One of the features of Project Server 2010 I was really keen to try out was that of delegates. In Project Server 2007, when a Project Manager goes on leave, it is necessary to go through and manually reassign each task in the schedule to a new status manager so they can see the tasks, their updates and manage the schedule effectively. When that user returns from holiday, you then have to repeat the process and reassign each task back.
In Project Server 2010, it is possible for users to ‘delegate’ their project server account to another user for a period of time, effectively allowing that user to login as that user. So in the above example, the project manager going on leave could simply choose to delegate their account to the cover PM whilst they were away. Anyway, in typical EPMpire style, here is a quick overview.
To create a delegate, select Manage Delegates either through Personal Settings, or via Server Settings (check you have been granted the relevant security privileges if you don’t have these options).
Choose to add a delegate, you will then be presented with a screen that will enable you to set up the delegate, and most importantly configure a mandatory time period for the delegation.
You can only add those users as a delegate that have the ‘Can be a delegate’ resource security item set to allow. This is a clever move, meaning that the administrator can choose which users groups can delegate, limiting it to say PM’s instead of providing the functionality to all team members.
Once the delegation has been configured, it can be activated by simply selecting it from the ‘Manage Delegates’ menu option. Upon activation, a handy alert is displayed on every screen indicating that the current user is acting as a delegate.
Whilst acting as a delegate, all security and groupings for that delegated user take effect, meaning if you were a project server administrator and you acted as a delegate for another user with lesser privileges, you would only have those lesser privileges. The screens below show the normal administrator view of the PWA home page, followed by the delegated view, notice how several options are not there both in the quick launch menu and the reminders section.
The documentation indicates that delegation will also flow through the ULS logging, but at the time of writing I hadn’t confirmed that was the case (or if it is, it’s just hard to see pull out of the logs).
To come out of delegated mode, simply go the delegation management screen and choose ‘Stop Delegate Session’.
Of course, whilst this feature is fantastic for when people go on leave and you want to delegate your items to the person that will be covering for you, there is another use for this function that will stop administrators pulling their hair out….. end user support. One of the things in Project Server 2007 that I am always running into when trying to support end users is that it’s hard to replicate issues people are having because of the integrated security. Typically a user would either have to give the support person their password and allow them to log on as them, or they would have to sit with them while they worked out what was going wrong. Now with delegation, it’s possible for a user to delegate a support person to have access, keeping their credentials secure and allowing them to continue on with other work whilst the issue is troubleshot. As soon as the issue is fixed, or the logon no longer required, the user can delete the delegation.