Book review: The Ultimate Application Administrator’s Guide for Project Online

Book cover for The Ultimate Application Administrator's Guide for Project OnlineWelcome (back) reader, this post is an extensive book review, documenting my views and opinions on the book: The Ultimate Application Administrator’s Guide for Project Online. We have encountered the authors of the book more than once before. The guys at Sensei Project Solutions wrote multiple, high value, beautifully designed books related to the products MS Project, Project Server and Project Online.

Let’s begin.

Judging by the cover

Just like the title, the book is big! A whopping 928 pages of quality paper with full color, high resolution screenshots and the book cover promises “Content Updates”, more on that later.

The subtitle for The Ultimate Application Administrator’s Guide for Project Online reads “A step-by-step guide for setting up and maintaining Microsoft’s Project and Portfolio Management environment”. Now why didn’t they choose to just call it Project Online instead of “Microsoft’s Project and Portfolio Management environment”? It’s anyone’s guess but I think we are moving away from products thinking and moving more in a direction of solution thinking as administrators at a company. That, or they anticipate a name change for Project Online in the near future… who knows :).

Table of content

Administrating an environment is a big responsibility, you need to know a lot of things about a lot of aspects within a system, any system, and Project Online is no different. The fact that Microsoft takes care of the server side and technical aspects such as CU’s and Service Pack installations doesn’t matter, the admin role is a big deal! And you can find comfort in the fact that The Ultimate Application Administrator’s Guide for Project Online Provides you with a full list of functionality.

Within total 12 chapters this book provides information on “Building the Enterprise Resource Pool” and “Granting Access and Controlling Permissions” but also nice chapters about “Driving User Adoption and Enhancing Usability” and the controversial and always loved (Sarcasm) “Configuring Time and Task Progress Tracking”.

What I found best in the Administrator’s Guide

It takes you a long time to complete a book like this. Don’t even try to like the process. And remember, I’m a reviewer and need to read the complete book from cover to cover. But you are (probably) an admin or consultant for Project Online. The best thing about the guide is that is has a clear and understandable table of content. And every chapter can be read as a separate entity. Want to know about AD syncing a Resource Pool? Head over to chapter 4: Building the enterprise resource pool. Need to have a greater understanding about Portfolio management features? Take a look at chapter 9: Implementing a Project Prioritization Process.

The real gold nugget I found was at page 771, and appendix E. Both describe a schedule of routine site administration activities. I just love the clear description of what is needed to maintain good data compliance in the Project Online environment.

There might also be some parts I don’t fully agree with, but that is mostly because I get consultancy biased I think. There are some parts I would explain differently or would discuss in more or less detail. But the general content of the book is extremely useful. I’ve earmarked a lot of content and made notes every 20 or so pages to reference back to in a later stage.

Here’s a direct link to grab your own copy of the book if you like what you read so far.

But wait, there’s more!

Apart from this static table of content, there is a Content updates section in the book. Providing you with a link to a page where you can register your book and get free updates for the content. Microsoft has the power, and intention to improve and change the PPM environment every now and then. Providing new functionality such as the Resource Engagements (Major change) and departmental administrative time option (Minor change, but so lovely).

Sensei Project Solutions has committed itself to provide content updates as Microsoft roles out new features.

I started reading the book on 16th of June and finished it on the 4th of August. And let me tell you, there have been some major changes to SharePoint and Project Online in this timespan. “The future of SharePoint” has been rolled out since the book was published and this means a complete change in most views related to sites, document libraries and such.

The Ultimate Application Administrator’s Guide wrap up

Alright, that’s it for now. For who is this book intended? The administrator of a Project Online environment. Most of the time that will just be 1 or maybe 2 people in the organization, so 1 copy will get you set for maintaining an environment from an admins perspective.

But Sensei has a book for most roles within an organization. There is also a Project Managers book that I reviewed, and a team members book that I’ve reviewed as well. Both are excellent additions to this book if your company is looking to stock up on Project Online knowledge. I would advise getting 1 copy of The Ultimate Application Administrator’s Guide, 1 copy for the project managers per department and a couple of the team members books to get everyone leveled up. Here is a link to help you find all 3 books at once.

After 1.5 months of reading hardcore work literature I’m completely “book brain drained”. So it will be a while before I review another book. But please, let me know if you found a book that needs my attention and a spot on The Project Corner Blog!

Thank you for reading, yours,

Erik van Hurck

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