Advantages of SharePoint
SharePoint is not only an project management solution for use within a company, it can also be used for cross-company and global project management. The program is popular mainly because it fits neatly into the office structure which is present in most companies and with which employees are able to deal with well. This is probably one of the main reasons that SharePoint is quite common in the European area. There are, of course, other third-party tools, but SharePoint is the focus of this article. SharePoint is also often used as an example in seminars to show project managers how to use with tools of this kind.
Project management tools
PM tools and programs are designed to assist the project manager in their work. SharePoint does this by providing project planning, resource management and controlling capabilities that allow the project manager and their team to work in parallel from different locations. On the project platform, documents can be shared, plans can be released and stored in different versions and tasks can be assigned. The project’s goals can be saved and evaluated; documentation created and shared; and timetables published and tracked. It is possible to create various control mechanisms for sharing rights and approval management with SharePoint. Therefore, for example, a plan can only be made available to all parties concerned if it has been taken on by the architect, supplemented by the technical office and approved by the control office and thus released.
Paperless project management
In most projects, SharePoint is used as a pure document platform. Even though the calendar and alarm functions are good features, Outlook and other tools are still used mainly for arranging deadlines. As a platform for document management however, SharePoint is a great asset to a project because it saves a lot of paper. Plans no longer have to be printed out in tens of versions and annotated and changed again and again, this has been enormously reduced thanks to project platforms, saving time and protecting the environment.
Even meeting reports and acceptance reports – which you often only read a single section of or scan through for a certain piece of information – no longer have to be printed. All documents are available in any place at any time using a tablet or laptop. This is also where SharePoint reaches its limits. Depending on the speed of individual Internet connections, it may also take a very long time for a plan to be uploaded or downloaded. In some situations, especially on building sites, some people just want a pen and paper, so they can draw a red squiggle or note down a height measurement. It is important to understand in which situations the SharePoint platform is useful and when you prefer to use pen and paper.
Traditional project management focuses on the processes – the phases – of a project: planning, implementation, project management and evaluation. In addition to these process-oriented approaches and tools, collaborative functions are also important for the project manager.
Collaboration with the team is at least as important for the project manager as the classic PM tools. Collaboration and communication in particular can spell the success or failure of a project. Often, the project manager spends too much time looking for the results from last meeting in various documents or searching for a invitation to a session sent by email or the last version of a meeting report.
SharePoint makes this a thing of the past. The platform always knows the last version of a document and only displays the previous versions in the history. Invitations to meetings can be easily sent via the contact list and calendar function. The project manager immediately sees whether a release is available to a plan or document or not.
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