Managing Projects with SharePoint

20121011-075441.jpgEmerson’s Marshall Meier opened Thursday of the Emerson Exchange with a presentation, Manage Your Projects with SharePoint. His abstract:

This workshop will give the audience an introduction to using Microsoft SharePoint for managing projects. Two case studies will be presented to explain its benefits and shortcomings. Included will be a live demo that shows how easy it is to create and use a SharePoint site.

Marshall opened with problems associate with projects. Projects have a lot of stuff associated with them. Managing all this stuff is tough. Documents, document reviews, project calendars, action item, notifications, schedules, etc. Ways to manage this include network drives, email, paper.

SharePoint is a website to help manage project stuff. It’s main function is to provide document management. It’s pretty well integrated with the Microsoft Office document tools. It supports workflows to provide document approvals. It can also create tasks which tie back to Outlook calendars. Action items can be managed through these tasks.

Notifications can be setup to provide emails. Marshall sets up notifications for daily updates on changes of tasks, documents, etc. Simplified project schedules can be created with Gantt charts. Custom lists can be created with columns that you create with fields such as owner, due dates. activity status.

Security and permissions are available to control who can see what, and have privilege to view, change, delete, etc.

Marshall next went into what SharePoint was not. It’s not a silver bullet, but rather a tool. He shared a few examples how he is using it in his capacity as a technology program manager for the Rosemount pressure products. He setup a new product development porject with 5 team members in two different physical locations. SharePoint was used for document storage, tracking action items, notifications, and reporting for progress versus the product development guidelines.

Another example was a manufacturing transfer project with a facility in another world area. Document management and reviews were done, but Marshall wished he’d taken advantage of the workflow capability. A third example was managing a portfolio of manufacturing projects. SharePoint helped manage a prioritized list of projects, tracked status of project, and tracked schedule of each individual project.

Marshall next switched to a live web site where he connected to a SharePoint 2007 instance at the Rosemount facility in Minnesota. He began at the beginning and showed how to create a site from scratch. He selected from a list of templates and chose to create a team site. He showed how to modify the page to remove webparts from what was created by the default template. He next went into the settings to add people and assign permissions for their access to the site.

He showed how setup document library and make choices such as turning on version control and requiring documents to be checked out before modifying to keep a version history. He created a document, checked it out, made changes to the document, checked it back in, showed the version report, and sent it in a workflow to another person on the team for review.

There were a lot of great questions by the session attendees on workflows, notifications for tasks not done, changes made to documents while document out for review and more. Marshall encouraged them to try quick tests to see what happens. Since SharePoint manages the documents within a database and sends links, it helps avoid the situation of multiple versions flying around in email messages.

The final part of the demonstration was custom lists. He created a list with project tasks, owner, and status of the task.

Marshall summarized re-emphasizing that SharePoint is a tool that can help manage the volume of “stuff” associated with projects. YouTube has quite a few tutorials to help you if you’re not already familiar with it.

Posted Thursday, October 11th, 2012 under Emerson Exchange.