One of the great new features in Project Professional 2010 was the ability to synchronise a Project schedule with a SharePoint task list. Through this capability and a SharePoint 2010 environment, simple team level project statusing can be achieved with ease.
In every demonstration I have seen, and in fact given, I have always assumed that the person updating the tasks would log into SharePoint and update the task through the web interface. But recently it occurred to me there was another way, through using SharePoint’s ‘Connect to Outlook’ capability, users could update their tasks directly from Outlook, leverage Outlook’ built in synchronisation with SharePoint and then finally use the Project Sync to SharePoint capability. The set up is really easy, and below are the steps to follow so you can try it yourself.
I am going to assume that you are already familiar with setting up Sync to SharePoint, if not, check out this screencast or these blog posts. Once you have established a synchronised task list, navigate to the List tab, and click on the ‘Connect to Outlook’ button in the Connect & Export group.
If Outlook is closed, a prompt will be displayed asking if you want to allow this website to open a program on your computer, click on ‘Allow’.
If Outlook is open, or after selecting Allow above, Outlook will ask if you want to connect this
SharePoint Task List to Outlook, click on ‘Yes’.
Outlook will then download all the tasks within the Task List.
All tasks within the Project Task list are now synchronised with Outlook, including those that may be assigned to other users. With a simple bit of Outlook configuration the contents of the list can be further filtered to only show your tasks.
In the Outlook Quick Steps, right click on the Server Tasks icon and choose ‘View Settings’.
Choose Filters > Advanced and add a new filter in the ‘Define more criteria’, as Assigned To contains . It’s important to use contains, in case the synchronised task is assigned to more than one resource.
Once the filter is set up, each Outlook task list synchronised will then only show your tasks, ready for you to update the status and provide feedback to the Project Manager.
Updating the task status couldn’t be easier, simply open the synchronised task in Outlook, update the % Complete and then choose Save & Close.
The task update will be synchronised back to SharePoint the next time Outlook performs a Send & Receive and then picked automatically when the Project Manager initiates a Project schedule sync from Project Professional.