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January 05
The Benefits of a Project Team Site

The Benefits of a Project Team Site 

This past spring the Enterprise Content Management (ECM) group within Protiviti launched a new platform for project team sites on SharePoint.  This new platform allows project teams to collaborate efficiently and quickly ensuring that clients and consultants have easy access to important project action items, documents and issue lists.  

Having a project team site is a common practice among many companies that have projects, both big and small, to ensure that all team members have access to the information they need to get the project completed.  Without a project team site it’s easily to lose track of important information that is only sent through emails and it makes the process of finding and sending documentation rather cumbersome.  Below are three main benefits of a project team sites and why companies should invest in this type of infrastructure. 

A picture of the updated ECM Project Team Site Homepage:

Continuity:  One of the largest benefits of a SharePoint project team site is the continuity it brings to a project team.  It can seamlessly transition tasks, files and project plans to individuals without using email or phone calls.  Since all users have access to the same site there is little room for files, issues or questions to fall through the cracks since access is constantly available.  For example, a client can log issues onto the issue list on the team site and the system can generate emails to all individuals that request a notification alerting them of a change to that list.  The consulting team is then able to see that a new issue came through, log into the site to see a full description of what the client found and then assign and triage the issue appropriately. If the client has merely sent an email about the issue it is very likely that the issue could get lost in the hundreds of emails already in users’ inboxes and possibly gone unresolved.  This is the same for important files and project plans.  Since the site is always available both clients and consultants can use the system to access the specific document they need and determine where the project is in relation to the overall plan which brings us to the next benefit, transparency.  
Transparency:  SharePoint project team sites are very important since they allow transparency to be at the forefront of the project.  Many times project teams struggle, especially when it’s between a consulting company and a client, because there is a lack of transparency.  The team site can answer and highlight many key project metrics including where the project is at from a budget standpoint, what phase is currently being worked on and how many issues are open related to the engagement.  Without a project team site this transparency simply wouldn’t exist except for on status call or in a status report that is likely emailed.  Ensuring that all team members have full insight into the timeline, budget and scope ensures that everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises as the project progresses and when it concludes.  By encouraging clients to access the site to see what tasks are remaining in the project plan and reviewing the status report documents on the site they will know they can see what the status of the project is at any given point.  They don't have to wait for an email to be sent or a call to occur.  

Collaboration:  The last main benefit of a SharePoint project team site is the ability to enable collaboration amount team members.  Take the issue list example that was discussed during the continuity section, if a consulting team member works on the task as much as they can but then finds a blocking issue and needs someone else on their team to look into the issue they can reassign the issue to that team member and write a comment explaining the issue they found and the status that they reached.  That new team member will then receive an alert letting them know an issue has been assigned to them and they can log into the system and take the issue from there.  This collaboration eliminates the need for lengthy emails and ensures that all status and progress is captured in one single place.  Another example would be for documents.  If there is a project brief that a team is writing and various owners for various parts of the document all individuals can work on the same document at the same time using a SharePoint project team site.   This is collaboration at its finest.  Ensuring that large emails with multiple file versions being sent between team members is eliminated by keeping one document in one place and allowing appropriate individuals access to it. 

There are countless other benefits to a SharePoint project team site but continuity, transparency and collaboration are three of the largest benefits.  Even with these important benefits there are some teams that hardly use the SharePoint project team site they have.  It is very important that once a project team site is built it is maintained and used.  Often times it takes individuals sending links to documents on the team site rather than the document itself to get other members of the team to start using the site.  Whatever the trick may be to get the project team to use the site it is very important to do so.  Even after the project concludes the team site is a great resource for leadership to see where issues with the project occurred and to easily access all relevant project documents.  For example, whether it’s during a project or after a project concludes, if a team member leaves the project team or company the team site ensures that they don’t take important project files with them.  All of the important files for the project, even if they were drafted and owned by the absent team member should be on the team site.  This type of coverage and access is just another reason why project team sites are so vital to the success of any engagement. 

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