SharePoint Project Management with IntelliGantt and Bamboo Calendar Plus
Posted by workerthread on February 10, 2009
I’m very impressed with the potential uses of SharePoint tasks for project management, and recently I’ve been working with the IntelliGantt Add-in for Microsoft Project 2007 to extend these capabilities. The reason for this is that people want to create dependencies between tasks in their project (out of the box SharePoint can’t do this, but MS Project of course can) but still want to use the SharePoint tasks assignment and progress tracking capabilities. I’ve found Bamboo Solutions Calendar Plus web part works well here too, particularly the Gantt view which hooks up nicely to the project task list. More on this from Bamboo here.
One of the nice features of the Calendar Plus Gantt view is the option to show milestones, as coloured flags, diamonds or triangles. The web part lets you select any Yes/No column in your task or calendar list as the milestone column.
Now, the IntelliGantt Add-in for Project 2007 lets you select a variety of Project 2007 columns which can be synchronised with SharePoint, but early on I discovered that the Milestone column wasn’t one of them. I got in touch with John Milan from TeamDirection Inc (IntelliGantt’s vendor and developer) to suggest this as an enhancement and I’m pleased to say that within a matter of days a new build of the IntelliGantt add-in was available and included the option of exporting the MS Project milestone column to SharePoint.
In Microsoft Office Project 2007, a milestone is a reference point that marks a major event in a project and is used to monitor the project’s progress. Any task with zero duration is automatically displayed as a milestone. You can also mark any other task of any duration as a milestone using Task Information like so:
I created a small test project and identified milestones accordingly. Here’s a list of the tasks in Project, with the milestone column showing:
Using the IntelliGantt Add-in for Microsoft Project, you can customize Workspace Settings when Sharing a project to a SharePoint list, and “push” the milestone column out to the task list:
Once the task is shared to a SharePoint site (I used a standard Project Tasks list as the starting point), IntelliGantt creates the new Milestone column as Yes/No data:
And we can create a SharePoint view of the list to show milestones only:
Now we can use the Bamboo Calendar Plus web part to display a Project Gantt. We can create a web part page, add the Bamboo Calendar Plus web part to it, and select our Milestone column for display in the Gantt:
Which gives us a nice Gantt view in SharePoint with milestones clearly visible (here as flags):
Calendar Plus also has list filtering options, so we can choose only to show milestones as you can see here:
Which produces this type of display:
So far I’m very pleased with the way these products work together, and impressed with the rapid response from TeamDirection in adding the extra column. The IntelliGantt add-in for Project 2007 uses .Net ClickOnce deployment technology, so licensed users will get the update automatically. Also Bamboo’s Calendar Plus can use a list roll-up web part as its data source, so it should be possible to see specific tasks or milestones from multiple projects in one view.
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