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Project Server 2013 and Project Online: What happened to my resources?

Project Server 2013 and Project Online: What happened to my resources?

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*** Update 2/13 - please also see Knowledgebase article - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2933444 for published details on this issue - including a detection script and a SQL command to correct a stored procedure to avoid this problem - only applicable to Project Server 2013 - Project Online is already patched ***

We have been working on this Project Server 2013 and Project Online ‘Lost Resources’ bug for a little while and we finally have it nailed, and already have the fix deployed to Project Online to ensure it cannot have any further effect there.  Now we wanted to share more information – as we have something actionable.  The scenario is that you open a plan and find that your resources appear to be gone.  Depends where you look, but you either see them as apparent material resources in the resource sheet – with no name, or in the Gantt you see numbers where you expected to see names – and similarly they are material resources in the resource form.  So imagine your plan looked like this:

Original Plan

You could open the plan and you find it is looking like this instead – with the resources missing. In this case two look like material resources – just one remains.  The numbers (8) in this case is coming from the hours of work.

Missing Resources showing with numbers instead

The resource sheet will look like this:

Missing resources blank

There are some variations on this theme – if all resources are removed from a task – or if you carry on using the plan, and try to add the resources back through build team, or publish the plan – then the symptoms can change and the resources can show as multiple <unassigned resource> placeholders – so best if you see the original issue to just close and don’t save – and follow the advice below.  The unassigned resource condition looks like the following.

Unassigned Resources

If you experience this then we can certainly help you if you open a support incident.  We do not charge for support incidents that are bugs – so you will either be refunded if you open a fixed cost incident, or you will not be decremented if this is a Premier incident.  Use your normal channels, either Premier or any of the options at http://support.microsoft.com – or in Project Online get one of your Project Online/Office 365 administrators to go to the Office 365 Admin Center, click the Support link in the left navigation (https://portal.microsoftonline.com/Support/SupportOverview.aspx) and then click new service request – middle right on the page. 

In Project Server 2013 the easiest recovery is to just restore from the administrative backup (the timing of my recent reminder to make sure it was running was not an accident - Project Server 2013- Check your administrative backups before you need them). 

For Project Online one option is to open from the Published store – and then overwrite the working store – assuming you haven’t published.  If you are time tracking then this isn’t a good idea as GUIDs change and assignments won’t match the current timesheet.  We can help with the recovery if you open an incident.

The good news is that we have a fix to stop this happening again which, as I mentioned, we have already applied to all our Project Online customers.  As with most fixes, this addresses the original problem but does not correct the downstream issues.  Due to the nature of the issue we can address some of this correction in the database.  For on-premises customers we are pushing hard to get this into the next available fix package – but it will certainly be in the April Cumulative update for Project Server 2013.  And we are able to assist any customers who open an incident with the means to stop this happening again right now.

There could be some variations in the steps that lead to this issue – but in basic terms saving a plan over another plan after having removed some resources may also remove those resources from other plans they are assigned in.  It takes them out of the team – but their assignments still  exist.  One scenario, and the one used to produce the screenshots above was to create an enterprise project plan that included some of the resources in the plan (Project1), then use save-as to overwrite another server plan that also includes those resources (Project2).  You will then find that the removed resources are also removed from other plan too (Project1 in this example).

So to summarize:

  • If you are running Project Online and see this issue open an incident (even though we have fixed Project Online the issue may still be in plans you haven’t even opened).  If you are not time-tracking then opening a copy from the published store may get you back where you need to be
  • If you are running Project Server 2013 then you should stop using save-as back to the server from Project Professional 2013 (or Project Pro for Office 356) until you have the fix (open an incident and we can get it to you).  We will update this post when we know if we can beat the April CU release – but it will certainly be in the April 2014 Cumulative Update for Project Server 2013
  • Quickest recovery for Project Server 2013 customers already affected by this is to restore all the affected plans from an administrative backup
  • If you haven’t seen the issue yet – you can still open a support incident to get the fix earlier than the April CU if you are concerned about this scenario

Some people may remember a similar sounding issue with 2010 – but this isn’t the same thing or same root cause.  This wasn’t and isn’t a problem that could occur in 2007 or 2010.  Also this was in Project Server 2013 and Project Online since the release – so don’t be afraid to apply cumulative updates – this wasn’t introduced by any of them.

If you have hit this issue then we are very sorry for the inconvenience and frustration that bugs like this can cause – we have been pushing hard to both get this fixed and make sure we can assist with any clean-up that you need.

Comments
  • I've also discovered the end user can fix the issue by adding the resource back to the team using Build Team. Assuming meta data is configured for the resource, double-clicking the blank row in the Resource Sheet will allow you to determine who is missing based on fields like Resource Manager and Role. Will be opening a ticket to get the fix for our on-premise solution, thanks!!

  • Brian Tengo un caso en Project Prof 2013, lo he probado en varias PCs de varias empresas y es el mismo caso. Cuando abro la ventana de &quot;Asignar recursos&quot; y asigno el recurso seleccionado a la tarea, no se asigna el que seleccione sino el primero de la lista, a veces selecciona otro al azar, hago el intento varias veces y luego acepta mi selección. Creo que es un bug. ahora estoy asignando los recursos desde otras opciones, pero este caso es especial.

  • Hi we just had the same issue with two project plans. One (team) resource became converted to a blank local material resource. We had been able to fix it by converting it to a local work resource first and then replace the resource in the build team dialog. To be able to do so we had to remove all actual data from this resource in the plan, but this was OK for us, as we are able to push the actuals back into the plan from an external timesheeting system. But in our case no one saved the plan as file and back to the server. So there might be more reasons that lead to the issue.

  • We were greatly affected by this. Started noticing something strange mid-December, but nothing in the blogs and root cause not known yet. Took several different routes to try to fix including those mentioned above. Finally received the full fix scripts and have just finished a manual restore of 70 projects. Too much would have been lost in an Admin Restore back to December. Crossing my fingers for Monday morning that everything is still OK. Need to build User confidence now. Is a big hill to climb after this issue.

  • We had some early signs in Mid December, but it was not until January that the full force of this major Microsoft bug, hit our projects. Both the Business and IT Teams have spent many, many hours applying patches, correcting projects, etc.... The impact that this has caused our Business, not to mention our reputation is incalculable. The confidence in the system has been severally damaged and our entire global roll-out has been placed on hold. We have now finally implemented the Store Procedure modification to our system, as supplied by Microsoft and corrected all of our projects for the third/fourth time. After reviewing the fix, I am feeling slightly more confident that it should stop this issue from reoccurring. But as a member of the IT Team responsible for maintaining this system. It has deeply affected me personally. Right now, if any one asks me whether to install or upgrade to 2013, I will tell them to wait or look to another more stable platform. We now are embarking on a new journey, rebuilding confidence in the system that may take many more months to come. Our global roll-out is still on hold, pending this cooling down period.

  • When Microsoft give you the patch, ensure you apply it to both the DRAFT and PUB versions of the Store Procedure. Although I am not sure what good it will do, because we still have the issue. Even after spending countless hours fixing all of our projects. Referring to my earlier post; Rebuild user confidence? Rebuild Project Server 2013, if I were you Microsoft. Right now, I wish we never upgraded to 2013.

  • Thanks for the feedback everyone - and Darlene and Matthew - sorry you got hit so hard with this one. I do appreciate this hits confidence hard and not just for your users in the system - but your confidence in Microsoft. I do hope you give us the chance to gain your confidence again. Matthew, you are correct that the fix should be applied to both draft and pub schema. We often have mirrored stored procedures in both schema and the 'pub' version is not actually used - but even so it makes sense to have it 'correct'. Best regards, Brian.

  • Hi Brain, When will be the patch for this issue will be released ? Thanks and Regards, Mustaq Hussain.

  • Hi Mustaq, it will definitely be in the April CU - we have just missed out on getting it into SP1. We are looking to other options to get it out publically as soon as possible - but by far the quickest way would be to open a support incident. Best regards, Brian.

  • Hola, Alberto Pajuelo. Muchas gracias por tu comentario. La verdad es que, a raíz de tus indicaciones, no tenemos del todo claro se trate del mismo asunto. Nos gustaría preguntarte si en tu caso estás usando sólo Project PRO sin conectar a un sitio PWA, o si pudieras confirmarnos que sí estás conectado a un sitio PWA. También te agradeceríamos nos indicaras la versión de Project PRO 2013 que estás usando. Por si te pudiera resultar de interés, publiqué una versión traducida de este post de Brian, en mi blog, relacionado con Project y Project Server en castellano. Me permito hacerte llegar la referencia: http://blogs.technet.com/b/elfarodeprojectserver/archive/2014/02/07/project-server-2013-project-online-191-que-ha-pasado-con-mis-recursos.aspx Espero te resulte de ayuda. Jorge

  • Hi Brian/Jorge, could you please embed the TSQL or provide a link to the query required to fix/replace the stored procedures in the draft and pub schemas? Keeping my fingers crossed to get it included into SP1 or concurret extracurricular hotfix. I even have a Daruma to burn if that helps ... Kind regards, Adrian

  • Hi Adrian, happy to share this with you - but currently we are not releasing via the blog. Use the e-mail the author option at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/brismith/ and we can get this to you. Best regards, Brian

  • Hola, Alberto. Hablando con Brian, nos preguntábamos si no resultaría más recomendable que nos hicieras llegar tu problemática a través de un incidente de Soporte. De esta manera nos resultaría mucho más fácil poder ayudarte. Gracias.

  • I have been working closely with Microsoft and I know that they have been listening to all of the pain that this caused many users/customers around the world. Their support team, although occasionally slow to respond, have been working with me constantly for weeks. For that level of support and dedication, especially since I further understand that they have working around the clock to fully understand this problem, is admirable and gratifying. They also provided some additional scripts, that have been extremely helpful in correcting our data. Although we are over the Mountain, we are not as yet off the trail. But despite everything over the last few months; I have regained some degree of confidence in the journey. Thank you Microsoft and Brian for your support.

  • Hi Brian, I checked in our Case with the SQL script that has been provided in the KB article mentioned. By that I found that &quot;saving a plan over an other&quot; also seems to apply to templates - for which this is the only procedure to edit them. So if you have ressources in a template (which makes sense with generic or Team resources), changing the template might also crash the plans. Regards Christoph

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