What’s Old in Project Server 2013

Posted By Posted by: EPM Partners on August 6, 2013

[Classic Project Server functional limitations that prevail in 2013]

It seems Microsoft do listen to its customers feedback and have provided some great new features in Project 2013. These enhancements directly address most of the key issues customers faced using Project Server 2010.

My favourite amongst these features is the ability to define Project Governance workflow in SharePoint designer 2013. Power View has a great WOW factor. True multi browser support is awesome and despite some limitations, the only practical issue I came across in my extensive (Ahem! 3 weeks) usage of Project Server 2013 on Google Chrome was that I couldn’t use Explorer view for my SharePoint libraries.

Other than that, the ability to set baseline with in PWA, developer improvements (CSOM), mobile access views, oData feeds are all welcome additions. But if you earn your bread by configuring and customizing Microsoft EPM (oh, I meant PPM) Solutions like me, you would notice that some pain areas have survived and ‘successfully’ migrated to 2013 version. Here is a (not exhaustive by any means) list of such points.

PDP Infrastructure and Custom Fields  

  1. Project Fields Web part (now renamed to Basic info in 2013) gives severely limited options in customizing the look & feel of the form. This means that:
    • You can’t change label of fields (and can’t rename system fields) without opting for JavaScript hacks or replace it altogether with InfoPath.
    • Custom validation of fields is not possible without JavaScript trickery.
    • Can’t pre-populate fields based on some calculation and still leave them open for editing.
    • No attachment button.  Would be great to attach related documents like business case on PDP itself.
    • No Resource picker control.
    • No checkboxes and hence can’t make ticking a check-box mandatory. Can’t make a flag field mandatory either. If you want your PM to fill a check-list, and mark all items as “Yes” before he can move to next stage, this is not possible without server side workflow validation.  Though the good news is that developing such workflow is much easier now in 2013 than it was in 2010.
  2. Security can’t be controlled on PDP Level (example scenario is where only PMO should see the budget information PDP or only PM should update the Status Updates PDP)

Governance / Workflow

  1. Site Template and Plan template can’t be attached to EPT post-project creation. So you can’t decide if a project is going to be small/medium and or enterprise in planning phase and then attach the appropriate template in execution phase.
  2. Change the Project Owner after project creation and any task assignment which was created prior (one frequent source is Project Plan Template) to that  would still keep previous PM as Status Manager and that guy will keep receiving approval requests on that task.

Reporting  

  1. SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) 2012 is nearly identical to SSRS 2008. Whatever you dislike about 2008 is still there J one example is limited browser support.  You have to spend 90% of time in completing last 10% of report formatting to make it export compatible. Can’t control much of the parameters look & feel or their conditional visibility. Old style VB for customization. No CSS/Java script Support. No event handling. Can’t show a page number other than in header/footer. Well! I forgot I was only giving one example.
  2. Couldn’t show labels on any chart in PerformancePoint 2010. Can’t do that in PerformancePoint 2013 either. That’s btw true for Excel Power View 2013 as well but hay that’s a “new” issue so it doesn’t count.

Project Site Integration  

  1. Can’t calculate Project server Risk Indicator or Issue Indicator fields based on custom columns in Risk & Issue Lists in Project site. A corollary to that is that Risk/Issue Project site information can’t be shown in Project Center views.
  2. Can’t show project fields in Project site or vice versa without unsupported solution starter components.

Scheduling in PWA

  1. Its great to save baseline within PWA. Though I would like to assign partial resources to tasks as well. More details here http://blogs.office.com/b/project/archive/2013/05/29/differences-between-project-professional-and-project-online.aspx

Project Professional

  1.  Create whatever PDPs you want to create. Project professional doesn’t know about and won’t honour them, it will show all the fields in Project Information form whose behaviour is not dependent on workflow and are not multiline.
  2.  Has your PMO taken the permission of setting baseline away from you? Is your project running way behind schedule? Don’t worry, open the project in project professional and change the baseline values. Yes, you can change the baseline values without setting it again. Your Project status reports will look great and no one will know about it. Sshhh !!

Other

  1. No mechanism to generate Auto Project ID.
  2. No intrinsic support in PWA for Program Management. Master Project and sub Project relationships can be defined in Project Professional which may not be the tool of choice for PMO.
  3. New Project can’t be cloned from other Project.
  4. New Project can’t be cloned from other Project.

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