SharePoint 2010 Project Tasks Part 1
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).
It’s been a good while since the last post here – I’ve been really busy on client projects, as well as trying to learn as much as possible about SharePoint 2010 now that the released product is available. I thought I would try to cover some of the things I’ve found out while working with the 2010 SharePoint and Office products in this and future posts, kicking off with how Project Tasks now look and behave.
The Project Tasks List in SharePoint 2007 / WSS 3.0
One of the standard list templates in both SharePoint 2007 and WSS 3.0 is called “Project Tasks”. You can find it in the “Tracking” section when creating a new list:
It comes with a default “Gantt View” already set up, so that when you add entries to the task list, you get to see them like this:
When I show this to clients new to SharePoint they get very enthusiastic about managing project tasks via a web application. Then they ask about task dependencies – in other words can the tasks be linked so that the Gantt shows how each one is linked to its predecessor or successor tasks – same as you would be able to create if you were using Microsoft Project. Unfortunately SharePoint 2007 Project Tasks can’t do this “out of the box”. There are several 3rd party options available, such as SharePoint Task Master from Bamboo Solutions and of course Microsoft’s own Project Server.
Improvements in SharePoint 2010
The Project Tasks list is still there in SharePoint 2010 (all versions, including Foundation) and in the “Tracking” you will see this icon:
In 2010, the first thing you will notice once you create a new list from this template is that the Gantt view has changed so it now looks a lot more like the one you would see with Microsoft Project:
And as you’ll notice from the screenshot above, it’s possible to define predecessors for tasks when adding or editing them:
So far so good, but there are a few other things you need to know. First, updating one of the tasks does not automatically re-schedule its predecessors. You can consider a SharePoint 2010 Project Tasks list as using manual scheduling, not the clever auto-scheduling you get in Microsoft Project. Here you can see the duration of the “Define Scope” task has been extended, but nothing happens to the start date of successor tasks:
The other point to bear in mind is that it’s possible to set as task as it’s own predecessor, without SharePoint giving you any kind of error:
Then you can end up with a task that looks like this on the Gantt
This is something that isn’t permitted in full-blown Microsoft Project, where you will get an error like this if you try it:
So overall some nice improvements. It doesn’t stop there though. Microsoft Project 2010 adds more – namely the ability to synchronise with your SharePoint list. More on this in part 2….
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