Understanding SharePoint 2013 Site Templates

Welcome to part two of our “Understanding SharePoint 2013 Site Templates” blog series. In this entry, we’re going to look at the SharePoint 2013 Project Site template. The Project Site template allows you to create a site to manage a project… (so it’s not just a clever name…) Of course, it’s not as robust as the full-fledged Microsoft Project application, but the SharePoint template provides an easy way to manage smaller projects.

Right out of the gate, you’ll notice the Project Site looks a lot like the SharePoint 2013 Team Site. It even provides many of the same features, such as a Documents library and a Newsfeed.

SharePoint 2013 Document Library and Newsfeed
You’ll also notice the Project Site contains the same row of tiles available on the Team Site. Of course, you can remove these tiles by simply clicking the Remove This link. They can be added back later if you need it, but all the features the tile bar provides are available in the Site Settings menu.

SharePoint 2013 Remove This Link

So far, everything seems the same as the Team Site Template. So what’s different?

The main difference is that the Project Summary web part at the top of the page is already deployed. It is currently connected to the default task list. This means that whenever a task is added to the task list, it is displayed in the Project Summary.

Notice the Project Summary in the example matches the items in the Tasks list.

SharePoint 2013 Project Summary

SharePoint 2013 Task List

However, if you want the Project Summary to display items from a different task list, you can edit the settings of the web part and choose the task list you want.

SharePoint 2013 Project Summary displaying different Task List

At some point, the tasks on the Project Summary may be too close together and may display as garbled text.

SharePoint 2013 Tasks run together

Hovering over an item will display the text of the task so you don’t need to navigate to the task list itself.

Hover over item to display text of task

And that’s about it for what the Project Site includes.

So, when is the ideal time to use this thing?

As I’ve mentioned previously, I would not encourage using the Project Site for large projects. However, for smaller, quick projects that require some collaborative effort and requires shared resources, the SharePoint 2013 Project Site is a perfect match.

Use it if you need to get something done that requires multiple people. The nice thing is that you can use the site without Project Server installed, so you don’t have to worry about spending more money and installing Project Server on the workstations.

Internally, we use it to manage migration projects. These usually only last a week. At the very least, two weeks. But using the Project Site helps all involved quickly see the steps and dates of the migration. Also, we use the Documents library to store any relevant information, like client answers to questionnaires and any other important documents.

We don’t create a Site Collection for each migration, we just create new sub-sites using the Project Site template.

The Project Site template is useful for these focused types of projects. Not only does it allow us to glimpse into the future, but it also maintains a history of the work we’ve performed. So if any questions arise in the future, we can always refer back to the site.

Stay tuned to my “Understanding SharePoint 2013 Site Templates” series for more in depth looks at the different templates!

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