Office 365, SharePoint and Projects in the Construction Sector: Part One: The Problem
Across the construction sector, firms of all shapes and sizes make use of Office 365. In particular, SharePoint online is widely used due to its ease of use and comprehensive collaborative feature set that makes multi-party working, particularly with regards to the management of projects, simple and effective. Organisations such as construction companies, architecture partnerships and safety assessment specialists are able to leverage the collaborative features of SharePoint project sites to manage contracts, specifications, drawings and project plans both internally and with external clients and partners.
There are many features included in Office 365 Groups which expand the story for the construction sector. These features include a shared calendar, OneNote Notebook and a Plan in Microsoft Planner. Also, the recent introduction of Microsoft Teams allows the addition of persistent chat to project sites.
The Governance Challenge
There are many Governance challenges related to using Office 365 and SharePoint to manage construction projects. These challenges include ensuring that objects are created consistently, are correctly classified and appropriately secured.
Frequently the task of creating SharePoint project sites is delegated to Project Managers. However, part of a governance plan for Office 365 should be to make sure there is consistent provisioning of project sites. To achieve this, a Project Manager should use a template to create the project site. This template could include defined Lists, Libraries, Web Parts, and Workflows.
Another part of a Governance plan for Office 365 is to ensure consistent management of project sites. This consistency can be achieved by making project sites easy to find in a central Site Directory. Also, by archiving completed projects sites appropriately.