Project Templates for SharePoint

by Art Gelwicks, Solutions Consultant

litlnemo / / CC BY-NC-SA

Project Management Offices, Project Managers, and team members are all aware that in our normal project lifecycles we often do the same types of projects over and over again. While each project may be inherently unique from a detail perspective, there are many things that can be done to streamline the project start-up process. One of the biggest is project templates.

The classic idea of site templates on SharePoint has been around for a number of years, but there are some inherent flaws to the default approach. While it is a simple matter to take an existing site and save it as a site template, SharePoint doesn’t offer any way to easily tune that project site for the the specific needs of the project type, nor does it offer any aggregation capabilities for rolling the data up from the site to the portfolio.

Let’s use an example to illustrate this point. For our purposes we have three types of projects: Operational, Capital, and Strategic. The teams and needs of these types of projects are very different, even though they do follow our corporate project management methodology. The trick is to allow these project teams to:

  1. Get a head start on the type of project they are managing
  2. Configure the project site as needed for the specific requirements of the project
  3. Keep the ability to roll information from their project up to others which also may have been reconfigured

Accomplishing these feats through native SharePoint is doable, but it requires time and resources to pull it off. External or cloud based solutions provide the structure, but not the flexibility. What you need is a way to have a solution with the power of native SharePoint, the structure of an application, and the flexibility of a solution platform.

Using CorasWorks Project Portfolio Management (PPM), you can start from a basic project template and reconfigure the functionality, displays, navigation, and content of the project site without dealing with the native SharePoint substructures. Whether you have a simple, quick project needing basic collaboration and tracking or a complex engagement requiring all the capabilities of PPM the same solution platform is used to configure the types of sites you need. Create the project site in PPM, reconfigure it as you need, save it as a site template and add it to the template directory, and you’re ready to go. The best part is when you need to update the template based on governance requirements you can do that without starting from scratch.

Managing projects should never be a case of reinventing the wheel each time. Project management matures and grows through experience and learnings from past engagements. Taking the historical knowledge and turning it into usable templates through the CorasWorks PPM is an excellent step to more successful projects for you.

Art Gelwicks is a CorasWorks customer turned evangelist and solution consultant. Art provides a perspective on identifying ready solutions powered by CorasWorks that can be accomplished without extensive technical knowledge while still meeting the business need.

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