Overview: Track project work using SharePoint project tasks lists

Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 provides project tasks lists to help you track the work required to complete a project. Project tasks lists do not require a separate project management application, such as Microsoft Project 2010 or Microsoft Project Server 2010, and can be really useful in helping to clearly communicate about work progress.

In this article

Learn about project tasks lists

Create and work with a project tasks list

How can I do more with my project tasks list?

Learn about project tasks lists

Let’s say you’ve been asked to get some particular piece of work done for your organization. You know that getting this work done is going to take several steps, and that you’ll likely need help from some other people. Instead of haphazardly making your way through getting the work done, it occurs to you that you might benefit from a little structure, and that sharing progress on the work with, at the very least, your manager, might be a good idea. If your organization has a server with SharePoint Foundation 2010 installed, you can use a project tasks list to capture what needs to be done to complete the work, when it needs to be done, and who’s going to do it.

For a better understanding of project tasks lists, there are some terms you should learn.

A task is one step in the process of getting work done. For example, let’s say you’ve been asked to put together a flyer to be mailed to a list of customers. This work involves multiple steps: design the flyer, print the flyer, and mail the flyer. Each of those steps in the process is referred to as a “task.” Sometimes, a task may be made up of smaller tasks, known as subtasks. For example, designing the flyer may be a multi-step process: write flyer content, build flyer layout, submit flyer for review, and so on. These smaller steps are subtasks, and the larger task, design the flyer, is called the summary task.

A project is the term used to refer to all of the tasks, summary tasks, and subtasks required to get a particular piece of work done. Projects have specific start and end dates, and typically have some sort of end result, such as a completed product, a finished service, or a planned event.

These basic terms provide a foundation for everything that you can do with project tasks lists in SharePoint Foundation 2010. Once you understand these concepts, you’re ready to create a new list and begin planning your work.

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Create and work with a project tasks list

  1. Click Site Actions, click View All Site Content, and then click Create.

    Note:  A SharePoint site can be significantly modified. If you cannot locate an option, such as a command, button, or link, contact your administrator.

  2. Click List, under Filter By, to narrow the number of types displayed, and then click Project Tasks.

  3. Type the Name for the list. Name is required.

    The name appears at the top of the list in most views, becomes part of the Web address for the list page, and appears in site navigation to help users find the list. You can change the name of a list, but the Web address will remain the same.

  4. Click Create.

Use the following Help topics to learn more about working with your new project tasks list:

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How can I do more with my project tasks list?

In some cases, the project tasks list functionality in SharePoint Foundation 2010 may not provide everything you need to effectively manage your work. For example, your project may have started out small, but then quickly outgrew the capabilities of a project tasks list. When this happens, consider using a more robust project management tool, such as Project 2010, or even a full end-to-end enterprise project management solution, such as Project Server 2010 combined with Project Professional 2010.

Tools such as Project Professional 2010 and Project Server 2010 are designed specifically for managing the work, people, materials, and costs associated with projects. They provide a scheduling engine to help automate task scheduling, taking into account things like when people are available to work, how much time they’re spending on other tasks, what holidays and work hours your organization observes, and much more. With an enterprise project management solution in place, people working on tasks in a project may be able to submit timesheets and task status for approval, managers may be able to evaluate submitted project ideas to determine what work aligns well with business goals, and reports can be generated showing things like overall project progress, financial health, and organization-wide availability of people and materials.

For more information on Project Professional 2010 or Project Server 2010, see Getting started with Microsoft Project 2010 or Up to speed with Project Web App.

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