The Microsoft Migration Challenge

lgo_msp2003_medWe get requests on a regular basis from clients looking for advice on upgrading from Project Server 2003 to Project Server 2007.  There are reasons for and against and the decision isn’t obvious.

That in itself should be surprising.  After all, Microsoft ended official support for Microsoft Office Project 2003 and Project Server 2003 a couple of months ago.  The product is now 6 years old, they argued and, people should be upgrading.  Well, with no technical support from Microsoft, you’d think people would instantly drop Project Server 2003 and get going on Project Server 2007!

Here are a couple of the decision points to make though that has some clients take pause:

  1. The architecture of Project Server 2007 is completely rewritten.  That may mean that links you’ve made to databases, or other aspects of the system have to be rewritten too.
  2. If you wrote links or applications that touch Project Server through the old PDS API then you’ll need to rewrite them to the new PSI API.  If those acronyms don’t mean anything to you then you probably don’t have this concern.
  3. Project Server 2007 works with SharePoint 2007 so that needs to be migrated too.  If you are doing other things with SharePoint 2003 (using an older version of Microsoft CRM or InfoPath for example) then those things might also need to be upgraded.  If you’ve done customizations in SharePoint 2003 then those also must be redone or migrated to the new SharePoint.
  4. Were you using the Project Server 2003 timesheet?  The timesheet in Project Server 2007 is very different.  There is a two timesheet design in Project Server 2007 that you might or might not like.  If you like the 2003 model, then you might have custom programming to do or end up using open-source coding to change some of the timesheet look and feel or end up using a 3rd party timesheet interface like TimeControl.
  5. Did you do custom reporting or dashboarding with Project Server 2003?  That’ll have to be reviewed and almost certainly changed for the new version.
  6. Like that’s not all daunting enough, we all know that the next version of Microsoft Project Server is around the corner.  We should see Project Server 2010 in the first half of next year according to Microsoft. 

So, some clients want to wait even without support to see what Project Server 2010 will bring.

Some clients are concerned about waiting longer and say they won’t upgrade to Project Server 2010 until there’s a Service Pack 1.

Some clients want to do the migration to Project Server 2007 as soon as possible to resolve technical challenges and to get access to technical support

And some clients just can’t wait and will go to Project Server 2007 now and Project Server 2010 when it’s available.

If you’re interested in how to do the Project Server Migration, you’ll want to look at Microsoft’s Guide to Migrating to Project Server 2010.  It’s available at: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc303388.aspx.