I have been asked several times what skill-set is best suited for a PWA. I have always felt this role should not be underestimated; especially for larger, more complex ProjectWise installations (more on this in Part 2). But which side of the fence should your PWA come from? IT? Design? I certainly believe that having general IT knowledge is important. Your PWA will need to understand the system requirements for ProjectWise and then likely leverage different IT specialists that would be involved with the ProjectWise installation, including those responsible for database management, networking, software installation, system backup and disaster recovery. The key word here is “leverage”.
For most ProjectWise deployments, I tend to think the greater responsibility of a PWA is better served by someone possessing a strong CAD/design background. Some of my reasons include the integration of ProjectWise with CAD platform software (MicroStation and AutoCAD) and the complex applications that run on them. Further, someone with CAD/design experience usually has an advantage interfacing with disciplines to develop ProjectWise functionality such as environments, states and workflows, CAD standards (including workspaces, file name conventions, plotting, etc.), reference file management and setting up project/folder structure and security. I also believe – and this is less tangible– that a PWA coming from a CAD/design background has a better understanding of the day-to-day challenges users/designers face, in particular the pressures of meeting project deadlines. Of course, not everyone will share my opinion, so I welcome your thoughts.