Setting up a Project SharePoint Site – Overview

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

If your company uses Microsoft Windows for your computers, chances are you also have the free version of SharePoint available to you (ask your Windows administrators). If you do, SharePoint is a wonderful tool to use to assist in Project Management and to enhance communication and collaboration on a project.

In the upcoming posts I will address the following topics:

  • Part 1 – The Home Page
  • Part 2 – Announcements
  • Part 3 – Key Lists
  • Part 4 – Document Libraries
  • Part 5 – Calendars
  • Part 6 – The Project Status Dashboard
  • Part 7 – Security

I am not going to describe the mechanics of working with SharePoint. Microsoft has plenty of online resources and courses to help you with that. I will focus on how you can take advantage of SharePoint features and functions to assist your project management.

Note: Much more detail on Setting Up A Project SharePoint Site can be found in my Kindle book “Project Management For The Real World”, available at

https://www.amazon.com/author/lettera

The Project Status Update Meeting

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

One way to monitor and track the status of your project is to conduct a recurring project status update meeting. For most projects, weekly will suffice. Attendees should be the work stream leaders and key contributors. These meetings should be structured and have a standard framework that the attendees know in advance so they may prepare. Like all meetings, they also should be efficient. Stay on topic and finish early if possible.

Here is a recommended framework:

  • Accountability:Review the task commitments planned for the prior week. For the ones not completed, get to the root cause of why. If there were obstacles preventing completion, work to remove them. That is an important part of the PM’s job. If the task is taking longer than planned, discuss with the team options for getting back on track. Adding small rewards for meeting original commitments can also be a surprisingly good incentive.
  • Commitment: Plan the tasks for the upcoming week. Assign owners and get commitment dates directly from the task owners.
  • Awareness: Review the major milestones for the current month and the upcoming month. Make sure everyone has their “eyes on the prize”.
  • Issues: Review the high impact issues. Determine how the team can collectively help resolve them.
  • Risks: Review the high exposure risks. Determine if the probability or impact as changed. Ensure that the risk mitigation plan is being followed and the risk contingency plan is still sound. Ask if any new risks have arisen.
  • Availability: Review planned time off for key team members. Make the sure the schedule accounts for this time and there is a backup plan.
  • Open Forum: Ask each attendee if there is anything else they wish to discuss. It should be a topic of general interest to all or most of the attendees. This is important to make the team members know they have a voice in the project.

For larger projects I create a form for each work stream with the structure above. I update it at the status meeting and distribute it to the work stream owners at the end of the meeting. The work stream owners update the form by end of day two business days prior to the next meeting and send it to me. This has worked very well and I highly recommend this process.

Note: Much more detail on Status Meetings can be found in my Kindle book “Project Management For The Real World”, available at

https://www.amazon.com/author/lettera

Project Status Reporting

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

Your Project Status Reports, like all communications, will vary with the audience. For large projects, your two main audiences are the Executive Steering Committee and the Project Sponsors. All status reports should have heading level information such as the Project Name and Number, a brief description, and the date and author(s) of the report.

Listed here are the elements I recommend including on the status report, with the designation “ESC” if you should include this item on the Executive Steering Committee report and “PS” for inclusion on the Project Sponsor report.

  • The Project Health Scorecard (defined in the posts preceding this one) – ESC, PS
  • High Impact Issues – ESC, PS
  • High Exposure Risks – ESC, PS
  • Upcoming Major Milestones and dates – ESC, PS
  • Key activities completed since the last report – PS
  • Upcoming key activities – PS
  • Upcoming dates where key project team members have a planned absence – PS
  • Call-outs (comments of significance you want to include in the report but don’t fit into the other categories) – ESC, PS

You can use MS Word, Excel or PowerPoint to format the report. Make it pleasing to the eye and uncluttered. In a future post, I will show you how to design a status report page on your SharePoint Project Site.

Note: Much more detail on Status Reporting can be found in my Kindle book “Project Management For The Real World”, available at

The Project Health Scorecard Part 6 – Risk

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

Here is the suggested guidance for the status of the Project Risk Health:

Your Risk Health is Green if all of these are true:

  • Issues and risks are documented in a central repository
  • Risks have triggers, mitigation and contingency plans for high-exposure and high-impact risks
  • Risks are reviewed on a regular basis by the project manager and risk/issue owners;

Your Risk Health is Yellow if any of these are true:

  • Issues and risks are defined in a central repository but not reviewed on a regular basis by the project manager and risk/issue owners
  • Risks have no mitigation and contingency plans associated with the high-exposure items

Your Risk Health is Red if any of these are true:

  • Issues and risks are not documented in a central repository
  • Risks are not formally managed.

Note: Much more detail on creating a the Project Health Scorecard can be found in my Kindle book “Project Management For The Real World”, available at

https://www.amazon.com/author/lettera

The Project Health Scorecard Part 5 – Resources

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

Here is the suggested guidance for the status of the Project Resource Health:

Your Resource Health is Green if ALL of these are true:

  • Stakeholders are attending required meetings
  • Resources are meeting their commitments
  • The team matches the skill-sets defined in the project roles matrix

Your Resource Health is Yellow if ANY of these are true:

  • Stakeholders are not always attending required meetings
  • Stakeholders are not always meeting their commitments
  • Some parts of the team do not match the skill-sets defined in the project roles matrix.

Your Resource Health is Red if ANY of these are true:

  • Stakeholders are not defined
  • Stakeholders are consistently not attending required meetings
  • Resources are not meeting their commitments
  • Critical parts of the team do not match the skill-sets defined in the project roles matrix

Note: Much more detail on creating a the Project Health Scorecard can be found in my Kindle book “Project Management For The Real World”, available at

https://www.amazon.com/author/lettera

The Project Health Scorecard Part 4 – Value

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

Here is the suggested guidance for the status of the Project Value Health:

Your Value Health is Green if ALL of these things are true:

  • The business objectives are stated in the project charter
  • The business objectives are measurable
  • The value in the business case will still be achieved
  • There are no compromises from the original scope and schedule that affects the value of the solution.

Your Value Health is Yellow if ANY of these are true:

  • The business objectives stated in the project charter may not be achieved
  • There are compromises (e.g. a smaller testing window) from the original scope and schedule that somewhat affect the value of the solution.

Your Value Health is Red if ALL of these are true:

  • The business objectives stated in the project charter cannot be achieved
  • There are compromises (e.g. a smaller testing window) from the original scope and schedule that have a major affect on the value of the solution.

Note: Much more detail on the Project Health Scorecard can be found in my Kindle book “Project Management For The Real World”, available at

https://www.amazon.com/author/lettera

The Project Health Scorecard Part 3 – Scope Health

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

Here is the suggested guidance for the status of the Project Scope Health:

Your Scope Health is Green if all of these are true:

  • You have an approved Project Charter
  • Scope is defined in the Charter
  • There is a defined scope change request process

Your Scope Health is Yellow if all of these are true:

  • You have an approved Project Charter
  • Scope is defined but there are significant change requests pending Executive Sponsor review and approval

Your Scope Health is Red if one of these is true:

  • Scope is not defined
  • Scope is defined and there is no approved scope change process
  • The defined Scope change process is not being followed.

Note: Much more detail on the Project Health Scorecard can be found in my Kindle book “Project Management For The Real World”, available at

https://www.amazon.com/author/lettera

The Project Health Scorecard Part 2 – Budget Health

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

Here is the suggested guidance for the status of the Project Budget Health:

Your Budget Health is Green if all of these are true:

  • You have an approved budget
  • It is actively managed
  • The current forecast is within the approved budget

Your Budget Health is Yellow if all of these are true:

  • You have an approved budget
  • The current forecast is greater than the approved budget but corrective action is defined and likely to resolve the problem.

Your Budget Health is Red if either of these are true:

  • You don’t have a budget
  • You have a  budget and the forecast is greater than the current budgeted amount and corrective action is not possible

Your budget health can turn back to Green if you obtain approval for a new budget. The new budget becomes your new baseline from which you will measure budget health.

Note: Much more detail on the Project Health Scorecard can be found in my Kindle book “Project Management For The Real World”, available at

https://www.amazon.com/author/lettera

The Project Health Scorecard Part 1 – Project Schedule Health

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

Here is the suggested guidance for the status of the Project Schedule Health:

Your Schedule Health is Green if:

  • You have a schedule and…
  • It is actively managed and…
  • The forecast matches the published completion date

Your Schedule Health is Yellow if:

  • It is early in the project and you don’t have a schedule but are working towards one, or…
  • You have a schedule and the forecast has a greater “live date” than the current published date but corrective action is defined and probable, or…
  • The schedule is not being actively managed.

Your Schedule Health is Red if:

  • You don’t have a schedule, or…
  • You have one but the published live date cannot be met.
  • Note: Red can turn back to Green when a new schedule is approved and base-lined.

Note: Much more detail on the Project Health Scorecard can be found in my Kindle book “Project Management For The Real World”, available at

https://www.amazon.com/author/lettera

The Project Health Scorecard: Overview

Executing Monitoring and Controlling

Some years ago, a company I worked for invested in improving our Project Management practices. They engaged with IBM professional services for 6 months to guide and mentor the in-house Project Managers. The first thing the IBM consultants did was establish a baseline that would be used to measure success at the end of the engagement. This baseline was “The Project Health Scorecard” (aka “PHS”). The PHS was measured at the beginning and end of the engagement as evidence of progress in our project management practices. I am a big fan of this concept and now use it on my project dashboard for all of my projects.

The PHS is an “early warning system” for potential project trouble. In that sense it is a child of Risk Management. Because of its condense and concise nature, it is appropriate for use in Project dashboards as well Project Portfolio dashboards, where you can see the health of all active projects at once. I typically update the PHS weekly in the regular project status meetings.

The PHS contains six key measures of project management best practices. Each measure is given a status value of “green”, “yellow” or “red”. I will present each of these measures along with the guidance for status values in an upcoming six part series as follows:

  • Part 1: Schedule
  • Part 2: Budget
  • Part 3: Scope
  • Part 4: Value
  • Part 5: Resources
  • Part 6: Risk

Note: Much more detail on creating the Project Health Scorecard and other Project Management topics can be found in my Kindle book “Project Management For The Real World”, available at

https://www.amazon.com/author/lettera