Which SharePoint Project Management Tools Are Best to Track Projects? (2023)

Micheál Clesham
By | Updated July 19, 2023 | 21 min read
free SharePoint Template BrightWork

What you will learn: This comprehensive guide will help you navigate your way simply through the world of Microsoft SharePoint project management tools and select the most relevant option available to you. 

Get the Free Project Management Template for SharePoint

SharePoint Server is a practical platform for project teams. By leveraging SharePoint, project managers can easily apply a standard approach to project management, allowing teams to collaborate easily with improved visibility.

Quite often, project managers are tempted to manage projects in familiar and available tools such as Word or Excel and as a result, miss the collaborative features of a platform like SharePoint.

SharePoint Server’s strengths lie in the fact it is highly secure, highly configurable, and seamlessly connects to the Microsoft suite of products.

Here are four tools that will help you to manage a project using SharePoint Server.

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

Native SharePoint

Vanilla SharePoint is great if you want to introduce the idea of team collaboration to your organization, but may not be too sure on how people will react to a new process.

You’ll need to configure your SharePoint site with the right lists and web parts for your project. This takes time, requiring both SharePoint and project management experience.

Here we’ll take a look at creating your project site in SharePoint using lists and web parts. We’ll also see how to use the Free SharePoint Project Management Template from BrightWork, which provides a pre-planned project site

A versatile platform with a focus on collaboration, SharePoint is used for:

  • Document management and sharing
  • Intranet portals
  • Building websites
  • Managing workflows
  • Controlling permissions and access to documentation
  • Collaboration and problem-solving via wikis and forums
  • Web parts
  • Knowledge management
  • Centralizing business intelligence from Excel, Power BI, and other Microsoft apps.


SharePoint doesn’t look like a project management tool out of the box. Configuring a SharePoint site for project management can be a daunting task, with pre-planning required before diving in.

Gregory Zelfond has a brilliant guide to creating a SharePoint project site where he outlines 10 steps, including:

  • Deciding the site architecture, i.e., where the site will site in your SharePoint environment.
  • Figuring out what lists and web parts you need to add to the site.
  • Creating the site.
  • Adding and configuring the web parts.


Once you have determined your Site Architecture and Site collection structure, you are presented with the SharePoint equivalent of a blank page.



Next, you need to consider adding SharePoint Web Parts. A SharePoint web part is a type of list used to store content in your site. Like an app or widget on a smartphone, web parts such as contacts and announcements enhance the functionality of your site.

A web part is added to a page in your SharePoint site, acting as a shortcut to the underlying information. For example, adding the ‘project tasks’ web part to the project homepages provides a snapshot of the underlying tasks list. Simply click on the information to get more details.

Before you start adding web parts, you need to create your first subsite from your Site Contents.

Choose Team Site from the Template Selection and give it a name and corresponding URL slug.

Complete the form and hit Okay.

From here you need to decide on what components (or lists) will make up your project team site. Some common SharePoint Web parts that are of use to Project Managers include:

  • Announcements
  • Document Library
  • Calendar
  • Tasks
  • Issues Log
  • Contact List.


For the purpose of the article, we will take a look at adding a Tasks List and an Issues List. A Document Library is included in your site by default.

First, navigate towards Site Contents which is accessible from within the Quick Launch on the left of your screen. From here, you can add an app.

Choose to add them.

Now the Tasks List and Calendar will be added to the Quick Launch.

The Tasks List is where you can build out your project plan in SharePoint.

Click on the third tile.

Your Apps gives us a sense of SharePoint’s potential with 17 web parts to choose from. Select Issues Tracker, choose an appropriate name and navigate back to the home screen of your subsite.

You will see the issues Tracker added to the Quick Launch as well. Navigate to it and add an issue.

The more time you spend configuring your team site, the more it becomes increasingly obvious that you are merely scratching the surface of SharePoint.

It can take many valuable hours, planning out the structure of your site, adding web parts, and configuring your site to make it simple and easy to use. All of this before you have even started managing your project!

Creating a SharePoint project site is not just adding lists or web parts. You’ll also need to think about your SharePoint development through the lens of an established, proven project management process.

Granted, at the end of this long process, you can save your hard work as a template to be used again but what if all of this work was done for you?

Free SharePoint Project Management Template to Manage Individual Projects

The problem with SharePoint for Project Management is that despite it being highly configurable, it does not look like a project management tool out of the box.

It can take many valuable hours, planning out the structure of your site, adding web parts, and configuring your site to make it simple and easy to use. All of this before you have even started managing your project!

Using pre-built project management templates for SharePoint saves you from planning and building out a SharePoint site.

In this article, I’ll look at two template options from BrightWork – the free SharePoint project management template and the Project Lite template in the full BrightWork solution. The free template is based on Project Lite, making the move to BrightWork easier!


The BrightWork Free Template is a simple and intuitive tool that allows teams to start managing their projects on SharePoint instantly.

Using the template means you don’t waste any time building a project site in SharePoint or trying to find someone to do it for you. All you need to do is download and install the template, and deploy a pre-planned project site – all in less than five minutes – with no coding required.

The site already includes the project management essentials to help you plan, track, and re-plan the project:

  • Getting started Tiles
  • Project Homepage with ‘at-a-glance’ information
  • Quick Launch
  • Wiki (Collaborative Project Management Process)
  • Tasks list (mapped to the Wiki)
  • Project Reports and Metric Tiles
  • Document repository.


The Free Template is ideal for managing individual project sites.

Users can create as many sites as needed; however, it’s not possible to report across projects or manage portfolios using the free template.

The pre-planned web parts are connected to homepage dashboard reports, which are updated automatically as each individual report is updated. If you need to implement PPM processes, the full BrightWork Solution has everything you need.

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

BrightWork Project Templates to Manage Individual Projects

The full BrightWork solution comes with pre-configured PPM templates including the Project Lite Template. A lot of project managers like to start using the Project Lite template as it closely resembles the Free Template, which they might already be familiar with.

The Project Lite template is one of many project management templates that comes out of the box with the full BrightWork solution.

A lot of project managers like to start using the Project Lite template as it closely resembles the Free Template, which they might already be familiar with.

The main difference is that with the free template, you can manage one project per site. With Project Lite, you can manage and report across multiple sites.

The following features are available in both the Free Template and Project Lite: 

Document Management*Basic Microsoft Project to SharePoint Syncing*
SharePoint Workflows*Project Reporting
SharePoint configuration options*Report Sharing
Mobile Access*Automated Project Metrics
SharePoint Custom Style Sheets*Manual Status Reports
Basic Gantt Lists*Manual KPIs

(* indicates features available in native SharePoint)

One of the key differences between the free template and Project Lite is the number of projects you can manage with each template. With the free template, you can manage one project per site. With Project Lite, you can manage and report across multiple sites.

When reporting, the Free Template allows you to report on 3 set metrics on your dashboard, which cannot be changed or configured. Project Lite allows you to use as many tiles as you need, for whatever metrics you like.

Once we start digging a little deeper, we see other advanced features available in Project Lite that are not available in the Free Template.

Portfolio ReportingPersonal Reports
Kanban BoardsTask Scheduling
Automated KPIsManual Metrics
Automated Status ReportsEnhanced Microsoft Project to SharePoint Syncing
Project Request ManagementEnhanced SharePoint Lists
Site Collection Hierarchy SupportBetter SharePoint Navigation
Template Management AreaTemplate Configurations
Template Design SyncCharting
Nintex forms supportCopying and Synching Workflows


Project Lite is completely configurable and adaptable to your project management approach across multiple projects.

The features above are not all incorporated directly in the out-of-the-box Project Lite but once you become a BrightWork customer, all functionality is available to be leveraged as you see fit.

As we can see from the above table of features, Project Lite has almost unlimited potential but let’s take a look at four key features that would make an immediate impact on how you manage projects and portfolios.

BrightWork Project and Portfolio Management Solution to Manage Across Projects

If you want to report across portfolios and programs, understand how individual projects are performing, or implement project request management, you should consider the BrightWork solution for SharePoint On-Premises (server editions of SharePoint 2019, 2016, 2013).

BrightWork includes a range of best-practice templates and advanced cross-project reporting to help organizations get control over projects in one solution.

Key BrightWork capabilities include:

  • Pre-configured, flexible templates for managing projects and portfolios
  • Real-time portfolio dashboards and reporting
  • Project Request Management
  • SharePoint Kanban Boards
  • Enhanced Gantt Web Part
  • Project metric tiles and scorecards
  • Resource Management
  • Resource Allocation
  • Report automation
  • Template Design Sync.


BrightWork guarantees greater simplicity for project managers, better visibility for senior executives, and the ability to deliver better and more consistent organizational project management.

SharePoint vs. Free Project Management Template vs. BrightWork

A question we often get asked is what’s the difference between native SharePoint, the Free Project Management Template, and the full BrightWork solution for SharePoint On-Premises? Which one is the right fit for me?

To make things a bit easier, we’ve prepared a simple table to compare SharePoint, our Free Project Management Template, and BrightWork to help decide which direction you should take with managing projects on SharePoint.

Comparison Chart


FeatureSharePointFree TemplateBrightWork
Document Management
SharePoint Workflows
SharePoint configuration options
Mobile Access
Microsoft Office Integration
SharePoint Custom Style Sheets
SharePoint Designer
Project Reporting
Access to all Standard BrightWork Templates
Portfolio Reporting
Kanban Boards
Boards Swimlanes
Task Scheduling
Basic Gantt Lists
Interactive Gantt Charts
Gantt Scheduling
My Work Reports
Personal Reports
Report Sharing
Report Configuration
Automated Project Metrics
Automated KPIs
Manual Metrics
Project Request Management
Resource Management
Resource Allocation
Manual KPIs
Manual Status Reports
Automated Status Reports
Basic Microsoft Project to SharePoint Syncing
Enhanced Microsoft Project to SharePoint Syncing
Enhanced SharePoint Lists
Site Collection Hierarchy Support
Better SharePoint Navigation
Template Management Area
Template Configurations
Template Design Sync
Nintex forms support
Nintex workflow support
Copying and Synching Workflows
Work Cache
Project Cache
Status Report Cache


In summary:

  • Native SharePoint can be used for project management; however, you will need to spend significant time configuring the site.
  • The Free Project Management Template from BrightWork is a pre-configured, no-code template. The template is used to manage individual project sites and does not support cross-project reporting.
  • The full BrightWork PPM Solution for SharePoint On-Premises includes configurable templates, project request management, portfolio dashboards, Power BI reports, and more.

Leveraging SharePoint Online on Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 allows users to leverage cloud technology by bringing together familiar tools in one subscription. Part of the Microsoft 365 platform, SharePoint Online is a cloud-based collaborative platform that organizations use to share and manage information.

SharePoint online is the perfect tool for project document management, providing a secure place to store files for your team to work together and access at any time from any device.

BrightWork 365 leverages SharePoint Online along with Microsoft Teams, Power Automate, Power BI, and Power Apps to create a complete Project Portfolio Management solution in Microsoft 365.

Manage Projects and Portfolios with Microsoft 365

See how you can manage projects with Microsoft 365, Power Platform, Teams, SharePoint Online, and OneNote.

Micheál Clesham
Micheál Clesham

Micheál is a SaaS product marketing specialist with BrightWork. For the better part of the decade, our in-house host has created engaging webinars and content with insights from Project Management Gurus and thought leaders. His go-to theme is Project Management best practices including project communication, collaboration and agile ways of working. Outside of work, Micheál likes to find new stories through podcasts, movies, sports, and travel.

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