4 Mistakes to Avoid with SharePoint for Project Management
It is generally accepted that project management isn’t easy. Project managers face multiple challenges – creating reports, scarcity of time, managing resources and budgets – the list goes on.
Often a project management tool can help to ease or remove these challenges. However, implementing project management software can bring its own challenges.
SharePoint is a great solution for managing projects. Collaboration is made easy and it offers a high degree of flexibility that is attractive to project managers. But mistakes can easily happen that could potentially derail the project.
Below are 4 common mistakes to avoid when using SharePoint for project management.
4 Mistakes to Avoid with SharePoint for Project Management
1. Not providing training
SharePoint is a relatively simple tool to use. However, it would be a mistake to presume that everyone knows how to use it, especially for project management.
A lack of familiarity can lead to low adoption, which can cause many problems with your project!
Providing training is a great way to help avoid confusion and get your team using SharePoint. SharePoint Maven has outlined 10 Reasons why SharePoint Training Matters, which summarizes some of the key reasons why not providing training is a mistake.
- There are many ways to do one thing in SharePoint so users need to understand SharePoint navigation.
- No one likes change. Users may resist using SharePoint if they are comfortable with other systems.
- New features require new training. Never assume people know how to use new SharePoint features.
- SharePoint is not Dropbox; it’s more than just a file-sharing system.
- SharePoint is not always easy. Training will help ease the transition.
The Free SharePoint Project Management Template from BrightWork is a great way to start managing projects on SharePoint. The template provides a pre-planned project site with everything you need to create, track and report on a project with SharePoint.
To help you use the free template, we’ve also created a comprehensive guide to managing projects on SharePoint. This guide contains 4 chapters:
- Collaborative project management: An overview.
- Why use SharePoint for Project Management.
- How to manage a project on SharePoint.
- How to improve user adoption of SharePoint for project management.
Both the free template and the SharePoint Project Management guide are great educational resources that will help with user adoption and improve SharePoint familiarity.
2. No Project Statement
The Project Statement is an invaluable document that you need to have at the start of the project. It captures and defines all aspects of the project, and lays out the events and tasks that need to happen to deliver a successful project.
Below is a project statement from a site created with the SharePoint project management template from BrightWork.
There are many benefits to using a Project Statement:
- Add structure for project managers, allowing them to keep the project on track.
- Provide context to those who may join a project at a later stage.
- Create visibility into key dates and timelines.
- Avoid confusion and conflict on the project
- Define a baseline for measuring project performance.
In BrightWork, site templates include a set of ‘Getting Started Tiles’, to help set up your project. The tiles include adding a project statement, tasks, and documents. This makes it easier to remember to add a statement!
3. No document governance
We’ve all been there. Working with documents that have been passed around the entire team, each making an edit, saving and sharing with a new name each time. Eventually, the original document is lost, creating confusion.
The solution to this challenge is a simple one – use a SharePoint document library to store all project documents in one place.
Just like the project statement above, adding documents is part of project set-up in a BrightWork site.
Next, add some clear guidelines as to how documents should be edited and named within the project before starting work.
Try these steps:
- At the start of the project, upload the relevant project documents. These may be blank and develop throughout the lifecycle of the project, or they may already contain important information.
- Set a name for each document, for example, “Hardware Upgrade Budget”.
- Make sure ALL team members know that they should only use the document in the library. There is no need to save and rename updated versions.
- “Hardware Upgrade Budget” should not become “Hardware Upgrade Budget – Revised”.
- Finally, regular surveillance of the document library can help prevent this from becoming an issue.
Another aspect of managing your document is to control permissions. I won’t go into too much detail here, but with SharePoint, you can make sure the relevant documents are only available to those who need them.
4. No Communication Plan
Nowadays, there are many ways to communicate with team members. However, without a plan and with information coming from all directions, it can be hard to keep track of the relevant conversations.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to not have a clear plan of how people should communicate when working the project. Too many tools lead to confusion. No tools lead to a breakdown in communication. It’s about finding the right balance.
SharePoint has many features that are ideal for communicating with team members, particularly with other tools in the Microsoft Office package.
- Outlook – Alert team members about changes to the project from SharePoint directly to their inbox.
- Microsoft Teams – Add a new tab to an MS Teams channel for simple access to the SharePoint project site.
- Announcements Web Part – Instantly keep the project team informed on the latest project developments, achievements or simply start a conversation related to the project.
With BrightWork, you can enhance communication with all project stakeholders by creating automated reports that both save time and keep the project team up to date.
SharePoint is an exciting solution for managing projects. Many organizations don’t fully utilize the full potential of the platform. However, like any other solution, mistakes can (and likely will) arise. Being aware of the potential mistakes with SharePoint for Project Management will ensure your project remains on track.