How to Manage Project Execution with SharePoint
Having dedicated time and energy to planning your project, here comes the fun part – doing the work.
In this article, you’ll learn more about project execution, including potential risks and problems. You’ll also see how to use a SharePoint site for tracking and reporting.
Project Management Phase 3: Execution
Project execution is the longest phase of a project and determines where your project is a success or failure.
Project execution can be broken into three areas: people, processes, and communication.
The project team is responsible for completing their tasks and creating the agreed deliverables.
It’s important to manage the team without becoming too involved with daily tasks.
Your role is to lead and guide the team, removing roadblocks and making key decisions.
A process is a set of steps performed by an individual or a group of individuals to achieve a goal.
Processes can refer to both project-specific and business processes.
- Project processes will depend on the project itself. Processes can include guidelines for communication, gathering requirements, managing change requests, and reporting an issue.
- Business processes range from vacation requests to ordering office supplies and new employee onboarding.
Both project and business processes influence how information and resources flow into and through your project.
Your team needs to follow processes carefully to ensure all work is completed in a standard way at the right quality level.
The communication plan developed during planning comes into play during execution. All communication should be clear and consistent, increasing visibility and accountability for the team.
To ensure the team is aligned before work starts, use a kick-off meeting to review objectives, individual roles, and any critical milestones or task dependencies.
Once work starts, use the channels in your plan to share updates, for example, daily catch-ups and Microsoft Teams.
Store all project documents in one place for easy access and collaboration. A SharePoint document library is an ideal way to store, manage, and control files. A library has several useful features for project teams, including:
- Co-editing documents in real-time.
- Version control.
- Sharing files using links.
- Adding workflows for review processes.
Automated reminders are a handy way to keep the team on track – without micromanagement! As we’ll see later on, you can schedule daily or weekly reminders for upcoming and late tasks from your SharePoint site.
It’s also a good idea to meet at least once a week with the team to review completed and upcoming work, discuss issues, and so on.
Reporting to stakeholders is a key activity during project execution. Use the metrics from the project plan to create reports and dashboards. If you are using project management software, share these reports via email on an automated schedule.
A weekly status update meeting is a helpful way to get stakeholder feedback and inputs. Be honest during these meetings. Stakeholders hate bad news, especially if it’s too late to do something!
As stakeholders are generally busy, you can schedule these meetings in advance during project planning.
In general, it’s best to avoid using email too much. However, confirming key decisions, feedback, or major change requests with stakeholders via email creates a reference trail, which could prove useful later on.
Project Execution: Risks and Challenges
As mentioned above, the execution phase is the longest piece of a project. It’s also resource-heavy and prone to issues!
Quite often, problems result from an ‘execution gap’, a disconnect between the vision for the project and the reality of timelines, resources, and budget.
Spending as much time as possible on your plan won’t prevent risks completely, but may help to mitigate major problems.
Risks and challenges will depend on the project and the team. Below are common risks to watch out for:
- Over/under allocation of key resources.
- Unclear goals.
- Too many task dependencies.
- Team failure to use processes and templates consistently.
- Late or unclear stakeholder feedback.
- Poor quality deliverables.
- Unavailable or disengaged stakeholders.
- Missed milestones.
- Constant changes to requirements, leading to scope creep.
Tracking project performance along with regular, honest meetings with the team and stakeholders will allow you to spot and deal with any challenges. We’ll take a closer look at Project Monitoring techniques and processes in a later article.
As you can see, project execution relies on clear communication, easy access to project information, and visibility. You also need a quick way to report on progress. In the next section, we’ll look at key role-based reports in SharePoint.
Project Execution with SharePoint
Project Stakeholder: Project Status Reports
A weekly status report is a simple way to track progress and keep stakeholders informed about the project.
The Project Status Report includes RAG indicators and commentary about the status of the project.
With BrightWork, reports in individual project sites roll up to real-time project dashboards.
With this increased visibility, stakeholders will always know the status of a given project (with less work for you!).
Project Manager: Work Reports
Work reports are used by project managers to track all work on the project. Check overdue, work due soon, open work, closed work, and unassigned work in one place.
Project Manager: Resource Reports
Resource reports show who is assigned to tasks on your project, the duration of the task, and over or under-allocated individuals.
This will help you to re-assign project work as needed.
Ask your team to track project tasks, non-project work, and upcoming vacations in one place for accurate resource availability.
Project Manager: Risk Reports
An effective way to report on project risks is to:
- Record all risks in a risk register, stored in the project document library.
- Include the Top 5 Open Risks in a weekly report to the team and stakeholders.
- Add a summary of project risks and issues to the homepage of your project site for increased visibility.
- Schedule a daily risk report to your inbox to easily track new risks and the status of open risks.
Again, project risks at the project level will also appear in portfolio reports with BrightWork.
Team Member: My Work Reports
Team members are often working on multiple projects at once, with conflicting deadlines and challenges.
The ‘My Work’ report shows team members all the work assigned to them on single or multiple projects.
With this report, team members can easily:
- Find their work
- Do their work
- Update the progress of their work.
Ideally, these work reports can be filtered for different views, such as Open Work, Work Due Soon, and Overdue Work, so team members can prioritize their task list.
Another way to manage and update tasks is to use SharePoint Kanban Boards.
To update a task, a team member simply needs to drag the board from one column to another. Updating the board also dynamically updates other associated data such as project timelines.
The portfolio reporting capabilities in BrightWork mean that when a team member makes an update, those changes automatically roll-up to all dashboards.
See the various project reports available with BrightWork in action in this short video.
BrightWork Reporter: Sharing Reports
The BrightWork Reporter web part is a powerful reporting engine with numerous capabilities, including sharing reports on a scheduled or ad-hoc basis.
Automated reports and personalized views help to engage the right people at the right team with relevant information, and provide a gentle reminder about upcoming tasks!
You can schedule daily and weekly email updates to the team, stakeholders, and your own inbox as needed.
Recipients can click on the links in the email to get more information in the relevant project site.
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.