Project Server and Synchronizing Users to Project Sites

Original post found here

This blog post looks at some slight behavior differences between Project Server 2010 and Project Server 2013 regarding user synchronization to project sites.  One key part of this change should be taken into account when migrating – as there is one 2010 setting that no longer has UI to change it – and if it is disabled before migration it cannot be turned on again in 2013.  I’ll get into details of that setting and a workaround later, but first I will set the scene for how the settings and behavior have evolved. 

In Project Server 2010 we had a checkbox in Server Settings, Project Site Provisioning Settings for Project Site Permissions – labeled “Check to automatically synchronize Project Web App users with Project Sites when they are created, when project managers publish projects, and when user permissions change in Project Server. When the check box is cleared, Project Server users are never synchronized with Project Sites.”:

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In my example it is unchecked – this is reflected in the published database in the MSP_WEB_ADMIN table in the WADMIN_AUTO_ADD_USER_TO_SUBWEB column – which has 0 when unchecked and 1 when checked.

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If I create a new project and add some resources and then publish – I see just the following jobs in the queue and I don’t see any permissions set for the resources in my plan.

Project Save from Project Professional  
Start Workflow Success
Project Publish Notifications
Project Publish Success
Reporting (Project Publish)
Project Site Create
Reporting (Project Sync)
Reporting (Enterprise Project Type and Workflow Information Sync)

If I go to Server Settings, Project Sites and select the project, then click Synchronize in the header:

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then I see a couple of queue jobs executed:

Project Site Membership Synchronization
Reporting (Project Sync)

However, I still do not see my expected users added to my site.  Only when I check the checkbox in the first screenshot, and then click Synchronize on the Project Sites page do I see my users get added.  So this checkbox controls the addition of users to my subweb.

There are some other settings in 2010 that had no UI, but could be set programmatically (or by editing the database and were documented in the article http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh670402(v=office.14).aspx and the table was the same MSP_WEB_ADMIN, but this time the column is WADMIN_USER_SYNC_SETTING:

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As you can see, mine is set to 0, which means all synchronizations are enabled.  If I change this to 2, this still has no effect on the site synchronization as long as the checkbox is checked.  Sync happens both on site creation and also using the Synchronize button.

Now lets jump forward to 2013.  The dialog in my first screenshot has no equivalent in 2013, and in a new installation the database setting for WADMIN_AUTO_ADD_USER_TO_SUBWEB  is defaulted to 1.  The WADMIN_USER_SYNC_SETTING now has some UI – under Server Settings, Project Permission Sync Settings.  I should add that this only appears when you are using Project Server Permissions mode.  The dialog looks like this:  , and if you are interested in the behind the scenes activity in the pub.MSP_WEB_ADMIN table the values for :

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If you are interested in the behind the scenes activity in the pub.MSP_WEB_ADMIN table the values for WADMIN_USER_SYNC_SETTING follow the numbers documented at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/microsoft.office.project.server.library.admin.usersyncsettings_di_pj14mref(v=office.15) like so:

Enabled                            Value=0.       Enable all synchronizations.

DisablePWA                     Value=1.       Disable synchronization with Project Web App.

DisablePWS                     Value=2.       Disable synchronization with project sites.

DisableEmailSync             Value=3.       Disable email synchronization.

DisableAll                         Value=4.       Disable all synchronizations.

DisableVisbilityProjects    Value=8.       Disable Visibility projects synchronization only.

DisableEverything            Value = 255. Disable everything.

Unchecking Enable Project Site Sync will give me a value of 10 in the database – as it disables project site sync and sync with SharePoint Task List Project (or visibility projects as they are sometimes called).

With these settings, which are equivalent to the ones described in the final 2010 test above  (DB value was 2 rather than 10 as visibility projects didn’t exist),  if I create a new project and publish, and/or if I click Synchronize on the Connected SharePoint Sites page I DO NOT see any synchronize queue jobs and NO users are added to my site.  In 2013 there is no longer a single click option to synchronize sites if I have used the new UI in front of the WADMIN_USER_SYNC_SETTING values to turn off site sync.

The other gotcha, and the piece that got me looking deeper into this topic in the first place is the issue I alluded to in the intro.  What if I am using 2010 and have that box unchecked – then migrate to 2013?  In this case it can leave you confused as to why your users aren’t able to access their sites after you create a project.  The behavior you will see is that on initial publish of a project, assuming you create a site, then even if you have ‘Enable Project Site Sync’ enabled you will still not see your users added – and neither will you see the expected additional ‘Project Web App Synchronized’ groups – you will just see the default members, Owners and Visitors if you go to Site Settings, Site Permissions:

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If you click on the Synchronize option you will see things put right – and the new groups will get added and your users added.  So we still take notice of the old DB setting which carried over from migration – but only on the project publish.

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This last piece is certainly a bug – not sure at this point how it will be addressed, but we will be updating our upgrade documents to suggest checking that box before migration.  If you have migrated from 2010 (or earlier!) and are not seeing permissions on sites set as expected when you publish a plan then take a look at the database (change ProjectWebApp to the name of your database),

SELECT [WADMIN_AUTO_ADD_USER_TO_SUBWEB] FROM [ProjectWebApp].[pub].[MSP_WEB_ADMIN]

should return a 1.  If it shows a zero then you could run

Update [ProjectWebApp_PPM].[pub].[MSP_WEB_ADMIN]
Set [WADMIN_AUTO_ADD_USER_TO_SUBWEB] = 1
where [WADMIN_AUTO_ADD_USER_TO_SUBWEB] = 0

This will show (1 rows(s) affected) as it resets the value.

We are reviewing this behavior change – so I will update if we do make any changes here.

For Project Online this last piece can never be an issue – as it will always be a 1 – and Project Online now has new defaults for the other Project Permissions Sync Settings – so by default we don’t sync anything.  And like 2013, if you have this sync turned off then Synchronize in Connected SharePoint Sites does nothing.

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