How to Report on a Hierarchy of Sites and Projects in SharePoint
Microsoft SharePoint is the perfect solution for project management. Native SharePoint sites can be configured to provide a centralized workspace to manage a project.
All team members need is access to a web browser to be connected to their work and to their peers in SharePoint. No more worrying about what’s on the project plan or who has the latest versions of a document… it is all housed in one central project site!
If you are not sure how to get started with SharePoint for project management, try the Free SharePoint Project Management Template from BrightWork.
Manage Many Individual Projects in SharePoint
Here you see an example of a SharePoint project management site in BrightWork, tracking information about an individual project:
This one happens to use a loosely structured approach. You can have as many project sites like this as you have projects, with varying amounts of project management rigor. Having a standardized template will reduce the risk of project failure and delay.
Limitations of SharePoint for Project Management
There are, however, limitations to out-of-the-box SharePoint. One of those boundaries is that native SharePoint does not allow for reporting across multiple project sites.
You could have ten, twenty, one hundred or even a thousand individual project sites on the go, but reporting across them at the Project Office or portfolio level would be quite difficult in out-of-the-box SharePoint.
Since SharePoint as a platform that is designed to be extended, you can and should enhance SharePoint with portfolio dashboards for visibility across many projects.
Extended SharePoint for Portfolio Management
Here is a BrightWork Project Office template for reporting across many project sites like the one above.
At this level, you’re not reporting on the amount detail in a project site. You’re only reporting on the high-level information of each project to get a snapshot of overall project performance.
A senior executive looking at these portfolio dashboards might notice that something is amiss on one project. All they have to do is simply click into it and they would be brought to the detailed project site to investigate and manage at the project level.
You’ll also notice the Project Hierarchy web part:
It’s important to look at SharePoint as something that should be structured hierarchically, with parent sites and child sites. The benefit of this type of structure is that you can see how all the projects beneath this Project Office are connected to each other.
You can build out your project office based on departments, or region, or whatever grouping makes the most sense for the way your organization manages projects.
Benefits of Portfolio Reporting in SharePoint
By extending SharePoint for portfolio management, you’ll be able to see lots of different projects aggregating to one set of reports on a dashboard, and it’s always pulling the latest information from the project sites in the hierarchy. You can slice and dice the portfolio dashboards with various sets of views on the same set of projects.
SharePoint can be extended with portfolio dashboards and reports that bubble up information from multiple project sites underneath. As team members work on their individual assignments and update that their work at the project level, that information rolls up automatically into Project Office template for a quick snapshot of the progress of all projects.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.