A Quick Guide to SharePoint Project Tracking

Billy Guinan
By | Updated February 29, 2024 | 14 min read
project management standardization

Key Take Aways

  • Learn best practices to get started with project tracking
  • A template for getting started with SharePoint Server for project tracking
  • Overview of modern apps for project tracking in Microsoft 365
  • Extending Microsoft 365 with BrightWork 365 templates for project and portfolio management

If you are working on or managing a project, you’ll need to know how the project is progressing at all times.

Project tracking, as the name implies, is a process used for tracking the status of a project so that you know what has been done, what is still left to do, and if any issues have arisen that are impacting the health, budget, or schedule.

The best way to track projects is by using collaborative project management software with your project team.

When it comes to project tracking, both SharePoint Server and SharePoint Online (part of Microsoft 365) have their own merits.

In the rest of this article, we’ll cover how you can use SharePoint on-premises (server editions of SharePoint 2013, 2016, and 2019) for easy project tracking.

We’ll also explore how you can leverage all apps within Microsoft 365, including SharePoint Online, to make project tracking simple on the Microsoft platform.

Project management on Microsoft 365

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

Understanding the Basics of Project Tracking

There is a famous quote attributed to Mark Twain that reads: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started.”

We believe this to be true when it comes to project tracking!

Many project teams are not quite ready for full-scale, structured project management processes, so that would not be a good place to start. Some projects may not require a high level of the process because they are so small.

At BrightWork, we like to think of project management as being a spectrum. Some projects require highly-structured project management processes and others require light or ultra-light amount of processes.

So why not start out tracking just the high-level details of a project? At least then you’ll have a record to refer to and show Senior Management.

So, if you’re just starting out with collaborative project management using a software tool, you can just start out by tracking the essentials:

Starting with the “Light” side of the project management spectrum, you can track the essentials of the project. These might include:

  • Project name
  • Project manager
  • Type of project
  • Customer or department that the project is for
  • Required finish date from the customer
  • Likely finish date based on the current progress
  • Overall health of the project, as determined by the project manager
  • And lastly, project status. Is this project in trouble?


Just tracking these essential key items and reporting on them, even if it is only to yourself, will help you better manage the project. If you track and report these items to the other stakeholders in the project, the team members, senior management, and the customer, you will inevitably get feedback to better manage the project.

Project Tracker Template for SharePoint Server

Looking at the list of project tracking essentials above, you can see how a simple spreadsheet could be used to keep track of the data.

However, keeping the project info in a spreadsheet has many disadvantages. So why not move your project tracker to SharePoint?

Many organizations will use a Projects Tracker inside of SharePoint that mimics the ease of use of Microsoft Excel. With this Projects Tracker approach, you can track the essentials of the project in a grid that looks and acts like Microsoft Excel.

This approach has many advantages:

  • There is now a single source of project truth
  • A Projects Tracker is as easy to use as Microsoft Excel in its grid style and shape
  • It also has a version history and an audit trail, so you can go back to prior versions and see who made what changes to the project status and when.


In this instance, you are not experiencing all the challenges of Excel that can sometimes happen with project tracking. 

The other advantage is that when you save work on this Tracker, it can transform into a dashboard, which is more attractive and looks the way people would expect a project management dashboard to appear.

Traffic lights icons and high-priority signs are depicted graphically and you can see multiple projects in one place and click to get more detail. You can also click to get the version history associated with this project.

You are essentially getting the benefits of Excel in terms of ease of use without the associated disadvantages that are present for project tracking.

If you subscribe to this project spectrum approach for any of the aforementioned reasons, then why not use a Projects Tracker inside of SharePoint in the same manner as you use Excel? It is a great way to get many projects reported and get project management started consistently. It gives a quick win without a lot of fuss.

Get Started With BrightWork for SharePoint Project Tracking

BrightWork is a project and portfolio management solution for Microsoft SharePoint. The ready-to-use templates deliver immediate value with key capabilities such as project tracking, project reporting, portfolio dashboards, and work management. ​

The BrightWork Template Spectrum

BrightWork includes templates for project management, portfolio management, and day-to-day work management. The templates support varying levels of project complexity and process, from lite to structured. Customers can deploy templates from every category and with different levels of project management structure, at any time.

You can get started managing projects with SharePoint Server 2019, 2016, or 2013 with the Free Project Management Template from BrightWork. Based on the Project Lite template in the BrightWork solution, the free template comes pre-configured with lists, web parts, and reports to you to plan, track, and report on your project in a collaborative team.

The free SharePoint template plugs into your existing SharePoint On-Premises infrastructure – no coding required – so you can get started tracking and managing projects right away.

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

Modern Project Tracking Apps for SharePoint Online in Microsoft 365

While SharePoint Server has its benefits for project tracking, we’d be remiss if we didn’t explore the cloud-based Microsoft 365 platform for project management – as that’s where most of our customers are these days!

Microsoft 365 and SharePoint Online offer a number features and apps that can be used for project tracking, including

  • SharePoint project management site templates
  • Microsoft Lists
  • Microsoft Planner
  • Microsoft Teams integration.


While these apps differ significantly from the Projects Tracker in BrightWork for SharePoint Server, all of these tools provide you with all of essential project tracking information noted above – in a collaborative tool on the Microsoft 365 platform.

SharePoint Project Management Site Template

This is a team site designed to serve as an internal home page for your project team. It allows you to create a collaboration space where you can share project updates, post meeting notes, and access team documents. It comes with pre-populated images, web parts, and content to inspire site editors when making customizations. You can use Microsoft Lists to create a project tracker and issues tracker list to help manage and track project details with your team.

Microsoft Lists

Microsoft Lists evolved out of SharePoint Lists a few years ago. It is an is an app within Microsoft 365 that simplifies information tracking and work organization.

You can use Microsoft Lists to create a project tracker and issues tracker list to help manage and track project details with your team.

Your Microsoft Lists are easily added to your project management site in SharePoint Online and can be built from scratch or based on pre-built templates.

Microsoft Planner

Microsoft Planner is an app designed to streamline teamwork by providing an intuitive, visual approach to task management on a Kanban board.

Planner uses a task board view, allowing users to organize tasks into customizable buckets or columns. This visual representation helps teams see the status of work at a glance.

Team members can comment on tasks, attach files, and have discussions directly within the Planner interface, fostering collaboration and communication.

Plans can also be added to SharePoint pages.

Integration with Microsoft Teams

You can also leverage the integration between SharePoint Online and Microsoft Teams to aid collaboration.

You can create a dedicated Teams channels for each of your projects and link it to the corresponding SharePoint site, keeping collaboration and communication within the Teams app if that’s where your team likes to work.

Project Tracking with BrightWork 365 – PPM for Microsoft 365 and Power Platform

BrightWork 365 is a project and portfolio management solution designed for Microsoft 365 and the Microsoft Power Platform, including SharePoint Online.

BrightWork 365 provides templates for various project types, including projects, portfolios, day-to-day work management, and collaboration.

These templates cater to different levels of project complexity, ranging from Light to Structured, based on their Start-Evolve Approach.

BrightWork 365 combines apps, reports, and collaborative features in Microsoft 365 (including SharePoint) to help project managers increase project success while providing senior executives high-level visibility—all within one complete solution.

Project management on Microsoft 365

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

Billy Guinan
Billy Guinan

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.

Read Full Bio
Don't forget to share this post!