The Budgeting and Tracking template for Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 is very useful for tracking multiple projects and monitoring health. Once you've downloaded and installed the template you will be able to create a SharePoint site based that can house tasks, projects and a simple dashboard. For example, we created a site with two projects-- 'Groceries' and 'Project 2'. Below is the screenshot.
There are several points of interest for this SharePoint template:
Sure, the dashboard is quite simple, but it's still conveying basic information on health for each project. And did I mention it's free? The dashboard uses helpful visual indicators to mark Status, Budgets and overall Task/Issue status, as seen below.
All this information is pulled in from the Projects List, and more importantly, the Project Tasks. The Project Tasks list contains the bulk of your project data-- start dates, due dates, status and costing. This is very effective for presenting and tracking projects, but what about generating, scheduling and assigning projects? IntelliGantt and the IntelliGantt Add In for Microsoft Project both offer an easy way to send task and project information to SharePoint and even take advantage of rich templates like Budgeting and Tracking Multiple Projects. This lets you use an application suitable for scheduling a project and combine it SharePoint's inherent colaborative features.
The first thing we need to do is learn how to share... from the respective applications! IntelliGantt is on the left and the IntelliGantt Add In for Microsoft Project is on the right. IntelliGantt has multiple ways to share, such as selecting 'Share' under the main 'Projects' menu. The Add In has a single 'Share' command under the IntelliGantt menu in Microsoft Project. (Once the Add In successfully installs, you will see the 'IntelliGantt' menu appear to the right of the 'Help' menu).
The 'Share Wizard' is common to both applications. You'll want to copy and paste the URL of a SharePoint site into the top text box and click 'Go'. IntelliGantt or the IntelliGantt Add In for Microsoft Project will communicate with SharePoint to see what task lists are available and let you connect to the Project Tasks. (More Detailed Information).
After successfully sharing a project, you will see the tasks appear in the chosen task list. For this example we chose the Project Tasks list, which now contains Milk, Eggs and Honey. This is good, but it would be better if these tasks were grouped by their project, which is 'Groceries'. Right now, these tasks are thrown in the generic 'Project'. Since we want to use the dashboard and its features, we need to link these tasks with their project. We do this by using the 'Report' feature in both IntelliGantt and the IntelliGantt Add In for Microsoft Project.
There are multiple ways to select 'Report' in IntelliGantt. In the screenshot below it is selected from the main 'Projects' menu. In the IntelliGantt Add In for Microsoft Project, 'Report' is under the main IntelliGantt menu. Similar to sharing, you'll want to copy and paste the SharePoint site URL into the text box and click 'Go'. The available Projects List for the site will appear and you can choose which one to use. (More Detailed Information).
Once we've reported and updated via IntelliGantt, we see the 'Project' field in the Project Tasks list now has a link to the project. This is because IntelliGantt supplied the lookup id for all the tasks in the list. You can do this yourself by hand, but it becomes tedious and prone to error very quickly. It's much better to automate the process with a tool like IntelliGantt.
Finally, we the dashboard reflecting the 'Groceries' project. Keep in mind you can add more projects to the same Projects List, Project Tasks and Dashboard pieces in the Budgeting and Tracking Multiple Projects template (as seen in the first dashboard screenshot way up top).
With this simple SharePoint template you get basic tools to help you track and manage multiple projects. If you'd like a richer dashboard tool, check out our Project Portfolio Dashboard. If you'd just like to start with something basic and free, then IntelliGantt helps make the Budgeting and Tracking Multiple Projects template work efficiently.