How to Plan and Set Up a Project Using SharePoint
This is the second part of a multipart series on managing a project with the Free SharePoint Project Management Template. Catch up on the first article in this series, Initiate A Project With A SharePoint Project Management Template.
During the first phase of your project, initiation, you secured project sponsorship, decided to manage your project using the Free Template, and created a collaborative project site.
In this article, I’m going to show you how to plan and set up a project using the Free SharePoint Project Management Template.
You’ll need to have your SharePoint project site open and ready to edit to work through these steps.
If you have yet to download and install the Free Template – don’t worry! The process takes less than five minutes and requires no coding or configuration.*
How to Plan and Set Up a Project using SharePoint
As mentioned in the previous article, the template is based on a five-step approach to managing projects:
- Initiate the Project
- Plan and Setup the Project
- Work the Project
- Track and Re- Plan the Project
- Close the Project.
In stage 2, you’ll:
- Plan and set up the project with a project statement, tasks, and documents.
- Desk check the project plan with the sponsor and the team.
- Notify the team of their responsibilities in a project kick-off meeting.
1. Plan and Set Up A Project
The ‘Get Started’ tiles on the project homepage of your SharePoint project site will help you to plan your project with a project statement, tasks, and documents.
In this video, BrightWork CEO, Éamonn McGuinness explains how to use each tile. These steps are also explained in more detail below.
Setup Project links to the Project Statement. Click the icon highlighted below to edit the statement.
Add key information to your statement such as the project name and description, project manager, status, and due date. Here, we’ve outlined some high-level details about a website project.
Click ‘Add Tasks’ to start assigning tasks to the team.
The template ships with a pre-populated list of tasks and sub-tasks of collaborative project management.
It’s easy to update each item in the list – just click the item to open the editing dialogue box.
Update the task as needed and save.
It’s also simple to bulk edit the task list, for example, changing the status or task owners.
First, click ‘edit this list’ to open the datasheet view.
Next, update a task. Drag the update(s) down to the relevant task and select ‘stop editing this list’ to save your edits.
To create a work breakdown structure with tasks and subtasks, right-click the the relevant project phase or task and select ‘add subtask’.
Follow the columns in the datasheet view to add the ‘task name,’ ‘start and finish date’, ‘task status’, and ‘assigned to’.
You can also view the timeline as a Gantt chart on the project homepage.
Finally, add relevant project documents to the document library.
Click ‘new document’ to upload the relevant file.
To make it easier to search for files, agree on some guidelines with your team, for example, file names.
For this project, let’s preface each file name by the area of work for the new website. For example, planning documents will include ‘plan’ in the title; the same applies to ‘content’, ‘design’ and so on.
- Plan_Project Charter
- Content_New Homepage Copy
- Design_Brief for Forms.
Only one copy of each file will exist in the project site to avoid any confusion about the correct version. Ask the team to use the file in the document library instead of creating multiple versions of the same document with different dates or notes added to the title.
- Content_New Homepage Copy_201118
- Content_New Homepage Copy_211118
- Content_New Homepage Copy_Final
- Content_New Homepage Copy_Final Final
Correct: Content_New Homepage Copy.
Finally, files will not be stored in folders in the document library – the naming convention above removes this need.
Note – to ensure edits to your document are synced to the library, download the document using Microsoft Edge. Otherwise, you’ll end up with ‘read-only’ copies of the file you will need to save locally and re-upload to the site.
The project homepage now reflects the new information you have added to the project site. Every time a task or issue is updated, the reports on the homepage are automatically updated. This helps to keep everyone informed about the progress of the project without the need for meetings or lengthy email chains.
B. Desk Check the Project Plan
It’s important to make sure the team is aligned before the project starts to avoid project scope creep – changes to tasks and deliverables – later on.
Once the tasks are added to your SharePoint project site, ask the team to review the list, Gantt chart, and project documentation to make sure they are happy with your plans.
It’s likely your team is working on multiple projects and have non-project tasks to manage, reducing their availability for your project. Once you have checked these commitments, make the necessary updates to the task list.
Finally, ask the project sponsor to check the project site, including the timeline, tasks, and project charter.
C. Notify Your Team of Their Responsibilities
Once the plan is approved, host a kick-off meeting with the team to explain the project and walk them through the project site.
As we will see in the next article, the free SharePoint Project Management Template includes the ‘My Work’ report to help team members find, do, and update their work easily.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 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.