Documenting Lookup Tables with Playbooks

It slices!  It dices!  Not only does it move Project Server settings from one environment to another, but it also provides an easy way to document some of the configuration settings you made in your environment. 

This is a trick that I’ve used for years.  Typically, I like to deploy a TEST/DEV environment pretty early in the deployment cycle.  Then I’ll work through that environment with different client groups to get it configured exactly how I would like it.

Sooner or later, I need to take that environment and roll it into some requirements document that I can leave behind when I leave the customer environment.  This is generally to avoid what I like to refer to as the “Planet of the Apes” deployment scenario where a couple of years later, everyone who implemented the system has left the company, and the folks who are left have been bequeathed with a system that nobody understands and that has been configured according to logic that nobody knows.

At that point, the customer will call in a consultant such as myself, and they’ll be forced to unravel the contrived logic that drove the original design – hypothetically.  I, of course, have never had to do anything like that….

So here’s how you can easily pull your Lookup Table values from the Playbooks tool….

First, run the Playbooks tool to generate an XML file of all (or at least most) of your Project Server settings.  Once you’ve done that, fire up Excel and open the XML document within Excel.  This kicks off the Open XML dialog box.

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Choose the option to “Use the XML Source task pane.”  Navigate through until you find the Lookup Tables.  Select the options for the LT_UID and the LT_Name.

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Drag those over to your Excel chart.

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Highlight the two empty cells, right click, and choose XML > Import.  That will prompt you to open the file again, which then imports the UID and the Lookup Table name.

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Now do the same with the Lookup Table values.

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That gives you a table like this.

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Add a field in the middle.

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Now use a vlookup formula to populate the blank field with the data from the original table.  In my example the formula looks like this:

=VLOOKUP(A27,Table1,2,FALSE)

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…and there you are.  I notice that I somehow ended up with a LU Table called “WokflowStages.”  Not sure what happened there, but I am pretty sure it’s user error.

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Documenting Lookup Tables with Playbooks

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