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Project/Exchange integration requires that the Project Manager manually trigger the sync? RRS feed

  • Question

  • We're evaluating Exchange Server integration and have hit several process 'quirks' that will likely clash with our user's culture and technical readiness and thus will block our ability to utilize this feature in production.  Can someone please confirm that these quirks are, in fact, correct?

    Please confirm -- are the series of steps listed below accurate?   I especially need to confirm that we haven't set something up improperly thus requiring step #4 (Project Manager has to manually sync the prjoect plan), and step #8 (the Team Member needs to understand the sync process in order to manually resolve conflicts).

    1. Project Manager creates an Assignment (assigns a Team Member to a Task), publishes the plan.

    2. Team Member sees the Task in Outlook in several locations: on due date on Calendar, in Tasks folder, on summary pane.

    3. Team Member double-clicks on the Task, set's % complete or other details.  Saves.

    4. Project Manager opens the plan, Publishes.  (this forces Project/Exchange to sync)

    5. Project Manager invokes Check for Updates on the plan.  Updates show that the reported hours worked are spread out over the entire duration of the task, even if the task extends into the future.

    7. Project Manager publishes the updated plan, thus restarting the cycle.

    8. If a Team Member has provided an additional update to a Task prior to the Project Manager accepting and publishing the plan updates, then Outlook will detect a Conflict and require that the Team Member identify which task is correct.


    Quent

    Friday, August 24, 2012 4:26 PM

Answers

  • I can understand your situation and the time went on understanding and bringing this feature to actual use. With all these issues around I respect your decision of not using it. But I am little of the optimistic idiot kind who doesn't like to leave things if they trouble you and eat your good amount of time. 

    So I will always advice: Make your "not to use" decision as a temporary decision till the feature is tried and used in pilot for say a small set of users.

    1. The updates come back to Project Server from Exchange in nightly job. If this feature is not working then this can be troubleshooted. Best start point for the troubleshooting is to see you Queue Jobs for last night when you have a task update to receive from Exchange Server

    2. Once you succeed in bringing the updates back then once part is over.

    3. Next is that this really isn't meant for the people who want to use this as check list. People love to use Outlook for updating task progress because that is the application which is always open on their computer screens. Another fantastic thing is through Exchange the tasks can go on user's smartphones and it's like amazing thing for the end users

    Now I agree there are quite a lot complications in getting Exchange Integration set up as it involves fai amount of work and troubleshooting.

    But I am of the opinion if you miss this feature then you don't just miss one feature but a great marketing tool which can make your EPM deployment a success. At last, an EPM deployment is success story only if it is getting back the updates from user community against the work which is allotted to them and trust me this feature makes it a reality.

    Sorry for a big essay above but just wanted to convince. 


    Abhijeet M. Mohite Please

    Mark As Answer if my post solves your problem or Vote As Helpful if a post has been helpful for you.


    • Edited by Abhijeet Mohite Wednesday, September 5, 2012 3:46 PM
    • Marked as answer by Quent.H Wednesday, September 5, 2012 4:11 PM
    Wednesday, September 5, 2012 3:45 PM

All replies

  • Please find below my understanding on how Outlook and Project Server integration works.

     

    Once you have the integration successfully set, then:

     

    1. Whenever you create a new task in Project Server and assign it to person for whom exchnage sync is enabled the task will go into his Outlook immediately you publish the project

    2. Now you have that task in your Outlook update the task progress from Outlook and save task. When you update the task immediately it doesn't go to Project Server. Either it will go through a nightly pull by Project Server from exchange or if you publish the project before that.

     

    So it is either a nightly pull or a Project Publish which triggers the task pull from Exchange to Project Server.


    Abhijeet M. Mohite

    Please Mark As Answer if my post solves your problem or Vote As Helpful if a post has been helpful for you.


    Monday, August 27, 2012 8:51 AM
  • Hi Abhijeet,

    Yes, that's what the documentation says to expect, part #1 (task push to Outlook) works great, but part #2 (nightly pull) doesn't seem to work in our lab environment.

    We've decided to not deploy this feature - from what I can tell (this is my humble opinion) the feature seems to be targeted at organizations who use a project plan as a check list. We are looking to collect actual hours work on tasks - and while these fields are available to update in the task, there are just too many conflict points and special procedures to have the timesheet information flow smoothly and at scale.

    Thanks again.


    Quent

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012 2:22 PM
  • I can understand your situation and the time went on understanding and bringing this feature to actual use. With all these issues around I respect your decision of not using it. But I am little of the optimistic idiot kind who doesn't like to leave things if they trouble you and eat your good amount of time. 

    So I will always advice: Make your "not to use" decision as a temporary decision till the feature is tried and used in pilot for say a small set of users.

    1. The updates come back to Project Server from Exchange in nightly job. If this feature is not working then this can be troubleshooted. Best start point for the troubleshooting is to see you Queue Jobs for last night when you have a task update to receive from Exchange Server

    2. Once you succeed in bringing the updates back then once part is over.

    3. Next is that this really isn't meant for the people who want to use this as check list. People love to use Outlook for updating task progress because that is the application which is always open on their computer screens. Another fantastic thing is through Exchange the tasks can go on user's smartphones and it's like amazing thing for the end users

    Now I agree there are quite a lot complications in getting Exchange Integration set up as it involves fai amount of work and troubleshooting.

    But I am of the opinion if you miss this feature then you don't just miss one feature but a great marketing tool which can make your EPM deployment a success. At last, an EPM deployment is success story only if it is getting back the updates from user community against the work which is allotted to them and trust me this feature makes it a reality.

    Sorry for a big essay above but just wanted to convince. 


    Abhijeet M. Mohite Please

    Mark As Answer if my post solves your problem or Vote As Helpful if a post has been helpful for you.


    • Edited by Abhijeet Mohite Wednesday, September 5, 2012 3:46 PM
    • Marked as answer by Quent.H Wednesday, September 5, 2012 4:11 PM
    Wednesday, September 5, 2012 3:45 PM
  • Yes, definitely agree with you --- we are keeping this feature on our backlog --- we just don't have the bandwidth at the moment.

    Like you, I'm also an optimistic idiot :-)  and am optimistic that Project Server 2013 and Outlook 2013 will make some advances in this feature area.


    Quent

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012 4:14 PM