Wednesday, December 13, 2017

How to archive completed projects?

This is quite a common request from organizations. How to archive completed projects? Especially from organizations having a large amount of mid-sized projects. After a couple of years using Project, you can have up to 300 projects visible in the project center and in MS Project. Moreover you don't have anymore (that's a shame, I know...) the back-up and restore feature in Project Online, which allowed you in Project Server keeping one or many versions of a project. So you could delete the draft/publish versions, still having access to the archived versions from the archived DB.

That is to said : there is a way to archive properly completed projects. The easy but not ideal way is to simply filter out completed projects from the Project Center views, adding filters to the view definition. The issue of this way of doing if that the projects are still visible in MS Project/File/Open.

The best practice is to create a security category associated to a security group. Basically, you put all completed projects in the category where you deny all permissions. And you associate this category to a group where you add all non-admin users. So far so good. This process has been shared since almost 10 years across the Project community, so much that it has also been officially blogged by Microsoft here for Project Server 2010.

So why would I rewrite it? Because the procedure doesn't work anymore as-is. Don't know exactly when this happened, but Microsoft might have updated a setting in the back-office security model. Here is the trick: in the category settings, you need to check all views. I'll just detail these steps but keep in mind that all the steps from MS article (unpublish, project site) are still applicable.

SECURITY GROUP
You first create a security group for non-admin users. Put in it all users who should NOT see the archived projects. Of course, don't add yourself or any admin. 
That's it for the group.

SECURITY CATEGORY
Create a category, adding all completed projects. Do not check any of the options under the available/selected projects.

Add all the views to the category, that's the new thing:

Then add the archive group to the category. Click on the group once added and deny all permissions of the group. 

Et voilà!

Note that this is the only occasion where I use the DENY permission which is very strong. For example, if a user is a member of groups A and B associated with categories A and B, if a permission is granted on category A but not granted (meaning neither allowed or denied), the user will have the permission. While if the permission is granted on category A but denied on category B, the user will NOT have the permission. This is why by default, we never recommand to use the deny option, but rather not check any of the options.


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