Add and update tasks in a project tasks list

You can use project tasks lists to track the work required to complete a project. Work is captured as individual tasks, and each task is entered into a row in the list. As work progresses on each task, you can update task information on the list to provide a high-level view into the project’s current status.

Note:  Need to create a new project tasks list? See Overview: Track project work using SharePoint project tasks lists. Project tasks lists are included in SharePoint Foundation 2010 and do not require Microsoft Project 2010 or Microsoft Project Server 2010.

Add a task

When looking at a project tasks list, you’ll see a table on the left side of the view, and a timeline on the right. The timeline is called a Gantt chart, and helps to visualize your project’s progress. Bars on the Gantt chart are drawn using the Start Date and Due Date fields.

Note:  If you have some idea of the structure you’d like to create for your tasks – for example, if you know certain sets of tasks fall within phases that you’d like to represent in your project tasks list – you can organize your tasks into summary tasks and subtasks. For more information, see Organize and schedule tasks in a project tasks list.

In a project tasks list, complete the following columns for each row in the left table portion of the view:

  • Title    Type the name of a task in your project.

  • Start Date    Enter the date when the task should begin.

  • Due Date    Enter the date by when the task should be completed.

  • Task Status    Choose the descriptor that most accurately reflects the status of this task. If you are just planning a project and none of the tasks have begun, choose Not Started.

  • Priority    Choose the priority level that most accurately reflects the importance of this task, as it relates to the other tasks in this project.

Tip:  If several of your tasks share the same Start Date, Due Date, or data in any other column, you can click once in the cell you want to copy, to display the fill handle, and then drag the bottom right corner of the box down the column to fill the adjacent cells with the copied data. This can be particularly useful in the Task Status column, when you’re initially entering your plan into a project tasks list and none of the tasks have begun.

Once you have these initial columns filled out in the table portion of the view, you have a high-level project tasks list in place. The next step is to provide more detail about your tasks, including who will be doing the work, and how the tasks may relate to each other. For example, in some cases, one task must be completed before another can begin. For more information on these next steps, see Assign people to tasks in a project tasks list and Organize and schedule tasks in a project tasks list.

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Update a task

It’s important to return to your project tasks list as your project progresses, and update the columns pertaining to each task’s status. This helps to communicate what’s going on in your project with those who may not be tuned in to the day-to-day details of your project’s tasks.

In your project tasks list, complete the following columns for each task to provide an update on your project:

  • % Complete    Type your best estimate as to how much work has been completed on the task, using a percentage. For example, if a task is about halfway complete, type 50% in the % Complete column. This percentage is used to draw a progress overlay on the Gantt bar for the task.

  • Task Status   Choose the descriptor that most accurately reflects the current status of this task.

In addition, you may run into other changes to your project that require updates to your project tasks list. For example, the Start Date or Due Date for a task may change if a task gets started earlier than planned, or gets delayed. You can update these columns in the table portion of the view, just as you would any other column. In some cases, the person who is currently working on a task may no longer be available to the task. You can also update who is assigned to the task by updating the Assigned To column. For more information, see Assign people to tasks in a project tasks list.

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