Project Management “Lite” Using SharePoint Task Lists
Your manager, the VP of Marketing and CMO, has called you into her office, and asked if you feel capable of taking on a relatively short but strategically important online marketing campaign. She will assign several of your co-workers to assist, and she will want to track progress along with the CFO. You’re a bit nervous, but see an opportunity to gain her trust and respect, and you know it will go a long way towards that promotion you’re seeking.
Your organization has SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise, but hasn’t used many of the key features, and you see this as a practical way to demonstrate the product’s capabilities and your expertise. Since you recently completed online training in SharePoint, you realize that SharePoint Task Lists provide an easy way to assign and track a team’s work, keep management informed, and ensure a given initiative is properly completed. Once a SharePoint Task List is created and configured, adding, inserting, and modifying tasks is not much different than adding and editing data in an Excel spreadsheet.
Since taking the e-learning course, your SharePoint Administrator assigned you Edit Permission Level for the Marketing Team Site. You ask that the working members of your team be assigned Contribute Permission Level, and interested stakeholders (e.g. the CMO and CFO) the Read Permission Level. From your online training, you follow the steps to create then configure your team’s SharePoint Task List.
1. Add a new Task List App from the Site Contents – Your Apps page, naming it to suit your needs.
2. Go to the new Task List, and notice the standard columns: completed check box, task name, due date, and assigned to. You modify the view to display additional columns including start date, priority, and % complete.
3. Next, working with your team, you analyze the steps required to complete the work, then enter them in the proper sequence in the SharePoint Task List.
4. Assign tasks to the appropriate resource – these will display in their SharePoint My Tasks or can be synched with their Outlook. However, you ask them to update directly on the SharePoint Task List, entering when they start and the percent complete each week.
5. Because SharePoint is server based, both the CFO and CMO can easily track the progress of your campaign, which, with the help of SharePoint, you complete as scheduled.
This simple example illustrates one of the nice features of SharePoint. SharePoint Task Lists provide a simple, lightweight way to better manage a work initiative or campaign that may not need the industrial strength of Microsoft Project or the expertise of a certified project manager, although, as a certified PM, I find SharePoint Task Lists a great tool in my arsenal when I don’t need to create a complex schedule.
In addition, if properly configured, users can access SharePoint from practically anywhere on a number of different devices, from PCs to tablets to smart-phones, and the Task List web-page can be modified to add a dedicated SharePoint Document Library as well as other useful SharePoint apps, providing an interesting way to better manage, monitor, and complete key work initiatives.
This article was written by Don A. Cox, author of our SharePoint and co-author of our Project Management course. Don has been a Project Management Professional (PMP®) since 1999, and has more than thirty years experience in successful integration and implementation of large scale IT systems in both the public and private sectors. Mr. Cox has successfully managed multi-year programs and projects ranging from $70M to more than $650M.
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