Thursday, 25 February 2016

AvePoint DocAve 6 - How to Fix the Error "The timer service is down"

Logged into DocAve today to move some content from one site to another, only to come across this error as soon as I logged in:
"The timer service is down, which may cause the manager service stop working.  Please ensure your timer service is started."

My first thought: Don't care, as long as I can still complete my task.  So went to Content Manager, tried to expand my farm in the tree-view, only to get this error!
An error occurred while loading the data.  Please view the logs for details.

I'm the kind of man that uses Logs as a last resort, so here's how I fixed it:

Logged onto the server that is hosting the DocAve 6 Manager, then opened up the 'Manager Restart Service Tool' for DocAve from the Start Menu & restarted all three services:

Once they restarted, tried logging back into DocAve, but turns out one of my Server Agents was still down:
 View of Agent Monitor which can be found by navigating to Control Panel > Agent Monitor in DocAve 6.

These agents are what gets installed on each Farm to action tasks you make in DocAve.  So then I logged into the Server (Agent Name) that had the stopped agent.  Once there, ran the Agent Restart Service Tool & all was fixed.

Anyone else have DocAve issues they need help solving?

If you enjoyed this, here's another post about resolving a DocAve issue I wrote a little while back:

Monday, 15 February 2016

The Ultimate Reporting Solution Using SharePoint Task Lists

We've all done it before, built a task list, exported SharePoint list data to excel, created a pivot table & chart to show status in each column.  Below is a quick example of what you can get by doing something simple like that.  It's great for getting a snapshot of the task list, but terrible for reporting on team performance.

export to excel

Pivot-table & chart of a task list

Reporting isn't just about showing stats on how your tasks are tracking.  Sure, it gives you an idea of what you have achieved over a set period of time which is great information for upper management.  But it doesn't help you improve your customer experience.

  • What if you could develop an automated report that could track every task individually?  
  • What if you could see how long a particular task sat at a particular status?  
  • What would happen if you found out that tasks spend most of their time in the 'On Hold' status?

I know what would happen.  You would now be able to find all the bottlenecks in your process & start to resolve them one at a time.  You would be able to see which staff perform better during certain phases of a task & you could fine tune your team into a well-oiled task destroying machine.

I just told you.  By implementing this solution are getting performance monitoring down to a granular level which allows you to surface bottlenecks in your process and sort that shit out.

I'm going to attempt to explain how to achieve this via diagrams & process maps because the step by step process would be slightly long!
  • Create two lists. a Task List, used for logging each task and it's status.  and a Task Logging List, used to hold all the logs for when tasks are updated.  Here's a picture of the columns you need to include in each list

  • Create a Workflow on your Task List that will run every time the status of a task changes. Here's a picture of the workflow process I went with:
View of workflow & trigger actions:

Detailed view of workflow & each step that occurs at each stage:

  • Export the Data to Excel & create a Pivot Report
Here you can see a VERY basic excel report that is pulling back all the data we have been logging to the Task Logging List.  It shows on average how long a job/initiative sits in a status before being moved to the next status.  You can then filter/slice this data to show how long a specific initiative or task owner takes on average to complete a task at each status.

I'm not covering any new ground, this has been drilled into us again and again.  I'm just trying to deliver what's been offered previously in a more step-by-step approach.  Here's where I particularly enjoyed reading about it:

PROVEIT! - Using Analytics to Drive SharePoint Adoption and ROI (Published by Mark Miller, Edited by Loren Johnson)
 - In Particular, Chapter 4 (SharePoint Analytics) by Sadalit (Sadie) Van Buren