Friday, June 7, 2013

SharePoint 2013 tasks are cool!

One of the things that I’m waiting on for clients here is the availability of Project Online. In the meantime I have been been playing with the inbuilt Tasks in SharePoint 2013, and I gotta say they are HUGE improvement. Here’s some reasons why.

image

If you go into a Tasks area of SharePoint Online you’ll see something like that shown above by default. If we now add some tasks by clicking the new task hyperlink we’ll see:

image

Once we add the basic information we press Save.

image

You should now see a single task listed. But if you now select the ellipse (the three dots to the right of the task name) you get a flyout, as shown above, that gives more information about the task (like how many days till it is due).

Along the bottom you’ll also find a menu, which if you select Create Subtask, will:

image

switch you into data sheet mode allowing to enter tasks like you would in a spreadsheet.

image

as you complete the first additional task SharePoint will prompt you that it is automatically adding this task to the timeline above. You’ll need to do any others manually after the task has been created.

image

Let’s say the we continue on and create a third task and then switch back to the All Tasks view like shown above. In doing so we find that Task 3 has been created as a subtask of Task 1. We want Task 3 to be at the same level as Task 1 (i.e. not a subtask).

No problems, simply select the task by selecting the left most column for that task, the ribbon menu will then appear. In the middle of the ribbon is the Outdent button. Selecting this will move Task 3 to the same level as Task 1. Brilliant!

image

You’ll also notice that when there is task that is past its due date and not complete it automatically turns red as shown above for the Preparation task.

You’ll also notice that I have placed all the tasks on the time line at the top of the page, which you can do from the Ribbon Menu.

image

If I now click on the overdue task (Preparation) on the timeline at the top you’ll see a flyout appear as shown. Again, note that the days due is red since it is overdue. You will also notice that the Ribbon Menu is displayed.

At the left of the Ribbon Menu you will find a number of formatting buttons (Bold, Italic, UnderLine, Fill, Font colour etc). You can use these to change the way the item on the time line appears like so:

image

So here I have customized every task on the timeline expect the last one so you can see the difference.

You’ll notice that because Task 1 (in purple) over laps Task 2 (in green) the time line has two rows. If you select Task 1 (in purple) the Ribbon Menu appears and

image

selecting the button Display as Callout that tasks moves to an item outside the timeline as shown above.

I can once again edit the formatting of this task to increase the font size and so on as before.

image

Even better that than, I can now drag and drop that task anywhere on the screen if things are becoming cluttered. To demonstrate, in the above screen shot I have dragged the task to the lower right. When I do that the page automatically formats to make room. How cool is that?

So if you have lots and lots of tasks you can have some on the timeline and some as callouts which you can then position all over the page so you can easily see them all.

The takeaway here is that if you haven’t looked at what the new Tasks area can do in SharePoint 2013 I would. For most people this is going to work really, really well for project management. I am still, however, hanging out for Project Online because if this is what the generic tasks can do, just image what Project Online could do! I can’t wait.