Initiate A Project With The Free SharePoint Project Management Template
Project management is not going away but it’s not getting any easier! Successful project management encompasses three core elements:
- People: The project team should have the right skills, experiences, and attitudes to help deliver the project. It’s also important to win the support of stakeholders and engage with your project sponsor regularly.
- Process: Many organizations struggle to implement a standardized approach to projects, leading to issues around visibility, reporting, resource management, and communication. Whatever project process is used, it should be appropriate to the project and the skills of the team.
- Technology: Finally, project management software must enable the team to work together and follow the desired process easily.
Getting these three elements in place may seem like a daunting task! At BrightWork, we have two free resources to help you introduce and align these three elements.
Firstly, Éamonn McGuinness, BrightWork CEO has authored the free book, ‘Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook’, which outlines a five-step to project management and offers leadership advice to help train your team.
The five-steps of collaborative project management are:
- Initiate the Project
- Plan and Setup the Project
- Work the Project
- Track and Re- Plan the Project
- Close the Project.
Secondly, we have mapped the five-step project process to the Free SharePoint Project Management Template to make it even easier to develop a standardized process. The template, which ships with a pre-planned project site, is free, forever, and can be used to manage as many projects as needed. The Free Template works on SharePoint 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and SharePoint Online.
This is the first in a series of posts about managing a project using these five-steps and the Free SharePoint Project Management Template. During the series, we’ll use the example of a website redesign project to explore the key features of the Free SharePoint Template.*
Let’s start your journey to successful project management on SharePoint with project initiation.
Initiate A Project With The Free SharePoint Project Management Template
Starting your project can often be one of the most difficult parts of project management. Where should you start in order to get the new project underway?
There are three key steps to make sure you initiate a project correctly:
- Get the project approved, sponsored, and resources allocated
- Decide the project management process
- Create a collaborative project site.
The first two steps are focused on people and process. During the third step, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and work with some software, namely SharePoint.
1. Get the Project Approved, Sponsored, and Resources Allocated
It’s important to engage the project sponsor early and often during the project.
In some cases, the project sponsor will identify the business need for a project and assign the work to the appropriate project manager.
Other times, a project manager may propose an idea for a project to senior management. As part of the approval process, a sponsor is assigned to the project.
Either way, the project sponsor is critical to your success. The project sponsor helps to remove roadblocks; oversees the progress of the project; deals with last-minute changes, and decides if the project is a success.
Meet with your sponsor early on to discuss goals, timelines, and resource allocation. This will allow you to prepare the project charter, a vital project document!
A project charter or statement will contain some or all of the following information:
- Project identification
- Project description
- Project objectives
- Project customer
- The proposed project manager
- The type of the project
- The status of the project
- Start and end dates
- Project Assumptions.
Certain projects will also require you to have a high-level plan at this early stage. The amount of information and process needed for this first step will depend on the project in hand, the organization you’re working for, and on the preferences of your project sponsor.
The sponsor will also allocate the people you need to work on the project and free up any other resources such as the budget.
2. Decide the Project Management Process
Next, you need to decide how to manage the project and how much project management rigor you will apply. As depicted in the diagram below, some projects require a lighter touch and some require much more project management.
The Free SharePoint Project Management Template is based on the Project Lite template in BrightWork. The pre-configured project site includes all of the project management essentials to help you plan, track, and re-plan the project using the elements in the ‘Lite’ step above.
Once you have downloaded and installed the Free SharePoint Template, you will use the ‘Getting Started’ tiles to start the project. The guidance will help you to:
- Add the Project Statement with key information such as the project name and description, project manager, status, and due date.
- Create and assign tasks to the project team.
- Add documents to the Document Library.
We’ll take a look at managing these steps in your SharePoint Project Management Template in more detail in the next article. If you want to skip ahead, Chapter 3 of our online guide, How to Use SharePoint for Project Management, has everything you need to plan the project!
Finally, if you need to quickly share the project management process with the team, the Project Wiki outlines the five-stages of collaborative project management.
3. Create a Collaborative Project Site
This step is critical to successful collaborative project management. A project site acts as a single source of truth, making it easy for the team and stakeholders to know what has happened and what needs to happen so they are empowered to help you deliver and manage the project.
SharePoint is a great tool for collaboration but it takes time to configure a basic site for project management. The Free SharePoint Project Management Template provides key project management capabilities straight out-of-the-box, including:
- The project homepage with key project metrics, status icons, and ‘Tasks by Status’ chart
- Tasks List
- Project Status Report
- Project Wiki with project management guidance.
All you need to do is download and install the Template before creating your first project site – no coding or configuration required.
There are three simple steps to download and install the template from the BrightWork website.
- Complete and submit a short form to download the version of the free template suitable for your SharePoint environment in a zip file. The Free Template runs on SharePoint 2010/2013/2016/2019 and SharePoint Online.
- Install the template in your SharePoint environment following the steps in the online guide.
- Using the installed template, launch your first project.
*You will need to be a site collection administrator to implement the steps in this article.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2016 and has updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.