(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:
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:
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:
And 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:
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:
where we can add other Microsoft Project fields to our SharePoint list like this:
And once added you will see them as new columns in the SharePoint list:
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.