A question I hear a few times from organisations is “We have a new department or business unit coming on-board with Project Online, do we need a new PWA instance for them or can we use the one we already have?” The answer isn’t normally a straightforward yes or no. This post aims to cover most of the questions you need to ask when considering using the existing PWA site collection or creating a new one for a new department / business unit.
The first thing to consider is the Project Online limitations for the data such as number of projects per PWA site, check out the limits here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Project-Online-software-boundaries-and-limits-5a09dbce-1e68-4a7b-b099-d5f1b21ba489. Check how many projects you currently have in the PWA site collection and how many more the new business unit expect to add into the PWA site collection – if you are going to be reaching the limits on a PWA site collection then consider a dedicated PWA site collection for the new business unit. The number of PWA site collections in each Office 365 tenant will not be an issue – you can have up to 9,999. Just because you can have lots of PWA site collection doesn’t automatically mean the answer is a new PWA site collection each time!
One PWA site collection will support different PWA configurations for each business unit or department (custom fields , Enterprise Project Types etc.) by making use of the Department functionality to separate those configuration items. So for example, the R&D department only see configuration items relevant to them. So if the new business unit has different custom field / EPT requirements, that shouldn’t be a problem using a single PWA instance.
Whilst talking about configuration items, there are some items that are at the PWA site collection level that can’t be configured / tailored to each business unit or department. These would be some of the Time and Task Management options such as Time Reporting Periods, Timesheet settings and Task settings. Also some settings under the Operational Policies such as Additional Server Settings. If the new business unit has different requirements for time capturing they would need a dedicated PWA instance.
Another important aspect to consider is – will these different business units require access to the same enterprise resources to assign to tasks? Will they need to view the true resource demand / availability for these resources in one place? If this is the case then the easiest option is for the new business unit to use the same PWA site collection.
If there is a requirement to see the data from each business unit together in PWA, for example in a project center view then a single PWA site collection would be required. Similarly, if both business units projects needed to be included in the organisations portfolio strategic analysis for cost and resource requirements, a single PWA site collection will be required.
Reporting is another key factor, if the reports need to show data from all business units / departments then a single PWA instance is easier but it is still possible to generate reports that use data from multiple PWA site collections. With multiple PWA site collections this is something that can be worked around providing there was common metadata between the PWA site collections to enable projects from both PWA site collections to be viewed in the same report.
Then there is the management of the PWA site collection/s. It might be that the organisation has a central PMO function that administers the PWA site collection – adding another PWA site collection will increase their workload.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, here are just a few of the things to consider when deciding on using the existing PWA site collection or a new PWA site collection when a new business unit / department are coming on board.