How to Initiate A Project With SharePoint [+ Free Template]
Project management is not going away but it’s not getting any easier!
At BrightWork, we have two free resources to help you deliver better projects on SharePoint.
Firstly, Éamonn McGuinness, BrightWork CEO has authored the free book, ‘Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook’, which outlines a five-step to project management. These steps are ‘initiate, plan, work, track and re-plan, and close’ the project.
Secondly, we have mapped this five-step project process to our free SharePoint Project Management Template.
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.*
How to Initiate A Project With SharePoint
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 off to the best start?
During the project initiation stage, you’ll need to:
- 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 getting the right people and process in place before starting work. During the third step, you’ll need to roll up your sleeves and work with 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
- 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 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 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.
As shown below, the free template includes tools and functionality to manage every stage of a project.
Once you have downloaded and installed the Free SharePoint Template, you will use the ‘Getting Started’ tiles to start the project.
Follow these tiles to:
- Add the Project Statement to the project site.
- Create and assign tasks to the project team.
- Add documents to the Document Library.
You can also access these lists and web parts in the Quick Launch menu, found on the left-hand side of your project site.
We’ll take a look at tasks and documents 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!
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. The Free Template is used to create and manage individual project sites.
You can create as many sites as you wish with the template; however, the template does not support cross-project reporting. Learn more about the full BrightWork PPM Solution for SharePoint On-Premises here.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2018 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
In her free time, she enjoys a challenging session at the gym, tucking into a good book, and walking the beautiful Galway coastline with her dog.