The SharePoint Project Task Tracker app is designed to help you improve task management in SharePoint by reducing context switching and input errors, centralizing project and task data, and providing easy to read and export reports on task status, priority, and more.
You’ll quickly recognize that the capabilities of the SharePoint Project Task Tracker satisfy a broad categorization of task tracking and reporting requirements for various activities, initiatives, programs, and human workflows that can be considered a “Project” in SharePoint. Look for its many applications as you build out SharePoint sites.
- Getting Started – Add a Project
- Managing Projects
- Adding a Task
- Managing Tasks
- Best Practices
- Handling Errors
Getting Started – Add a Project
You can find the Microsoft Office App Store summary on the SharePoint Project Task Tracker app at this Microsoft Office store link and by searching the SharePoint store app offerings within SharePoint.
In order to use the SharePoint Project Task Tracker App, you should be running under the following browsers:
- Internet Explorer 10 or higher
- FireFox 39.03 or higher
- Chrome 44.0.2403.130 or higher
- Earlier versions of Chrome and FireFox may run successfully. IE 10 or higher is not flexible.
When you first launch the app, much of the interface is going to be disabled because you don’t have any data to manage or report on yet. You will quickly learn and recognize when the app enables and disabled controls based on the current data provided in the form and/or projects and tasks in the system. You’ll see an information message explaining that you can get started by adding a project:
After specifying all fields and clicking the Add Project button, all of the other sections will unlock to the appropriate state.
Note: Once a project is submitted, you cannot change its title.
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All project fields are required when adding and saving a project. Use the Manage Project section to update the project’s Description and/or Owner. Or, you can delete the project, but Note: deleting a project will also delete all associated tasks (you will be prompted about this):
As noted, deleting a project will delete all associated tasks. If you were to delete the last project in the system, it will go back to its initial state: locked until you add another project.
Some Useful Information:
- If you’ve added at least one project, the manage tasks and reports controls are unlocked.
- But of course, if you’ve yet to add any tasks to any projects, then there are no scenarios in which the task details controls will be unlocked. With reporting, the Project Views reports will produce usable results as soon as at least one project exists. The Task Views reports will not return results until you query against a project which has one or more tasks. Reporting is covered in detail below.
Adding a Task
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Adding a task is similar to adding a project, only not all fields are required when adding or saving a task. The required fields are: Project, Title, Description, Priority, and Owner. If you do specify a Start Date and Due Date, the Due Date must occur after the Start Date. As with adding and managing projects, any errors during save will be displayed. Below is an example where the Owner is missing and Start/Due dates occur out of order:
After you’ve added your first task, the Project Task Tracker is fully unlocked. You can now: Add Projects, Manage Projects, Add Tasks, Manage Tasks, and report on Projects and Tasks.
Note: Once a task is submitted, you cannot change its title.
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To start managing tasks, select the project you want and the Search and Select controls for tasks will unlock. Choose your task by searching for it or selecting it, and the rest of the controls in the Manage Tasks section will unlock.
Saving a task’s core properties is done through the Save Changes button. There’s a new required field, Status, which defaults to New and also provides the options In Progress and Resolved. The Resolved status changes a task’s state significantly and is covered in more detail below.
You’ll also find two additional buttons available for tracking data in your tasks: File Attachments and Updates.
Click the File Attachments button to launch the interface for adding and deleting file attachments on a task.
This feature is dependent on the HTML 5 features available in browsers identified in the Getting Started section. If your browser doesn’t support this feature, system messages will make that clear.
Otherwise, the section depends on controls you’ll be familiar with. Add, delete, and pull attachments from the task.
You can keep a continuous log of updates on your task by clicking the Updates button and using the Add Update button.
The Resolved Status changes a task’s state significantly.
- A permanent time stamp reflecting the status change is set to the present time.
- The task becomes read or delete only, and attachments are still read and delete supported.
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You can report on Projects and Tasks, and both types of reports will export into CSV format for users with contributor permissions or greater on the site.
If you want all projects in the system, simply do not provide any filters. Otherwise, the Refresh Users button will load the unique owners of all projects – this way, those user names can be used as a filter.
You can then sort by ID, Owner, and Created Date.
The Task Views reports always require the project filter. Then, you can further filter by Priority, Status, and Owner. Sort options are provided for most fields.
Contributors and above can export these generated reports into CSV format. This way charts and additional analysis can be done in Excel or any CSV capable workbook program.
Exporting reports (for both Projects and Tasks) requires that pop-ups are enabled for the site. When exporting, look for browser warnings that pop-ups are disabled. When successful, your browser will prompt you to download or will load the content based on its default behavior.
- Consider how the app’s capabilities will improve task management for various activities, initiatives, programs, and projects. You can apply a consistent experience in many sites which include a task management aspect by using the app.
- Thousands of tasks, across dozens of projects, with complex workflows and states need to be driven by LOB applications in order to be successfully managed in SharePoint. The SharePoint Project Task Tracker App is not an LOB application, but it will fit as a key component of the tools you implement in more advanced project management sites. As your project management requirements increase, evaluate where you can continue to improve your task management capabilities with additional out-of-the-box features of SharePoint and other Apps.
- To improve performance with reporting features, consider using filters.
- Future releases may contain charting and other visual reporting features. In the current release, use the Export feature to capture data in CSV format and manage it in Excel or other workbook programs. These data can then be managed in the client or uploaded into other SharePoint sites for integration.
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There is extensive error handling in the SharePoint Project Task Tracker App. And, if you encounter an error, you’ll most likely be able to resolve it after you read the error message.
There are some less obvious circumstances though which, although they produce a useful error message, are a bit difficult to understand. For example, you receive an error dialog that a save failed because of a version conflict. Or, you try to execute a save, but an error dialog comes back explaining that the Project or Task has been deleted. In these cases, the easiest route towards resolution is to either reload the project or task through the form controls, or to reload the page entirely.
If you still encounter errors, please track the steps necessary to reproduce the error, and contact me using the form on the bottom of this page.
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Put simply, this App does not collect or transmit any usage or identifying information.
Of course, users submit form data, and that data is stored local to your SharePoint farm or tenancy. The App does not otherwise gather or transmit any data.
You can contact Westmorr Consulting using the form below.
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