Implement List Level Permissions in SharePoint

A common question that pops up with SharePoint users is ‘How can I restrict what people see?’  For list level permissions, you may have a project list that tracks costs that you don’t want any team members viewing due to confidentiality. This blog outlines how to implement list level permissions in SharePoint.     A word of caution, getting too granular with SharePoint permissions is not considered best practice or even a good idea. When you begin to go too far down the permissions rabbit hole, it can get challenging to manage and track. I often recommend to BrightWork customers to note the permissions set and why. For tips on planning your strategy, check out Plan your permissions strategy.   List Level Permissions With list level permissions, you are looking to restrict or promote permissions for users. You may want to allow all users to submit change request but not see the financials for a project. From the list that you want to change: Click List -> List Settings. Click Permissions for this list under the Permissions and Management section.  Click Stop Inheriting Permissions to break the inheritance of permissions from the parent site.  Edit the permissions as necessary: Delete Unique Permissions Restore inheritance back from the…

Remove Indentation on Task List View

I had a question recently from a customer about how to remove indentation on a task list view when they had added a filter to show only milestones. However, in the default task list hierarchy, the indentation would appear with the Summary Task on top and any milestones beneath. This blog will show how you can create a view with a filter and remove the indention on a task list. Remove Indentation The default look of a task list allows you to create summary tasks and task to build up a nice picture of your project hierarchy. However, when you apply a filter to a view or list, it can end up looking something like this: There are only two milestones in the list, however, four items are appearing. This is frustrating as you are not getting a quick snapshot of the information you want to see. To remove indentation on the list you need to update the view style. From the ribbon, click List -> Modify View.  Scroll down and expand Style. Select Basic Table.  Click OK to save changes. The updated view will now just show only the milestones without the task list indentation set.  For BrightWork users, a Milestone report will produce…

Troubleshoot Microsoft Project – Cannot Write Task

Have you ever encountered an error message along the lines of “We can’t write task “ABC” to the SharePoint site.” when attempting to sync tasks in your BrightWork on SharePoint 2013 environment using Microsoft Project Professional 2013? If so, we can help. This is a pretty common Microsoft specific error message. Here are some simple steps to take to assist with alleviating it: Exit Applications Exit all Office applications. Quit and Exit any Office applications that may have minimised to the taskbar.   Clear Windows Credentials and Passwords Go to Control Panel > User Accounts > Credential Manager > Windows Credentials or search for Windows Credentials in Windows Search.  Remove all credentials there. (This will remove your stored passwords.).  Remove Identities from Registry Browse to C:\Windows\System32\ Run regedt32.exe as an administrator to open Registry Editor.  From Registry Editor, browse to:HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\Identity\Identities Check to see if there are any folders listed under >Identities. If yes, delete them.  Restart Computer Restart the computer. Login to Project 2013 Start->All Programs->right click Project 2013->Run as administrator. Open a blank project. Click File>Account. Click Sign in to Office.  Enter your user credentials. Keep signed in by checking Keep me signed in if prompted. Add Site Collection to Trusted sites Open Internet Explorer Browse to…

Moving Documents in Libraries with Version History Intact

A client that was running SharePoint Foundation was having difficulty retaining the version history when they were moving documents between libraries. They required retaining the version history as they move files and move documents to another location. We looked into it a little further and found that this is possible. This is written for users with SharePoint 2010 Foundation and SharePoint 2013 Foundation. I believe this will also work for SharePoint 2016, but this has not been tested. Move Files Between Sharepoint Libraries with Version History Intact First, both SharePoint document libraries must have versioning switched on. By default, copying a document will lose the versioning history. Therefore, the documents must be moved. Open two instances Internet Explorer in separate browser windows or tabs. You need to be in Internet Explorer as some browsers won’t support some of the points below. Open each of the SharePoint document libraries; the location of the files you want to move and the destination document library you want to move them too. For each of these SharePoint document libraries click on Open with Explorer. The SharePoint document libraries will open in Windows Explorer. Then you will have two windows. Drag and drop the docs from…

Add Users to BrightWork Online for more Team Collaboration

As an existing BrightWork customer, or perhaps you are evaluating BrightWork as a solution for your project and portfolio management solution, you may wish to add users. In order to access BrightWork Online, each user will need a licence; BrightWork works on a named-user licencing model. If you are a BrightWork on-premise customer, we recommend reaching out to your customer success manager, or myself. We would be delighted to chat about the best options for you. Add Users to BrightWork Online Click Manage User Accounts on the top link bar. Click Create New User on the left quick launch. Fill out the form. When selecting a password, remember the password must meet Windows complexity requirements. It is important to check that the user changes the password on the first login for security purposes. The user must be a member of at least one user group. BrightWork Members is the default for most users and is the recommended option if you are not sure which group. To learn more about user permissions, check out our blog on BrightWork and SharePoint Permissions Overview. Don’t forget to send the user their credentials to log into BrightWork. Click Create User to grant the user access. More Information…

Reporting with a Lessons Learned Survey Report

BrightWork supplies many reports out of the box from All Work to Status Reporting. There are a few that we don’t have out of the box, but the Customer Success Team may have already created for other customers as part of their requirements. One such report is the Lessons Learned Survey Report. This survey is valuable to include to discover what others thought of the project. A report on a survey may be tough to configure as a default for all projects. But if you have a set of mandatory questions as part of your template, or perhaps your project team members are competent in using BrightWork Reporter and will create their own reports on their own projects, then using BrightWork reporter can really bring your lessons learned survey to the next level. Lessons Learned Survey A lessons learned survey is part of the Project Structured template but can be added to any template or site in BrightWork. It is a great way to collate all information about the good, the bad, and the ugly about how the project performed. The PMO and project manager can reflect on the project and use this as a way to develop for the next…

Browser Settings to Configure SharePoint Pages

Perhaps you are going under the hood and would like to begin to configure BrightWork and create custom report dashboards. If so, there are two settings in Internet Explorer that you will need to switch on to allow the sync and the edit page to function. If these are not turned on when you try to click to edit a page in SharePoint it won’t do anything. You will need to turn on Compatibility View Settings and add the site to your trusted sites list. Note: Some organizations may have blocked users from configuring Internet Explorer. If so, consult with your IT department for next steps. Configure Browser Settings Compatibility View Settings Open Internet Explorer. In the menu bar, click Tools -> Compatibility View Settings Click Add to include the domain of the website e.g. brightworkdemo.com. This should be auto-filled for you.  Click Close to save the changes.  Internet Explorer should then refresh. Learn more about compatibility view here. Add to Trusted Sites Open Internet Explorer. In the menu bar, click Tools -> Internet Options.  Click Security in the tabs. Click Trusted sites zone. Click Sites button.   Add the site to the trusted sites list. This should be auto-populated for you.  Click Close to save.    After carrying out these steps, you should now…

Working with 3 or more CAML Conditions

The background for this blog post comes in light of a recent customer case. They were trying to create a metric that required 3 or more CAML conditions to be put in place. They were having an issue with formatting in the sense of nesting within the formula. They were unfamiliar with the setup of creating multiple CAML conditions for a metric. It really all boils down to the conditioner rules that you put into place. When working with CAML conditions in queries it may be quite daunting if you are unfamiliar with the syntax. You must think of the various caveats that need to be taken into consideration; Is the syntax correct? Is the field type a Boolean (yes/no) or Text type? Etc. The example for this particular use case will be the Overdue Tasks metric that will encapsulate conditions not to include completed items, have a due date later than today and not include summary tasks. I have colour coded the CAML conditions to make it easier to understand the setup. <Where>        <And>              <And>                  <Neq>                      <FieldRef Name=”Status” />                       <Value Type=”Text”>Completed</Value>                  </Neq>                        <Lt>                             <FieldRef Name=”DueDate” />                             <Value Type=”DateTime”><Today /></Value>                         </Lt>…

Open Work Cache Explained for Speedier Reporting

In BrightWork 15.5, there was a new feature added to allow you to use an Open Work Cache to improve the overall performance and speed as to how the BrightWork renders Work Reports. This blog will outline the how the new Open Work Cache process operates in comparison to the default BrightWork Reporter process. Note: There are some work items that are not mirrored to the Work Cache. Read about these exceptions here. BrightWork Reporter Process The current BrightWork Reporter process looks at all lists defined in the Reporter Definition file. In the case of the Open Work Report, it will look at each site in the hierarchy and report back on the following lists: List Type List Name 714 Project Issues (BrightWork) 716 Project Change Requests (BrightWork) 720 Project Deliverables Library (BrightWork) 713 Project Goals (BrightWork) 722 Project Milestones (BrightWork) 721 Project Phases (BrightWork) 715 Project Risks (BrightWork) 723 Project Tasks (BrightWork) 725 Project Schedule (BrightWork) 150 Project Tasks 107 Tasks (SharePoint 2010) 171 Tasks 737 Project Requests (BrightWork) If there are a lot of sites to report back on, i.e. at the organizational level, it will take some time to query every site and pull this information back into a…

Compare Metrics: Create a Metric from other Metrics

As you already know, BrightWork Metrics are used to calculate both the Performance and Progress of a Project. Sometimes you may need to create a Metric that is a calculation from other Metrics in a Project. In this example, I will perform a calculation to compare metrics between the Actual Work of a Project against the Planned Work. The formula used is % Actual Work = Actual Work / Planned Work. The steps outlined below may also be adapted for other metrics. Compare Metrics Create a Custom Report definition that can query the Project Metrics list and returns just the metrics that you want to use in the calculation. Here is one that you can reuse. Add CAML query to return the desired Metrics, in this case Planned Work and Actual Work <Where> <Or> <Eq> <FieldRef Name=”Title” /> <Value Type=”Text”>Planned Work</Value> </Eq> <Eq> <FieldRef Name=”Title” /> <Value Type=”Text”>Actual Work</Value> </Eq> </Or> </Where>   Add two additional Columns to return the Metric values as separate Columns using Expressions. Metrics Calc is the raw XML on how the Columns are defined.  <NumberColumn name=”PlannedWork” caption=” Planned Work” defaultValue=”0″ numberOfDecimals=”NoDecimal” displayAsPercentage=”false” expression=”iif([Title]=’Planned Work’,[bwMetricNumberValue],0)” />   <NumberColumn name=”ActualWork” caption=” Actual Work” defaultValue=”0″ numberOfDecimals=”OneDecimal” displayAsPercentage=”false” expression=”iif([Title]=’ Actual Work’,[bwMetricNumberValue],0)” />…

Move a Site to an Archive Area in SharePoint

As a BrightWork Customer Success Architect, I frequently get a call from my customers asking to archive a project or to move a project site under another Project Office. As part of good housekeeping, and to keep your uncached reports rendering in a timely manner, I would recommend setting up an archive area to move those old, completed projects. These projects are still an asset and can be used to recreate other projects. Below I will outline the different ways to move or archive off your projects, depending on the flavour of SharePoint you are running. If you are not sure how to check your SharePoint version, this blog outlines the steps. Archive Area BrightWork doesn’t ship with an Archive Area. You will need to create your own Archive Area to store your old projects. Some customers create the Archive Area with the same hierarchy as their Projects Area, while others just pop everything under the Archive Project Office. Create an Archive Area Navigate to the top level site i.e. Home level of your site collection.  Click on Site Settings and then Create Project Area. This option will only be available at the home level of your site collection.  Enter the Name,…

Differenciating Projects Tracker & Projects and Work Tracker

When we talk about the BrightWork Project Management Spectrum, there are two project management templates that are a quick way to kick start your collaborative project management, or manage those low priority projects: Projects Tracker, and Projects and Work Tracker. Projects Tracker Projects Tracker is possibly the simplest way with which to manage projects. It is a very similar experience to using Microsoft Excel with columns across the top for high-level information about your projects, such as Title, Project Manager, Status, some KPIs, and key date information. You won’t find any individual work items such as tasks, issues, or risks in this list by design. Projects Tracker lists (it’s just a list, not a full site like our project management templates) reside in Project Offices. You just simply input the high-level data into the cells that get presented when you click into the Edit Tracker list down the left side Quick Launch in the Project Office site: Projects and Work Tracker Projects and Work Tracker (“PWT”) is a full single project site within which you can manage multiple projects requiring a relatively simple process, instead of creating separate independent sites for each of them. Each project will appear to have…

Quick Project Sites with Configure Create Project Settings

A customer once told me “Everything in three clicks or less”, and this is something that has always stuck with me. One of the longest click journeys in BrightWork was the “Create Project” wizard when in a Project Office. In BrightWork 15.5, this journey has been simplified, and now includes the ability to set default values to some of the fields and remove a few steps on the way when you Configure Create Project settings. Access “Configure Create Project” Settings Note: To view and configure the “Create Project” settings, you must be in a Project Area. This often is the Project Area at the top link bar, but may not if this was changed during configuration and design. Check with your BrightWork Admin if you are not sure.  Click Settings  | Site settings. Click BrightWork Settings. In the Configure Create Project Settings section, click Customize. Configure Project Options Project Manager: The logged in user will default to the project manager in the set project manager field. This value can be changed in the wizard for any exceptions Templates If yes, when “Browse” is clicked, all templates will load automatically. Projects If yes, when “Browse” is clicked, all projects will load automatically. If you have a…

Add a Column to a BrightWork Report Definition File

BrightWork ships with many reports pre-built and with the common columns added. However, you may want to add the custom column(s) that you created to your reports and dashboards. This blog will outline how to add a column to a BrightWork Report if it is not already there. I would recommend reading the following blogs beforehand if you are not familiar with adding custom columns or finding the BrightWork Reporter definition file to add the new column. Creating New Columns for Use in BrightWork Reporter Locate the Internal Name of a Column Finding the Reporter Definition XML File Add a Column Navigate to the Home level of your site collection e.g. http://2013.brightworkdemo.com/sites/CMcCarthy Click Site Contents Click the app BrightWork Reporter Library. This library only exists at the home level of the site collection and contains all the Report Definitions used in BrightWork. Locate the Report Definition file that you want to add the new column. There may be a folder called “Gallery” where you will find the most common Report Definition files stored.  Click the (1) ellipses (…) and then (2) the following set of ellipses (…) Select (3) Report Editor. Note: If you click on the file name, this will open the report in its…

Calculate Today as a Metric on SharePoint

Calculating Today’s Date in SharePoint has always been a challenge as naturally, the date changes daily. SharePoint will only render a calculated column when the field is updated. Sometimes you may want to see Today’s Date on a Dashboard so you can quickly compare another date (e.g. Current Finish Date), Today’s Date or compare against another metric. Here is a solution where you can use the BrightWork Project Metrics Feature to calculate Today’s Date and have it available to view on a Dashboard. The advantage of using the Metrics is that they are recalculated nightly resulting in having the correct date for Today, every day.   Here are the steps to build the Today Metric: Create a Custom Report Definition in the BrightWork Reporter Library, and add a Date Column called Today. Download and unzip this Custom Report Definition you can re-use in your site collection. You can also reuse an existing Report Definition, however, add an Expression to the Column in the format #Today# (see below)   Add a new Metric called “Today”. Make this as Calculated Date Metric and configure it to use the supplied Today Metric.xml Custom Report Definition and the Calculation Settings as below:        Now…

Use Portfolio Reporting on SharePoint

The Portfolio Reporting area in BrightWork is where you can logically group projects together for reporting purposes even though they are in different physical branches of the overall BrightWork site collection. Think of this as a way to create pointers to various BrightWork sites to bring them all virtually together in the same space. So for instance, if you have a need to logically group together the three highlighted sites in the graphic below, and report on only those projects together and excluding all non-highlighted sites, this can easily be accomplished with Portfolio Reporting. Setting up Portfolio Reporting The first step is to create a portfolio workspace or portfolio parent site. Click into the “Portfolio Reporting” top site Click “Create Portfolio” under the settings gear Click on the form that gets presented. Provide a Title for the portfolio site, a unique URL (one may already be suggested for you), and accept the default choices for “Portfolio Template” and “Copy Settings”. All that’s left to do is to tell the new site which project sites and/or project offices it should point to; simply find the “Portfolio Projects” web part on the home page of your newly created portfolio site. Click on…

Finding the Reporter Definition XML File

When adding a column to a report in BrightWork, you will need to know the name of the Reporter Definition XML file. Most reports are driven by an XML file, known as a Reporter Definition that tells the BrightWork Reporter what columns and lists to query. If you have created a new column, added another list or library application, or would like to do more advanced configurations, you will need to know the name of the Reporter Definition XML file in order to access it. In this blog, I will describe the three most common methods to locate the name of the Reporter Definition XML file. Note: Access to the steps below depends on your permission level. For example, if a user does not have permission to configure BrightWork Reporter, the information window will not be available. Report Title If the report title is made visible, there will be an . This is the report information window. Under “Data Source“, it will tell you the name of the Reporter Definition file used and it’s location. In this example, it the “All Project Summaries” report. Reporter Ribbon On occasion, the report title may not be displayed on the screen. Another method to view the Report…

Employee Timesheets on BrightWork

Recently, BrightWork and HMS Software announced a partnership that brings our two products together: BrightWork and TimeControl. TimeControl is a time management application that interfaces with BrightWork to provide robust time reporting and management for all users in BrightWork. For the first time, project planning in BrightWork project management sites is integrated into a comprehensive time management interface that users can record time spent on their projects and tasks through employee timesheets. TimeControl has been designed to serve many purposes at the same time. The application allows you to track time on a task-by-task and project-by-project basis. TimControl remains a financial timesheet with all the controls necessary to fulfill the stringent needs of payroll, human resources, and finance.   How TimeControl integrates with BrightWork TimeControl brings enterprise timesheet management to this collaborative process with a bidirectional link with BrightWork. The link brings BrightWork project and task information to TimeControl. It presents that information to end-users who can provide their daily or weekly updates on these tasks, along with any other non-project timesheet information at the same time.   Many project management organizations require timesheet data to do more than just update the tasks in the project management system. There are…

Learn CAML Statements Part 2

Following the last blog, Learn CAML Statements Part 1, this blog looks at some of the CAML comparison operators that can be used within Collaborative Application Markup Language (CAML) queries. There are a few not listed i.e. In, Includes, NotIncludes, as these are not supported at present in BrightWork.       CAML Comparison Operators In the example above, the <Eq> is a comparison operator. It looks to see if one value equals another. There are many different types available in CAML. NOTE: CAML is case sensitive   Query Open Close Syntax Example Details Equals <Eq> </Eq>   <Where> <Eq> <FieldRef Name=’AssignedTo’ /> <Value Type=’UserMulti’>John Doe</Value> </Eq> </Where>   Assigned to is equal to ‘John Doe’ Not Equals <Neq> </Neq>   <Where> <Neq> <FieldRef Name=’AssignedTo’ /> <Value Type=’UserMulti’>[Me]</Value> </Neq> <\Where>   Assigned to is not equal to ‘Me’ i.e. the logged in user Greater Than <Gt> </Gt>   <Where> <Geq> <FieldRef Name=’DueDate’ /> <Value IncludeTimeValue=’TRUE’ Type=’Date’>2017-06-13</Value> </Geq> </Where>   Due Date is greater than ‘2017-06-13’ Greater Than or Equal To <Geq> </Geq>   <Where> <Geq> <FieldRef Name=’DueDate’ /> <Value IncludeTimeValue=’TRUE’ Type=’Date’>2017-06-13</Value> </Geq> </Where>   Due Date is greater than ‘2017-06-14’ Less Than <Lt> </Lt>   <Where> <Lt> <FieldRef Name=’PercentComplete’ /> <Value Type=’Number’>50</Value> </Lt>…

Managing Simple Earned Value Using Metrics

You can now manage simple earned value tracking in BrightWork with the use of the Task Scheduler, Metrics, and the Status Report list in a Project site.  The task list can be used to capture cumulative Planned Value, Earned Value, and Actual Value for each task.  The Task Scheduler will summarize those values for the project.  Metrics can hold the Project Summary earned value information.  The Status Report list can be used to capture the changing values over time.  Graphs can be created from the Status Report list to show performance over time. Earned Value First the basics.  Modify the Task list to include several new columns.  “PV” is for the Planned Value for the Task, “EV” is the Earned Value for the task.  The Actual Cost column can be exposed to capture the Actual Value to date for the task. Next, create Manual Number metrics for the following summary items. PV – format currency EV – format currency Actual Cost – format currency (replace existing metric if necessary) BAC – your approved budget for the project – format currency Use the Schedule Configuration to setup roll-up calculations and metric feeds for each of the columns you created in the…

4 Free Tools for SharePoint Configuration

When configuring SharePoint or BrightWork, there are some free tools that I use to help make life a lot simpler. I work with customers to implement BrightWork, these are just some of the free tools to configure SharePoint that I recommend. None of the tools require an install on the SharePoint server and are installed or ran locally. Free Tools for SharePoint Configuration 1. SharePoint Designer SharePoint Designer (SPD) is a free tool from Microsoft to help with the configuration, and to an extent, customisation of SharePoint. The most commonly used features are perhaps the ability to create workflows or setting up Business Connectivity Services (BCS). With no SPD release for 2016, the assumption is that there is a push towards APIs instead. But hopefully, SPD will be around for a long time! 2. Notepad++ Notepad++ is a superb little piece of freeware for source code editing. If you are looking at the Project Cache, editing a piece of XML, or troubleshooting a calculated column, with Notepad++ you can easily see the syntax, fold some of the sections, and in some instances, there is the ability to auto-complete the code. You can select the language that you are looking at the code in…

Find your SharePoint Farm Cumulative Update or Patch Level

There are many reasons in which you will need to know your SharePoint Cumulative Update or Patch Level. Note: You will need access to SharePoint Central Administration and adequate privileges to carry out this check. Here is the easiest way to determine your patch level. 1. Open SharePoint Central Administration 2. On the opening page under “System Settings”, select “Manage servers in this farm”. 3.  At the top of this page, you will see the Database configuration version number. This is the build number of your SharePoint Cumulative Update or Patch Level. 4. Pay special attention to the status of your servers, highlighted in the screenshot above. You should see “No Action Required”. If you see “Upgrade Available” it means you must run the SharePoint Configuration Wizard to complete the installation of the last Cumulative Update or Patch Level you attempted to install. A SharePoint Cumulative Update or Patch install is a two step process, you run the Cumulative Update or Patch MSI or installer (setup.exe) on every server in your farm, then you follow this by running the SharePoint Configuration Wizard on each server in the farm. 5. Now you have identified the build number you can now find the Cumulative Update’s or Patch Level’s published name  e.g. December 2016,…

Configuring SharePoint Form with Column Order

BrightWork supplies best practice Project Management templates, but most often you will want to add or take from this. One of the most popular ways is to add a new column. However, when you add a column, SharePoint appends this to the bottom of the form. This may not be too intuitive or a good user experience. Thankfully, in SharePoint List Settings you can change the SharePoint form order to suit your requirements – without the need for InfoPath or SharePoint Designer. Configuring SharePoint Form Order To change the column order of columns in a list form (Risks, Issues, Goals, etc.), start by clicking on the name of the list in the Quick Launch down the vertical side of your project site, and click on List\List Settings in the Ribbon at the top:   Towards the bottom of the next screen you’ll see the option “Column ordering”:   On the column ordering screen simply change the number of the position of the column you’re interested in (the lower the order number, the higher it will display in the form):   Configuring SharePoint Form Order – Tasks If you’re doing this in the Project Tasks list, or a list that was…

Extend Collaboration: Project Discussion Board

For those of you who may have attended some of the webinars or demos that I have hosted over the years, you may have heard me promote the often under utilised Project Discussion Board feature for team collaboration. In my opinion, it’s a fantastic little out of the box SharePoint feature that project managers can use for many different things. Here I have listed just some of the ideas you can use the Project Discussion Board for your project management. Please post any suggestions that you have to share for the BrightWork community below. Project Discussion Board Call a spade a spade! The Project Discussion Board is what perfect for what it is intended for and can be used for team members to collaborate. When team members are dispersed, working from home, or on site with customers, it’s ideal to have a location where team members can post comments, thoughts, ideas, etc. Support Junior Team Members Wouldn’t it be great to have an area where mentoring can happen within a project? When others have problems or questions, they can post in the Project Discussions Board for help and assistance from more senior experts working the project. Human Resource Management And as a project manager, this…

7 Things Before You Escalate to Microsoft Support

We came across a very informative article which sets out a list of steps to take before creating a Microsoft Support Ticket when SharePoint troubleshooting. Many thanks to Joel Oleson from http://www.sharepointjoel.com/ for posting this comprehensive article on his blog.  Unfortunately, the full article is no longer available, but here is a copy of the orignial article. We have kept the link just incase it pops back up at the bottom of this entry.   7 Things You Should Do Before You Escalate to Microsoft Support We had a meeting today to discuss what we should do prior to escalating a ticket to Microsoft. There’s obviously a lot of troubleshooting that Tier 2, Tier 3, and Engineering should do prior to an escalation to Microsoft, and all of that due diligence, but I wanted to put together an escalation checklist that goes beyond it. Kudos to Microsoft Support and Microsoft PFEs.   1. Review the Service Pack and Cumulative Update level You know one of the first things Microsoft support will want to know is what version and patch level you are at. If you’re way back, they are going to ask you to upgrade. At a minimum you should…

Creating New Columns for Use in BrightWork Reporter

BrightWork is built and runs on the SharePoint platform. There are few little idiosyncrasies to be noted, especially when creating custom columns in BrightWork. When working with customers during their BrightWork deployments, I always outline a few “rules” for creating new columns and advice to note them to down – so today I create a post to consolidate these pointers in one location! These tips make adding columns to BrightWork Reporter a little bit easier. These rules are only for when you first create a column. You can go back in afterwards and rename the column ignoring the rules outlined below. The reason behind this is that SharePoint sees the first name given to the column and stores this as it’s internal column name. BrightWork parses that internal name into the software, and if created incorrectly, it will not work as expected. I will demonstrate the differences when created correctly and in error.   Rules for Creating New Columns 1. No Spaces When creating a column, ensure there are no spaces when creating the name. When SharePoint creates a space, it renames it to %5Fx0020%5F, and the % symbol is not accepted when pointing to a custom column by BrightWork Reporter.         2. No…

Using SharePoint Workflow Quick Step

    Perhaps you want to allow users to manually kick off a workflow and not have it run automatically. Or perhaps you run the same tasks in sequence and a workflow or button would be very useful when you want to kick it off. A SharePoint Workflow Quick Step is a custom button that you can implement on the “Items” ribbon to kick-off a workflow from SharePoint Designer. Note: You will need SharePoint Designer to create the Quick Step and Workflows. You can download it for free from Microsoft. In the example below, I am going to mark a goal as 100% completed and automatically post an announcement in the Project Announcements to let the team know. Your workflows can be as basic or complex as needed.   Create a SharePoint Workflow Quick Step Upload 2 icons to the Site Assets Library of the project site. Ideally, it should be the same image; one at 16 x 16 pixels and the other at 32 x 32.  Open SharePoint Designer. Create and publish the workflow as required. It should not start automatically.  In this example, I close a goal, set the Actual Finish Date to “today” and make an announcement that the goal was achieved. In…

    Learn How to Easily Configure SharePoint Forms

    You may want to configure SharePoint forms outside of using tools such as SharePoint Designer, InfoPath or Nintex. Perhaps you wish to add some high-level images and a header to the form. Or simple instructions to inform users of steps or processes. The steps below outline how to add these simple personalizations to a form. Configure SharePoint Forms Browse to the list where you want to update the form. In this example, I’m using a Change Request form from the Project Structured template for Project Management. From the ribbon, click on “List” -> “Customise List” -> “Form Web Parts” . By default, there are three different forms associated with each list. Default New Form:  When the user clicks on “New” and fills out the form for the first time. Default Display Form: When the user clicks on “View” and views an existing entry in the list/library. Default Edit Form: When the user clicks on “Edit” and changes the information in an existing entry in the list/library. Click on the form type that you wish to edit. In this example, it’s the Default New Form. However, for consistency, you may want to make the edits for each of the forms, depending on the message you wish…

    Integrate Power BI Reports on SharePoint

    If you have been following our previous blogs on Power BI, SharePoint, and BrightWork as the ultimate enterprise reporting tool, or new to this thread (welcome!!!), you may be wondering if and how the information created in Power BI can be displayed back in your SharePoint intranet or BrightWork dashboards. And you can! The steps outlined below demonstrate how to Integrate Power BI reports on SharePoint intranet site in a few simple steps.   Integrate Power BI reports on SharePoint In the other blogs, I used the Power BI desktop application, however for this particular feature, I will be using the Power BI web app from the Office 365 tiles.  I also assume that you have a report created in Power BI that you wish to view. If not, Using Project Cache and Power BI for Enterprise Reporting outlines how to create the reports inside PowerBI.  Launch and log into the Power BI web application. On the navigation pane, click on the Workspace where the report resides, and then select the report that you wish to show on your SharePoint intranet or BrightWork dashboard. On the top left of the report, click on “File” and select “Publish to Web”.   Copy the…

    Agile Project Management made Simple

    There are many of project management methodologies out there at the moment. Agile Project Management (APM) is another methodology that can be easily accomplished in SharePoint.  A BrightWork Project site template can be configured to support the APM process and provide easy access to current status. Agile vs Traditional Project Management methodology Traditional Project Management or Waterfall framework assumes a deliberate progressive set of activities that fall in order.   There is a definite start and end to this approach and this method doesn’t support rapid deployment easily. The Agile Project Management Framework takes a different approach to product/software development.  Requirements in the form of capabilities are defined and prioritized.  A backlog of these items is built and maintained on an ongoing basis.  The new capability is planned in a series of Iterations or Sprints which are short in duration.  Each iteration goes thru a cycle to deliver the target capabilities.  The combination of Iterations rapidly delivers more and more capability in the product or software over time. Agile Iterations   Elements of Agile The high-level processes that need to be supported by an Agile BrightWork solution include: Backlog Management:  The product backlog (or “backlog”) is the requirements for a product,…

    Using Project Cache and Power BI for Enterprise Reporting

    Did you know that the Project Cache is a feature unique to BrightWork, not found in standard SharePoint solutions? The Project Cache pulls information in from two specially designed lists, the Project Statement and the Project Metrics from any sites containing these lists across the entire site collection and Projects Tracker list. It is primarily used to speed up reporting load times as the BrightWork Reporter feature only has to query one list instead of an entire site collection. You can read more about the Project Cache feature from here. As all the key information about projects is now consolidated into one list, this makes it an ideal data source to pull into Power BI dashboards for enterprise reporting. Remember! BrightWork has advanced SharePoint reporting features out of the box! BrightWork includes cross-project charts and reports with real-time portfolio dashboards in SharePoint as standard. Set up Enterprise Reports For ease of use, I prefer to use the Power BI desktop application when manipulating the data. You can download the free application from Microsoft from here. Launch Power BI Desktop Click on the Home Ribbon \ Get Data \ More… Search from “SharePoint list”. Then click “Connect”. BrightWork online customers will also…

    Introduction: Power BI and BrightWork

    In the past, if you wanted to pull data from databases and/or enterprise software, you needed to reach out to your database administrator, software architect, or 3rd party provider. Perhaps only they have the skills to provide you with an extract of the raw information. Very often, (and with a lot of hair-pulling!), this data would be manipulated, in Microsoft Excel for example, to provide the necessary reports needed. If you were lucky, perhaps you could reuse the formatted Excel sheets and formulas, or worse case, you had to go through the whole ordeal the following week. Very often, it is a live snapshot of data that you wanted to see or report upon; not stale information by the time you logged the ticket, received the information and finally, manipulated the reports. For business today, it’s all about live and real-time reports and dashboards to stay competitive. BrightWork offers incredible reporting capabilities across SharePoint site collections giving you visibility, clarity, and control of your projects. You may want to incorporate some of that information into business dashboards; combine projects data with operational data in real time from various sources e.g. project data from SharePoint, vendor costs from SAP, accounts from QuickBooks, and…

    Calculated Number Metric – Explained

    As a BrightWork customer, you use our Project Metrics list all the time, whether it’s by directly accessing the list, or through the various reports that display its data. But you may not have given much thought to the underlying configuration of metrics. Let’s get acquainted with the settings of a calculated number metric using an “Overdue Items” metric, different sections at a time.   Source Calculated Number Metric Breakdown: Title: The caption of the calculated number metric that is presented to end users when they visit the Project Metrics list. Description: Describes the metric – can be altered by you if you make changes to the metric. Metric ID: This is the title of the metric that is stored behind the scenes and is referenced by reports. If this is changed in the slightest, it will break this metric aspect of the reporting unless associated updates to the report definition file (XML) have been made as well. Active: If this is checked the metric’s current value will be displayed in the Project Metric list views and in any report web parts the metric is present in.     Metric Sources: Category: Used to organize this metric in the right…

    Create a SharePoint Report Hyperlink

    Recently a customer wanted to link to a particular Dashboard using BrightWork Reporter instead of the default of the Project Home Page. In their case, they wanted to point to the Project Status Dashboard at a Project Office level from a roll-up view of the Current Status Report. This blog outlines the steps required to create a SharePoint report hyperlink to a particular dashboard within your site collection. It’s recommended that you have some experience with using BrightWork Reporter to carry out these steps. By default, BrightWork Reporter can link to 3 items in a Project Site, namely: The Project Site itself The List that contains the data The List Item itself (Task, Issue, Risk, etc.)   To link to a different Dashboard in a Project Site, we will need to create a SharePoint Designer Workflow. The workflow is then triggered on the Project Status Reports list. If you don't have SharePoint Designer installed, you can download if for free from Microsoft. Create SharePoint Report Hyperlink Navigate to the Project Status Reports list in your Template Create a Single Line of Text column called PageLink. Set the Default Value to the relative Page you want to link to in the BrightWork…

    Learn to use CAML Query: Part 1

    Collaborative Application Markup Language (CAML) may be used in BrightWork to reports and metrics. CAML language that can be used to query a list or report to bring back more precise information that list filters may not be able to do too easily. In part 1, we take a look at CAML Syntax, and CAML joins.     CAML Syntax When using CAML in BrightWork, the syntax used is similar to the following: <Where>                  .......... Query </Where> The Order By and Group By attributes are not used. These attributes are managed with BrightWork Reporter instead. In the following example, this query is pulling in a list where all items in the  “Predecessors” column are null. <Where> <IsNull> <FieldRef Name='Predecessors' /> </IsNull> </Where> CAML Joins There are 2 ways to perform a logical CAML join. These can be nested together to perform complex queries. AND Join Where 2 or more statements must be true to return a value e.g. Return the values where the Status is (4) Deferred, and the Priority is (1) High <Where> <And> <Eq> <FieldRef Name='Status' /> <Value Type='Choice'>(4) Deferred</Value> </Eq> <Eq> <FieldRef Name='Priority' /> <Value Type='Choice'>(1) High</Value> </Eq> </And> </Where> OR Join This where one or the…

    Use Expression Formulas in BrightWork Reporting

    BrightWork Reporter provides a robust reporting tool to build many types of reports in the BrightWork solution.  There is a feature in the report definition that allows you to extend the reporting content by using mathematical expression formulas in the report column.  New report columns can be created to process data from other columns and return additional data values to the reports. An example of an expression column already in the report definitions is Finish Date.  This allows the report to return a finish date to the report regardless of whether it is the Actual Finish, Planned Finish, Current Finish, or Due Date. Rules for Expression Formulas There are two rules that you need to adhere to when using expressions in report columns. First, the columns that you use in the expression must be higher in the column order in the report definition. Second, expression formulas use the names of the report columns, not the list column names. Rule 1: The column order is managed in the report definition editor.  Ensure that the columns you intend to use in the expression are higher in the column order.  This can be check in the Report Definition Editor by selecting “Change the order…

    Restore Deleted Tasks on your SharePoint site

    If you are using the Task list to manage your projects, you may run into an occasion whereby you may need to restore deleted tasks that were removed in error. Perhaps you have versioning in place; it may not be too obvious how to return these deleted items.  The recycle bin in the site settings does not show individual entries or restore items removed in error. Restore Deleted Tasks There is a hidden user recycle bin that is hiding behind the scenes. To access the recycle bin, enter: /_layouts/15/AdminRecycleBin.aspx ahead of your site name e.g.   http://my.brightworkdemo.com/sites/CmCarthy/TestProject/_layouts/15/AdminRecycleBin.aspx     Click on the items that you want to restore, then click on restore selection. The items will now appear back on the project task list, in the same place as before.    

    Simple SPColor Creator: SharePoint Color Palette Tool

    I don’t know about you, but I used to find it painful when I needed to create custom themes or spcolor files when running deployments for our BrightWork customers. I would spend ages looking at HTML versions of colors, using colors pickers, testing what works and did not, and so on. Needless to say, I was soon going cross-eyed! I knew I needed a simple spcolor creator tool to do the job. Microsoft has a relatively unknown tool – SharePoint Color Palette Tool. To install, just download and run the .msi file. SharePoint Color Palette Tool creates the spcolor file, defines the accents, layout, and shows warning and errors for UI. It’s also very easy to use. Create an SPColor file with SharePoint Color Palette Tool SharePoint Color Palette Tool opens with the common SharePoint theme.   To set your organisations or preferred color, click on the color button i.e. the blue box   This will open a dialog box where you can change the color. There is also a little color picker available. It took me a few attempts until I copped that you need to keep your finger pressed on the mouse as you hover around the screen. Or if you…

    Custom Promoted Link Icons for Dashboards

    You can brighten up your Project Dashboards by adding your own custom Promoted Link icons to the Promoted Links web part, replacing the default icons. These will provide Project Team Members with a more intuitive user interface and assist with their Project Management Success. This blog will step you through the process of applying the images to your Project Templates and update existing project with the links.   Insert Custom Promoted Link Icons If you don’t have your own, you can download the attached archive and extract it locally to use on your as your own custom promoted link icons. Create a folder in the Site Assets library on the root of your Site Collection/ Copy in all the Icons. Using ‘drag and drop’ is the easiest method to get all the icons uploaded in one go. Navigate to your Project Template, in the case I am updating the Project Standard Template Click the web part title “Get started with your project”, this will link you to the Promoted Tiles list. We will be updated the “Background Image Location” column in the list. Edit each item individually to update the link to the image.Copy and paste the link to each…

    Key Performance Metrics for Project Office Reporting

    BrightWork can define Key Performance Metrics for your Projects that help determine how well you are managing the plan.  Key Performance Metrics at the Project Office level can look at trends across all the projects to measure whether the Project Management Process is in control and meeting your established group standards. This article will explore how to best leverage metrics at the Project Office reporting level.  Basic Project Metrics BrightWork comes with pre-configured metrics at the project level that keep track of Schedule tracking to plan (Time), Cost tracking to budget (Cost), Quality tracking (Quality), Overdue Tasks, and Risk Exposure, to name a few. The basic Key Performance Metrics at the Project level are: Time – Is the project on schedule Cost – Is the project on budget % variance to budget Quality – The number of open issues. Are project Issues being managed Risk – Is the Risk level for the project acceptable for the desired outcome. Other metrics to consider are: Overdue Items – What percentage of open items are overdue Late Issues – Number of late issues Open tasks – Number of open tasks Project Office Metrics Performance Measures that make sense at the Project Office level are…

    Learn to Configure the Create Project Wizard

      BrightWork provides its own method for creating new sites that differs from native SharePoint. Using the BrightWork Create Project wizard, with a series of clicks you can easily create new BrightWork sites in five easy steps: Choose the desired template from which to base your new site, e.g., Project Lite, Project Standard, or Work Tracker template, or choose a different project site to copy. If necessary, determine which content from the template or another project you want to include. Enter a site title, description, URL, and Project Manager name. Specify navigation options. Specify permission options. Confirm all your chosen settings.   Create Project Wizard If this is a little too rich with choice, with a small amount of configuration this can all be simplified. Navigate to the “Projects Area” site. You may see a link to this in the Top Link Bar. However, it may be named or located elsewhere. If unsure, verify with your BrightWork architect. Click on the “Site Actions” gear and then “Site Settings“ Click on “BrightWork Settings” towards the bottom right of the page. Click on  “Configure Create Project Settings” and click on “Customize”. On the customization page, you can choose to knock off one or two…

      BrightWork and SharePoint Permissions Overview

      BrightWork and SharePoint permissions may seem daunting for most people. Understandably, for some sensitive projects, non-team members and stakeholders need to be restricted from viewing the project information. It makes sense to implement controls for these team members. However, it is recommended not to get too granular as this can cause headaches in the long run. I have prepared a table to help with understanding the different BrightWork and SharePoint permissions group and what users are permitted to do. These groups should not be altered or changed but serve as a baseline if you wish to create BrightWork and SharePoint permission levels for your BrightWork site collection. The reason is that BrightWork and SharePoint permissions are inherited so making a change in one place will propagate across the entire site collection. For specific BrightWork features e.g. Design Sync, Schedule Email, etc. our help contains a useful article that explains the permissions that users need throughout BrightWork site collections and sites. As a best practice, I recommend documenting any sites where you implement BrightWork or SharePoint permissions. It’s easy to forget what permissions and where sites custom permission groups were set up. Not to mention if you need to perform any security audits.   BrightWork and SharePoint Permissions  

      Inter-Project Dependencies on SharePoint

      We often get asked at BrightWork if we can handle inter-project dependencies in our templates. There is one template that can do a form of inter-project dependencies, and that is the Project and Work Tracker template. I’ve outlined the steps below to help describe the process to allow for inter-project dependencies. Enable Task Scheduling In the Projects and Work Tracker Task List, enable the Task Scheduling Feature How to activate the task scheduler in BrightWork Ensure that you tick the option to “Check to upgrade this task list to support scheduling” when enabling the feature.   The list will update to include some new columns like Duration, Start Date, Finish Date and Predecessors to be enabled and visible in the list.     Note: You may want to update all task list views to include the “Project”, “Duration”, and “Predecessor” columns.   Add Duration The BrightWork schedule requires the “Duration” column to be populated to calculate the task finish dates. The “Duration” column is based on days and will accept 0.5 and 0.25 values. Add Start Dates The schedule is also required to have tasks with a “Start Date” assigned. Add any Predecessors The “Predecessor” column can be used to drive any inter-project dependencies. Any tasks that need to be…

      Reconnect SharePoint Task List with Microsoft Project

      On occasion, those technical gremlins can kick off and when you open your project task list in Microsoft Project, it is not showing the information as expected. It may be just a simple task of having to reconnect SharePoint Task List with Microsoft Project. Bare in mind, there are a few different gremlins that can crop up! When troubleshooting the BrightWork Task List to Microsoft Project, the first place I check is to see that the right SharePoint Task List is speaking to the right Microsoft Project file. If using BrightWork, you must ensure that you are using the Project Structured template if you wish to do the sync. And as always, create a backup or test beforehand! Use Internet Explorer when troubleshooting SharePoint. Other browsers may not behave in the same manner i.e. Chrome may download the file rather than open it via the Browser or from the server location. Reconnect the SharePoint Task List with Microsoft Project Professional Check Site Assets Browse to “Site Contents” Check if the “Site Assets” app exists Verify that the “BrightWork – Project Structured Sync” file exists Copy the server URL of the file e.g. http://2013.brightworkdemo.com/sites/CMcCarthy/Project17/SiteAssets/BrightWork%20-%20Project%20Structured%20Sync.mpp Paste to a location where you can copy it several…

      Download the Print Dashboards Web Part for BrightWork

      Many Project Managers would like a fast and convenient way to print a hard copy of a Project Dashboard. The link further down is a download to a custom web part to help print dashboards. The web part can also be useful to create a PDF so it can be emailed to other Project stakeholders. Here are instructions on deploying a Web Part for achieving this. Instructions for Installing Download and unzip the Web Part (.dwp) file to your local computer Navigate to the Dashboard that you want to use the web part. Click the Page Ribbon and click Edit Page In the Top Row Zone, click “Add a Web Part” Click “Upload a Web Part” Browse to where you stored the .dwp file Click “Upload” When the web part is uploaded, add it to the Top Row Zone When done, click “Stop Editing” When you click the button, it should open your browser print controls

      Locate the Internal Name of a Column

      If you want to add a column to the BrightWork Report Definition File, you need to know what the internal column name is and this is not the common name that you see in the form. Here are three ways that you can locate what the internal name of a column is without going into SharePoint Designer. Properties Browse to the list or library in BrightWork For a list, click on List \ List Settings For a library, click on Library \ Library Settings Under the “Columns” section, right-click on the column that you want to find the internal name and select  “Properties”. On the “Address (URL)”, if you scroll to the end of the name, you will see the Field= and then the internal name – in this example the internal name is FinishDateActual Address Bar Browse to the list or library in BrightWork For a list, click on List \ List Settings; For a library, click on Library \ Library Settings Click on the name of the Column under the Columns section Up in the address bar, scroll to the end. You will see Field= and then the internal column name. In this example, the internal name is Status Column Visibility Settings…

      Save a BrightWork Template as a Windows Solution Package

      Perhaps you have a created a SharePoint Site and now wish to store this SharePoint Site template locally as a back-up, or to transfer from one environment to another. For BrightWork Site Templates created in SharePoint, there are a few extra steps which I’ve outlined at the end that need you need to include as part of the downloadables. A SharePoint solution package or Windows Solution Package (.wsp) is a compressed file that holds the site information.  The steps below outline how to download a BrightWork Site or Template using Windows Solution Packages and not entire site collections or project offices. Site collections or project office exports would need to be done individually on a site by site basis or be using additional tools. Create a Windows Solution Package Browse to the site that you wish to create a  Windows Solution Package for Go to Site Settings   Under Site Actions, click on Save site as template   Enter the details of the Windows Solution Package. Include the site content as well to pull over any pre-configured information contained within the BrightWork template. Click OK.   After a few moments, a new screen should appear that the operation has completed successfully.   Download the Windows…

      Reuse SharePoint Lists and Libraries

      It is possible to share lists and libraries in SharePoint one template to another. To reuse SharePoint Lists and Libraries is very helpful if you want to evolve your project management process to a project site. Perhaps you are using our the BrightWork Project Standard (middle-of-the-road project management) template to manage your projects without the need for MS Project Professional on your desktop. Then you see the Change Request list that lives in the Project Structured template (which does require Microsoft Project) and think “I’ll have that”! Here are the steps to reuse and share lists and libraries in SharePoint and add an extra piece of the process to your project management using the Change Request list as an example.   Create a List Template In the Project Structured template, click on “Change Requests” on the quick launch. Or navigate to whichever list you would like to reuse. Click on “List” and “List Settings”. Under the “Permissions and Management” section, select “Save List as a Template”. Fill in the details for the template. I also like to pop in the date in the description when I want to do some housekeeping in the future. Tip! If you would like to include the content in…

      Use SharePoint Promoted Links to Display Project KPI’s

      If you are managing projects from a vanilla SharePoint site, or perhaps you are using one of our free project management templates, you may wish to have your KPI’s front and centre on your project site. You could Use SharePoint Promoted Links to display Project KPI’s through some simple steps. For this example, I am going to add a RAG on my project homepage on a SharePoint Online site. This solution will work on a SharePoint 2013 or 2016 on-premise solution too – all using SharePoint Promoted Links!. 1. Upload Images I have created some images to use for the SharePoint Promoted Links that you can download from here. If you go with your images, I would recommend the same naming convention for the process outlined in this blog to work. I also suggest uploading the images if possible to a central location e.g. the top of the site collection, so you don’t have to repeat the upload on a site per site basis. However, if you don’t have access, that’s no problem! For the site where you wish to add the images: Browse to Site Contents Create a new document library Name the library “KPI Image Repository” Upload the images to the “KPI…

      Quick Edit on a List Displays an Error when Saving

      While we aim for our migrations from one version of SharePoint to the next to be as seamless as possible, on occasion, there can be the odd hiccup. Some customers encounter the issue whereby the quick edit on a list is not saving correctly, even though all columns appear to be visible or not marked as mandatory.   Situation After migrating from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013, some lists will no longer allow the Quick Edit feature to save the end users makes changes to the list. An error message will appear “You need to fix some problems before we can save your changes”, but there are no causes for the errors evident. Cause Some fields that are hidden may be marked as required.   Quick Edit – Fix Browse to the list that is causing the issue. Click on “List Settings” in the ribbon Go to “General Settings\Column visibility settings (BrightWork)“ Untick the box “Hide from Forms and Views”. If you know the column that is causing the error, then you only need to mark that one. Otherwise, all will need to be unticked. Note the columns that you have changed as you’ll need to revert these back. The column(s)…