Microsoft SharePoint is a popular and practical solution for project management. SharePoint brings together all of a project’s information and tasks into one central place. SharePoint can also be structured to match your project’s approach, which helps many users standardize delivery and improve visibility.
SharePoint has all the Basics for Collaborative Project Management
Right out of the box, SharePoint has a number of elements and tools suited for effective project management. Reference below a screenshot from a basic SharePoint Team Site.
You’ll see right away that it has:
- A place to store documents
- The option to add various lists, libraries, and apps
- The ability to configure and brand the site
- SharePoint permissions allowing users to control who gets access to the site
As you can see, all the basics are there for a collaborative site. And, project management is collaborative if nothing else!
That said, SharePoint is a platform that is meant to be extended. You can easily go from the Team Site we just saw to a project management site.
Here’s an example. The site shown in the following screenshot is heavily configured, but it is not programmed. This template did not require any coding.
With a little SharePoint know-how, you, too, can easily morph Team Sites into useful sites for Project Management. In fact, the architecture of SharePoint is absolutely perfect to support project management.
The Architecture of SharePoint for Project Management
Think of breaking down the SharePoint platform for project management into four parts:
- Web parts
- SharePoint sites
- Site collections
In the simplest sense, the tools you need to manage a project are lists of things (a Tasks List, the Risk Register, the Project Charter, etc.).
In a SharePoint site, you can add a list for all of these processes, too. For example, you can:
- Have a Tasks List, with the ability to indent/outdent, move tasks around, and organize a Work Breakdown Structure
- Add a Documents Library, with strong native SharePoint capabilities like check-in/out, version control, and co-authoring
- Other lists include Project Issues, Risks, Project Statement, and many more.
Essentially, with each list you add, you are actually adding the project management processes that you need into your SharePoint site.
SharePoint Lists are where you keep track of work and enter your updates, but in order to track your progress, you need some way to report on the lists. This is where web parts come in.
Web parts give you a view, or a dashboard, to report and track progress on the items on the lists. For example, you can have web parts in your SharePoint site reporting:
- Top open issues
- Charts reporting Tasks by Status
- KPIs and traffic light indicators
- Overdue work
With lists and web parts, you can easily track and update work, as well as report on what’s happening in the project with project management dashboards.
Wrap these elements up in a SharePoint site for your project that brings all of your lists, libraries, and web parts together into one centralized collaborative project management site.
Finally, you can have many SharePoint sites in a SharePoint site collection or group of sites.
Manage multiple individual projects in multiple individual SharePoint sites and grouped together in a site collection. In other words, you can easily go between projects all within your project portfolio or project office.
In summary, SharePoint lists add your project management processes, web parts act as your project management dashboards, and a SharePoint site wraps up your lists and reports for one project. Top if off with the site collection houses your portfolio of projects.
Bonus! Sync Your SharePoint Site with Microsoft Project
As noted above, the SharePoint platform is perfectly suited for managing projects. There is one additional benefit capability that will take it to the next level: the sync with MS Project.
The two-way sync between SharePoint and Project enables you to easily manage your project schedule in Microsoft Project, and seamlessly communicate and collaborate around that plan with your team in SharePoint.
To learn more about the two-way sync between SharePoint and Project, check out the following articles on the topic:
- Two Ways to Sync Microsoft Project with Your SharePoint Project Site
- Reporting On Your Microsoft Project Plan in SharePoint
- Three Avenues for Efficiently Managing Your Project Schedule with SharePoint