Role of a ProjectWise Administrator – Part I

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.


One thought on “Role of a ProjectWise Administrator – Part I

  1. I see the value that a CAD / design background brings to the role of the PWA but I’d prefer to see the Role filled by someone like myself with more of an IT background. ProjectWise is foremost a document control tool, rather than a design tool. Tasks involving folder structures, permissions, backups, archiving, logs, and so on are routine within ITdepartments. As a general rule IT departments are much better at designing and applying standards and automation on a large scale than engineering firms were many departments or offices all have their own ideas on how to set things up. The role of experienced IT people is primarily to manage just these types of complex software platforms beyond the limited scope of the integration of PW and AP/CAD to include the hardware , networking disaster recovery planning, change management and how the software designers use may coexist with other complex software used for any number of other business purposes. Learning a new software package, a new proceedure or new workflow is also fairly routine. The key would be to find an experienced IT person willing to move out of the familiar IT role and into a role more directly in support of the business side of things. Admittedly the reputation of iT people is to be better dealing with computers rather than people but there are those that can interact with designers and engineers well. The advantage here would be that the IT person can offer suggestions that leverage automation and integration without any bias to the support the desires of any one group (designers , DC, or engineers) at the expense of the other(s) . One of the more frustrating challenges I face is that the CAD / designers desire to me self sufficient and take care of their own ” IT work ” causes any number of people undoing each others efforts to fix problems / get work done, with little communication standardization or documentated proceedure. I may configure projects, specs, catalogues, databases and any number of other things necessary to design software without once feeling the need to get in there and do the piping work myself, why do so many designers think it’s a good idea to get into the database and directly modify tables ??

    Just a few of my thoughts

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