Burn Down Charts – Not Just for Software Development Anymore….

While participating in the recent EPM Live Bootcamp (which was a HUGE success!!), I came across an interesting case study presented by one of our experts that I’d like to share with you. By implementing the Enterprise Cost, Resource, and Work Management capabilities of EPM Live’s WorkEngine product, a prominent telecommunications firm saved over $20M in fines!

Some of the key requirements for this particular WorkEngine Enterprise deployment involved:

  • SAAS solution for the Enterprise Project & Portfolio Management solution
  • Enterprise level Task and Work Management collaboration and reporting
  • Portfolio visibility of all projects, displayed in Gantt views for Projects within SharePoint
  • Enterprise reporting and business intelligence

One of their key work management needs included the need to count the number of Planning, Engineering, and other key tasks by Phase (Not started, In progress, Completed). This data needed to be stored in a time-phased manner so that trends could be graphically displayed in a report. A sample of this report is attached.

For those of you who have been exposed to Agile methodology, you will notice this is very similar to a traditional agile “Burn-Down” report. I found this an interesting approach to leveraging Agile-type reports within a traditional waterfall schedule that was managed within Microsoft Project 2010. Because WorkEngine supports snapshots within their reporting solution, you can create a “Burn-down” or “Burn-up” chart on any SharePoint work items, not just your backlog!! State regulators were so impressed with this reporting method, there are many other vendors that have adopted this same reporting format.

This case study represents how WorkEngine supports true integrated work management to meet all needs across an organization, and provides valuable cost savings!  By implementing WorkEngine Enterprise, the organization avoided millions of dollars in penalties and improved resource efficiency by 40%.

Special thanks to our training department for hosting such a great Bootcamp where all our EPM Live experts could share their knowledge with our customers, partners and internal staff!

#SharePoint 2010 Tips and Tricks: Upload a File in the Middle of Writing an Announcement

Today I found myself in this predicament:

I was writing a new post in the Announcements list on my project workspace, and I wanted to insert a link to the document I was referencing in the post. But, the document was not already uploaded to my SharePoint Site.
Back in SharePoint 2007, that would mean that I have to go upload the document, and then come back to the announcement, and copy the URL from the location I stored it, and try to remember what I was writing…but for 2010…Microsoft improved the product!
To clarify – posting an Announcement is very simple: Title, Body, Expires (expiration date). But now in 2010, when I click into the “Body” section, a ribbon lights up and I have two tabs: Format Text andInsert.
On the Insert tab, there are four options. Under the Links group, is the new option for 2010: Upload file.

SharePoint 2007 offers Insert Table, Insert Hyperlink (you provide the address), and Insert Image as separate buttons that are activated when you click into the Body field of the Announcement (in Edit mode).

 
The Upload File option is dynamic. It lets you browse to a local directory for the document that you want to upload, and then specify the site location for where you want to store this document as well. The Upload To menu will pull down all the document libraries that you have permission to:
I know it’s a small thing, but I found the addition cool and intuitive.
Other applications for this kind of functionality might be if I just created a new Excel-based report, and wanted to announce the availability of the report to my team.
Or, if we have a new form required for all systems owned by my department, I could blast the news and upload the new file at the same time!
Perhaps I just setup an EPM WorkEngine site, and I want to share my Project Plan presentation with everyone who comes to the site for the first time: right there on the home page in my Announcements list.
There are myriad applications for this time-saving trick. And, really, it’s the sum of efficiencies throughout the day that add up to better productivity as information workers.
I’m pretty happy I found this little trick, and plan to use it next time I have the opportunity.

Use Microsoft Office and SharePoint to Extract Data from WorkEngine's Reporting Database – Part 1

I want to take some time to talk about Microsoft Office 2010 and ad-hoc reporting in WorkEngine.

In this first of two posts, I will review the basic premise of ad-hoc reporting: a business user, or end user’s ability to directly manipulate data – specifically, data from WorkEngine’s SQL database, and data in Microsoft Office Excel 2010.

To do this, I will use the example of an Office Data Connection file with the WorkEngine Reporting Solution and provide a practical outline for creating a data connection file that extracts information from that particular SQL database.

The concept of directly connecting to a database is extensible, and the needs of an organization should be well-thought out in order for the technology to be really useful and well-performing. The many details of administering and architecting an ad-hoc reporting solution that uses Office 2010 to connect to a custom SQL database are probably impossible to blog, but I will create a second part to this post that covers the ideas behind SharePoint administration and ad-hoc reporting architecture, with these technical assumptions and best practices in mind.

Getting back to the topic at hand, the outline I will walk you through now is technical by nature, but you just need to know that what you are doing is opening a door to your data. I hope you will understand the basic concept of how a data connection works at the end. Also, my hope is that you will feel confident in extracting your own data from the LOB applications your organization uses.

To start, I am using Excel 2010 and WorkEngine 2010 (which is built on SharePoint 2010). Yes, only the latest and greatest for this gal! However, if you are using an earlier version of any of those applications, the concept is adaptable. (If you are a 2007 WorkEngine/SharePoint/Office customer, let me know how I can help with the correlation.)

For practical application of this exercise, you will need to have a WorkEngine site collection, with a reporting database, and that setup information. If you are a hosted EPM Live customer, the information you need was sent to the Site Collection Administrator in an email, similar to the one below.

WorkEngine Reporting Information: Sample Email

If you are not an EPM Live customer, but would like to follow along with practical application of the outline, create a trial site by filling out this form.

If you setup your own WorkEngine site collection, use this reference table to associate the types of information you need to participate with other commonly used names:

#
Item
Also known as
Examples
1
Server Name
Data Source, Connection String
EPM Live Hosted: mydb.epmlive.com,42069
In-house/Onsite:  *per  IT policy
2
Database Name
Initial Catalog, Database
EPM Live Hosted: _RPTworkenginesite
In-house/Onsite:  *per  IT policy
3
Login
Username, User ID
EPM Live Hosted: RPTworkenginesite
In-house/Onsite:  *per  IT policy
4
Password
Passwords are passwords…
EPM Live Hosted: *randomly generated
In-house/Onsite:  *per  IT policy

Connection String Information: Reference Table

Here is the practical outline that I would recommend to get started with extracting data.

Open Microsoft Excel 2010 to begin.

Go to the Data tab. Look for the From Other Sources button and choose From SQL Server on the menu.

Initiate the Data Connection Wizard

Enter your database Server name and the Log on credentials when prompted.

<pThis example uses the online database server name: mydb.epmlive.com,42069, and a demo site name:

Data Connection Wizard: Connect to Database Server

Notice the available databases in the next dialogue box, which is based on the server you entered. Pull the drop down menu and select your database name.

The list that is populated in the larger window, once you select your database name, is a list of all the tables now available for that specific database. Find the one that contains the data you want to extract.

For my EPM Live customers: Here is a summary of our most popular EPM and Application Management template list names and corresponding table names. There is a link at the end of this post for you to download Reporting Starter Kits that leverage some of these lists.

Default WorkEngine List Name
Corresponding Table in Reporting Solution
Project Center
LSTProjectCenter
Task Center
LSTTaskCenter
Issues
LSTIssues
Risks
LSTRisks
Actions
LSTActions
Changes
LSTChanges
Resources
LSTResourcePool
My Timesheet
RPTTSData
Applications
LSTApplications
Backlog
LSTBacklog
Releases
LSTReleases
Test Cases
LSTTestCases
Features
LSTFeatures

>EPM Live Customers: Popular WorkEngine template list table names

I’m using the second part of the “Your Connection String” bullet from the EPM Live Online Services email to select the database name, and also choosing the WorkEngine Timesheet table.

If you don’t Connect to a specific table during this step, you will be prompted to select the table you want to extract when the data connection is refreshed.

Import Data kicks off after the Data Connection Wizard closes

Data Connection Wizard: Select Database and Table

Side note (from above screenshot) on RPTLog, RPTPeriods, RPTResLink, RPTSettings, and RPTWork: these tables are part of the WorkEngine Reporting Solution base schema, which has a point-in-time snapshot capability. Ultimately, the solution makes trend reporting across the platform successful, as it could include any SharePoint list. See the links at the end of this post for more info on the WorkEngine Reporting Solution.

The last screen for creating the Data Connection has a lot of detail. I will explain these areas one by one:

Data Connection Wizard: Save Data Connection File and Finish

  1. File Name – these file types always use the extension ODC (for Office Data Connection). If you are storing the file locally, use as many words as you need to in order to have a clear description. If you are planning to store the file on a SharePoint site, consider that the file name will be part of the URL – you may want to make it as short as possible while remaining descriptive.
  2. Browse – save this file to a location other than the default. The Windows 7 default location is C:Users[username]DocumentsMy Data Sources.
  3. Save Password in file – a handy option for connections using SQL authentication, but this option will warn you if you don’t have encryption, which may or may not be a security requirement at your company. Check with your IT group if you are not sure.
  4. Description – standard Multi-line text field. 255 character max. Write a description that explains how the data connection is meant to be used. That way you can remember why you set it up later!
  5. Friendly Name – in my experience, this comes into play when you import data as a table, and then reference the table in the same (or another) workbook. Excel will reference the outbound connection to the table by this ‘Friendly Name’ property.
  6. Search Keywords: I haven’t used this but it seems pretty straightforward.
  7. Always attempt to use this file to refresh data – very handy option for deployments where the Administrator is configuring reports for a business on the back-end and then pushing them out for consumption. We will go into that setup in part 2.
  8. Excel Services: Authentication settings… – I may cover these options in a later post. Excel Services is a SharePoint 2010 Enterprise feature, and is optional as part of the architecture for data extraction from a SQL warehouse.

I would highly recommend that you make a note of the configuration options that you chose before you click Finish!

 

 

Once you click Finish, the Import Data wizard pops up immediately. You will most likely want to use the connection to generate a Pivot Table or a combo Pivot Table + Chart, but you can do a flat extract as a table as well.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of reasons to import data as a Table:

  • When you need a local copy of the entire database table in your workbook in order to build charts or pivot tables from a point-in-time version of the data
  • When you need to insert a custom formula(s) that should be dynamically calculated based on inserted or removed rows from the source data (which would happen on a refresh)
  • When you need to perform ad-hoc queries of the database table for different views of the information
  • When you need an export of the entire database table for use (import) to another LOB application

Import Data kicks off after the Data Connection Wizard closes

By default the data goes into the Existing worksheet, and looks something like this:

Result of selecting Import Data as Pivot Table and Chart Option

Technically, we are done with what we set out to do at this point, which was to extract data from SQL into MS Office.

But, now that you know how easy it is to unlock that door, I know that what you really want to do is create a snazzy report.

So, bust out a few drag & drop moves, spice it up with a pre-designed MS chart layout……and… there it is! Comin’ in hot… :)

But just in case you need a bit more guidance, here are the references that I used to get savvy when I first started:

EPM Live product customers: you can download WorkEngine Reporting Starter Kits from the EPM Live KB: http://kb.epmlive.com/DownloadsandUpgrades.aspx

Next time, I’ll take a look at the Administrator’s burden in the ad-hoc reporting setup, and lay out how to setup centralized data connections with SharePoint 2010.

EPM Live Sets Sail with Carnival Cruise Lines!

This past Memorial Day Holiday the EPM Live corporate office was quiet; however, the Carnival Cruise Ship Paradise was hopping with reggae music and laughter as the EPM Live crew embarked the ship in Long Beach California.  All aboard the Lido Deck!!!  EPM Live has a tight crew of hard working professionals that enjoy each other’s company and will take every chance to fit in a little team building when the opportunity presents itself.  This was our third annual cruise on the Carnival Cruise Ship Paradise with a diverse crew of product development, sales and services staff.

Hosting corporate team events has proven advantageous for EPM Live.  At EPM Live we believe our number one asset is our employees. Without our employees, we could not provide the quality of products and services we are so proud of today.  This cruise offers us the opportunity to show our appreciation for the EPM Live team’s continuous effort.  It is also provides the team with an enjoyable event to enhance the teams’ cooperation, and encourage initiative and leadership traits we value.
Not only are we supporting our employees, but also our Customer!   EPM Live has successfully partnered with Carnival Cruise to deploy WorkEngine and PortfolioEngine to address their work, project and portfolio management needs!  I am looking forward to another year of continued success as our summer release sets sail soon!  Hope to see you on our voyage…

Reporting and Enterprise Reporting: Which SharePoint 2010 Business Intelligence Approach is Best?

Reporting solutions range from complex, technically challenging infrastructure types to simple, ad-hoc reporting from a client-based application. Often, the most difficult aspect of selecting a solution is the process of understanding what the organization really needs.

The success factors of implementation are basically three-fold:

  1. The level of commitment and sponsorship of the project from senior management
  2. The level of business need for creating a BI implementation
  3. The amount and quality of business data available

reference:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_intelligence#Success_factors_of_implementation

In this post, I have analyzed some of the most popular and most common reporting solutions for SharePoint 2010, mentioning both benefits and challenges. An organization may need one, some or all of these reporting solutions to meet their enterprise needs. In practice, all of these solutions are compatible in an infrastructure properly designed with the whole in mind and can be deployed in totality.

Summary of Reporting and Enterprise Reporting Solutions:

SharePoint Reporting Options WorkEngine Reporting Solution Benefits Description
SharePoint Web Part Pages/Dashboard
WorkEngine Chart Web Part Template Pack:
http://kb.epmlive.com/Download50877.aspx
Low-impact to infrastructure
Leverages SharePoint Out of Box web part pages, high flexibility
Commonly tracked project information and will save you valuable time with the ability to place them in any Web Part Zone in your WorkEngine application.
Microsoft Office (Excel, Access) connected directly to a reporting database
WorkEngine Excel Report Packs:
General Instructions for setting up Excel to connect to WorkEngine Reporting Database:
http://kb.epmlive.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50682.aspx
WorkEngine Preconfigured Excel Reports:
http://kb.epmlive.com/Download50894.aspx
WorkEngine Preconfigured Timesheet Reporting:
http://kb.epmlive.com/Download50818.aspx
 
Low-impact to infrastructure (usually little to no change required to setup)
Report design is easily modified and updated
Commonly used Excel based application for managing and reporting
Web-based Microsoft Office (Excel, Access) rendered through SharePoint WorkEngine Excel Report Packs:
General Instructions for setting up Excel to connect to WorkEngine Reporting Database:
http://kb.epmlive.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50682.aspx
WorkEngine Preconfigured Excel Reports:
http://kb.epmlive.com/Download50894.aspx
WorkEngine Preconfigured Timesheet Reporting:
http://kb.epmlive.com/Download50818.aspx
 
Medium-impact to infrastructure, requiring technical resources to implement
Report design is easily modified and updated as organizational changes flow down
Reports are centralized through technical design and maintained as part of the SharePoint farm
Web-based SQL Reporting Services reports stored on SharePoint WorkEngine SSRS Report Pack:
 
http://kb.epmlive.com/Download50815.aspx
 
High-impact to infrastructure, requiring specialized technical resources to implement
Report design is tightly controlled
Reports are centralized through technical design and maintained as part of the SharePoint farm
Reports performance is based on SQL server stability and performance, which can handle millions of rows
Web-based KPIs and dashboards using PerformancePoint in SharePoint Performance Point integration with WorkEngine Reporting Database
WorkEngine Reporting Database Info:  Please review section 7 of our Administration and Configuration Guide.
http://kb.epmlive.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50675.aspx
High-impact to infrastructure, requiring specialized technical resources to implement
Report design is tightly controlled
Reports are centralized through technical design and maintained as part of the SharePoint farm
Reports performance is based on SharePoint server stability and performance, and can handle millions of rows
No end-user training is required to consume the reports, and they are generated automatically

Weigh the technical and organizational challenges, your business requirements and the three success factors mentioned upfront to discover which reporting solution will work best for you.

You can always start with the most simple, extensible option and grow into a more complex solution over time. At the very least, I would recommend to first try the solution with the lowest initial investment (whichever one that is for you) for a period of time, and then do a re-assessment on whether the organization’s business intelligence needs are satisfied.​

Fortune 500 Manufacturing Company Leverages WorkEngine to Build Custom Design for Lean Six Sigma Solution

This client had the need to implement a structured approach to deploy Design for Lean Six Sigma (DfLSS) across new product development (NPD) within their organization.  Leveraging WorkEngine, Microsoft Project Server and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server, EPM Live was able to help design, build and adapt this innovative approach to improve and standardize their new product development process.

This WorkEngine solution was intended to achieve an end-to-end deployment process that wouldsignificantly enhance the development of products and services that far exceeded other problem-solving and design approaches.
Six Sigma has been successfully applied to many industries and verticals to help solve business problems and improve product performance, processes, and services.  The concept of DfLSS pertains to delivering a product or service with the defined and intended functionality at the lowest cost and at the Six Sigma quality level.

Extending Microsoft Project Server 2010 into a Complete Work Management System

Microsoft Project Server 2010 is a powerful application that many organizations have adopted and deployed to centralize and manage their project schedules. It has a robust database back-end that allows for storing enterprise resources, field attributes, field calculations, and more. Although Microsoft Project Server is a powerful solution for Project and Portfolio Mangement, most organizations find that where there are projects, there is also other work that affects the same resources.  So how do Microsoft Project Server users extend their project platform to not only include all other work that needs to be managed within the organization but expand the use of Microsoft Project Server to a broader audience allowing them to maximize their return on investment?  By connecting PWA WorkEngine to the Project Server platform, organizations take advantage of all the features Microsoft Project Server offers and tie it together nicely with a flexible SharePoint solution that enables them to manage not only their entire project lifecycle but all of their other work as well.  PWA WorkEngine combined with Microsoft Project Server’s technology caters to all users, all work and all processes making any Microsoft Project Server deployment the most flexible and robust system available today.

PWA WorkEngine was designed to leverage the powerful capabilities of Microsoft Project Server 2010 such as portfolio management and schedule management and extend the same value-driven concepts to all areas of the business whether it be traditional projects or the other work that surrounds them, all within one centralized platform.  Project Server users can maximize their return on investment and reduce cost and risk with minimal disruption to their existing processes by leveraging pre-configured SharePoint project templates that best suit any project and work management need.  Project Managers continue to use Microsoft Project Professional and Microsoft Project Web App without any new training or change to their process. Directly accessible from the Project Web App (PWA) interface, teams can share all work assignments, priorities, and critical dates with an effective and easy to use collaboration tool, to increase communication and productivity across their projects. PWA WorkEngine enables organizations to work better together and allows Microsoft Project Server to reach a broader audience and meet the needs of the entire project team.

In addition, different types of departments may manage their projects with varying methodologies. Using WorkEngine pre-built site templates, organizations accelerate their Project Server deployments and augment Project Server’s enterprise project types, allowing them to scale to enterprise wide deployments. For example, Software Development Department may use SCRUM methodology whereas the Program Office Department uses PMBOK.

WorkEngine allows teams to truly understand and manage all the work around a project. By connecting Project Server with WorkEngine organizations have the ability to manage all the activities involved with managing a project. Each project workspace comes complete with pre-built templates and a rich set of features and capabilities to help teams effectively monitor, manage, control and execute on all critical business items such as projects, issues, changes, and everyday work actions that impact their projects bottom line. Team members can easily view and update all their activities across projects within one view. Functional managers finally have the visibility to what their resources are working on- all activities, not just the assignments within the Microsoft Project schedule.   Teams can simply work better together with Project Server and WorkEngine.

Click Here to view an OnDemand Webinar on PWA WorkEngine

Microsoft Project Server enhancements include:

Project Management:

– Publish Microsoft Project schedules to a SharePoint list in the Project Workspace
– Publish Project Web App schedules to a SharePoint list in the Project Workspace
– Ability to manage different meta data (outline codes) for different projects based on the project workspace template

Resource Management:

– Resource What-If Modeling on All Work (including Project Server assignments)
– Printable Resource Management Reports (including Project Server assignments)
– Build SharePoint Workflows on Resource Work and Assignments (including Project Server assignments)

Work Management:

– Add any SharePoint Work List to Project Workspace (Issues, Bugs, Actions, Defects, Changes, Service Request, etc…)
– Rollup All My Work in a single list (including Project Server assignments)

Time Management:

– Report Time on any work item (including Project Server assignments)
– Report Time using Work Log feature (including Project Server assignments)

Reporting:

– All Data resides in SharePoint Content DB (Project data, Assignments, Issues, Risks, Bugs, Changes, Actions, etc.)
– Leverage WorkEngine’s pre-built SSRS Reporting templates
– Leverage Silverlight Chart Web Parts for graphical chart reporting
– Take scheduled snap shots for trend reporting

Configuration:

– Site hierarchy flexibility (Department – Portfolio – Program – Project – Sub Project Workspaces)
– Publish multiple projects from Project Server into a single Project Workspace (Programs or Portfolios Workspaces)

Cross Platform Support:

– View Project Server data on both PC or MAC computers
– View Project Server data in Non IE browsers
– Safari 3.X or higher
– Firefox 3.X or higher​

EPM Live Gives Back- Bringing SharePoint Project Management to Everyone

It has been a great year for EPM Live! We have so many reasons to be thankful: a rapidly growing client base, healthy and dedicated employees, many noteworthy acomplishments, an endless supply of loyal supporters, and many, many more! It is for these reasons that we are honored every year to give back to our community. EPM Live donates tens of thousands of dollars in software licenses every month to aid non-profit organizations in planning, controlling and executing their projects and work to maximize their contributions to their causes.

Managing projects with minimum resources and little funding requires even more control which is why EPM Live has been supporting non-profits by giving them the tools they need to make their organizations successful. Some of the non-profit organizations that have experienced EPM Live’s give back spirit are listed below:

Operation ShareLove: Support Haiti Earthquake Victims:

The 2010 Haiti earthquake was a catastrophic magnitude 7.0 Mw earthquake, with an epicenter near the town of Léogâne, approximately 25 km (16 miles) west of Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital. The earthquake occurred at 16:53 local time (21:53 UTC) on Tuesday, 12 January 2010. By 24 January, at least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater had been recorded. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake; the Haitian government reported that an estimated 230,000 people had died, 300,000 had been injured and 1,000,000 made homeless. They also estimated that 250,000 residences and 30,000 commercial buildings had collapsed or were severely damaged. EPM Live donated free copies of Project Publisher to anyone that donated at least $50 to the cause.

Special Olympics:

The Special Olympics World Winter Games Committee needed a project management tool that would allow each venue to manage their tasks independently and have the ability to report their project status to one enterprise site. The Special Olympics World Winter Games Committee uses WorkEngine because the solution provides the highest level of capability and flexibility, with the greatest ease of use in functionality and deployment. With WorkEngine’s online Software + Services environment, the solution gave the committee the ability to be up and running within a few business days. “The solution came highly recommended from the team we were working with on our technology infrastructure. We are a sunset organization and did not have much time to implement and configure a complicated EPM solution. WorkEngine allowed us to add as many users as needed and tailor the solution to our unique needs,” said J.P. Benlian, Special Olympics World Winter Games Committee Member.

The Pink Party:

The Pink Party is committed to supporting breast cancer research, patient and family care, education related to environmental/biological causes and the importance of early detection. By bringing the community together to party for a cause, The Pink Party promotes celebration, survival, empowerment and education. The Pink Party used WorkEngine to provide volunteer coordination, event planning and execution, manage all donations and donors as well as establish a portal for all sponsorship communication and correspondence.

Hope for Gavin:

Tay-Sachs is a rare hereditary disease caused by a genetic mutation that leaves the body unable to produce an enzyme (known as Hex-A) necessary for fat metabolism in nerve cells. Without this enzyme, central nervous system degeneration ensues. The disease is named for a British ophthalmologist, Warren Tay, who first described the disease, in 1881, and a New York neurologist, Bernard Sachs, who first described the cellular changes and the genetic nature of the disease, in 1887. Gavin is a 5 year old boy who lives in San Diego, CA. In 2009, Gavin was diagnosed with Tay Sachs disease, a rare and fatal disease. The Hope for Gavin charity was created to provide support for Gavin and support for the Cure Tay Sachs Foundation. The Hope for Gavin team has been using their WorkEngine application to manage all fundraising events, sell tickets, control donations and sponsorships and provide a collaboration environment for all volunteers.

PMI Chapters (Project Management Institute):

EPM Live has been offering all PMI Chapters the online WorkEngine product for over three years. PMI Chapters are using WorkEngine to run Chapter business including volunteer programs, conference planning and execution, board meeting minutes and action items, component dinner planning and execution as well as all other simple to complex project management needs. Because WorkEngine is built on SharePoint, users are able to collaborate easily and efficiently without the need for an elaborate training program. It also gives PMI Chapters the ability to incentivize volunteers by providing top of the line, best practice software to manage all of their programs, offering them the experience they need to improve their project management skill level. WorkEngine’s security is flexible and scalable so Chapter’s can collaborate not only with their individual Chapter but can share best practice information across other Chapter’s in their region as well.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this year a huge success! Happy Holidays to all!

Resource Management in SharePoint

Employees are the most valuable asset and the biggest expense for most organizations. The ability to deploy employees effectively against often conflicting projects and other work priorities enables organizations to optimize their return on human resource investments. In order to maximize both task throughput and company morale, resource and project managers need an efficient system to place the appropriate staff on the right teams at the right time.

SharePoint can help organizations accomplish every stage in the resource management life cycle so that maximum allocation can be reached without introducing risks. The five stages of the resource management life cycle are:

• Resource Capacity
• Resource Allocation
• Resource Work Management
• Resource Collaboration and
• Resource Task Management

Capacity Planning helps to ensure that resource capacity meets current and future business requirements in a cost-effective manner.  In the Capacity planning stage you will need to identify all the roles needed for the given project or work effort at hand.  For example, which organizations or departments will be involved in your project?  This will help you establish the structure for your project and potentially how your tasks will be organized and even identify security constraints.  What disciplines and skill sets are required to complete your project?  Without the proper skill sets and expertise, particular tasks may require more training, longer term times, possibly even result in rework.   Effective resource management relies on the fact that these factors have all been considered prior to selecting your resources. Once you have determined your generic roles, you will need to determine the quantity of each role needed as well as the timeframe.  As this information is obtained, you will then be ready to analyze your plan, make adjustments and prepare for actual named assignments.  Let’s take a look at how you can accomplish Resource capacity in SharePoint.

1)  Build a resource plan directly in SharePoint:

2)  Use a resource modeler to perform what-if analysis, finalize portfolio selection and apply the right sequencing.

3)  Leverage resource capacity reports built directly in SharePoint to analyze your current resource needs and all potential risks associated.

To see how you can leverage SharePoint to manage the remaining four stages of resource management, download our “Resource Management in SharePoint” on-demand webinar by clicking on the link below.

View Resource Management in SharePoint- On-Demand Webinar

WorkEngine Releases its 4.0.2 Cumulative Update

WorkEngine continues to provide cutting-edge, cost effective project and work management solutions leveraging the Microsoft technologies organizations already own to increase the value of their current IT investments.  WorkEngine’s applications support the entire work and project management lifecycle and provide the necessary efficiencies and indicators for companies to improve their ROI, streamline their business processes and make critical business decisions.

On November 30, 2010 WorkEngine released its 4.0.2 cumulative update.  Included in this release were several enhancements as seen below:

Gantt Web Part Enhancement

WorkEngine 2010 now uses SharePoint’s 2010 JS Grid Control (non-ActiveX) for it’s Gantt Rollup Web Part: The ActiveX Gantt Controls have been replaced with Microsoft’s JS Grid control for use with the WorkEngine Gantt view for purposes of rendering hierarchal and rolled up data.  Some of the rich features of this enhanced Grid Control and WorkEngine Lists in Gantt view are:

  • Full Tree Hierarchy of Microsoft Project Schedules (no folder schedule structure)
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Rollup of Data across multiple sites and lists
  • Cross Site Collection Rollup
  • Critical Path Highlighted in Gantt
  • Predessors Links
  • Supports all the other OOB SharePoint Controls, like zoom in and out, link to edit item and more.

Integration with Project Server 2010 Enhancements

You can now publish your Microsoft Project Pro 2010 and Project Web App schedules from Microsoft Project Server to SharePoint: WorkEngine’s Project Publisher add-in product will publish Microsoft Project Professional and Project Web App schedule data to Microsoft Project Server and then populate the designated WorkEngine SharePoint Task Center list.

You can now also access your Microsoft Project Server published project schedules from the WorkEngine SharePoint Project Workspace.

Active Directory Sync

This new tool allows the synchronization of user profiles from your local Active Directory database to the WorkEngine Resource Pool. This tool has configuration flexibility that allows for synchronizations to occur at scheduled intervals and/or manually initiated.