A little while back we posted on the AvePoint Cloud Backup offering, found here. I just wanted to provide a little update to show how the solution has come along since then. AvePoint now offer the backups for the following Office 365 products at the time of this article;


So in the last few months, Project Online and Public Folders have been added. The expectancy is Microsoft Teams will be added around March 2018. There are some small features that have been added as well, such as backup scheduling and an improved navigation quick launch.

Dynamics 365 Backup is also currently in Internal Preview mode, I will provide an update on that soon!

Migrate File Share Metadata into MMS

A customer request came in recently; they wanted to get their file share content and associated metadata into the Document Library and the Term Store / Managed Metadata Service (MMS). Below are some very high level steps using the excellent AvePoint DocAve 6 software to achieve this.

The steps demonstrate migrating from a file share to SharePoint Online, but this could be an on premise installation as well.

First of all, a document library needs to be created so file share content can be migrated. In this case the document library is called ‘Migration Library’ and is shown below;


In the term store for the site collection, ensure a term set is available. In this case it is called ‘Migrated Terms’ and sits under the site collection;


Back in the document library, ensure a ‘Managed Metadata’ column is available. In this case the column is called ‘Keywords’ as shown here;


For the column’s term set settings, select the relevant term set – in this case ‘Migrated Terms’ as previously shown;


Within DocAve, select the items in source (file share) for migration, and then the destination area (document library);


Next, create a profile (no exact settings needed here – nice to mention that folder names can be collapsed and the source path can be kept in a column);


Within the save as Plan screen enter a name, select the profile just created;


Important: Select ‘Configure the metadata file myself’ as shown below;


Important: Enter the managed metadata column name added to the document library, in this case ‘Keywords’ (ensure correct type is selected);


You can select to use the ; sign to allow multiple values;


Select to ‘Save and Generate Excel’ in the bottom right area;


This will create an excel file in the file share location;


Opening the Excel file, you can edit the Keywords column. Save this when done and ensure the Excel .xls file is copied back to server, if it was copied from the server for editing – just replace existing file;

Example below of multiple values per cell using ; separation on cell U22


From the Plan Manager screen, select ‘Edit’ for the plan created earlier (as its associated to the generated / edited Excel file);


Select ‘Settings’ and from the Metadata Source section in the ribbon, and select ‘Use the existing metadata file’ (this uses the excel file that has been edited);


Select ‘Save and Run Now’ as shown below;


Go for the default options on the pop up;


Wait for the migration to complete;


The list now contains the content and metadata as shown here;


The term set is now populated as well;


AvePoint Cloud Backup

AvePoint have released their new SaaS based Cloud Backup solution, which really builds upon and improves the standard Microsoft offering. Here are some key benefits:


  • Near-zero configuration for daily backup plans.
  • Target of protection up to 4 daily backups (or every 6 hours)*.
  • Protection for all Office 365 content including: Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Office 365 Groups.
  • Built-in or customizable business rules and filters.
  • Store backups in our zone-redundant Azure storage with minimal configuration.
  • Store backups in your cloud or data center of choice with support for Microsoft Azure, Amazon S3, Dropbox, and any data destination accessible via Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) and File Transfer Protocol (FTP).
  • View and manage the protection status of all Office 365 assets through a single reporting interface.


  • On-demand, granular recovery of all Office 365 content – including mailboxes, conversations, calendars, files, and Groups – to the online or offline storage of your choice while maintaining all metadata and permissions.
  • Restore content and conversations to mailboxes, Groups, or sites – not just its original home.
  • Restore content directly to file systems or export mail conversations as a Personal Storage Table (.pst) file.
  • Recover quickly with time-based restores using a simple and intuitive calendar interface, or search for business-critical files or emails using full-text search for rapid discovery.

The solution is really clear and easy to use, and my experience so far has been fantastic. I love the peace of mind it brings, and the fact I can jump in and use it even if I had never seen the solution before – it’s so descriptive and well set out – I can simply dive straight in and backup / restore all of the Office 365 suite.

Here are some screenshots;

Main Screen – Simple tiles showing the status of each backup. Anything backed up, backing up, not backed up, or with problems is clearly displayed;

Restore Tiles – Very easy, simply select what you want to restore, followed by the backup job;

Activity Reports – Easily access reports to see what actions have been taken out, and who performed them. Any issues are highlighted as well

Settings – Easily configure notifications (finished, finished with exceptions and failed), Backup Settings and Mappings;

For more information and a quick tour, please feel free to contact me.

SP Site Templates – What is what?!

Microsoft SharePoint comes with different site templates to choose from when creating a new site. It can be a little tricky to know what is what.

I would recommend testing each as a learning exercise, however below are some high level descriptions about the templates to help people along.


Team Site (Collaboration Site Template)

Use the Team site to quickly create, organize, and share information for your team or project. The site includes: libraries and lists for:

  • Shared documents
  • Announcements
  • Calendars
  • Links
  • Tasks
  • Discussion Board

The Team site can be used as a single environment to create, organize, and share content. For example, use the Announcements list to broadcast key information, new tools, or resources to team members. Use the Calendar to share scheduling information, like team events, deadlines, or vacations. You might also try the Links list to help your team connect with partner sites or find key information for their jobs.

Blog Site (Collaboration Site Template)

Use the Blog site to quickly announce company announcements, or post ideas, observations, and expertise within your team or organization. The site contains Posts, Comments, and Links. Blog tools help you approve or reject draft posts, and edit or delete old posts. You can even receive alerts when the blog is updated.

To help users locate content that interests them, you can assign posts you create to one or more categories. Blog sites allow you to comment on posts, which is a great way to keep your readers engaged.

Project Site (Collaboration Site Template)

The Project site template provides an easy way to manage projects. The site has similar collaborative features as the Team site, and includes a Projects Summary web part that is connected to the default Task list. Items added to the Task list are automatically displayed in the Project Summary.

Other advantages to using the Project site:Visual timeline of the project’s tasks.

  • Project task schedule.
  • Library for storing relevant project documents.
  • Notebook for quickly capturing and organizing information about the project.
  • Shared calendar for team events.
  • Ability to connect to Project Professional, Project Server 2016, or Project Online.

Community Site (Collaboration Site Template)

Use the Community site as a place where members can discuss topics they have in common.

Community sites offer several benefits over email, instant messaging, or other communication methods, including:

  • Availability of all site content to all members of the community.
  • Full retention of discussion history in compliance with corporate guidelines.
  • Built-in search so members can search all community posts.
  • Categorization of content to improve discoverability and simplify maintenance.
  • Site maintenance using SharePoint lists, which allow you to take advantage of the governance, records management, and workflow integration features of SharePoint.

Document Center Site (Enterprise Site Template)

Use the Document Center site template to manage large numbers of documents. You can use a Document Center site as an authoring environment or a content archive.

In an authoring environment, users frequently check files in and out and create folder structures for those files. You can use versioning to keep ten or more earlier versions of each document. You can also use workflows to control document life cycles.

There is no authoring of documents in a content archive. Users only view or upload documents. In a Document Center site you can create a type of archive called knowledge base archives. Typically, knowledge bases contain single versions of documents, and a site can potentially contain up to 10 million files.

Records Center Site (Enterprise Site Template)

Use the Records Center site to organize, store, and manage records such as legal or financial documents. The Records Center supports the entire records management process, from records collection through records management to records disposition.

Versioning, auditing, metadata management, eDiscovery, and customizable record routing are built-in features that can help you manage records more effectively.

Business Intelligence (BI) Center Site (Enterprise Site Template)

Use a BI site to store, manage, share, and view business reports, scorecards, and dashboards. A BI Center site has certain characteristics that set it apart from other kinds of sites that include pre-built lists and libraries designed specifically for BI content, access to PerformancePoint Services content (for on premises customers), sample files, and links to helpful information about BI tools.

Search Center (Enterprise or Basic) Site (Enterprise Site Template)

Use the Search Center site to provide a way for users to search the site and view search results. A Search Center site is the top-level site of a site collection that a farm administrator creates by using the Enterprise Search Center template.

When you create a Search Center site a default search home page and default search results page are created. Also, pages known as search verticals are created that can be customized for searching specific content, such as people, conversations, and videos. These pages display search results that are filtered and formatted for a specific content type or class.

Publishing Site (Publishing Site Template)

Use Publishing site to create enterprise intranets, communication portals, and, in SharePoint Server, public websites. In SharePoint Server, they can also be used to expand your website and quickly publish web pages. Contributors can work on draft versions of pages and publish them to make them visible to readers.

Publishing sites have unique features that simplify webpage authoring, approving, and publishing processes. These features are enabled automatically when you create a publishing site and include:

  • Page layouts
  • Column types
  • Web parts
  • Lists
  • Document and image libraries for storing web publishing assets.

Publishing Site with Workflow (Publishing Site Template)

Use the Publishing site with workflow to publish web pages on a schedule by using approval workflows. It includes document and image libraries for storing web publishing assets. By default, only sites with this template can be created under this site.

A publishing approval workflow automates the routing of content for review and approval. Publishing of new and updated web pages is tightly controlled. No new content can be published until it has been approved by every approver in the workflow.

Enterprise Wiki (Publishing Site Template)

An Enterprise wiki is a publishing site for sharing and updating large volumes of information across an enterprise. If your organization needs a large, centralized knowledge repository that is designed to both store and share information on an enterprise-wide scale, consider using an Enterprise wiki.

An Enterprise wiki is often a repository for an organization’s knowledge, which otherwise might not be saved for future use. You can use an Enterprise wiki to promote informal learning and share tips with other users, which can reduce the need for formal training or continuous IT support.

Getting Started with Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams has been around a short while now, and there still seems to be a lot of confusion as to what it is, and where to start. As with all things, it is worth trying out in a testing tenant if available, but ultimately it is very easy to get started from scratch. This short blog post covers what you might discover when first exploring Microsoft Teams, and some key points.

Bring your team together
Create a collaborative workspace for your team and let anybody join, or keep it private. Use channels to organise activity by topic, area, or anything else.

Chat 1:1 and with groups
Outside of open team conversations, chat privately and share files and notes with anyone in your organisation.

Connect with online meetings
Schedule meetings with your team or start something impromptu. Built-in video and screen sharing bring everybody closer together.

Files, notes, apps, and more, all in one place
All your team’s tools are organised and integrated together. Get the best of Office 365 and other services via custom tabs, connectors, and bots.

Here are some steps to get started;

  1. Navigate to teams.microsoft.com and use your Office 365 credentials to log in
  2. On your first visit, you should be presented with a prompt to create your team as shown here. If you are an owner of an existing Office 365 Group, you can join your new team to it (not shown below)


Be aware that if you create a team without joining it to a group, but a group exists with a similar name, you run the risk of a double group scenario (e.g. In this case we are creating an IT Team without joining to a group, but if a IT group exists, we will end up with 2 similar groups, so some manual deletion of the new team and group maybe required, followed by recreating and joining to the existing group as it may have data in it)

  1. Next you will want to decide who should be in your team. You do not have to enter data here just yet, just click skip if you are not sure


  1. Congratulations you already have your first team setup. In this case, it is called ‘IT’ and under it sits a channel called ‘General’


  1. Selecting the team name ellipses will present the following options
    • View team – This will display team members in the team
    • Add channel – Channels are key to organizing team collaboration. Name them by discussion topic, project, role, location, or for fun, so conversations and content are easy to find by everyone in the team
    • Add members – Add new members to the team
    • Leave the team – If you not longer want to be part of the team you can leave. If you are the last owner of group, you need to assign another in order to leave
    • Edit team – This is the same as the first page you completed to setup the group. You can adjust the Team name, Description and Privacy (Private or Public)
    • Get link to team – Generates a link so people can access it easily
    • Delete the team – Deletes the team
  2. Other areas of interest will include the short cuts on the left hand side
    • Activity – You will see mentions, replies and other notifications here
    • Chat – Within chat you can have private conversations, or video call with an individual or a group
    • Teams – discussed above
    • Meetings – Meetings will display any entries, such as outlook calendar meetings
    • Files – Easy access to active files from all of your teams including OneDrive

Here is a useful graphic with considerations before rolling out (taken from AvePoint UK);

That concludes this very high level introduction to getting Microsoft Teams setup and some considerations to make. I will provide more articles in the near future.

Actual Hours and Task Types in MS Project

Hi All

Just thought I would put a quick post up showing what impact changing actual hours has against each of the three task types. The three task types available are;

  • Fixed Units (Default)
  • Fixed Duration
  • Fixed Work

Before we continue, learn the formula for task types;

Duration x Units = Work.

One of these types has to be fixed. Depending on which type is fixed, will mean different things happening to your tasks (e.g. duration, dates etc) when actuals are applied.

Here is some examples of what will happen.

Schedule Used
The schedule used for this post has three tasks, each using the different task type available. Other than the task type and resource name applied, they are identical. I have set relevant columns, and colour coded them for easier viewing;

Scenario 1
Below shows 8hrs of actual work performed, across each planned day. The exact planned work, has been carried out;
ActualHoursAndTaskTypes-Img2-8hours each day

As you can see in the plan below, everything lines up in the columns. Planned, Baseline and Actuals, for all three people;
ActualHoursAndTaskTypes-Img3-8hours each day

Scenario 2
Below shows 4hrs actual work per day instead of 8hrs planned, for 4 of the 5 days. (16hrs);

  • Fixed Duration: 4hrs Mon – Thu builds up the work for Friday to 24hrs
  • Fixed Unit: 4hrs Mon – Thu means the following Monday and Tuesday have work
  • Fixed Work: Same as Fixed Unit

ActualHoursAndTaskTypes-Img4-4hours 4 days

ActualHoursAndTaskTypes-Img5-4hours 4 days

Scenario 3
Below shows 4hrs of actual work for all 5 days (20hrs instead of the planned 40hrs);

  • Fixed Duration: 4hrs Mon – Fri means the following Mon – Wed have work. The duration will have to change in this case.
  • Fixed Unit: 4hrs Mon – Fri means the following Mon – Wed have work
  • Fixed Work: Same as Fixed Unit in this case

ActualHoursAndTaskTypes-Img6-4hours each day

ActualHoursAndTaskTypes-Img7-4hours each day

Scenario 4
Below shows 12hrs actual work per day instead of 8hrs planned, for 2 of the 5 days. (24hrs)

  • Fixed Duration: 12hrs Mon – Tue means the work is reduced for each remaining day, but duration remains the same (The finish date does not change)
  • Fixed Unit: 12hrs Mon – Tue means the work is reduced for each remaining day, and the finish date is now sooner as the duration is reduced
  • Fixed Work: Same as Fixed Unit in this case

ActualHoursAndTaskTypes-Img8-12hours 2 days

ActualHoursAndTaskTypes-Img9-12hours 2 days

That shows some examples, and at least gives you some idea about things that may change! There are other scenarios as well, it is worth practising before planning and fully understanding the mechanics of the tool.

RBS and Resource Engagements Example

Hi Everyone,

I am currently working with a large client at the early stages, and just thought I would provide an example of RBS with Resource Engagements.

In this scenario we wanted the following;

  1. Have Project Managers request generic resources by type and location (e.g. Software Developer – London, or Software Developer – New York)
  2. Allow Resource Managers to have the ability to say ‘No I cannot commit this generic resource as nobody is available, but someone from another location in the same team is free’
  3. The resource manager can then simply swap the generic resource for a named resource

Fairly simplistic overall.

So this post really just gives an example of how you could configure this. Here is a sample RBS tree. The numbers represent the level of hierarchy (pay close attention to those!);

1. Company
2. Information Technology
3. Software
4. Software Developers (London)
5. Software Developer Team (London)
4. Software Developers (New York)
5. Software Developer Team (New York)
4. Software Developers (Beijing)
5. Software Developer Team (Beijing)
4. Software Testers (London)
5. Software Tester Team (London)
4. Software Testers (New York)
5. Software Tester Team (New York)
4. Software Testers (Beijing)
5. Software Tester Team (Beijing)

So in this case, you can see different teams in different locations. Here is how we would assign users in the system;

  • Top level Senior Executives – Level 1, Company (View all projects and resources for whole company)
  • Top level IT Management – Level 2, Information Technology (View all IT projects & resources)
  • Resource Managers – Level 2, Information Technology (View all IT projects & resources)*
  • Software PMs – Level 3, Software (View all software projects & resources, but not other elements of IT if defined such as Hardware, or Sales)
  • Team Leads – Level 4, Software Developers or Software Testers & Location (View only respective projects and resources, in their locations)
  • Team Members – Level 5, Team & Location (View just their own relevant data)
  • Generic Resources – Level 3 (Note this for later on in the post)

* Resource Managers may sit at Level 3 if they only needed to work with IT Software projects and resources! In the above example they can see across anything IT related @ Level 2.

Further to the RBS structure, the next step should be to create a generic resource matching custom field called ‘Role‘ with the following choices;

  • Senior Executive
  • IT Management
  • Resource Manager
  • Software PM
  • Software Developer Team (London)
  • Software Developer Team (New York)
  • Software Developer Team (Beijing)
  • Software Tester Team (London)
  • Software Tester Team (New York)
  • Software Tester Team (Beijing)

You can see some roles are team based just like in the RBS. These should be applied to the related Team Members AND Team Leads in this case. Anyone above this, gets the other roles.

Using the new Role CF, Generic Resources should be setup as follows;

  • Software Developer Team (London)
  • Software Developer Team (New York)
  • Software Developer Team (Beijing)
  • Software Tester Team (London)
  • Software Tester Team (New York)
  • Software Tester Team (Beijing)

These Generic Resources should go at Level 3 in the RBS (yes apply the RBS to these as well)

Once the roles have been defined, its a good idea to test after each section is applied, just to make sure the behaviour is as expected such as who can see what.

Within the resource center, you can setup views to help the resource managers filter out unwanted data for easier viewing of capacity / utilisation / heatmap information etc. For example, you may wish to have a ‘Software London Developers’ team view, and to do this you simply need to apply these filters to a new resource center view;

Type = Work
Role = Software Developer Team (London)
RBS = Company.Information Technology.Software.Software Developers (London)

Another option maybe a ‘Software All Developers’ view (so looking across all Software Development Teams);

Type = Work
Company.Information Technology.Software.Software Developers (London).Software Development Team (London)
Company.Information Technology.Software.Software Developers (New York).Software Development Team (New York)
Company.Information Technology.Software.Software Developers (Beijing).Software Development Team (Beijing)
Company.Information Technology.Software.Software Developers (London)
Company.Information Technology.Software.Software Developers (New York)
Company.Information Technology.Software.Software Developers (Beijing)
Company.Information Technology.Software

From here, you could test the following;

  1. Request a Software Developer from London using MSP as a Project Manager
  2. As a Resource Manager, using a custom view like mentioned above, select the team resources (e.g. London Developers) and then use the heatmap in the browser to see how booked up that resource is
  3. Based on the availability, either accept or try to swap for a developer from another location (e.g. New York)

That’s about it! There are most likely other ways to approach this and other options, but this is just one.

Try this on a test build first, and you can become familiar with it.

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