User and Resource Synchronisation to your PWA

If you want to start using Project Online, you should think about how to generate users and resources in your PWA. You can create them both, manually and automatically. The first option may be possible, if there are not more than 20 resources, but for larger environments the manual creation process is painful. This blog article will show you how to manage your users and resources in Project Online.

What is the difference between resources and users?

Users do have a user name (email address)  within Office 365 and hopefully a valid license for Project Online. If a user is assigned to a security group within your PWA (e.g. Project Managers, Team Members), a login is possible. Resources can be assigned to Projects. The following resource types are distinguished within the PWA:

  1. Work resources: Differentiation between generic and “normal” resources. Do have a standard rate to calculate costs automatically, if an assignment is in place. Current Max. Units define the availability of the resource in general for project work. Examples: Developer, Project Manger, Julian Boenigk.
  2. Material resources: Do have a standard rate and cost per units in place. If an assignment is in place, the costs are calculated by the quantity (e.g. [20]). Examples: License, Work Station, Notebook.
  3. Cost resources: Do not have any pre-configured cost rate. Instead, you can enter the costs if you assign the cost resource (e.g. [2000.00]). Examples: Travel Cost, Consulting, Patent.

A resource can be a user, but doesn’t have to be one.

What administrative possibilities do I have to manage resources and users?

  1. Manual creation of resources and users: The users needs to be in O365 for a manual creation in the PWA. Go to the resource center and click on Resources -> New. With the flag associate resource with a user account, you can control, if it is solely a resource, or a resource with login (~ user). 
  2. Automatic synchronization of the resource pool and manual creation of users: Within the O365 Admin Center there must be at least one group in place, which contains all PWA resources. The type of the group doesn’t matter. Here’s the link to the respective page in your portal. Once the group is in place, open the PWA Settings and navigate to the active directory enterprise resource pool synchronization. You can sync up to five groups by putting them into the text box and clicking save and sync now. Once you did the synchronization, the resources will appear in the resource center. Note that you just have resources, now. If you want to link a resource to a user name, you can do that by clicking on manage users in the PWA settings. This option will only appear with the project permission mode. Select New User, enter the user logon account and assign a security group.

Automatic synchronization of the resource pool and security groups: This enables you to do the user & resource management completely in O365 and not in the PWA. Besides the group for the resource synchronization, you’ll need O365 groups for each security group in the PWA (Administrators, Portfolio Managers, Portfolio Viewers, Project Managers, Team Members, Resource Managers, Team Leads), so basically you’ll have nine Office 365 groups. As explained above, first you’ll setup the active directory enterprise resource pool synchronization. After that, you go to the PWA settings, select manage groups and link each O365 group to the respective security group by opening it one by one and entering a value in the section active directory group

What resource / user data is synchronized to the PWA?

Per default, almost nothing: The display name, user logon account and security groups. Data like the standard rate or max. units cannot be synchronized without 3rd party tools.

How can I automatically synchronize my local active directory with Office 365?

Even if there are a lot of articles which do still describe possibilities to synchronize you local active directory to O365 with DirSync and AADSync, the most up-to-date technology is Azure Active Directory Connect. Check out this blog post to get a detailed how-to guide.

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