I figured that I’ve been focusing on issues of process and strategy for a while, and it was probably time to get back into the mundane world of technical delivery for a post or two. Variety, after all, is the spice of life (which leads me to suspect that this idiom probably doesn’t translate well into some languages and cultures that don’t really respect spice or culinary diversity, but that’s a digression for another topic.)
Back to the point of this posting though, this is a Project Server 2010 question that I’ve seen come up quite frequently both in client discussions and on the newsgroups: “How do I prepopulate specific fields within an Enterprise Project Type?”
The answer is that it’s actually quite simple to do so. Essentially, all we have to do is to populate the fields in a Microsoft Project Professional template and save the template to Project Server. Associate the template to your EPT, and voila, when you create the project, the custom fields are already populated…..sort of.
Kicking it off….step 1: open a MPP file and populate the fields. Even if you’re not ready to include tasks in a standardized template, that doesn’t matter. You can still create a template with no tasks.
Save the project file as a template.
Now, go into PWA and associate the template with an Enterprise Project Type.
….and that’s pretty much it…with one relatively minor caveat: the fields will appear blank within the PDP until the project record is saved for the first time.
For this reason, I’d recommend keeping only the basic minimum required fields on the first PDP created with the project, and then add any prepopulated custom fields to a subsequent PDP. Honestly, that’s probably a best practice anyway. When you save the project after completing the first PDP, the fields will be populated by the time you navigate to the second PDP.
If you add the prepopulated custom fields to the first PDP, they will appear blank until the project is saved – which needless to say is confusing to the end user and would probably result in them just filling out the field anyway, thereby defeating the purpose of the exercise.