Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Syncing fields from Project Pro to SharePoint Online

Something that started as a quite simple requirement turned out into a more hefty task, so I decided to share it here.

So the requirement: Be able to sync fields from Project Pro to a SharePoint Task List in SharePoint Online. All great, works out of the box, with the exception of 2 things:

- If the column in SharePoint is of type "Multiple lines of text" and the type of text to allow is "Enhanced rich text (Rich text with pictures, tables, and hyperlinks)" that doesn't work correctly.

- If the column is of type "Person/Group" then this doesn't work as expected. Some resources are missing on consecutive synchronizations from Project Pro to SharePoint Online. I've taken this with MS to see what's going wrong, but for now if it happens to you - configure your resource or "Assigned To" (named by default) column to be of type "Single line of text" or think of it as just a string.


You will loose the functionality to check the person's status in Skype for Business (if you use that) and to click on the user profile and go to their Delve page (in Office 365). But you'll still be able to sort and filter on that column if you want to view a particular person's tasks.


I'll describe the steps needed to match the requirement to sync Task Descriptions to SharePoint Online. 


By default, the Description column in the Task Lists (coming with the default Task Content Type) is of type Multiple lines of text and has the "Enhanced rich text (Rich text with pictures, tables, and hyperlinks)" as the allowed type of text. I've just renamed the column in this example:







Fill in some tasks if you're the PM (or just one if you're a lazy blogger like myself):




Then open the Task List with Project Pro (provided you do have the license assigned and the software installed from the Office 365 Portal):





You won't see your description column:





When you go to File -> Info -> Map Fields, you won't be able to map anything to it:



Now, part of the solution is to change your column allowed text type to Plain Text in SharePoint.





But even then, you won't see it in Project Pro the next time you open your project plan.

The key is in the mappings. Add a new column in Project Pro. You can choose some of the predefined text columns, e.g. Text1:





Name it whatever you want, let's do Task Description to avoid any confusion. Hint: the columns in Project Pro and SharePoint Online don't really have to be using the same naming convention, as long as they're mapped. Right click on your newly created column and go to Field Settings (and no, double clicking on the column doesn't do what double-clicking on a row does, sorry):





Tile field - self explanatory:






Now, when you go back to the Map Fields you can definitely map your newly created column in Project Pro (although its name is not reflected in the mapping list - dunno why) to your SharePoint Online column which appears nicely as Task Description:





Once you're done with all your mappings, just click the huge Save button.

If you've tried to break things like me and inserted different values in the field in SharePoint Online and Project Pro, then you'll get this good warning. Skip this if you're a good user and didn't do that :)

The warning basically is quite liberal - it gives you the option to choose whether you like your Project Pro or your SharePoint Online value better and it's even displaying them and color-coding them for you. I'll keep the Project Pro value which says "Sync this description":





Boom! It's done.




(Optional) If you want to break things even further, you can go back to your column in the SharePoint Online Task List and change it to allow Enhanced Rich Text again and then open the Task List with Project Pro. You'll see this (and believe me, it gets even uglier when you include some links, etc.)





Hope that's helpful if you stumble upon it, I'll keep another post once I sort out the issue with syncing resources without using the string field workaround with MS (if at all).

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, were having the resource or "Assigned To" issue too, where by resources in MS Project that are users in SP are being removed. I will try your work around. We are also loosing links "Predecessors" too. Maybe a similar issue

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Neil,

    Thanks for your comment. Yes, the predecessors is part of the same "package of issues" as I've described in one of my next posts - http://www.moresharepoint.net/2016/02/do-not-use-project-pro-2016-with.html

    I do have some updates from Microsoft yesterday after the Project team couldn't find a problem and pulled out resources from another team, quoting the rep directly:

    The other team (actually Access) has looked at the problem and found that it is a bug they caused about two years ago. They’re now in the process of figuring out a fix and figuring out when they can deliver a fix. I’ll keep you informed as I get more information.

    So the outcome is Don't use Project 2016 at all... you can still have 2013 from Office 365, just ask a MS rep to give you the links, or sign up for First Release updates on your whole tenant and you'll be able to download the 2013 apps on your own.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Any News regarding this error? The workaround to change the "Assigned To" (People/Group) Field to "Single line of text" do not work in SharePoint Online.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      The workaround we used worked well in SharePoint Online, however Microsoft has later sent me some .dlls that fix the issue. I can send them over email, if you want.

      Delete
    2. Hello,

      Thank you for this useful article.

      I have the same issue, and the workaround solution does not work with me since I want to create views based on the assigned to column and I can't apply ME filter to a text column

      Do you have any suggestion?

      Can the .dlls be useful? and how can I use it?

      Thank you

      Delete
  4. I am trying to sync the sharepoint description field with the notes field in Ms Project 2013 which I thought would be the logical thing to do. The problem is that whenever I save the project file it crops my descriptions.
    Is anyone experiencing the same issue?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gabriel,

      The Description field in SharePoint should be set to Multiple Lines but in Plain text - otherwise it doesn't sync properly.

      Delete
  5. Hello,

    Thank you for this useful article.

    I have the same issue, and the workaround solution does not work with me since I want to create views based on the assigned to column and I can't apply ME filter to a text column

    Do you have any suggestion?

    Can the .dlls be useful? and how can I use it?

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Shaden,

    Thanks for your comment.

    You don't need the DLLs anymore.

    With the latest release of Project 2016 and SharePoint Online this syncing works fine.

    This was tested on our end more than a month ago.

    Regards,

    Dimitar

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Thank you Dimitar,

      I have the latest version and the issue still there, what do you think is the issue?

      When I use it in other PC with project 2013 the issue disappeared,

      Rgards,

      Delete