My Project Online Administrator is Locked! How to Fix?

Today I've got a call from a very worried customer: "Help, our Project Online Administrator got locked out! What do we do???"


First, let's bring calm into the conversation. You know people will live after that. If your Project Administrator got locked don't panic, the site collection administrator automatically has administrative privileges. So to fix it quickly, ask the tenant or SharePoint online admin to fix this for you and assign you or someone as site collection admin and then you can go and fix the Project Admin. Done!

Now let’s talk about the B-side.

First, How Did you Get Into this Situation?


I know, soul searching is not easy. If you know what caused the issue, great otherwise you should start asking questions. That's a very important first step to understand what happened. Generally think about the last steps performed in the site. Look for things like:

  • Any changes happened to the Administrators in Project Server or in the Administrators from Active Directory
  • Any synchronization happened to the AD group in the Resource Center. Maybe this happened and your Admin became inactive.
  • Any bulk password changes happened in your organization
  • Any user migration recently happened in your organization

You know, things like this to give you a sense of what caused the issue.

So well done! You fixed the problem and you understood what happened.


Let's Learn from this Event…

Let's lay the basics out here. Your company's Office 365 tenant have:

  • A global administrator,
  • A SharePoint administrator,
  • A site collection administrator,
  • A Project Online administrator.

Experience tells us that 90% of the time, there is someone which is incorporate ALL of these roles. Pick the person that is the Global Administrator and let's have a chat with this person and find out if anything special has been done to the Project Administration role. If this is the person that helped you reverting the situation as we talked before, even better. Discuss the situation with him/her. Share with him what  you think caused the lock.

What About Licencing?

Often times Active Directory changes alone can fix lockout situations, in these cases a site collection admin does not require a dedicated Project Online license. The challenge here is sometimes to fix the issue, the person needs to log into Project Online and in this circumstance the site collection administrator needs a Project Online license. It’s possible that he or she already has one.

I Don't Have Licences Left. What Do I Do?

You can temporarily remove licences from an user and assign to other for this. The licences are not named licences, so that's a perfectly legal manoeuvre. Better yet, remove the license assigned to the locked out user since he/she is not able to use it anyway while you fix this.

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