Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Definitions #7: Microsoft Project Server Administrator

A Microsoft Project Server Administrator is an extension of the SharePoint Administrator role / skillset. A Microsoft Project Server admin should be intimately familiar with SharePoint Administration, somewhat familiar with Microsoft SQL Server, be a good reader, and a good researcher and troubleshooter. Why does the individual need to be a good researcher? Because publications and good instruction for Project Server setup and administration are rarely found in a single, easy-to-read-and follow location, whether that be in print, online, or otherwise. And if the admin will be working with an ITIL-compliant organization, they are going to run into severe organizational roadblocks, and there will be butting of heads within the organization.

Finding the correct pieces to make it all work takes time, some money for good books, and a lot of patience. This is especially true when configuring the extended features of analysis and reporting / BI.  If the Project Server instance is being installed in an enterprise environment on a shared enterprise DB cluster, make sure the SharePoint Administrator has a good, POSITIVE give-and-take relationship with the DBA, because they will need to be able to a) trust you with elevated permissions, even for service accounts, b) allow for additional component software to be installed on their server, and c) make changes to their server by adding new databases, OLAP cubes, etc.

The Project Server admin should be able to learn the basics of navigating Microsoft Project Professional, or, even better, have access to a seasoned project manager who can assist with familiarization of project management tasks within Project Server. The Project Web App performs many of the tasks that Microsoft Project Professional client provides, all through the browser.

Intermediate to advanced proficiency with Excel and PowerPivot is essential if you are going to be using the reporting and analysis capabilities in the Business Intelligence portions of Project Server.  While the use of the reporting capabilities is not a requirement for use of Project Server, your enterprise leadership will definitely want to leverage it if they know it exists, so be ready and prepared to learn the steps for implementation. The admin MUST follow all installation steps carefully, or there will be troubles, hence the need for someone who can read and follow a manual. The Microsoft Technet online video overviews even stress over and over again the necessity of completely reading all instructions before beginning installation.

Be warned! After installation is complete, learning the permissions for Project Server is a huge challenge because of their complexity, granularity, and the fact that they seem to run somewhat counter to permissions assignments in SharePoint.  The permissions are assigned and filtered at several different levels, so it is best to use only groups and categories, preferably the pre-defined ones, as they are out-of-the-box.

Key Recruiting Take-away: Before I get too off-track with technical detail, you, as a recruiter, should be ready to find someone with the existing experience, depending on the needs of the hiring company, especially if they need someone ready to hit the ground and get the installation/implentation done in short order. That existing experience will probably cost you extra. If you have some time to ramp the person up, still be ready to send your existing SharePoint / SQL admins to training and invest in some textbooks if you want to save yourself a bunch of headaches when the admin goes to deploy and implement Project Server.

Résumé Search Terms: Project Server (2007 or 2010), SharePoint Administrator/Administration with SQL Server.

Textbook recommendation that got me through the install process: Implementing and Administering Microsoft Project Server 2010 | Second Edition


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