A lap around Project 2010

26 11 2009

Last night I gave my first ever presentation on Project 2010 and Project Server 2010 to the Microsoft Office System Special Interest Group (MOSSIG) in Melbourne. This occasion marked a number of firsts:

  • The first time Project or Project Server had been presented at MOSSIG
  • The first time Project 2010 and Project Server 2010 had been seen by a number of people
  • and most importantly, the first time I have ever presented to a user group.

What I thought was going to be daunting, was actually quite exhilarating. I loved it. The presentation was very light on slides and heavy on showing off some of the awesome features of Project and Project Server 2010. Unfortunately the demo gods were against me, and one part of the demo died, but the rest behaved itself.

Anyway, why am I sharing this with you? Well I have been light on the blog posts here and have been spending my time absorbing all things Project 2010, getting my hands dirty on some big PS projects and starting a new blog where I can share my findings and thoughts with the community called EPMSOURCE.COM.

I will be posting on all things Microsoft EPM over at EPMSOURCE regularly, you can subscribe at http://epmpire.wordpress.com/feed/ or alternatively, go to www.epmsource.com and enter your email address to get the posts directly in your inbox.

Updated 12/1 – blog changed to http://www.epmsource.com, please update your bookmarks.


Tech-Ed 2009 thoughts….

14 09 2009


Last week I was lucky enough to attend Tech-Ed on the gold coast. This was my first Tech-Ed after wanting to go for a number of years but not having a job that easily allowed it. This year I decided to fund the trip myself so I could go and to 
sum it up in one word – AWESOME!

Here is my round up of the event, including some thoughts on things I would like to see in the future…

Session choice – There was a raft of sessions to choose from across a number of tracks. I picked a number of sessions and in many cases had three or four options to choose from for each timeslot. From my perspective there were a couple of standout sessions including Reed Shaffners Office 2010 overview, Project Gemini and Will, Lee Hickin and Elaine’s BPOS presentation.

Networking – I really underestimated the networking opportunities at Tech-ed. As usual it was great to catch up with the usual ex SDM Crew and other Melbourne based SharePoint people, but it was also good to catch up with other SharePoint and Project Server people from both Microsoft and other partners.  On the way home I was giving a bit more thought to the networking aspect, next year it would be good to formalise some of the networking aspects other than just the expo hall and adhoc sessions in the local bar. I personally would love to see a Microsoft competency or technology based breakfasts / meetings / dinners similar to what happens at the partner conference for the various groups of partners or people with relevant technology skills could meet up and build their network.

Social networking – Twitter was huge with an absolute stack of posts and information being distributed via the #auteched hashtag. It was funny to go to sessions and see everyone sitting there on their netbooks with Tweetdeck running away :)  I read Jeremy Thake’s post about improving the social aspects and having some kind of twitter integration into the session planning tool would be great. Building on this I would love to see users twitter names on their delegate badges as well as many of us are known by our twitter alta egos.

Facilities – The facilities at the Gold Coast Exhibition Centre were excellent. The quality of the catering absolutely blew me away.

Network – There was a heap of posts about getting the GCECC network up to scratch for the Tech-Ed. The Microsoft team did a fantastic job in getting the network up and running and maintaining the speed. There were a few idiots who thought it would be good to start up bittorrent, with one wally sitting next to me in a session surfing The Pirate BayTechEd 224

Netbooks – The netbooks were fantastic. Microsoft pulled off a blinder with the netbooks that will be the envy of other conferences the world over.  Seeing delegates that haven’t used Windows 7 get blown away by it’s speed and functionality on the netbook was really cool to see and no doubt served to build on the already fantastic reputation of  the software.  My only gripe around this was the TechEd websites, it would have been great to have optimised the sites to work on the smaller screens of the netbooks as this was the main mechanism for access.

Session level – On reflection of the content, I felt that the level of the sessions was more aimed at customers and didn’t really hit the target for the more cutting edge partners. I brought this up with a couple of my colleagues who agreed that a more partner focussed technical track would be good.

Certifications – I had the opportunity to take two exams whilst I was at Tech-Ed at a vastly reduced rate. The process for signing up was incredibly simple and the prometric exam centre well set up and staffed. As for the exams, more on that in a later post.

Hands on Labs – I stumbled across the HOL area late in the piece and had a pretty limited experience. However what I saw and tried out was easy to use and well implemented. I loved the fact that at the end of the lab you could email the lab notes to yourself to try again later. Whilst valuable, it is limited as you don’t have access to the the underlying VM. On the friday afternoon I was hoping to kill some spare time doing some labs, but they had shut, it would have been great to extend the opening times until the end of the Friday. Finally I would love for MS to allow the other HOLs that I hadn’t specifically tried to be available for use / download after tech-ed.

image Free BPOS account – The free BPOS account was a stroke of genius.  I loved trying out the functionality and trying out the full functionality of Office 2010 including Communicator and using it to connect to my peers and people I met during the conference. The only downside to the whole BPOS experience was the need to register and have it configured at the BPOS stand in the expo hall which meant some attendees had to wait a while before it was set up. Next time it would be good if the default password was included on your attendee credentials and the user prompted to change them again.

All in all, I loved the whole experience and can’t wait to go again next year and learn about the next wave of technologies coming through and catch up with my peers! If you get the chance to go, do!

Rest In Peace SDM

29 11 2008

SDM Tombstone


As some of you may know I used to work for a company called SDM. Whilst there I learnt about a number of technologies and products I had never really come across before including SharePoint, Project Server and CRM. There were a number of things I loved about the company, the people; the projects; the ‘can do’ attitude, the fun.

SDM was taken over by another company in January 2008 which should have been a great partnership. If the company had been smart they would have left SDM to do it’s own thing and backed them to become bigger and better. But they didn’t. They changed things and the fun, the attitude and the people began to leave.

Why am I telling you all this? Well the 30th November marks the last day that the SDM brand exists. As of the 1st December the brand will be no more.

I will always look back on my time at SDM with a great fondness, I made some excellent friends, learnt a lot, and most of all enjoyed going to work there, one day I hope I will be lucky enough to work at a similar company again.

Access has blown me away

19 10 2007

For nearly a year and a half I have had Office 2007 installed on my laptop in one form or another. I love the functionality of the big four applications, Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint and use them extensively during my working week. Every now and again I need to use Access to run a custom reporting tool our PMO lives by. Yesterday during some down time I had a poke around Access and what I found blew me away. Access has had a fair dose of SharePoint love in 2007 and I have to say it rocks.

I downloaded and installed the Project template project (well I am a PM after all), it allows you to set up projects and tasks as you would expect. The functionality is impressive, but not really up to the standard that say MS Project Server or Primavera would give you. I doubt seriously you could run and track a project with it. However what really impressed me were two features:

SharePoint List Data Sources

Data can be stored in a SharePoint list. Whilst information can be stored within the Access database, you can also link it into existing SharePoint lists and store data there. In fact you could design an application that has both a web front end (SharePoint) and a rich client (Access) using a single database stored in WSS. Wow.


Read the rest of this entry »

SharePoint crashing IE 7

20 08 2007


Since upgrading to MOSS at work, IE7 has started crashing when trying to open document in the document library. What’s been more infuriating is that it’s only causing problems on some people’s laptops. Whilst I was on leave I had my laptop reimaged and hoped this would stop the problem, but unfortunately not, when I clicked on a document the dreaded Internet Explorer has encountered a problem dialog popped up 😦

Anyway, on Friday I spent 20 minutes during lunchtime and Googled the issue, there appear to be two issues with IE 7 and SharePoint. Both issues seem to be caused by having Office 2007 and Office 2003 installed on the same machine. My laptop is running Office 2007 Enterprise, Project 2007 and Project 2003. Normally I am a big fan of running the latest / greatest, but we use Project Server at work and need Project 2003 to talk to it until we upgrade our internal server.

So why am I telling you all this? Well because it can be fixed. There is a hot fix issued by Microsoft, http://support.microsoft.com/kb/938888 that fixes half of the problem, but to totally put the issue to bed you need to do the following:

1. Go to your c:\program files\Microsoft Office\Office 12\ directory;

2. Delete the file OWSSUPP.DLL file;

3. Run the Office Diagnostics tool included in Office 2007.

The tool will run for an eternity and then fix something in one of the last steps.

After completing the above, IE7 is behaving itself in MOSS / WSS and my productivity has gone through the roof again 🙂

An Apology

19 06 2007

Just a quick post apologising for the lack of blog posts in recent weeks. My team and I are in the final weeks of a very large project, working some really long hours and spending every last moment making sure we ship the best possible software to our client.

Rest assured, after we ship, the posts will start again.. I have lots to talk about 🙂