Setting up a Project SharePoint Site Part 7 – Security

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

You can setup your SharePoint site security at a variety of levels. You will need to be the site administrator to do this. Here are some of the key ways you can secure your site:

  • Site Level – Control access to the entire site. You can deny access to individuals or groups. You can also define large groups of people as visitors (read only). You may assign the appropriate individuals the ability to create content or design content. You can also assign others to be site administrators but I advise you to limit this to one backup person.
  • Library/List level – by default all libraries and lists inherit the site level security. If you want different security for some libraries and lists, you need to break the inheritance and custom define the security for that library/list. This is useful for private or sensitive documents such as contracts and individual performance evaluations. If you secure a library/list, it will not appear in the navigation or the site map for those in which access is denied.
  • Document level – by default all documents in a library inherit the document library security. You may break this inheritance for individual documents within the library. This is useful if you have a very small number of documents to secure and don’t want to establish a new library.

You need to pay close attention to how you setup security so the site will be useful to all stakeholders while simultaneously protecting sensitive information. I suggest you consult with your project sponsor and establish a security access process before allowing access to the site.

Setting up a SharePoint Project Site Part 6 – The Project Status Dashboard

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

Assembling a Project Status Dashboard is a powerful way to use the capabilities of SharePoint. Instead of having to create a weekly status report manually, SharePoint can do it for you using information you are already updating on the site. This can be a big time saver. The page is updated in real-time as you update the component parts that are shown on the page so the sponsor or other stakeholders can always see the latest status instead of having to wait for you to send it.

Another advantage of the dashboard is that it acts like “mission control” for the project manager. I would always start my day on the dashboard to help determine on what I need to focus. In one place you have your upcoming milestones, high impact issues and risks, and action items due in the next 7 days. You can drill into the details of each item right from that page. This beats looking for each piece individually in documents on a network drive.

I use the SharePoint “web part page” to set up the Project Status Dashboard. A “web part page” allows you to assemble a page from existing lists, libraries and other SharePoint components you have already built on your project site. I like the 3-column format for fitting all of the important information.

Here is the information I include and how I format it:

First Row, across all 3 columns:

The Project Information Announcement – contains basic project information such as the name, number, description and benefits, sponsor name and project manager name.

Second Row, across all 3 columns:

The Project Status Announcement – contains a few sentences from the Project Manager and Lead Business Analyst on the state of the project. I like to update this weekly or whenever an important milestone is reached.

Third Row:

Column 1: The Project Health Scorecard

Column 2: A view on the Issues list containing only high impact Issues, and under that, a view on the risks list containing only high exposure Risks

Column 3: Upcoming Milestones (current month and next month)

Fourth Row, across all columns:

Time Off Calendar for key project team members and stakeholders

Fifth and Sixth Rows, across all columns:

Action Items Due in the next 7 Days – I use a view over the Action Items List.

Action Items Completed in the last 7 Days – I use a view over the Action Items List.

Seventh Row, across all columns:

Key project documents from the document libraries.

You may need to educate and train your users to come here first for information but it will be well worth your time to do so.

Setting up a Project SharePoint Site Part 5 – Calendars

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

The SharePoint Calendar web parts are a convenient way to share date related project information in a convenient format. It also connects to MS Outlook so meeting invitations can be managed in either platform.

Here are the two main calendars I always set up for my projects:

  • “Calendar of Events”. I use this to show key upcoming events such as regularly occurring meetings, key milestones and any other events of interest. I always add this web part to the home page as well as making it part of the left navigation.
  • “Upcoming Time Off Calendar”. This one shows the upcoming planned time off for key project contributors. I always add this web part to the status dashboard.

When I display these calendars as web parts on other pages, such as the home page and the status dashboard, I use “list view” and limit the number of entries displayed so they fit neatly on the page. As with all SharePoint web parts, users can click an item on the list to drill into the details (e.g. meeting locations and agenda, reason why someone is absent, etc).

Another use for the Calendar web part is to show high level project phase start/end dates. MS Project can be too complex to read or most non-PM’s so the SharePoint Calendar offers an alternative.