Microsoft Project 2010 now has the capability to sync a project plan with a SharePoint task list. Therefore, project team members do not need to have a desktop version of Microsoft Project in order to view project tasks. This is great functionality – except in one area. If the project you are sync’ing with SharePoint has a WBS that includes multiple outline levels, the SharePoint list will convert all summary tasks into a hierarchical folder structure. Then you need to navigate throughout the folder structure in order to see all your project tasks and corresponding Gantt charts. There is also an option of creating an additional view that allows you to see all tasks without folders. However, this will only give you the ability to see non-summary tasks. You will get a Gantt chart of all these specific tasks but no outline breakdown in the tasks themselves.
I have a slick trick to help out with this problem. I have developed a macro that you can run on your project plan in MS Project to reformat your plan a bit prior to sync’ing with SharePoint. Then, sync your project with SharePoint and you can see your whole project in SharePoint with a full outline structure and Gantt chart! Then when you sync back to MS Project from SharePoint, you can run another macro to reformat the project back to its original form.
These macros are simple and extensible and include some not-so-obvious tricks. Let me show you this in action!
Here is the initial Project Plan – subset of one of the standard Microsoft Project templates
Sync the project with SharePoint
All the summary tasks are converted to folders and you need to navigate through the folder structure to see all the tasks. No total view of your project!
Create a View Without Folders
A View Without Folders shows you only the non-summary tasks. So still not a total view of the project!
Run the following macro, ChgTaskName, on your project plan:
The original project reformats from this:
There are some differences (i.e., auto scheduled converted to manually scheduled tasks) but for all appearances, the plan looks the same.
Now Sync the Project with SharePoint
The SharePoint list created from your project plan now looks like this:
Outline structure is maintained and there are no folders. Now you can get a total view of your project! Your team members can easily see the full project in all its beauty. How cool is that!!!
Lastly, at some point you will want to reformat the project back to its original form. There is another macro for that process.
Now run the following macro, ChgTaskNameBack, on your project plan:
Your project reformats from looking like this:
To now looking like this:
Your plan is reformatted back to how it looked initially, auto scheduled tasks and all!
All this from 2 simple macros! As I said before, these macros can be extended to handle more complex situations. (And I’ll tell you a little secret about these macros that may not be obvious. The macro code appears to be adding and removing spaces to the Task Names in order to preserve the outline structure. Those aren’t spaces. They are actual non-breaking spaces that you can copy from Windows Character Map application.)