Can you really manage projects using only SharePoint Task Lists and/or Planner?

Lately it seems like a lot of people are asking this question. As a Sr. PPM Consultant I tell people, YES you can manage projects using only SharePoint Task Lists and/or Planner, but as long as you do not need any of the following functions or features, such as:

  • Hierarchical Tasks
  • Recurring Tasks
  • Task Dependencies

  • Gantt Charts
  • PERT Charts
  • Project Baselines
  • Critical Path Management
  • Critical Chain Management
  • Earned Value Management
  • Risk Management
  • Project Portfolio Management
  • Demand Management
  • Resource Management
  • Resource Leveling
  • Milestone Tracking
  • Time Tracking
  • Cost Tracking
  • Business Intelligence Analytics
  • Built-in Reports – Excel & Visio integration
  • What-If Scenarios
  • Aggregate Data from Multiple Projects

Am I missing anything?

However, if you need ANY of these items, then you need to start looking at Project Online / Project Server as an Enterprise PPM solution.

If you had a chance to look at the new Office 365 Planner, it’s a great way to start organizing and collaborating with teams by graphically creating simple task lists to display tasks in a different way.

You can also start by using SharePoint Task Lists and when your project needs to get more serious, you can synchronize your SP Task Lists to Project Server. Here’s a link how to do it:

So, if you have small team and your team members want to view the schedule and update their work in SharePoint, then look at Office 365 Planner. But remember that you can use SharePoint Task Lists in case you may want to be able to synchronize to Project Online / Server in the future.

But in the end, if you and your organization manage a lot projects you need an enterprise-grade tool like Project Online / Server. Think of it this way, using Planner/Task Lists is like using Intuit QuickBooks to manage accounting. They will both do a good job up to a certain point. But the question you need to ask is when you’ve reached that point, how difficult will it be to migrate these projects into Project Online / Server in the future?

Food for thought?

Rolly Perreaux, PMP, MCSE, MCT is a Business Solutions Architect / Founder for PMO Logistics You can view his complete bio at:

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