Project Online: What happened to my site creation settings?


To use a Douglas Adams reference I sometimes feel like a Vogon telling customers that they should have known about stuff because it was posted to the Message Center.  For many of our PMO folks who are not Office 365 Administrators they have more chance of getting to Alpha Centauri…  But I digress, and even if you had seen the message center post it didn’t do a great job of explaining everything.  What did happen to the site creation settings?

The first information behind this change was in a blog post that talked about the extension of the limits of the number of projects we support in a PWA instance in Project Online.  One aspect of this was the support for sites outside of the PWA site collection – and the ability to use specific settings in an Enterprise Project Type (EPT) to set where a site should get created (and even if it should get created).  The ‘where’ part is only available if you are using Project Permission Mode.  What wasn’t explained was that the existing place where you had made the setting was going away.  It was in the header for the Connected SharePoint Sites.

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And when you clicked on it the settings options looked like this:

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With the change to being able to set these values at the EPT level this was removed and instead you need to navigate to each EPT and make the setting there. 

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There is a new section within the EPT settings once you open up the EPT where the Site Creation options can be configured.  If you don’t see the ‘Location’ part then you are probably in SharePoint Permissions mode and you don’t have the option to create in other site collections.

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This is giving you the same options as before – but adds the flexibility to specify by EPT as well as choose other site collections to create your sites – thus spreading the project sites around and being able to reach the 30,000 project limit even if you need sites for each project.  If you do choose a different site collection then you can’t sync user permissions or tasks lists either.

If that had all gone to plan you may not have noticed much (apart for the setting being gone from Connected SharePoint Sites) – but we did have an initial bug that was causing sites to not get created – which then raised the further questions of “what just happened”.  The expiry of the original Message Center post has been extended and we will be updating the link to point to this blog post.  Sorry for the confusion around this change – and we are learning for the next changes.

Two other useful links to give more context here – the support document for Enterprise Project Types - https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Enterprise-Project-Types-C576DE02-A25C-4EA1-9DE6-02BE44DBB0A6 and the support document for tuning Project Online performance https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Tune-Project-Online-performance-12ba0ebd-c616-42e5-b9b6-cad570e8409c.

Always a good idea to talk to your Office 365 administrator and let them know that you need to know about any notifications for Project Online changes.  To see the Message center they need to go to the Admin tile in Office 365 and then under Health they will see Service health (where any known current issues should be posted) and Message center, where we post announcements.  These can fall into different categories as the screenshot shows.  You click on a row to get more details. The link in the Message center pane takes you here.

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And while I’m here you might want to keep an eye out for another Message that will land soon concerning options to change the way time-phased data is presented – and allowing daily, weekly, monthly or fiscal period roll-ups instead of just daily.  The initial posting is just a heads up on the change as it may require you to update your Odata reports – and I’ll be posting more details in a couple of months when that feature gets closer to being turned on.

I could finish as a Vogon too – and read you some poetry perhaps?  Maybe not.


Comments (10)

  1. James Boman says:

    Hi Brian – I think what wasn’t mentioned anywhere was that the option to have a Project Site created when you create a project has now been removed, only getting created after “next” publish after you create a project. Perhaps this is this the bug you mentioned? – could you comment on if this is a temporary or permanent behaviour?

    Cheers,
    J.

    1. Great question James – just checking on that one but agree that we used to create the site on the implicit summary publish – not the first explicit publish.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

    2. And after lecturing people on reading the Message Center I hadn’t read the Service Health Dashboard since coming back from vacation… Don’t do as I do – do as I say! You should see this advisory posted – and hopefully this will be fixed in the next week or so.

      SP105185 – Project Online site creation issues when using Project Web Access (PWA)
      Status:Service degradation
      User impact:Project Online sites are not created with a new project when using PWA.
      Latest message:Title: Project Online site creation issues when using Project Web Access (PWA)

      User Impact: Project Online sites are not created with a new project when using PWA.

      More info: A Project Online site will be created once the project plan is published. This condition only affects customers who have configured their project site to be created during new project creation. While we work on remediation, affected users can ensure project sites are published by publishing the project plan.

      Current status: We’ve resolved the majority of the automated verification process issues and our next step is to check in the the proposed fix. We anticipate the fix will be checked in within the next 24 hours.

      Scope of impact: A few customers have reported this issue, and our analysis indicates that impact is specific to a subset of users who are served through the affected infrastructure.

      Start time: Friday, June 2, 2017, at 1:05 AM UTC

      Preliminary root cause: A code issue caused the component responsible for automatically publishing Project Online sites to become degraded.

      Next update by: Wednesday, June 14, 2017, at 10:00 PM UTC
      Updated:2017-06-13 20:11 (UTC)
      Start time:2017-06-02 01:05 (UTC)

      1. James Boman says:

        Thanks Brian – look forward to the fix. Glad we don’t have to deploy workflows to fix this 👍

  2. Matt Cooper says:

    Hi Brian, the biggest issue was that the old settings that were set in connected SP Sites were not rolled over to the EPT side setting and nothing gave any specific notification of this and the subsequent required actions. This threw a number of our deployments for clients and affected everyone. It would have been nice to have had clear comms on what config impact the change was going to have.

    1. I fully understand Matt, and the current settings should have been rolled across to the EPT – so no actions should have been needed – so there was no communication prepared. If we had intended to not roll over the settings then yes, we should have notified you – but the bug was not foreseen. Apologies for the inconvenience that this issue cause you and your clients and I hope that you will benefit from the change. The final fix for the initial site creation on project creation should be out within a week or so.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

  3. Dan says:

    Hi Brian, adding my two cents. Your blog post was very good. Luckily, I have a 365 admin that keeps me in the loop, but if he is away it would be great to have a better communication channel to Project Admins when they are different than the 365 Admins.

    I do follow you on Twitter which is how I was first alerted to your post. We make extensive use of project sites and I noticed on several new sites that the “Project Web App Synchronized” groups were not there. That is when I looked at the new setting identified in your post and saw that the appropriate check boxes were not checked. I checked then and then ran a manual sync and the issue was resolved. I think for events like this in the future to be more explicit if our settings will not be migrated or even tell us to double check the default settings (+1 to the prior post).

    Again, I appreciate all that you do in supporting Project users. Thanks, Brian

    1. Thanks Dan, and glad you are getting the information from your O365 admin. We have been talking about how best we can get this kind of news out to the PMO admins but certainly through Twitter is one way. Unfortunately this issue happened while I was on vacation so that delayed my getting a Tweet out about it.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

  4. Cathy Charker says:

    Hi,
    Just came across this post and find it very helpful. Just a question however. Is there a way that I can set Project Online so that sub-sites that are created default to inherited permission?

    thanks in advance

    1. Unfortunately not Cathy – although I’m putting together a blog post on automating the permission sync across to the sites using Microsoft Flow and PowerShell. Hopefully have something out this week. Paul Mather has also posted some useful articles on using PowerShell for permission sync on project sites – there is a link to his blog in the blog roll on this site.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

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