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SharePoint 2010 Project Tasks Part 2 – Synchronise with Microsoft Project 2010

Posted by workerthread on June 1, 2010

(A quick update on my posts on SharePoint 2010 and Project tasks: as far as I am aware the SharePoint synchronisation feature is only available on Project Professional 2010, NOT Project Standard).

In my previous post I wrote about the Project Task List in SharePoint 2010.   Using it in conjunction with Microsoft Project 2010 makes it even more useful.  For example, you can use the nice Project 2010 features to create a project, add resources, set predecessors etc (all standard Microsoft Project stuff), then use a new feature you can find under the “Save and Send” option on the File menu:

Project 2010 sync -  Click to view full size

From here you can either sync with an existing SharePoint task list, or create a new task list in the site you specify.  It’s also possible to start from a SharePoint Task list and create your project from there, using this option on the “New” menu:

new from task list

The synchronisation process will also assign resources, as long as these already exist in your SharePoint user list and in the same format.  It’s important to note that the data in your SharePoint Task List is Manually scheduled.  In Microsoft Project 2010 you will see two scheduling options on the ribbon:

Auto Schedule:

Auto Schedule

And Manually Schedule:

Manually Schedule

Now, it’s quite likely that if you start by creating your project with Project 2010, everything will be Auto-Scheduled, because that means that when durations or actual completion dates change, other dependent items in the project will be re-scheduled.  If you are auto-scheduling, then when you sync with the SharePoint list, you will see this message:

Manual Schedule dialog  -  Click to view full size

which is telling you that everything will be switched to manual scheduling when sync’d.  So after a sync you will need to re-set auto-scheduling to see the impact of any updated tasks (by the way, if there are any synchronisation conflicts you will see a conflict resolution dialog where you can decide whether you keep the SharePoint version or the Project 2010 version).

Project 2010 also provides a “Manage Fields” option:

Manage Fields

where we can add other Microsoft Project fields to our SharePoint list like this:

Add Field

And once added you will see them as new columns in the SharePoint list:

Added Fields  -  Click to view full size

This is ideal if you want to use other features in SharePoint to provide current project status information, perhaps on a dashboard where you might use SharePoint charts or KPIs.  Once you are syncing between Project and SharePoint you might also want to place other restrictions on the SharePoint list for standard users – perhaps only allow data in specific columns to be amended, or make sure only project owners or administrators can add or delete tasks.   The new InfoPath 2010 SharePoint list form capabilities might come in handy here.

In summary, if you are planning to use SharePoint 2010 Project Task lists, then getting a copy of Project 2010 for your project owners or managers is likely to be a good investment.  It will allow you to publish and maintain project tasks to your assigned resources, who can easily update status and completion dates from the SharePoint site without the need to provide Project 2010 licences for everyone else involved.

I’ve also started looking at the new Silverlight SharePoint Gantt Chart from IntelliGantt and how it might work in this scenario.  I’ll post more about this once I’ve tried it out on some sample project sites.

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12 Responses to “SharePoint 2010 Project Tasks Part 2 – Synchronise with Microsoft Project 2010”

  1. [...] Project 2010 adds more – namely the ability to synchronise with your SharePoint list.  More on this in part 2…. Technorati tags: SP2010, SharePoint, Microsoft [...]

  2. Christophe said

    Derek, how does SP deal with MS Project summary tasks?

    Loved the self-predecessor screenshot in part I btw :-)

  3. [...] 2010 Project Tasks – Summary Tasks Christophe from PathToSharePoint commented on my previous post, asking “how does SP deal with MS Project summary tasks?”.  I thought I would show what it [...]

  4. Manoj Gupta said

    I can not see the sync option, how to enable it any idea? I have MS project 2010

  5. Scott said

    VERY, VERY interesting article … did you ever analyze the IntelliGantt web part and waht value it added?

    • Hi Scott

      Sorry I haven’t got round to following this up yet. TeamDirection have added a lot of new functionality to this webpart since I wrote the post, and I’m still planning to take a mor detailed look at it but haven’t been able to find time so far.

      Still on the list though…

  6. Cathy E said

    I have found one resource that states this sync will work with Project 2010 Pro and Sharepoint WSS3.0, but everything else says, it won’t work. I can’t get it to work myself. Any info on this?

    • Hi Cathy

      I’m not sure it will work with WSS 3.0. In SharePoint 2010 it relies to some extent on the project task and summary task content type and new Gantt view. I think it might be OK with SharePoint Foundation 2010 (the WSS 3.0 upgrade) though.

      Derek

  7. me.learning said

    Hi,
    You said …only project owners or administrators can add or delete tasks.
    Any idea how to achieve this.
    Appreciate any light.

    • Hi there,

      What I meant was you might use SharePoint permissions to restrict which users can add or delete tasks You can create custom permission levels in SharePoint and assign these to the task list which is being sync’d with Project. You will find lots of info on this if you search online for “SharePoint 2010 custom permission levels”. This Microsoft article explains more, and this one might also be useful.

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