The steps to customize and use different Project Site templates (the entities formerly known as Project Workspace templates) have changed for 2010, and the ways you can use them with the new Enterprise Project Templates has introduced more change. I thought I’d explain how these can be created, what customizations will work – and which will break things, what limitations you will see with the reporting data for modified sites and how they can be consumed. I’ll show screen shots as I go along too.
The first thing is to create a new site that you will customize to become your new template. For this the easiest way is to go to Site Actions (top left of PWA page) New Site
then make sure you choose Microsoft Project Site from the available sites, give it a title and URL name and click Create. note in this screen shot I have scrolled down the page a little.
Once created then you can customize (almost) to your heart’s content. This assumes your heart’s content does not want to delete or duplicate any of our built-in lists, or change the type or delete any of our built-in list’s columns. For this example I will add another list, a document, add some columns to the Risks list and also change the choices for the Issues Status column.
But first, I’ll change the theme and color. Site Actions, Site settings, (Look and Feel) Site Theme will take you to here:
I’m going to choose Modern Rose, and scroll down and click Preview, which pops open a new windows like so:
which will do for demonstration purposes… So I now click Apply on the original screen (down the bottom), and continue my customization. I will add a column called Tracker. All Site Content (bottom of left nav) Create, Filter by List and choose Custom List, with a Name of Tracking and click Create.
I will leave my list as it comes, but usually you’d want to add other columns and views too. Next I add a document to my Project documents library – Project Documents, Add document (I think I can skip a picture or two) and then just browse and upload:
Next, for my Risks List I add a column called Triage. Risks, then select the List tab in the List Tools ribbon element, then List Settings:
Scroll down the resulting page,and click Create column
I’m just calling mine triage and taking all the defaults, which also adds it to the default view – not much to see there:
Finally we will go to our Issues list and add another value to our Status choices. Issues, List tab, List Settings, then click on the Status column. I’ve added on hold and renumbered the list accordingly.
That’s my customization finished, so no to save and re-use. Site Actions, Site Settings (Site Actions) Save Site as template.
Give it a File Name, Name and description, and check Include Content, then OK.
Then go to Site Actions, Site Settings, (Galleries), Solutions (or use the hyperlink on the “Operation Completed successfully’ screen and you will see your new Template is Activated! It will now be available both as an option within the default Project Site provisioning Settings option under PWA Server settings. In this screen shot I have actually chosen my SampleTemplate template (I couldn’t get the drop down in a screen shot…)
*** Update *** I discovered going through this process that the following setting is really redundant. All projects created will get the setting from the an Enterprise Project Template, and not this setting. Out of the box the Basic Project plan is the default for PSI or Project Professional plans. Changing the template here will do nothing. ***
It will also be available for either existing Enterprise Project Templates, or new ones, in the drop down at the foot of the EPT page:
Now, lets use my new template and see what we get. First I’ll set my Basic Project plan EPT to use my new SampleTemplate, then I’ll create a new basic project plan called SampleTest and publish to get my new site. As you can see from my queue list it all went through, so I haven’t broken anything.
And here is my site!
I have my document
You can already see my new tracking list, and here if I add a new Issue I can choose my new On hold status.
The really cool thing is that my On hold status has flown right through to the reporting database WITHOUT HAVING TO PUBLISH THE PROJECT! And this was a custom addition choice for the field. This from my Excel sample template from the Business Intelligence Center – hardly the most inspiring report – but I was pleased to see it work!
So some gotchas:
- The site template used is driven by the Enterprise Project Type – and at this stage I assume the default only gets used when creating projects that are not based on an EPT (possibly via PSI?). From Project Professional the Basic Project Plan type is used.
- Don’t add additional lists that are copies of the built in ones such as issues and risks
- Don’t change the column type of existing columns
- Don’t delete existing columns – just remove from views if they are not needed
- Any new things (apart from new choices as I showed above) will not get into the reporting database (unless you do extra work…
- Modern Rose is not the most inspiring theme
Most of these gotchas will cause problems with reporting – so if doing heavy customization always monitor the queue to see exactly what works (and what breaks things!) with the Reporting jobs. Look in the ULS logs for further information if you see failures.