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Out of the box, SharePoint is great tool to manage projects of all sizes

Out-Of-The-Box SharePoint comes with all necessary features to produce a fully functional PMIS. It means that your current processes can map directly onto features provided from a vanilla version of SharePoint.

In its vanilla version version, SP offers the possibility to create lists, document libraries, email libraries, project mailbox, team calendars, task list, blog, news, photo library, connect to Outlook, Excel, MS Project, send notifications, create landing pages…

You can create a fully functional PMIS by avoiding unnecessary add-ons and complicated features that would complicate deployment, maintenance, and could cause problems during future upgrades. The only essential functionality missing in SP vanilla is the ability to drag and drop emails directly from Outlook with a prompt to add metadata. The latter is clearly essential for user experience and buy-in. A number of third-party products can repair it simply and at low cost.

An simple example

Imagine a construction project site with different lists and libraries. The diagram below shows how the "issue list" interacts with the other components of a simple PMIS. How to track documents and associated emails, track actions, link meetings or calendar events and produce Excel reports that are always up to date. The issue monitoring list can include specific fields (see the post on metadata) such as status or impact on cost / time to allow various possibilities for viewing, sorting, defining notifications, generating reports and research.

All of this can be done simply, quickly and without programming. Our approach is to follow three essential steps for a PMIS deployment:

  1. Make it work

  2. Make it smarter

  3. Make it cool and nice

Make it work: Use existing functionality to create a portfolio management site that includes proposals and project lists. Create simple and efficient project and proposal templates to fit the different types and sizes you usually manage. Create a few user groups and develop an authorization matrix to protect sensitive information. Deploy the project templates as you go.

Make it smarter: Add workflows and integrate all your internal forms. Create beautiful BI dashboards and reports in Excel.

Make it nice and cool: Add nice graphics, develop beautiful pages, blogs and create a complete work environment. Adapt all your forms for tablets and phones.

It takes more creativity to use native functionality to meet user needs, but it pays off. Take the time to write user requirements (stories) and make sure you keep it simple. It is the only winning recipe.

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