In part 4 of our 8-part branding series, we explore the development of Project Sites. Designed for more formal projects, SharePoint offers a Project Site feature that contains out-of-the-box tools built especially for project management.
In part 3 of our SharePoint Branding Series, we looked at Collaboration or “Team Sites” and how they are an effective way for cross-departmental team members to connect in a more informal way without any publishing restrictions. They are a good solution for projects that are more temporary in nature, however, they sometimes are not enough. For more formal projects, SharePoint also offers a Project Site feature that contains out-of-the-box tools built especially for project management.
In part 4 of our 8-part guide, we explore the development of Project Sites. We'll help you define what they are, decide when to use then use them, and maximize their efficiencies.
When to Use Project Sites
Project Sites are designed to be turnkey project management tools. When your organization needs to collaborate on many smaller, quick-turn projects that require shared resources and multiple streams of work, Project Sites are a necessity for your team. What's really convenient is you can use it without MS Project Professional Desktop or MS Project Server installed, so you don’t have to worry about spending more money and installing extra project management software that otherwise would be needed.
Team Sites vs Project Sites
There are times when you'll want to create a functional project site or team site in SharePoint. Turnkey SharePoint Team Site templates often don't go far enough for collaboration groups that need robust project management – that process can be is both complex and multifaceted. Project sites can help you track project activity, monitor milestones and progress, and prevent bottlenecking. Simply put, project sites capture tasks and assign them to people in your organization, store and manage project-related documents and information, and track project-related events on a shared calendar. There are step-by-step guides on how to create custom Project Sites on the Internet, and there are consulting or digital marketing groups that can help you do this as well.
While team sites do have the capacity to be converted to a project site (which obviously requires additional work), there are inherent differences between the two:
● Project Sites
- Project Sites have the “Project Functionality” Site Feature activate by default.
- A Project Summary WebPart is added to the main page by default.
- Project Sites have a “Task” list added to it by default.
● Team Sites
- Team Sites have the “Wiki Page Home Page” Site Feature activate by default. The “Project Functionality” Feature is not active by default.
- Project Summary WebPart or any Timeline WebPart can be added to the site.
- Team Sites had “Team Task” list added to it by default.
Project Site Basics
You can include links to your Project Site on the SharePoint QuickLaunch, and choose whether or not you want to use the top link bar from the parent site on your Project Site. It can be structured to manage projects of all shapes and sizes. The closer you can map your Project Site to your project management process, the closer you'll be to having 100% transparency across your collaborative processes. With the lists and apps available, you can manage project-related information such as:
● Change requests
● Open issues
Customization and Optimization
One of the great things about SharePoint is the ability to add functionality and tailor your environment to your liking. This is no different with the Project Site. Many SharePoint users choose to enhance their Projects Sites by leveraging other available features such as:
- Appending and modifying the SharePoint Project Dashboard
- Syncing your SharePoint task list with MS Project
- Syncing your SharePoint calendar with Outlook
- Fleshing out your Change Request Log in SharePoint
- Monitoring your Project Risk Register and sharing your Project Sites externally
Project Sites are an excellent solution when you know that you have a more formal project requiring project management functionality. This feature was created to be an out-of-the box solution to keep team members on task and ensure that goals are met on time and under budget.