Document and Deliverable Management With Project Central
When you’re dealing with stakeholders, project team members and clients, a mountain of files and documents can accumulate.
Despite, our best efforts, it’s unavoidable and poor document management is a straight road towards project failure.
In this article, we take a look at some clever ways of leveraging your Microsoft 365 environment to deliver efficient project document management.
Project Documents and Deliverables
Project deliverables are the paperwork outputs of your project such as project plans, reports, signed documents, or meetings minutes.
Project deliverables are not project objectives but they are linked. A deliverable is a file or document that is created in order for the project to progress, whereas the objective is the ultimate goal of your project.
This paperwork can vary across industries and can be for internal or external use. For example, an internal deliverable might be a document outlining specific company processes. On the other hand, an external deliverable might be a website audit to be shared with a marketing agency.
Project deliverables are an integral part of successful project management and it is important that you and your team are using an effective file management system to keep all documents in one place.
In order for your file management system to be effective, it must be:
- In one secure location.
- Easily accessible and searchable.
- Up to date and current.
- Version controlled to reduce errors and miscommunication.
Document Management with SharePoint Online
SharePoint document libraries are a great document management system for project managers. Integrated into Microsoft 365, Sharepoint lets users save Microsoft Office file types, such as, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote within folders that suit your organization.
Document libraries are created by default in each new site within SharePoint Online and SharePoint 2019. New libraries can be easily added to your site though, as needed.
Permissions for libraries are set at the site level giving you complete control over who has access.
Each file and folder contains information, or metadata, about each file. This information can include created by, modified by, checked out to, file size, and many more.
This key information (metadata) is what differentiates a SharePoint library from the document libraries most people are used to on their personal computers.
SharePoint libraries focus on the collaborative aspect of document management through:
- Version Control.
- Real-time co-editing.
- Sharing through links (instead of email attachments).
- Cloud-based, accessible anywhere, single location.
- Simple review process workflows.
How would a project team use a SharePoint library?
A marketing manager creates a SharePoint site to manage the marketing team’s projects and documents. As site owner, the manager has Full Control Permission and is an Owner of the site. They decide the library will be used for website audits, status reports, and press releases.
The site owner uploads all relevant documents to the library and turns on versioning. This allows the team to work on files, knowing the history of how the files evolved. Previous versions are easily accessible if necessary and best practice templates maintain quality. They also integrate the SharePoint site directly into their team channel in Microsoft Teams.
The library evolves as needed and be organized by adding columns and creating personal views. One team member might want to sort files by the fiscal quarter they were created, or another might want to view by file name.
To keep ensure current versioning, the team agree to no longer send email attachments and instead send links to the project site. They also create a workflow to automate the process of gathering feedback and publishing the final document.
Document Management in Project Central with SharePoint Online Integration.
With a straightforward approach to projects, Project Central helps project managers and teams to plan, track, and collaborate securely using Microsoft 365.
Project Central is built on Microsoft Azure and integrates directly with Microsoft 365 and SharePoint online, making it the perfect all-round project management tool.
First, you need to connect your Project Central site to your SharePoint library. Find the Files link at the top of your project and click into the box below it or the Connect File Library button towards the top:
After confirming that Project Central can connect to your SharePoint document libraries, you can then search for all SharePoint sites that your Microsoft 365 credentials are linked to (from which you can then link to an associated document library), or to paste a direct URL link to a specific document library to which you have access.
The team can also attach files (already in the Project Library) or upload new files (to the Task and by extension to the Project library), from within the Task Side Panel:
This is a great way to, not only keep your documents and deliverables in one place but also to add context.
As we mentioned earlier, you could send a link to your teammates to share the file but you could also leverage the task comment functionality to notify your teammates of changes to the task.
Simply use @mentions in the task comments to push emails to team members with updates or questions, and attach files to the task and project library.
Keeping your project organized with effective document management is essential for delivering a successful project. This is especially true for long projects or projects that require a large number of team members, stakeholders and clients.
Project Central is designed for project managers and teams who want software who want simple project management software that leverages their existing Microsoft 365 and SharePoint online infrastructure.