Microsoft Project with SharePoint integration allows project managers to maintain their project schedule with all the heavy lifting in MS Project, while project team members collaborate and work on the project without ever having to leave SharePoint.
But, what is the best way to report on the MS Project plan in SharePoint?
This article will cover three key areas for setting up and reporting on your Microsoft Project plan in SharePoint, including:
- Basic setup
- Standard reporting
- Advanced configuration
The first thing you need to do is to create a new SharePoint team site, from where will manage your project. All SharePoint team sites include a Tasks List that you can you to manage the project schedule.
Once you have set up your SharePoint team site and added the Project Tasks List, you need to determine what MS Project information you want to report on in the SharePoint site. A suggested list should include at least the following attributes:
- Task name
- Start date
- Finish date
- % complete
- Assigned to
When you have this set up, you can click on the “Open with MS Project” option and map these fields.
Once you have the list opened and mapped to Project, test and validate that it is working with a simple project plan. Start to flesh out your plan in Project, and when you are happy with it, simply click the “Save” button to kick off the sync with your SharePoint team site. You can also go back to the SharePoint site and ensure tasks and columns are coming in to SharePoint.
When you have your project site set up the way you want it and you’ve made sure that the project plan is syncing seamlessly between the SharePoint and Project, you then need to set up some reports to keep track of the status of the project.
The first thing you will want to do is create some dashboard views to report on the tasks list (project schedule) in various ways. Our suggested views to start with include:
- All Tasks: this view would have no filter and display the full project tasks list, including all completed and open work items.
- My Tasks: this view would have a file where “assigned to equals me (the logged in user). This view is helpful for team members to focus in on their specific work items. The beauty of the sync is that team members only need to worry about updating their work within the SharePoint site. Those updates will roll up to all the reporting dashboards, and also sync with the MS Project plan next time you open it.
- Active tasks: Another important view would be all open tasks. In this view, you would set parameter of “status does not equal to completed.” This will give the project manager and stakeholders a quick view into the status of the project schedule.
- Overdue tasks: Drilling down further into the Active Tasks view, you will also want to know be alerted of any tasks that have missed their deadline. In the Overdue Tasks view, you would set the filter to “status does not equal to completed” and “due date is less than today.” This view will show you give you a snapshot of overdue tasks so you can make adjustments and get the project back on track.
Next, you will want to add a view of the project schedule to the site’s homepage. For this dashboard, show a Gantt of the tasks by using the Active Tasks view with a Gantt chart. Adding this to the project homepage is important, as it will give everyone involved in the project a snapshot of the current project status.
Finally, you should add links to the other views to the Quick Launch in the SharePoint team site for quick access to important reports about the plan.
Advanced Configuration (Optional Additions)
There are other, additional configuration options available to take the Microsoft Project and SharePoint syncing/reporting to the next level.
First, you could enable versioning settings for tasks in order to audit the project plan. Versioning in SharePoint is a very powerful tool (and it’s for more than just tasks—use it for documents and more), as it allows you to see when an item was last changed, what was updated, and by whom. With this, you’ll be able to see the audit trail and track the progress of any item.
A second option is to create an alert on project tasks. For example, you could set an alert to fire off to a team member anytime someone changes an item in their “My Tasks” view. By sending notification immediately, they will know when something on their plate is closed or needs attention.
Finally, once you have the SharePoint team site set up and syncing with Microsoft Project, you can save the project team site as a template. By saving the site as a template, it can be re-used again and again for other projects you are managing in SharePoint–carrying over all of the mapped columns, views, and reports you have already created. Templates will save you a considerable amount of time on your next project!