As we all know by now, SharePoint is an excellent tool for capturing all the details about your projects, and for sharing these details and various metadata with your project collaborators.
But let’s not forget that some of your stakeholders only require (and may only have time to review) a mile high overview of your projects. Can SharePoint handle this crucial status reporting as well? Absolutely!
Project Status Reporting in SharePoint
Let’s start with the data entry piece, which when translated to SharePoint means adding a custom app list to your project site. Name it something like ‘Project Status Reports.’ Next, we’ll amend the column configuration in this new list a bit. Some suggestions:
- The default ‘Title’ column: This column is not really necessary in this context, but since it’s not one we can delete, let’s give it a default value of anything that suits you and then we’ll hide it from the list views
- ‘Week Ending’: This Date and Time column can be given a default calculated value as follows to add some convenience for your site users: =Today+6-WEEKDAY(Today)
- Let’s report the current phase of the project as well with choice column ‘Current Phase’ and whatever phase choices make sense for your environment, such as Initiate, Plan, Execute, etc.
- Next, we’ll create a few key performance indicator columns that can be used to capture in a single word the health of that item. For example, we can create the choice columns ‘Overall Health,’ ‘Time,’ ‘Cost,’ and ‘Scope’ and give each the traffic light choices ‘(1) Green’ ‘(2) Yellow ‘(3) Red’
- This wouldn’t be much of a status update without the good old ‘Percentage Complete’ number column formatted as a percentage
- Add column ‘Current Finish Date’ to give the best current estimate of when the entire project will complete (probably can’t rely on the planned finish date once the project gets fully into gear!)
- And to round out the update list you should include several comment related multi-line text columns such as ‘Project Status Comments,’ ‘Major Accomplishments,’ and ‘Major Activities Planned’.
When you’re all done putting together this custom list, you’ll end up with a form that looks something like this:
Now that the form is in place we can move on to presenting the status update data in a helpful format. Let’s begin with the list view (the default view that appears when you click on the Quick Launch link for this list). Click on the ellipses at the top of the list to modify the view.
A bit further down in the view settings change the Sort order to sort by Week Ending date in descending order so the newest week ending date is on top.
When done with this custom view configuration you’ll see a view similar to this after clicking on the list link:
This will serve as a running list of all the status reports throughout the life of the project. But what about giving exposure to the one latest and greatest status update, the kind of cut-to-the-chase most recent info busy people need to look at quickly? Let’s finish things up by creating just such a report.
On the home page of your project site add a new Web Part from the Ribbon. Choose your project status report list as the part to add.
Next edit the web part to change the Toolbar Type to No Toolbar, change the title of the web part to “Current Project Status Report,” and click OK.
Save the page and stop editing. Final steps: click somewhere to the right of the web part title and in the Ribbon that opens at the top of the page click on ListModify View.
In the configuration screen that appears next choose the columns you’d like to display in the report, and to ensure that only the newest status update appears in this report-type web part, sort the report by Week Ending in descending order, and towards the bottom of the configuration screen in the Item Limit section choose to limit the total number of items displayed to 1.
That’s it – you’ve now enabled your SharePoint project site to capture and report the newest status info!