3 Ways to Get Project Visibility with SharePoint
Lack of visibility into project status is one of the most common complaints we hear from our customers. Quite often, project managers struggle to provide the right reports to senior management, which delays key decisions. However, senior executives are not the only ones who suffer from poor project visibility… everyone does!
Without visibility into the project, team members don’t know what their tasks are; project managers don’t know the status of those tasks; and communicating the project status to stakeholders? Forget about it.
In this article, I’ll outline three reasons for poor project visibility and three ways SharePoint can provide project teams with the visibility they need.
3 Reasons for Poor Project Visibility
There are a number of factors that can contribute to the lack of visibility on a project. Below, I’ll list three common causes.
1. Lack of Project Management Process
The first obstacle to project visibility is a lack of organizational project management processes. If every project manager is using a different method and tools to execute work, it’s virtually impossible to roll-up project information in any meaningful way.
2. No Central Project Management Site
Without a central repository for project information and documentation, it’s hard to find the right document at the right time to work on a task. Instead of getting work done, the team has to worry about where they stored a file or if the document is up-to-date. Furthermore, project managers struggle to compile accurate reports from varying sources of information.
3. Poor Communication
Poor communication is a major problem for every level of the project team. Clear communication between the project manager and the project sponsor is vital. Without it, the sponsor will not know when they need to step in and handle an issue.
Poor communication means team members are often confused about their upcoming tasks and role on the project. As I’ve heard my boss says before: “If it’s anyone’s job, then no one will do it.” And when there is poor communication, that’s exactly what will happen.
As you can guess, dealing with any one of these common factors is difficult for organizations; eliminating all three may seem impossible!
When you create a collaborative project management site in SharePoint, you will quickly enable project visibility at all levels of the project hierarchy. Let’s look at three key capabilities – task management, portfolio reports, and project request management – to help you get visibility.
3 Ways to Get Project Visibility with SharePoint
1. Task Management for Team Members
Above we noted how important it was for team members to be able to readily access and update their tasks. With SharePoint, it could not be easier! Project managers can plan and assign work in the collaborative site in minutes.
Using automated work assignment emails and “My Work” reports, team members never lose sight of their responsibilities.
A sample “My Work” report showing work items relevant to a particular team member. Project managers can also use this report to view the progress of work assigned to a specific individual.
As they complete their work, team members simply update the status of a task in a simple web form, which updates relevant reports for the project manager. With this system, it becomes incredibly easy to obtain, create, and distribute accurate project reports.
Creating a project-level Weekly Status Report gives project managers a detailed snapshot of the health of the project
2. Portfolio Reports for Senior Management
When extended with a project and portfolio solution such as BrightWork, SharePoint gives senior management the visibility they need at the portfolio level.
A project office dashboard rolls up project status data from multiple projects for an ‘at-a-glance report on health’ across all projects. If needed, it’s easy to drill down into individual projects to check on issues or simply find more detail at the project level.
A sample high-level status to give senior managers a snapshot of multiple projects (with the ability to drill down into individual project sites if needed)
3. Project Request Management
In addition to tracking the health of active projects, senior management needs visibility into the project pipeline to make effective business decisions. Project request management is easily delivered within SharePoint using a ‘command center’, or a central repository for new project requests.
A sample Project Request Management Template
The intake form can be configured to match your local requirements and ensure users submit critical information to accelerate the process.
Visibility is key to successful project management. Using SharePoint for project management can immediately enable visibility and control of the project across all levels of the project team.
When all team members and stakeholders are on the same page, work will get done faster and more effectively, and enable senior executives to make better business decisions quicker.