Project Management Solutions in SharePoint
Decided to copy some of the thoughts I tossed out in the forums today here.
Some point for how to deal with managing projects in SharePoint. Should you separate it by customer? Organize it by area of business?
This really depends on what kind of projects these are and what is being presented in these areas. How will you probably reference the material contained in these ‘project spaces’? Will you be creating management dashboards for tracking project budgets and deliverables? Is this more important in some ways then the project material? Identify priorities and let this influence how the architecture will be, that way you can ensure you are satisfying the majority.
Let’s start with the basics. You have either a controlled area or a collaborative space. Controlled areas present information and are sort of a knowledge center where you can use previously completed work to help your current work, think of it as a place where templates and finished/polished work goes for future reference. The collaborative space can become more wild west in that it isn’t centrally controlled and moderated (to ensure it’s up to date and relevant). These areas are more for creative collaborative work such as responding together to an RFP or working on ongoing projects.
What I would do is create a collaborative space for projects with templates that allow managers and higher business users to see the status and dig down to existing/past/and proposed projects. Think of the webparts for a second and you could easily have a project list filter many other webparts on page that display project issues, tasks, documents and content from various sub sites (dataform webpart, content query webpart or custom solutions).
SharePoint/WSS has templates that can really help you get some ideas on how you can implement issue management, task management, document management, and the such here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=04FDA604-BAB0-4E43-8B88-38101DFE121A&displaylang=en and here: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=F9B98691-4D6B-4382-A415-0F8D3080DFC1&displaylang=en.
Some notes from personal experience:
- Everyone actually manages projects quite differently.
- Project Needs dictate what information is produced throughout each project and it does not always follow a specified process.
- The technical savvy of specific project teams and more importantly project managers can be VERY different.
- Project Management includes working in projects but also managing and getting reports on project metrics (especially important in larger corporate deployments). Take the time to identify through analysis just what data people need, want, and could use to provide the most benefit to your business.
- Think about what gets created in a project. The content that is produced in a project should be fully evaluated to ensure the project management system stays in line with project goals.
So it’s important to seperate content and offer several templates from the simplest to the most complex. Create a template for example that has issue management and milestone tracking but don’t impose this for small projects that don’t require it. The system has to improve people’s use, and if you overload the template trying to please everyone it will become confusing and create lots of wasted ‘space’. Architect these tempates based on the information produced throughout the project process in your organization and keep in mind that this process should be flexible as often it changes as can the results of a project.
The possibilities are really endless and it depends on the kinds of projects you manage. If these are development projects I like to organize content in libraries that follow the developer methodology (Domain Analysis, Analysis, Architecture etc) and then include most of the things you find in those templates along with expanding on a sort of lessons learned concept where I use a wiki library.
Another terrific thing is because it’s all built in SharePoint it keeps communication, training and maintenance down and if it’s been well designed it should be easy to adjust SharePoint and the templates to include new features and functionality that further improves use.
Hope this helps get you started in the right direction, and try investigating other project management systems, it can give you some good ideas that are very easy to implement with SharePoint’s versatile framework.