SharePoint Online Subsites

Copper Contributor

We currently have:

- A portfolio level (Site collection level) - Portfolio managers can see everything below

- A Programme level (One subsite per programme) - Different programme managers have permission to specific subsites at this level 

- A Project level (Subsites in the Programme level) - Different project managers have permission to different project subsites at this level


Project Managers can only see their project subsites

Programme Managers can see everything in their Programme subsite and all the project subsites underneath

Portfolio managers can see everything


This has been working great since around 2019.


Now Microsoft recommends not to use subsites, create individual site collections and connect them somehow in a hub.
But the administrative burden will increase ten-fold because for each subsite created at the project level we would also have to find the programme manager for that project and grant them permission to that specific project as well because programme managers can see all projects under their programme.


I don't want to change what is working very well just because Microsoft says it is recommended not to use subsites. We have a very good business case of why subsites are essential.



1. How can you achieve the same permission structure at Portfolio, Programme & Project levels in a hub site?

2. Is there any reason why we should not continue to use the structure we currently have?

3 Replies

@DJ_Jamba The clear separation of responsibilities and permissions you've established is a testament to your team's thoughtful approach to designing an efficient and effective solution. While Microsoft may suggest moving towards a hub site architecture, it's important to remember that their recommendations are often based on broad guidance and may not align perfectly with your organization's unique requirements.


In this case, the subsite structure you've implemented seems to be serving your needs exceptionally well, with a well-defined permissions model that allows portfolio managers, program managers, and project managers to access the information and resources they need without unnecessary complexity. Changing the underlying architecture simply because of a general recommendation could indeed introduce more administrative overhead, as you've rightly pointed out. The burden of managing permissions across individual site collections, rather than the streamlined subsite structure you have in place, could outweigh any potential benefits of the hub site approach. My recommendation would be to continue leveraging the subsite structure that has proven to be so effective for your organization. As long as you can maintain the integrity of the permissions model and ensure efficient management of the subsites, there's no compelling reason to disrupt a solution that is clearly meeting your business needs.


That said, I would encourage you to keep an open mind to exploring the hub site architecture in the future, should your requirements evolve or if new capabilities emerge that could enhance your existing setup. But for now, the subsite structure appears to be the right fit, and I commend you and your team for developing a well-designed solution that is optimized for your organization's unique needs.

Many thanks for your response @BarryGoblon

May I ask if you work for Microsoft or have had this response from the Microsoft product (or other Microsoft) team?

Well, being quite redundant... If what is posted is serving you well - and using the words already posted: exceptionally well" - making changes based on "a recommendation" is looking for a problem that you don't have, and I don't even think that it needs.

If it serves as a comparison, some of the recommendations made by Microsoft are all welcome and we analyzed them all without exception. But implementation necessarily involves a need to study in relation to our users, how this impacts them or brings significant changes to them that result in a solution or more problems.

A safe, problem-free environment that is possible to produce quietly seems like a good idea to me!

Kind regards