Project managers are responsible for the initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and the closing of a project to make sure it’s successful.
But what if you lose track of the tasks at hand? Or don’t have a streamlined system for reviewing project progress? Learn how SharePoint task lists can move you from using Excel to being efficient as a project manager.
Project Management Triangle
Three major components of a project are tracked at the highest level by PMs:
Each of these three aspects is closely monitored to ensure ongoing quality. It’s a timely process that requires dedicated time and attention by a PM.
For 25+ years, I have encountered multiple companies, departments, and projects where project managers are considered:
Time and time again, those same companies, departments, and projects entered a process of rework, project failure, and poor implementation or deployments.
Rework is far more expensive than effective planning and time management of a project.
The diagram below sums up the lack of project management, where companies desire fast and cheap results.
What Do Project Managers Track?
To effectively manage a project, project managers need the ability to:
- Add tasks
- Assign tasks
- Add start date & due dates
- Create dependencies
- Update tasks status
- Update comments
- Allow team members to make updates
- Track versions of the tasks
- Get notifications/alerts upon updates
- Add attachments to tasks
- Track overall project completion percentage
If you are still managing projects in Excel, you can do most of the items in the list above. The only difference is the Project Manager is doing most of the work on the tasks list.
Team members are not empowered to submit information from their perspective when using Excel. The PM updates tasks, there are no alerts/notifications, no versions, and percentage complete is calculated as a “best guess” or manually calculated every time a task is updated.
All of this nonsense can be solved by using SharePoint.
Introducing SharePoint Task Lists
SharePoint versions as early as 2003 include a SharePoint task list. This app provides a wealth of robust features that allow a Project Manager to empower the team members of a project to update tasks as they make progress. In return, the Project Manager can then manage the project team effectively.
A SharePoint task list gives a Project Manager the ability to manage progress without becoming a slave to a task list in Excel. When a Project Manager handles all of the tasks, it’s usually time to introduce the team to their assignments and assign due dates.
It’s all in the SharePoint task list and does not require an additional license for the Project Manager or their team members.
Project Plan Summary View
Below is a sample Project Summary where all phases are rolled up at the highest level of the project and calculating the percentage complete for the entire project. Notice the following areas:
- % Complete
- Task Name
- Due Date
- Assigned To
The top level “SP Upgrade” is the name of the project. All items underneath that name are the phases of the project. The % Complete of the project (82%) is automatically calculated based on the % complete of the phases underneath.
The view below is a Summary View where all of the phases are collapsed.
Here is a more detailed view of the project plan where the phases are expanded:
Project Plan Notifications
As a Project Manager, it’s important to get alerts and notifications on project progress. With a SharePoint task list, you have the ability to get notifications upon modification of a task immediately, daily, or weekly.
Below is an example of an task with modifications that was sent via email. This notification explains that a task as been “reassigned,” by Megan Bowen, at 7:15am on 1/7/2020 and displays the fields she edited.
Add Custom Fields
When using SharePoint, there are data fields that are added by default to task lists. If you need to track different data fields, you have the ability to add custom fields. It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Below is an example of all the custom data fields that can be added.
Customize List Views
A user can make their views in SharePoint or use the views provided. The most common views that people look for are:
- Gant Chart
- Task List
- “Assigned To Me”
- Summary Views
Outside of the views listed above, if you can dream it, more than likely, you can create it. Below is a screenshot showing the list of views that are provided as “out-of-the-box.”
- Gantt Chart
- Late Tasks
- My Tasks
Gant Chart View
In summary, project managers have a much more efficient and effective way to manage projects than an Excel document. If you have SharePoint, you absolutely have a way to manage projects and empower your team.
Trust me, I started managing projects on an Excel document back in the day and when I was introduced to SharePoint Tasks Lists it changed the way I managed the project and my team was more engaged, took more ownership, and we were no longer enslaved to an Excel document.