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Power BI Refresh Error

By Collin Quiring

EPM Strategy works extensively with Power BI for internal and customer needs.  We also work with Microsoft Project Server/Project Online for clients quite a bit.  This article is about a melding of the two products where what was happening in Microsoft Project affected the way Power BI was working.

I have created a very simple Power BI report (this is just to prove Proof of Concept, don’t get hung up on it’s extreme simplicity).  This report is using my userid and my permissions to get the appropriate Project Web App (PWA) tenant and Project Online instance.  The point of this screenshot is to prove that data from the Projects table is being pulled into Power BI.


In Power BI, to get the most recent version of the data, you just select “Refresh” from the ribbon.  However, in this case, even though we have already gotten the data, we get these error messages.  There is the sign in box (which is odd since we are already/still signed in).


No matter which authentication method, the forbidden access message appears.


And, when the Cancel button is pressed, the Refresh error message appears.  (For those that can’t read the image: “Permission Error: Credential are required to connect to the OData source.  You’ll need to refresh and provide credentials to continue. …”

But, of course, we know we have permissions.  In fact, we just built this table a few minutes ago.  So, what is happening?  And, what does Microsoft Project have to do with it?

In Microsoft Project, you can become a delegate for somebody else.  This means that you act as them without having to know their sign on.  This is a GREAT feature and has made trouble shooting much more effective than it was in the past.  While you do not actually sign into your computer or anything else as them, you do act like them in Project Web App.  This is the Act as a Delegate function.

In this case, that is exactly what has happened, in Project Online, I am acting as a delegate.  And, then I just switch apps to Power BI –  leaving PWA still open and as a delegate.  Unexpectedly, Power BI is using that permission set from Project Online.

The moral of the story is that if you have some permission error in Power BI, confirm that you don’t have something else in another browser (or elsewhere on the computer) where your userid is different than the one you are using in Power BI.




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