure 1-7


You will be prompted with a windows File Download box. Select Open, Save or Cancel to continue.

Figure 1-8

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