Development, organization, and implementation of a prosperous project has always been a challenge. The Microsoft SharePoint platform with ad hoc tools has become a highly popular solution for managing successful projects.
SharePoint covers project collaboration needs and optimizes work processes with real-time visibility. SharePoint project management processes require specific support depending on the project stage – making the needs of managing a project diverse. Let’s look at every stage of SharePoint project management.
1. Making a project plan
This is the brainstorming and drafting phase. You are collecting ideas and making conceptual mockups to design a preliminary architecture.
The planning phase needs to consider the time activities involved each time you set up a new project in your SharePoint. Each project will follow a familiar framework. Your business has likely created processes and templates to guide users through each SharePoint project management phase. These templates are used to save you time and to increase the quality of the information gathered for your project.
2. Analyze potential requirements
After project conception, it’s time to gather technical and functional requirements.
Clarity and accuracy of the details collected in this phase will not only aid in building project estimates, but ultimately will decide whether the project is viable even before it starts. The result of this procedure is a project description in detail.
A well-designed SharePoint project management platform and process strategy allows you to launch project after project smoothly. After the analyzing, categorizing, and prioritizing your project requirements, you will decide whether each project is viable as they are or requires rework. The right SharePoint architecture assists with management of your project hopper, providing visual views and reportability.
3. Conceptual functions and high-level design
Create a clear picture of SharePoint project management: how to organize your plan within the available timeframe, how to manage both human and material resources, and an estimate of the project cost. Set priorities on every project phase, including some leeway to accommodate unexpected changes while still meeting deadlines. Create project milestones to track pivotal project points on project timelines. Track task dependencies to manage the ripple effect within projects.
4. From strategy to tactical planning
Prepare a process support and execution scheme, including a development plan, follow-ups, maintenance, and support of the business’ project management needs. Select process enhancement tools, choosing resources wisely. Sometimes, one small and smart tool can be a more effective substitute for a full-blown expensive solution.
5. Cut back on waste and automate the processes
By automating both simple and sophisticated project operations, you maximize efficiency, eliminate manual errors, and optimize team resources.
6. Last steps to take before the launch
This stage of SharePoint project management includes quality assurance testing and fixing potential issues. It’s also time to think about users and develop a clear and detailed user manual, training program, or even simplify the UI. SharePoint platform demands often require a special user education, and the adoption process for end-users may become time-consuming and stressful.
7. Support when it’s up and running
Maintenance on a project in its maturity stage usually involves rapid response to resolve unexpected issues and changes. An alert received in time helps to win extra hours to take actions. Virto SharePoint alerts for SharePoint On Premises and Office 365 allows you to keep obstacles under control.
How to Use SharePoint for Your Collaborative Project Management
Microsoft SharePoint is one of the most incredible collaborative platforms where teams can arrange their work and complete projects easily. Even so, an out-of-the-box SharePoint site is not always suited for project management. Why? Well, it just doesn’t resemble a standard project management tool.
Luckily, you can customize it to create a structural business environment that will help both you and your team in tracking and managing all projects. What’s more, using SharePoint project management, you can swiftly combine all the main project details into one large collaborative environment. But first, you’ll need to learn a few essential concepts!
Understand how your collaborative SharePoint project management website should look like
There are a couple of things you’ll see once your SharePoint collaborative site is configured into your organization. First of all, the links on your left-hand side are the ‘Quick Launch.’ These features are usually tailored to allow the taxonomy and grouping to mimic your business’s project management process.
Your project homepage should also consist of different web parts which offer an insight into lists such as:
Key projects needed by state holders.
Listings for overdue work and open issues.
Project status indicators and KPIs for health, cost, and time.
Tasks status showing the progress of work.
Learn how to initiate and plan a project on SharePoint
Once you go through the processes on the website’s Quick Launch, you’ll notice that they have been grouped into different stages for effective SharePoint project management. It’s a set of carefully ‘built’ rail tracks which shows both the manager and the team how the organization’s project needs to be run.
Of course, the first grouping is always about planning and setting up your project. Here’s where you should include important details such as the project description, overview, and even important dates. In doing so, you allow all stakeholders and team members to refer back to the work statement to understand its purpose further or if they need high-level project details.
SharePoint project management planning is also incredibly easy once you decide to use the out-of-the-box SharePoint task list. This is the perfect place to add assignees, dates, and to create a simple breakdown of work directly from your project site.
Lastly, you’ll need a library of documents to store your deliverables as well as other resources. We’ve discovered that one of SharePoint’s greatest strengths is the strict measures it puts in the arrangement of documents. Furthermore, by storing all your documents on the SharePoint platform, you make sure that every employee or team member is working from a fully updated project plan.
Key concepts when managing and tracking a project in SharePoint
Once your project is underway, now is the time to move into the process of execution. In the Quick Launch’s second grouping, you’ll see lists and reports for doing the work. Here, you customize it into a set of views which translate lists of tasks in a series of clear work reports. Such makes it easier for employees to log in and see their upcoming and pending jobs. As the project manager, you will also see views like work-in-progress, completed or overdue.
Through SharePoint project management status report, it’s easy for you to communicate on the progress of the task to senior company officials and other relevant stakeholders. Good examples of these reports include KPIs with a couple of excellent Red-Amber-Green indicators that show how fast the work is going. You may even choose to add some columns where you can comment on the achievements, issues, and planned future steps of the project.
All in all, remember that depending on the number of processes you’ve chosen to use for your project, you are also free to include additional lists on your Quick Launch. This should be specific project details that will help you in managing risks and issues or changing requests.
How to Make a Simple Project Management Office (PMO) Portal in SharePoint
SharePoint offers extensive lists of functionalities making it one of the most logical and perfect options for carrying our project management. From its strong ability to organize documents to seamless integration with MS Project as well as robust security configurations, this platform has got everything you would want. However, in this section, we would like to explain the steps you’ll have to take to create a practical but straightforward SharePoint PMO portal. Take a look!
Step 1: What’s the hierarchy for your portal?
We recommend that you look for a relatively simple website hierarchy. Ideally, you should have your PMO homepage section listing all your projects and all the subsites (project sites) one level below the homepage.
Step 2: Which website collection do you want to create your PMO portal in?
Now, this is a fundamental question. If you are using your project websites for internal collaboration only, you’re free to create your PMO portal in your default (root) site, where the rest of the intranet sites are found. However, if you’ll be sharing specific details of your project with external entities like contractors, vendors or clients, you’ll need to set up your portal in a different site collection.
Step 3: Set Up Your PMO Office Site with a Project Dashboard
The main idea behind having a PMO homepage is so that you can keep all the details concerning the project. Such includes things like knowledge/links on the SharePoint project management methodologies, templates, and forms, but the key factor should be having a dashboard/list of all your organization’s projects.
In fact, the main component of a PMO website is its dashboard containing all projects. You may already have one in your place of work and in most cases, you’ll find it stored in the Excel format. Mostly, it’s a list containing custom columns or metadata that you can use to filter, group and sort your collection or projects.
Step 4: Include other website parts into your PMO site
Other than just customizing your dashboard lists, here are other fantastic ideas that you could add to your PMO site:
Promoted links to point people into specific websites or content.
Document libraries with several project management forms or templates like meeting minutes, project schedules and charters.
Methodology/instructions document or a Wiki library with images and text.
Step 5: Create your project site and save it as a template
Follow the step-by-step guidelines on how to set up a simple project site and once you’re through, remember to save it in template form. This will help you to provide brand new project team websites from your custom template.
Step 6: Choose the best security configurations for all the websites
Once you’re through with the designing aspects of your PMO site, it’s now time for you to handle the permissions for your PMO homepage plus all other project subsites. Here are just some of the security tips you need to keep in mind.
Only a selected number of users should edit the site — such means that only a few people should be in the Member’s Group section while everyone else should be in your visitor’s group.
You may want to allow your project managers to share the website with other people. Yes, unlike departmental sites which often come with fixed rosters, project teams are known to change over time. Therefore, it’s good to keep everything flexible. In the end, you can focus on your SharePoint project management instead of security management.
Step 7: Train and educate others on the new process
Once you’re through with the technical aspects of the project, it’s good to educate others on the brand new sites. However, don’t just explain the SharePoint site of things, but instead, show your employees or site users on how to navigate and access the different documents in it. You can also teach them how to build clear schedules using the Task List feature.
Most importantly, educate all project managers and team members in the organization on how the entire PMO methodology and process works. To cut a long story short, remember that training is crucial to the success of effective user adoption.
The Bottom Line!
As you can see, it’s pretty easy for you to customize your SharePoint organization site or to create a simple PMO portal for effective SharePoint project management. Yes, all you need are some out of the box SharePoint configuration techniques like adding some web parts, modifying lists and updating your Quick Launch feature.
It’s also essential that you use all the right security systems and carry out thorough PMO portal training. Once you follow all these processes carefully, you will have a SharePoint project management platform that brings together all task items into one central and collaborative location.
SharePoint Project Management Video
About the author
Tatiana Sushchenko is the product owner at VirtoSoftware. She started her IT career with the famous ABBYY Lingvo back in 2006 in Moscow. The she moved to Microsoft performing strongly in various marketing management roles across Visio, SharePoint, Office 365 and Project for almost 10 years. Tatiana is a graduate of the Institute of Business Studies and holds a mini-MBA degree. She also graduated from Microsoft marketing excellence university.