Using SharePoint to help people collaborate in real-time

By - December 11, 2014

Many of our clients use SharePoint to plan, execute and track projects. SharePoint has a number of tools that enable people on teams to work together on projects that have critical deadlines and deliverables. Of these, SharePoint offers Task Management, Document Management, Discussion Lists and Wikis that are easy to set up, and highly effective when used in any collaborative project.

Task Management

Central to any project is the project plan, which determines the tasks that will be performed. With SharePoint, you can plan tasks during team meetings, define remedies to issues found during completion, and track their progress in one location.

  • See your tasks in a Gantt Chart to see what tasks happen in which order, which tasks have dependencies.
  • Assign priorities to your tasks
  • Track progress of how close to completion each task is.
  • Assign resources to each task, and notify them by email of their tasks
  • You users can track their tasks right in Microsoft Outlook

Document Management

Any project will create lots of documentation, PowerPoint presentations and Excel workbooks that will be necessary to be shared between team members, external users, and stored for later reference. SharePoint, is the central location to work on documents that are living and store those which serve as reference. SharePoint provides one easy location for your users to locate and collaborate on all of your documents.

  • If your site is on Office 365, and your site has external sharing enabled, you can share documents or folders on your team’s site with users outside of your organization that will need to collaborate on the documents with your team
  • Maintain one copy of each project document
  • Prevent people from making conflicting changes to a document, OR allow people to work on the document live at the same time
  • Track who made changes at what time
  • Roll back to a previous version of the document
  • Subscribe to be alerted if there are changes to a document you need to send out immediately
  • Include metadata to easily find documents that are classified in different categories or relate to certain entities, projects or other metadata

Discussion Lists & Wikis

Much like a discussion forum, discussion lists allow users to post questions and receive feedback. SharePoint allows users to create Wiki pages that can have custom content related to your project. Often people on the teams all have the same questions, but can never meet face-to-face to ask these questions, or they end up being lost in emails. Or, everyone in the team is unfamiliar with a process that is not documented where everyone can find it (such as in someone’s inbox). By putting a discussion list on SharePoint, people can ask questions in a public location where everyone can see the answers, and Wikis allow people to share, store and find common project knowledge that should remain documented in a web-page style form.

  • Subscribe to alerts to be notified when people reply to content
  • Wiki Pages allow you to maintain a knowledge base of commonly asked questions and best responses to serve as reference
  • By using SharePoint’s search functionality, answers to common questions are only a click away

By providing your teams with Microsoft SharePoint, they can take advantage of all this functionality that comes out of the box. Tasks in SharePoint will allow them to plan their next steps forward, and monitor and track the resources that are assigned to them. Document management will allow people to collaborate on documents that will be central to execution. Finally, Discussion Lists and Wikis allow your team to share knowledge publicly to other team members and maintain a knowledgebase of best practices.

To find out more about this or other ways that RSM can assist you with your SharePoint needs, contact McGladrey’s technology consulting professionals at 800.274.3978 or email us.

(Content originally provided by: Connor MacDonald)

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