Successful project management requires several key components to work effectively, but one foundational aspect is communication between team members. What needs to be done, who’s going to do it and when will they be finished? By having the right tools in place it will make this process much more manageable. With some insight to what information needs to be captured and how you want to access it, sharing information can be quite easy. In addition to the several features available in SharePoint 2013, when configured the right way, working on projects allows you to focus on getting the project done versus finding what you need to get the project done. These five basic concepts will help you when setting up projects in SharePoint.
- Content types – Spend the extra time to plan out what site columns and content types you’ll need in your lists and libraries. This critical foundation will provide enormous flexibility you’re your projects in terms of site structure and search.
- Lists and libraries – The heart of information we need to keep track of can be organized in lists and libraries. Using the content type structure (metadata) that you have built, create the respective lists and libraries to capture project information. Don’t try and squeeze all documents into one document library. Organize them logically so finding them is clear and easy. Also, having one “master” issues list provides everyone visibility to where exactly the project stands.
- Project sites – Projects in its simplest form is a collection of information (documents, issues, tasks etc.) that pertain to a given activity. Sites in SharePoint do exactly this. Organizing your project information within a site or sub-site that leverage the content types, lists and libraries you have created will greatly improve the organization and search ability of your information.
- Security – Everything needs to have a security component to it. By using the site/sub site approach you can easily grant permissions to members of the project team. If there is sensitive information within the project itself, get as granular as you want with the permissions to meet your needs.
- Search – This is where it all comes together. The power of the SharePoint 2013 search engine and a well-designed content type and site structure will allow you to create a search center across all projects. Typical questions that search can answer are “show me only the active projects,” or “I only want to see the open tasks assigned to me across all projects.” A good project manager will insist on capturing the required metadata to make this all possible.
Project management doesn’t have to be a collection of spreadsheets and network folders with creative naming conventions. Leveraging the built in functionality available in SharePoint 2013 provides you all the capabilities necessary to successfully manage multiple projects.