Microsoft SharePoint is one of the well-known and practical choices for your business project management teams. It is used by project managers to use a standard approach to improve project visibility and help the teams to work together easily.
In this post, we will be discussing the reasons for using SharePoint for project management for your business teams. But first, let us understand what Microsoft SharePoint is.
What is Microsoft SharePoint Project Management?
Microsoft SharePoint was first launched in 2001. It is a web-based project collaboration tool that is used by more than 400,000 customers in 250,00 organizations globally from which 85% of the organizations are Fortune 500 companies.
Unlike other Microsoft tools, SharePoint is not a single too. l instead it is a combination of various tools designed to help businesses with the following:
- Build intranets and external websites
- Store and manage documents
- Improve access to business data
- Boost collaboration with wikis, forums, and social sharing capabilities
- Automate processes using workflows
- Manage data and information in a secure environment with version and permission control.
Microsoft SharePoint is so configurable that it helps companies to create innovative workflow and systems to support their internal business processes. It is now easier for the project management teams and key decision-makers to access the right kind of information whenever or wherever they want with the help of SharePoint.
Microsoft has blended Sharepoint with Office 365 through an On-Premise installation to make it available as a server-based On-Premise solution, a cloud-hosted solution, or a hybrid solution.
Those companies choose SharePoint On-Premises who require complex management libraries or are operating in highly-regulated environments or have highly invested in customized workflows and systems.
Why use SharePoint for Project Management?
Though the major objective of SharePoint is not to be used for project and management, its structure lists and web parts make it easy for business professionals to organize and manage a project. The benefits of using SharePoint for project management purposes can be easily highlighted.
The SharePoint site lists include the following:
- Document Library: Used to create a single repository for all project documents.
- Issues: Use this list to track and manage issues raised by the team.
- Tasks: Add tasks and subtasks to create the project timeline. You can also assign tasks to individual team members and track their progress.
In SharePoint, the web parts function as a project dashboard. It can display valuable project insights in a more useful manner. For example, if you add the web part named ‘project tasks’ to the project homepage then it will render you with the snapshots of the lists of pending tasks. Project managers can use the Microsoft SharePoint for the following:
- Easily configure and deploy project sites aligned with internal project management processes.
- Create consistency in how projects are delivered with reusable templates and project sites.
- Use lists to manage tasks, issues, and risks.
- Report across projects and portfolios.
- Manage the project request pipeline.
- Implement workflows to automate key tasks.
- Ensure the integrity of project information with document management, version control, and permissions.
- Create real-time dashboards, scorecards, and metric tiles to track project progress.
- Assign and manage project tasks.
- Track work, including overdue or unassigned work.
- Increase engagement with stakeholders using reliable data and clear reports.
- Manage changes to project sites using templates, reducing IT overheads.
Now, it’s time to get into the most important part of the article for which you have landed here in the first place.
8 Reasons to Use SharePoint site for PPM
There are many reasons for which you can use Microsoft SharePoint for your business management project but here in this post, we are going to discuss the top 8 among them. So, let’s get started.
1. Data management
The use of Microsoft SharePoint will be very critical for your organization if it has to work with very sensitive data in a highly regulated industry. Only the security features and permissions, search functionalities of the SharePoint site will be helpful to you.
This can be said as one of the reasons why domains like finance, healthcare, manufacturing, and the government sector are using SharePoint On-Premises.
In terms of data management, there are some differences between SharePoint On-Premises and SharePoint Online which are as stated below:
- With SharePoint On-Premises, it’s easy for organizations to maintain internal governance processes and control external access to data. The same controls are typically not available online as Microsoft is responsible for data security.
- Storing data in SharePoint On-Premises simplifies project reporting with aggregate dashboards and drill-down reports. If your data cannot be migrated to the cloud, such options are not feasible with SharePoint Online.
- There is no guarantee as to where your data will or will not be stored in SharePoint Online, making compliance very tricky. Your data is subject to the laws of the country of the relevant data center. In some instances, this means your data could be accessed by government agencies without your knowledge.
- User data is deleted after 90 days if the subscription to Office 365 expires or is canceled. This may be problematic for organizations that require extensive historical records for auditing purposes.
2. Customized Site Design
TodailytoTheYour team must generally be more efficient and productive, businesses around the world invest their resources and time in creating complex workflows and in-house applications. Among them, many use SharePoint On-Premises to manage projects and documents as well as drive business processes. Just because it is very configurable.
And if that was not enough, companies are also using SharePoint to customize their processes and workflows. And it keeps increasing every year. This proves the popularity of SharePoint customization.
This contains the development of highly customized workflows which restricts the users from getting any kind of access to the back-end infrastructure of SharePoint online. Also, the developers need to craft the template or the site from scratch every time because in SharePoint online, one can not save or reuse the templates or project sites.
This may risk the investments made by an organization in customization and could impact the related process negatively. Additionally, the updates impact cloud customization, leading it to the next point or stage of the project.
3. Learning Controlled Updates
The users of Microsoft Office 365 have no control over the impact of the frequent launch of updates. Everything solely depends on Microsoft’s will to decide what will stay and what will leave for a given new update.
If you want to manage the updates and patches in a sustainable and non-disruptive schedule with complex configuration then SharePoint ON-Premises is suitable for your organization. However, if you want complete control over the topology then you will find that SharePoint online is lacking the options to fulfill your objective. In that case, too, SharePoint On-Premise is better suitable for your organization.
4. Internet Reliability
If your organization wants to get uninterrupted access to online documents and sites then you will need a reliable internet network. Your online work will become a frustrating experience if your organization doesn’t have an internet network with sufficient bandwidth as it will continuously grind your progress to a halt.
Though SharePoint online is considered a cheaper alternative, there are two major costs implied with its migration. Migrating to an online solution can be expensive as you have to hire expert consultants. Also, you have to invest your time and resources in the following:
- Gathering requirements to select the relevant pricing plans.
- Documenting internal business processes.
- Migrating data.
- End-user training.
- Ongoing subscription management.
Updating an existing SharePoint On-Premises environment is cheaper than migrating to the cloud solution. It is important to know that the long-term costs of the cloud solution exceed the costs of SharePoint On-Premises Licences.
It is extremely easy for companies to spend money on the wrong plan and run out of it before they figure out the right business model, right workflow, and the right system. There is another trap in which the companies especially startups seem to get themselves and that is choosing a low-tier plan with lesser functionality just to save money.
6. Standardize Your Project Management Processes
Does your business team use tools such as spreadsheets and emails, Planner, and Teams? Or are you trying some project management software with little success?
These are the common challenges faced by every project management team daily but the most common thing among them is the absence of a standard process of project management. And without a fixed guidebook or a rulebook, the project team will have to keep finding new ways to fulfill the tasks for every project. This will have drastic impacts on the morale and performance of the teams.
With the help of Microsoft SharePoint, your team can build a project site specially tailored to their business requirements, project types, and regulatory requirements.
A project site helps your team with planning, tracking, executing, and re-planning their project with a simple structure. You can also make necessary changes in project management practices on the site with the help of feedback gained from the customers and the employees who are using it.
The team members who will be using SharePoint can quickly become familiar with the new project approaches. This will enable them to make more valuable contributions to the team and project effortlessly. You can also configure your project site according to the process and the expert level of your professionals.
7. Get Visibility with Project Reports
When you use Microsoft SharePoint, you can store all the documents, reports, and other information regarding the project on one site. With the help of this single source of the project, your team can answer the most important question – what is going on in the project?
You can check the health of your project through the project homepage as it captures information like:
- Key Project Metrics, such as the number of late tasks and current finish date.
- Project Status Icons, reporting on time, health, and cost as well percentage complete.
- Tasks by Status Chart.
To obtain more information from the reports, you just need to simply click each element and the project site will avail you with data containing the summary of the project reports. This data is displaying on the project homepage and will be updated at regular intervals to ensure that your team gets the latest information regarding the projects.
As we discussed above in the post, SharePoint allows you to add a project status report by creating a snapshot of your project with respect to time. This will help you to track the latest trends and access the data to make informed decisions regarding the project.
This will make the work easier for your project management teams. On the site, a team member can also check their upcoming tasks, ongoing work, and its progress.
8. Improve Communication and Collaboration
The communication medium between the project manager and its team or stakeholder must be simple yet reliable. Also, a single location is required for project tasks and reports so that the SharePoint site can play the role of a centralized document depository.
Your team must generate multiple versions of the same file and share it with the team to have it stored in different locations. Because the data can be easily overwritten and if that happens there is rarely any way to restore the previous versions. This will just increase the stress of your team.
The objective of the central document depository is to ensure that there will be just one version of a document stored at a single location. Then the team can collaborate on the specific task or work whenever the document is required.
It is also possible that within the project team only, different approaches and tools to manage the work may exist.
Final Verdict – why businesses need SharePoint?
In the end, I will just say that the decision of using SharePoint for project management entirely depends upon your business requirements, your company’s objectives, budget, business processes, and data.
Businesses today need to also consider the long-term effects with respect to the current use of any tool or technology. And you won’t find any other tool more flexible and reliable than SharePoint for project management purposes. If you have decided to use it after reading this article then let us know which aspect appealed the most to you.
Also Read: How To Create A Winning Company Culture