Enterprise Project Types, Workflows and Project Detail Pages

Posted By Posted by: Laith Adel on March 28, 2011

We are often asked to provide a complete description of the way in which Project Server 2010 (and 2013) handles workflow and project types. So here it is.

Workflows involve the following Project Server 2010/2013 elements:

  1. Project Custom Fields
  2. Enterprise Project Type
  3. Project Details Page (PDP)
  4. Project Template (WBS/Schedule) Template
  5. Project Workspace (SharePoint) Template
  6. Workflow, Workflow Phases, and Workflow Stage

It’s important to understand these elements and the way they integrate and interact.

Project Fields:
Are the project metadata that can be attached to a project, these fields can be of different types and formats.  For example:

  • Text Single Line
  • Text Multi Line
  • Dropdown Lists (attached to look up tables)
  • Cost
  • Number

Project Fields are used to capture information like Project Scope, Location, Approved Budget, Project Objectives, etc.

The project fields can be filled in by the users as:

  1. Optional
  2. Mandatory
  3. Governed by workflow (where a workflow dictates whether the fields are optional or mandatory)

How To:
To access, create or configure Project fields, from Server Settings, click on Enterprise Custom Fields and Lookup Tables under Enterprise Data.
Project Detail Page (PDP):
Can be considered as Project forms where users fill in information related to a project. Technically PDPs are web pages (SharePoint web pages to be more specific) the main component in these web pages (or PDPs) is the Project Fields, however these pages can also have other components (like images for example).

PDPs can have a different combination of Project Fields for example; Form1 PDP can have fields like Project Objectives and Location, while Form2 PDP can have fields like Budget and Scope.



How To:

  • To access, create or configure Project Detail Pages (PDPs), from Server Settings, click on Project Detail Pages under Workflow and Project Detail Pages.
  • To modify exciting PDP, click on a PDP, then from Site Actions menu’ click on Edit Page.
  • To create a new PDP, click Documents tab (under Library Tools) on the ribbon, then click on New Document, give the PDP a name and choose Layout Template, then click Create.


Whether you are modifying an existing PDP or creating a new one, click on the small arrow on the Project Fields web part, then choose Edit Web Part, from the right hand side a list of Displayed Project Fields, to change fields displayed click on the Modify button, you can then add or remove fields.

Project Template (WBS/Schedule) Template:
Is a project schedule template of tasks, milestones, resources assignments, etc.  For example a template for IT Projects can have standard set of phases, tasks, milestones and resources required to deliver an IT Project.



How To:
To create a new Project Template, develop a new project schedule, through Project Professional (like developing any project schedule), when saving a project choose Template under Type dropdown list.

to display a project schedule on Project Web Application (PWA), Microsoft Project Server 2010 uses a “special” built in PDP that contain a “special” web part, the PDP Name is called Schedule.
Project Workspace (SharePoint) Template:
Each project created in Project Server (in general) has a dedicated Project Workspace (SharePoint site), this site can have a configured template. Configuration of SharePoint template can include configuring SharePoint lists, like risks, issues, scope changes, etc, configuring document libraries (and its content types), configuring layout and look and feel, or even configuring workflows associated with these lists and document libraries.

How To:
To create a new Project Workspace (SharePoint site) template, from Project Server Web Application (PWA), from Site Actions, click on New Site, from the types list, choose ‘Microsoft Project Site’, from the right hand side fill in a name and URL name, then click create. Then configure the site as required (i.e. lists, document libraries, layout, workflows, etc).

Once finished configuring the site, and to save it as a template, from Site Actions, Site Sittings, then choose ‘Save site as template’ under Site Actions. Then fill in File Name, Template Name and Template Description.

Workflow, Workflow Phases, and Workflow Stages:
Workflows can be considered as the framework of the project governance, in terms of approvals, information required and notifications for project stakeholders. In many occasions, this workflow represents the project methodology adopted by the business (formal – like PRINCE2 – or informal).

Project Server workflow, consists four main components:

  1. Workflow: The container of all the workflow components. Workflow name or title is given through this container.
  2. Workflow Phases: Represent a collection of stages grouped together to identify a common set of activities in the project life cycle. Typical Microsoft workflow phases are Create, Select, Plan, and Manage.
  3. Workflow Stages: Represent a single step within a project life cycle. A stage is linked directly to Project Details Pages (PDPs). And in the stage configuration settings, Project Fields that are ‘governed by workflow’ can be set to Mandatory, optional or read only.
  4. Workflow Steps: are the steps between Workflow Stages, these steps can contain a number of actions (like submit, approve, notification, etc) 



How To:

  • Create Workflow Phases: from Server Settings, click on Workflow Phases under Workflow and Project Detail Pages. Then click on New Workflow Phase, and then fill in Name and Description.
  • Create Workflow Stages: from Server Settings, click on Workflow Stages under Workflow and Project Detail Pages. Then click on New Workflow Phase, then fill in configuration settings.
  • Create Workflows: there is no way to create a new workflow through Project Sever Web Application (PWA), workflow needs to be created with:
    • Visual Studio
    • Project Server 2010 Solution Starter – Dynamic Project Workflow.
      although the second option has a number of limitations, it doesn’t require and development skills.

To install Project Server 2010 Solution Starter – Dynamic Project Workflow, go to http://archive.msdn.microsoft.com/P2010SolutionStarter

To create a new workflow (after installing the Solution Starter – Dynamic Project Workflow) go tohttp://intranet/PWA/_layouts/WrkSetng.aspx , then click on ‘Add a workflow’, under Select a workflow template, choose DMDynmicWorkflow, then fill in a Workflow name.

  • Create Workflow Steps: using the Solution Starter – Dynamic Project Workflow, and after filling in a Workflow name, click next, then:
    • Stage Selection: choose a stage from the list of Workflow Stages
    • Stage Status Message: type a message to show up in the stage status. Force Submit on Stage: By selecting “Yes” the workflow will always wait on this stage, until the user manually press “Submit” button through Project Web Application (PWA)
    • Wait for Commit: <ignore for now>
      Approval Settings: Checking “Yes” on this setting, will cause the workflow to send approval requests for this stage. The project will not be able to move beyond this stage unless an approval is received. You can choose groups or users to be the approvers of the workflow
    • You can add more stages to the workflow by pressing the Add Stage button

Enterprise Project Type (EPT):
Technically an Enterprise Project Type (EPT) is a collection of Project Server 2010 elements, like Project Workflow, Project Template and a Project Workspace. From business perspective an EPT can be considered as a recognised project type, for example:

IT Project: where the following Project Server elements can be attached:

  • WBS/Schedule template (for example phases like, Design, Build, Test, etc)
  • Project Workspace (SharePoint) template (for example lists like IT Risks Register, Document Folder Structure – with Document Templates, etc)
  • Workflow, for the project approval process (for example: Business Case stage to Approved Project stage workflow)
  • Project Details Pages (PDPs) to capture the project information

Enterprise Project Types (EPTs) can be technically categorised into two main categories:

  1. EPT with Workflow:
  2. EPT without Workflow

The main differences between these two types:

Workflows: As the first type has a workflow that covers the project life cycle, while the second one doesn’t.
Project Details Page (PDP): As the first type will have PDPs attached to a workflow stage, which then will be attached to an EPT, while the second will have the PDPs attached directly to the EPT.

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