Book review: “SharePoint for Project Management” by Dux Raymond Sy

December 3rd, 2008 | Posted by Marijn in books | project management | sharepoint

In the previous company I worked (which was also my first) they had this thing called project sites: a specific site created for a specific project.
On that site, all shareholders had a login ID. They could collaborate there, read/write documents, form complaints, they had a forum, calendar etc etc…

I really found this way of sharing information with the client very efficient. Everyone knew where to get their documents or post information. I used this a lot, and we did find the solution most helpful.
The technology behind this was WSS2.0 at that time. But it worked great. It was totally integrated in the company, procedures were in place and all.

The concept of having a thing like SharePoint be used for organising your project (or PMIS – Project Management Information Structure to use a fancy word) is certainly not new. However, not many organisations use such tools.

Dux Raymond Sy has written a book about “SharePoint for Project Management” in order to let Project managers know about the existence of such a tool and how to use it. That’s right, this book is not written for technical users nor is it a manual for end-users.
This book is really to show to Project Managers how they can use SharePoint to enhance their projects.

Dux was kind enough to send me a “review copy”, so this is a great opportunity for me to write a review on this book. So, on with it!!

1. Project kickoff
The first chapter starts with the obvious “what is a PMIS?, what is SharePoint?” and the start of the case study.

2. Setting up the PMIS
Second chapter starts with some information on the structure of sharepoint sites and the question: how will you organise your PMIS? This may change between single site collection – multiple site collections or other.
Next, Dux goes on about site templates and shows via a workshop how you can create a new SharePoint site to create your first PMIS site.

3. Adding PMIS components
Here, Dux talks on the use of components. He talks about lists, how you work with them and what templates are foreseen. He then switches to document libraries.

4. Adding stakeholders to the PMIS
Subject here is the Project Communications Plan (which is so incredibly important at a project). Who are your stakeholders, and how do you add them to your site? What permissions can I give them ?

5. Supporting team collaboration
Next to our PMIS is collaboration. Our project is started, now we need to fill it up with information and start using it. Dux talks about the functionalities SharePoint gives users to do this: versions history, content approval and so on.. He also shares some pages about the use of wiki’s and the creation and use of document workspaces.

6. Project tracking
By now, everyone is working really hard on the project, but how can we track the progress of it? Dux talks about tracking project tasks, risks and schedules.

7. Project reporting
In this chapter, Dux talks about views on information and how to create custom views. He also shares some insight on webparts, and how to show them on a page in order to create dashboards. He also gives some info on alerts and meeting workspaces.

8. Integrating PM Tools
This chapter is all about the use of Microsoft Project and Excel with SharePoint.

9. Project closing
Time to end the project..time to reflect on the PMIS: what did the users think of it? What worked, and what didn’t ? Dux talks about creating a PMIS template so you can use it next time again.

Conclusion
This book is really filled with great examples (and a lot of screenshots) on how to use SharePoint as the best place to track all information on your project. So if you are a Project Manager and you want to enhance the quality of your project, be sure to give SharePoint and this book a try.
Even when you are a CIO and want to create a platform to list and do follow-up on all projects, do take a look at this book.

Dux adressess foremost the time you win by using a PMIS, but he also clearly states that more is at stake:
– quality logs
– status reporting
– calendars
– contact information
– …

To me, this is a very complete book, fun to read with a lot of great examples!
Next to the information on the book, you should also check out http://sp.spforpm.com/ . This website has a lot of additional resources: video’s on how you do stuff, templates, a discussion forum and lots of other stuff!

Also make sure you take a look at Dux’ blog!!

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