All posts by B Sai Prasad

B Sai Prasad, PMP®, PMI-SP®, Microsoft MVP Project, Senior Manager - Learning & Development, has been with service provider Cognizant Technology Solutions India Pvt. Ltd since 2001 where he was named winner of the company's Global Trainer of the Year award. He has spent 13,000-plus hours in mentoring, coaching, training 9000-plus practitioners on project management topics ranging from project management concepts, project risk management, project scheduling, Microsoft Office Project® to software estimation techniques. He is a Champion of Project Management from PMI India and also Associate Champion Advisory Committee, PMI India. He is awarded the Champion of the Quarter (Q4 – 2012) and Delivery Excellence Award (2011-2012, 2012-2013) from PMI India. He's also the editor of the project management book, Forecast Scheduling with Project 2010. He is a Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) in Project 2010. He is the President of MPUG India Chennai chapter - - to promote and help practitioners on how to effectively use Microsoft Office Project.

Make Project For The Web “Data” Friendly: Centralize Project data with Power BI Dataflows

Project for the web data is stored as entities within Common Data Service. Besides Project entities, CDS stores standard and custom entities of other apps. Storing in CDS platform gives opportunity to customize, extend using Power Platform (Power Apps, Power Automate, Power Virtual Agent, Power BI)

Let say we, the project managers, want to turn this information into actionable insights. How do we do it?

Power BI Common Data Service connector allows us to connect directly to CDS entities, and build reports and dashboards on Power BI desktop and Power BI service. Yet, this work requires we need go beyond the data stored in Project entities. The good news is this information is available either on cloud (in CDS, other data sources) or on premise (SQL Server, Files, Folders, etc) and we have connectors for those too.

Are we correct in bringing all information directly to Power BI?

Will this approach offer a standard, easy and fast insights?

Let’s start with Common Data Service. CDS is a transactional database and not a data warehouse. It has plenty of “deliberate” constraints. These constraints are imposed to prevent any one action having too detrimental an impact on the rest of the system and, therefore, on users. Along with these constraints, increase in data volume will impact the performance of CDS, its apps and reports.

No Common Data Service data operations, either internal or part of code customizations, work completely in isolation.

All Common Data Service data operations interact with the same database resources, either at a data level or an infrastructure level such as processor, memory, or I/O usage.

To protect against conflicting changes, each request takes locks on resources to be viewed or changed.

Those locks are taken within a transaction and not released until the transaction is committed or aborted.


The second challenge is Project data is stored in many entities with relationships. Citizen developers, like project managers, will need support and time to understand these relationships. If not, we may apply a wrong filter and miss creating relationships resulting in incorrect data in visuals.

The third challenge is data from other data sources could be fragmented, incomplete and complex making data preparation difficult.

Final challenge is project managers should provide the environment URL for the CDS for Apps environment and have permission to access that environment.

In this post, I offer a solution these challenges. Read on and let me know your thoughts.

Continue reading Make Project For The Web “Data” Friendly: Centralize Project data with Power BI Dataflows

Make Project For The Web Human: Build your Project bot with Power Virtual Agents (Detailed!)

If you are new to Power Virtual Agents (PVA), I recommend do a quick read at to know the terms to be used in this post.

In my previous post, I gave a feel of how PVA simplified the way of managing projects!

Today, I spent 6 hours writing this post to give a complete step-by-step process of building this Project bot. So, don’t miss to read this till the end.

Bot: I am waiting!

When the user sends a message, bot matches the message with the right topic based on trigger phrases. In this case, the below topic is matched and the user is greeted with the message “Sure. I can help you. Please login to identify your projects.” . What happens next is important?

This post goes deeper into the authentication process combined with Microsoft Graph and new Project to personalize conversations.

How is this done? Read on.

Continue reading Make Project For The Web Human: Build your Project bot with Power Virtual Agents (Detailed!)

Make Project For The Web Human: Allow managers to get self-help with power virtual agents bots

I spent the last two days learning and building bots with power virtual agent (in preview), and how it can talk to the new Project.

What started a simple exploration ended up as a big experience – bots, topics, entities, authentication, openid, tokens, emojis :), app registrations, graph API, channels, team integration wow!

I am very happy to share my first version of new Project PVA bot. This bot first authenticates the user, lists their projects and the user can ask the status of their projects! Great news with few clicks, you can embed these bots in websites, teams, and other channels.

I have a blog coming up to build PVA bot + authentication + integrated with new project. Meanwhile, take a look at this image and get a feel of how PVA simplified the way of managing projects

Make Project For The Web Smarter: Auto delete zero duration projects

Project for the web is simple, and this simplicity also creates problems 🙂

In my earlier blog, I discussed about notifying team members of their late tasks. As I started working on the new Project, I observed it is very easy to create a project. If I grant Project Plan 1 / 3 / 5 subscription to users, they may end up creating projects without tasks.

It is important to periodically review all projects and delete zero duration projects. Otherwise, the reports generated either through Power BI or other tools will present wrong information. (Do you know about Project for the web Power BI Template)

Advantage of the new Project is all project data is stored in CDS. I can automate this cleanup process through Power Automate. Yet, I don’t want to risk deleting zero duration projects that might created for future need. So, how about flow asking the project manager for approval through Teams and on approval delete the project.

Continue reading Make Project For The Web Smarter: Auto delete zero duration projects

Make Project For The Web Bigger: Automate and integrate with Flow and Teams

Project for the web data is stored in entities within Dynamics 365 Common Data Services (CDS).

With data in CDS, you can customize these entities, build new entities, create relationships as per your business needs. Also, you can extend its benefits by building apps in Power Apps, automate tasks in Power Automate (earlier called as Microsoft Flow).

In this blog, I will use CDS, Power Automate and Teams to notify team members when their tasks is late at regular intervals like the one below

Continue reading Make Project For The Web Bigger: Automate and integrate with Flow and Teams

The new Microsoft Project is here.

The new Microsoft Project is here.

Reimagined and redesigned, Project is better than ever and powerfully simple. Experience project management on a whole new level:

Control the default creation location of project online projects

With the new Project Home page, users can see the recently accessed projects across PWA sites and roadmaps. This page has a option to create a new Project with one click. This saves a lot of time as I don’t remember the looong URL.

Yet the challenge was the new Project will always be created in the default Project Web Access site.

What if there are multiple PWA sites? Can you change the default location?

Continue reading Control the default creation location of project online projects

“We’re changing your default SharePoint admin center experience”. How does this affect project online administration?

On Feb 19, 2019 a new message appeared in message center. It is “We’re changing your default SharePoint admin center experience “.

The SharePoint admin center experience, for Office 365 organizations of 50 or fewer licenses, will default to the new admin center experience.  You can switch back to the classic experience as necessary.

We’ll be gradually rolling this out to Standard Release customers that have 50 or fewer licenses in late March, and we will expand to larger organizations in the coming months. We will provide further notifications when we make the change for additional organizations.

If you are administering PWA site collections, you must know how this will impact you. In the classic SharePoint admin center, you click New > Private Site Collection with Project Web App.

In the new SharePoint admin center, you click Active Sites > Other options. Select the template as Project Web App site, and type the site name, primary administrator details.

Create a group-connected team site, communication site, or other site from the admin center

The new experience is elegant and easy to use.

Roadmaps! Is it available for all Project plans?

Brian smith has written a great blog post on roadmaps here. I would recommend you to read his blog post before continuing.

Project Online comes in three flavors.

They are not chocolate, vanilla and strawberry :). They are Project Online Essentials, Project Online Professional and Project Online Premium.

Continue reading Roadmaps! Is it available for all Project plans?

Submit Time and Task progress in one screen. Are you crazy?

In my previous post titled TIME. TASK PROGRESS. ARE THEY DIFFERENT?-, I wrote about the two methods to report time and task progress.

This method works perfect when timesheet and task progress must be submitted separately. What if the organization wants users to report timesheet and task progress in one screen.

Why would they want to do this?

Continue reading Submit Time and Task progress in one screen. Are you crazy?