Sleeping queues

<hot water and lemon>

I’ve been troubleshooting an existing PS2007 implementation recently (obviously not one that I set up!), and the customer was having problems with Qs entering the sleeping state (I know that feeling).  This was only on their development environment, their live system was good to go. 

The customer has tried all the usual tricks of rebooting servers, restarting services, checking SSPs for permissions etc.  When we looked further into the issue we found that the SQL server (two server installation) was set at a different time from the application server.  From memory it was out by an hour (daylight savings had not been implemented).  Once the time was set correctly on the SQL server, everything worked fine.

I hadn’t seen this one before (I’ve seen the one with Analysis Services cubes not building because of time zone differences), so now that it’s coming up for DST time changes, check your time settings on your boxes.


Ben [MVP]

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User Controlled Scheduling – watch the webinar here

<dry and feeling much better for it – thanks for asking>

So, on 25th Jan I ran a webinar for Microsoft on Project 2010, and some of the features around User Controlled Scheduling.  We had over 100 people logged on, and the feedback score was a whopping 8.25 out of 9.00 – so I was very pleased with that. 

If you missed it, the link is here for posterity…  it’ll be the best hour of your life – I promise….

and also, here is a list of the relevant questions that were asked (and answered by Jan Kalis of the the product group – thanks Jan).

Meeting Questions and Answers:

Subject: TechNet Webcast: User-Controlled Scheduling in Microsoft Project

Start Time: 25 January 2010 16:00:00 GMT-0:0

SERGIO Silva Asked: Doing a Manually Scheduling on a quest and giving it duration and start-finish dates, the task will became a Contraint like "Must start on"? the shedule will not rearrange for the next tasks?

Jan Kalis Answered: There’s no notion of constraints for manually scheduled tasks.

Spain Asked: Do you have to use Dates in the Day/Month/Year format? not Month/Day/year

Jan Kalis Answered: It depends on the locale settings. Ben is from UK so his locale settings are d/m/y. No changes from previous versions…

SERGIO Silva Asked: How baseline will be affected with tasks with no start or finish dates?

Jan Kalis Answered: Great question – No start or Finish date is recorded for such task into baseline. We only record the "known" information.

James Asked: Are inactive tasks included within the baseline?

Jan Kalis Answered: We do not store any baseline data for inactive tasks.

SERGIO Silva Asked: and if we set baseline and after that we make 1 task innactive. Only time budget will be available for other tasks or cost as well?

Jan Kalis Answered: We do not record any data for that task including cost. No cost or dates are recorded while saving baseline for inactive tasks.

Reid McTaggart – Blue Badges Asked: But what if you set a baseline first, and then make a task inactive? Is that task still in the baseline?

Jan Kalis Answered: Yes Reid – until you save baseline for that task again – at that moment the baseline for inactive is cleared.

Jennifer Asked: What happens to actual work charged to a task if you set it to inactive?

Jan Kalis Answered: Such tasks cannot be inactivated.

Reid McTaggart – Blue Badges Asked: This was an EXCELLENT presentation!

Jan Kalis Answered: Glad you liked it Reid! Thanks, please submit you eval 🙂

David Asked: Does the project compatible version generated work with previous versions of Project Server?

Jan Kalis Answered: Project Professional 2010 connects to Project Server 2010 only. Does that answer your question?

David Asked: If I save a project 2010 file to 2003 compatible can I then upload it to Project Server 2003?

Jan Kalis Answered: YES!


Enjoy,  Ben.


Posted in Uncategorized | 24 Comments

2010 Videos on

This is oldish news, but I didn’t see it on any other blogs, plus it gives me a chance to direct you to my own contribution, so click here to learn lots about Project 2010…. 
Enjoy.  Ben
Posted in Project 2010 | 22 Comments

Automatically setting the task Publish field to No

G&T (Gordons) with a slice and ice….

If you’re using assignments for team members, you’ll have noticed that completed assignments still appear on the My Tasks page, even when the resource has updated the task and the task is 100% complete.  This causes confusion for resources, and consternation for clients in general.  Completed assignments disappear after the pre-requisite number of days (30 by default), but still…..

Typically the only way around this is to set the task Publish to No.  This can be done by inserting the Publish field to No for tasks that are 100% complete within the project plan, but the problem with this is that it isn’t very automatic.  The best you can get is to use the fill handle to drag the field down…..


So, I wrote some VBA to set this automatically.  Basically, if the Task Percent Complete = 100% then the Publish field is set to No.  Some of my customers don’t want to publish all tasks too far ahead (for reasons I won’t go into here), so I’ve only set the field to No if 100% complete, and not Yes if <> 100%.  Note that for tasks with multiple assignments, an assignment could be 100% complete, though the task could still be <> 100%, and there isn’t much we can do about it.

Here’s the VBA, it comes with no warranties.  You’ll either need to run the macro, or automate it using one of the events (change, calculate, save etc…) – I’ll leave you to figure that one out.  If you use it anywhere and you make some £ out of it, donate some to charity will you?  Today is 11/11/09 (Remberance Sunday in the UK) and there are plenty of people who gave their lives to help us, so do what you can.

Sub SetPublishField()

‘ 091111 – Ben Howard – Copyright.

‘ Sets the task Publish field to No if the % complete of the TASK is set to 100, otherwise, leaves it as previously set,

Dim Temp As Long

Dim Tsk As Task

For Each Tsk In ActiveProject.Tasks

‘ check to see if a task exists

If Not Tsk Is Nothing Then

‘ check to see if the task is external or a summary

If Not (Tsk.ExternalTask Or Tsk.Summary) Then

If Tsk.PercentComplete = 100 Then

Tsk.IsPublished = False

End If

End If

End If

Next Tsk

End Sub

Thanks to Jack Dahlgren and Rod Gill for their on-line and book help – okay so this took me less than 30 mins to prove the concept, but it would have taken a lot longer without their posts or books. 


Ben Howard, MVP                                                            MVP_Horizontal_FullColor

Posted in Uncategorized | 16 Comments

Moving SQL Servers


Over the summer I spent a couple of weeks in Mallorca on holiday, and whilst there prep’d up moving SQL servers (who needs a holiday when you work for yourself!).  Prepping all this was because one of my customers wanted to migrate all of their Project Server data (and associated WSS data) to a new SQL server.  This was primarily for support issues, but would hopefully have an additional performance benefit. 

Binging (who needs google anymore, bing appears to have caught up – will I have to pay for advertising with MS too?) moving project server databases gave a couple of technet articles – one for moving the four project databases to a new farm ( )and one for moving all the WSS databases (oh and another for moving all MOSS databases).  None of them really worked for what I wanted, instead I collaborated with a certain Mr Smith and used standard sharepoint tools to move everything.  It took a few attempts (thank goodness for virtual machines, even in a prodn environment), but I got there.  In this case there were 3 Project Server instances.  Additionally I worked out how to move all the WSS content from one instance to another – okay, you WSS guys already know that, but it was new(ish) to me.

If you need to do something similar, preparation is key, as is a DR plan if it all goes pear shaped, and that can be caused by something as simple as a typo! 

If you need more info, drop me a line…


Posted in Uncategorized | 33 Comments

Project and Project Server 2010

<just coffee>

So here I am, sitting Pheonix, AZ at the Project Conference 2010.  I’ve been working with Project 2010 for a while now, but under NDA, so I’ve not been able to blog about it, but as I type, it’s being demo’d publically for the 1st time, so the NDA has been “lifted”.

You’ll see a tonne of blogs soon, both from MS and the rest of the bloggers, but he’s one of my favourite features regarding Project Server 2010.

The scenario is that my Project Manager is due to go on holiday, but during that time progress on the project isn’t going to stop, so someone still needs to update the project, publish it, and generate reports from it.  In PS2007 and previous versions this wasn’t as easy as it should have been and required a lengthy process which was time consuming, especially if there were many projects involved.  Microsoft have listened to this feedback and created a feature called “Delegation”, which allows the PM to delegate their role to another “trusted” user, who then inherits the PMs rights for a period of time.  This trusted user can then assume the PM role, and perform the updates, schedule changes and all the normal PM tasks!  Neat eh?

More details (and screen shots no doubt) will follow.

Enjoy….   Ben.

Posted in Uncategorized | 38 Comments

Project Professional Crashes on connection to Project Server

<Sauvignon Blanc Semillon>

Several weeks ago a customer of mine was getting a fatal error with Project Professional 2007 when connecting to the server.  This was only happening on a single machine, and the usual re-installs/repairs didn’t fix a thing.  It so happened that the security settings where set to Very High (tools|macro|security), and resetting this to Medium resolved the problem.

Thanks to Corrine – you know who you are – several hours well spent troubleshooting 🙂

Posted in Uncategorized | 43 Comments