Why SharePoint On-Premise Project Management Software is Still a Good Fit in 2023

Billy Guinan
By | Updated July 7, 2023 | 18 min read
Free SharePoint Project Management Template BrightWork

SharePoint on-premise (Server versions of SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint 2019) are still a good fit for the project and portfolio management needs of many organizations.

Leveraging SharePoint for project management centralizes all information in one place for better collaboration, visibility, and reporting.

When combined with features such as its configurability, document management, workflows, and permissions, it can be transformed into a robust project management solution.

Key Features in SharePoint That Are Great for Project Management (SharePoint 2019 and 2016)

SharePoint 2016 and SharePoint 2019 are both powerful collaboration platforms that offer several features and capabilities that make them well-suited for project management.

Let’s take look at why SharePoint is such a natural fit for managing projects and portfolios. Here are five key capabilities that I think present a pretty strong case for this tool.

1. Create a no-code project site in seconds

You don’t need to be a web designer or coder to create a collaborative workspace for your project team.

Simply create a new subsite in your SharePoint site collection and fill out a simple form to provide info like the project name and the template you’d like to base the site on.

With the use of SharePoint Designer or other development tools, businesses can create custom workflows, forms, and applications that align with their project management processes.

2. Create New Site Templates

Within each website’s Site Settings screen is the option to save your perfectly tweaked project site as a new template.

You can save and reuse the template as much as needed and share the site very easily with colleagues.

3. Leverage free and paid project management templates

When I say “templates“, I’m not just referring to entire SharePoint sites that can be downloaded but also more granular, individual aspects such as list apps. One such example is the ‘Issues List’.

A solution like BrightWork makes site creation even easier and quicker with pre-configured templates.

Building on the second point above – BrightWork Template Design Sync is an easy way to update an existing template and roll out these changes to multiple sites at once.

4. Easily Control Project Documents

A SharePoint document library is a special type of list used to store, manage, and find documents.

This deceptively simple feature not only improves team collaboration; it also centralizes key information in one place, eliminating silos and duplicate documents.

With a document library, you can

  • Add, edit, delete, and download project documents.
  • Manage access to files, folders, or a library.
  • Track the activity on a file, including the last modification.
  • Set up alerts to track changes to a document.
  • Create a custom view of a document library.
  • Share files or folders with others.
  • Use version control to restore overwritten data.
  • Co-edit files in real-time.


Metadata, filters, views, and search ensure your team and stakeholders can find the right information with just a few clicks.

5. Automate Tasks with Workflows

No SharePoint functionality list would be complete without the mention of workflows allowing project managers to streamline project-related tasks and approvals. SharePoint ships with five out-of-the-box workflows for document and task management.

Workflows can be customized to match the project’s specific requirements, helping to automate routine activities and improve overall efficiency. 

There are several no-code solutions available for custom and complex workflows such as SharePoint Designer, Nintex, and Microsoft Power Automate.

6. Security and Permissions

SharePoint provides robust security features, including granular permission settings and access controls.

Project managers can define user roles and permissions to ensure that project information is shared with the right people while maintaining data confidentiality and integrity.

Get a Free SharePoint Project Management Template

Download your SharePoint template that is pre-designed to manage a project.

BrightWork Free SharePoint Project Management Template

Elements of a Simple Project Management Process

The Project Management Institute (PMI) defines project management as ‘the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project activities to meet the project requirements.’

Projects are typically managed in phases. As teams work through each phase, they’ll use processes and reporting to keep work on track.

Project Management Processes

Processes define ways of working, such as task management and risk management. Processes depend on the size and complexity of the project, the experience of the team, and particular project methodologies.

At BrightWork, we use the below spectrum as a starting point with our customers. As the project moves into execution, you can add or remove processes as needed.

Project Management Reporting

In project management, we need lots of reporting to know where we are and where we are not! Project reports should be easy to create and share, and update in real-time.

Different people on the team will need to see different information to contribute successfully:

Stakeholders need reports to track progress and deal with risks across projects and portfolios in a timely manner.

The team relies on reports to find and do work, raise issues, and stay up-to-date with the project.

Project managers use reports to track tasks, risks, budget, and timelines on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.

 It’s also important to facilitate cross-project and portfolio reporting, and visual elements such as Gantt charts.

Project Document Management

Project documentation should be clear, up-to-date, and easily accessible at any time.

Project documents help to:

  • Create a single, accurate record of project work.
  • Simplify reporting with all information in one place.
  • Prevent misunderstandings with clear descriptions of individual roles and responsibilities.
  • Improve collaboration within the team.

Managing project documents requires capabilities such as real-time co-editing, secure sharing, and version control.

Project Collaboration

It is incredibly important to bring all the people involved in the project together so that they are connected to each other, as well as the project management processes and reports.

With the rise of remote and hybrid teams, teams need an easy way to communicate, collaborate, and share information.

Project Management Evolution

As teams become more confident with projects, they’ll likely want to take on bigger or multiple projects. Processes will change as maturity levels grow.

Using this very brief summary of project management, we’ll move onto using SharePoint for project management.

How to Manage Your Project Management Process in SharePoint Server

SharePoint is a collection of tools designed to help organizations build intranets, manage documents, and collaborate in a secure environment.

When it comes to project management, useful SharePoint features and functionality include:

  • Sites for individual projects
  • Document management and sharing
  • Lists for tasks, risks, and goals
  • Reports and dashboards
  • Workflows
  • Collaborative features like wikis and forums
  • Knowledge management
  • Security settings such as encryption and permissions.


The architecture of a SharePoint site – lists, web parts, sites, and site collections – lends itself to project management. Let’s see how the process outlined above maps to a SharePoint site.

1. Manage Processes with Lists and the Quick Launch

A SharePoint site is populated by lists, which are used to organize information.

Made up of headings, rows, and columns, a SharePoint list looks similar to an Excel spreadsheet. However, SharePoint lists are more flexible and are easier to control than a spreadsheet.

Common lists for project management include tasks, documents, and issues.

The Quick Launch menu, located on the left-hand side of a site, helps you to group lists together for your team, for example, by project phase. The menu acts as a guide for your team.

You can configure the Quick Launch using the project management spectrum mentioned earlier.

2. Create Reports with Web Parts

A SharePoint web part is a type of list used to store content in your site and is particularly useful for reporting dashboards.

The web part provides a view into a list, for example, a web part for project tasks on the project homepage links to the underlying task list.

3. Document Library

4. Collaborate in a Team Site

A SharePoint site brings the lists, libraries, and web parts together in one central location. From here, your team can find documents, track work, and collaborate – regardless of location or time zone.

5. Manage Portfolios with Site Collections

A SharePoint site collection is a collection of SharePoint sites.  When used for project management, a site collection creates a project portfolio, rolling up information from various projects in one place.

Get a Free SharePoint Project Management Template

Download your SharePoint template that is pre-designed to manage a project.

BrightWork Free SharePoint Project Management Template

Using SharePoint Online and Microsoft 365 for Project Management

It’s worth noting that SharePoint has evolved, and there are newer versions available beyond SharePoint 2019 and SharePoint 2016, such as SharePoint Online in Microsoft 365.

In addition to SharePoint Online, Microsoft 365 includes additional features, apps, and improvements that can all be leveraged for their project management capabilities.

If your organization is moving away from on-premise SharePoint but would still like to manage your projects within the Microsoft ecosystem, then Microsoft 365 is a good place to start.

You can use:

  • Power Apps for project sites
  • Power BI for portfolio reporting
  • Power Automate to manage workflows
  • SharePoint Online for document management
  • Microsoft Teams for collaboration
  • Azure Active Directory for security and permissions.


BrightWork 365 is a project and portfolio management solution built on top of Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform. It is designed to enhance and extend the project management capabilities of Microsoft 365, providing additional features and templates for managing projects, tasks, resources, and portfolios.

BrightWork 365 offers preconfigured project management templates that align with popular project management methodologies and provides a user-friendly interface, customizable dashboards, and reporting capabilities to help teams effectively plan, track, and collaborate on projects within the Microsoft 365 environment.

Manage projects with Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online

Watch a demo of BrightWork 365 project and portfolio management templates for Microsoft 365, Power Platform, and Teams.

Billy Guinan
Billy Guinan

BrightWork Demand Generation Manager • Marketing

Working with a range of B2B SaaS project portfolio management software for nearly 15 years, Billy specializes in best practices and methods of how to leverage Microsoft 365, Teams, Power Platform, and SharePoint to make project management easier. His focus areas are Collaborative Project Management and Template-Driven Project Management on the Microsoft platform. Beyond all things BrightWork, Billy enjoys reading, trying to golf, and walking his pug named Nova.

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