For the past week or so, I’ve been looking at different templates for managing projects on SharePoint. The running theme has been that one-size-fits-all does not actually apply to project management. Just look at the spectrum below. Across the top we have different amounts of project management; down the left hand side we have the different workloads. So you understand that when implementing project management on SharePoint, you’ll likely start on the left side of the line – with a loosely structured approach – and then gradually move across and down as you become ready for more project management.
Manage a Large Project (with Microsoft Project): Project Structured
Project Structured is a project template for managing complex projects and leverages the Microsoft Project sync for even more robust functionality.
So what kind of functionality might we see added into a so-called “fully-structured” project site? Under ‘Plan’ additions include things like Team and Role definitions. Under ‘Control’ we can now manage change requests. A new section called ‘Close’ has been exposed on the Quick Launch, with subsections for Lessons Learned and Project Post Mortem. So we basically have all the functionality found in the previous two templates, with a bit more added.
Project Management Example: Manage Tasks with Microsoft Project
You see in this template that the Tasks Report opens up a nice work breakdown structure with a nice Gantt chart. There are a few different views you could look at here and you can also open each item in SharePoint and make any edits or updates I need to. What you see here makes collaboration so easy, because it’s so clear what is going on and also to make updates.
But also in this template is a Microsoft Project file:
And when you open up that file, it opens Microsoft Project and loads the work breakdown structure into it. So as Project Manager, I now have the ability to manage the project schedule right in MS Project:
And then Sync those changes back to my task list in SharePoint:
One of the enhancements we’ve made at BrightWork is to provide you with MS Project files that synchronize a whole lot more than you would get out of the box. So the Sync allows you to easily keep reports up-to-date with information you are bringing in from Project, which would otherwise be very difficult to keep updated in an accurate way.
Free SharePoint Project Management Template: Free Structured
There is a Free Structured Template available which extends out-of-the-box SharePoint to deliver a more coordinated environment to manage a project. And it’s yours free! It will run on SharePoint Foundation 2010, SharePoint Server 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint Online.
Over the past few days we’ve looked at different templates to manage single projects with differing amount of project management:
- Project Lite – “Introductory” amount of project management
- Project Standard – added a bit more project management
- Project Structured – leveraging the MS Project Sync
So now you have lots of sites to manage lots of individual projects. So it’s a good start; you and your stakeholders are happy because everyone now knows where each project is. But once you have the individual projects up and running and under control, naturally you’ll want to know where you are with the overall set of projects. Next time, I will show you how to take project management to the next level with a SharePoint template to look across multiple projects at once.