The Most Important Tips for Setting up a SharePoint Project Site

SharePoint is one of the most vital tools for collaboration in project management. However, if you are new to SharePoint and starting a new project, it’s essential to pay attention to several key points when setting up and using your site to ensure it operates as efficiently as possible. A SharePoint site will only be used if it is user-friendly, and project team members can quickly find what they need. Below, you will find the ten most important points from my many years of experience that you should consider when setting up and using your project SharePoint site. Curious? Then read on.

The Most Important Tool in Project Collaboration

In my opinion, SharePoint is the most important tools for collaboration in project management. Therefore, you should set up and design your site so that visitors immediately understand its purpose and can quickly find what they are looking for. But there are other important aspects to consider. Here are some key points to consider with your SharePoint site:

  • The site should be attractive.
  • The site should be easy to navigate.
  • Content should be found as fast as possible.
  • Security and data privacy are important.
  • User education is important.

Let’s now dive into the most important points in more detail.

Choose the Correct Site Type

Choosing the correct site type is critical when setting up a SharePoint site for a project. One of the first decisions to make is whether to create a Team Site or a Communication Site. For a project, the choice should be always a Team Site with Microsoft 365 Groups. This is because a Team Site is designed for collaboration, which is essential in project management. In contrast, a Communication Site is intended for one-way information sharing, such as for an intranet site. To enhance usability, create a user-friendly URL (e.g., “Alamara_sales_project”).

Plan Your Site Structure and Hierarchy

When a project starts, many aspects may be unclear, such as the project organization and sub-projects and how to structure your document and data storage . Therefore, start small with your site. After a few weeks, you should be able to define a clear site structure with sub-sites, libraries, and lists for storing documents and information. In larger projects, one document library is often not sufficient to store all information.

In larger projects, one document library is often not enough to store all information. Define separate libraries or lists for sub-projects or special topics, but keep them as few as possible to maintain simplicity and ease of navigation. Fewer document libraries are also helpful when analyzing data or creating views.

Design an Attractive Welcome Page

An often-overlooked aspect of SharePoint sites is the welcome page (home page). Your welcome page should immediately attract visitors and convey the site’s purpose, ensuring users feel confident they will find what they need. Therefore, making your welcome page both visually appealing and informative is crucial. It should include:

  • A warm welcome message explaining the purpose of the SharePoint site.
  • A brief project scope statement (what the project is about).
  • Key milestones and deliverables.
  • Project news and updates.
  • Contact information for important personnel, such as the project manager, sub-project managers, and the site administrator.

Customizing the SharePoint site to reflect the project’s identity and branding can improve user engagement. Use a project logo and color schemes that align with the organization’s branding guidelines.

Avoid Overloading Your Homepage with Content

Avoid overloading your SharePoint home page and other pages with too much information. Simplifying content is challenging but necessary. Critical information should be one click away, while additional details can be organized on separate pages or libraries. Keep the most important information on your home page above the fold, meaning in the visible part of the home before the user scrolls down.

Hyperlink Key Documents on Your Home Page

To ensure your team uses SharePoint effectively, include links to key documents like the project charter or the project communication slide deck on the home page. People tend to avoid clicking through multiple links, so make important documents easily accessible. The rule is no more than three clicks to the needed information.

Make Your Navigation Obvious and Helpful

Your SharePoint site must be intuitive to navigate. Use the menu bar on the left side and utilize the quick link web part to add groups of hyperlinks to your homepage. Regularly update the navigation based on the project phase and priorities to ensure users can find key information quickly.

Setting Up User Permissions

User permissions are crucial. Project team members should have edit access to most of the documents. Utilize Microsoft 365 groups with edit rights for your project team members. Use SharePoint groups for certain cases, such as protecting confidential information like statements of work (SOWs), contracts, budgets, salaries, and personal information, limiting access to a small group. External project users should have read-only access and only if necessary. Setting appropriate permissions also helps avoid accidental changes to documents. In some cases, the almost forgotten check-in/check-out functionality of documents is useful.

Define Standards for Using the SharePoint Project Site

Establish a clear process for how the team should use SharePoint. Without guidelines, the site can become disorganized, with documents dumped randomly. Define rules for storing documents in certain libraries, when to create document versions, when to rely on SharePoint’s version history, and what to do with outdated documents. It makes sense to keep older or outdated versions of documents in a separate folder for traceability.

Define Naming Standards for documents and think about using Meta-Data when storing documents which is also beneficial for the already great search capabilities of SharePoint and for creating separate views.

Provide Training and Support

Providing adequate training and support is essential for user adoption and effective use of the SharePoint site. Offer training sessions, tutorials, and documentation to help users understand how to navigate, search and use the site. Establish a support mechanism to assist users with any issues or questions that arise.

Customizing Your Site

Use only SharePoint standard functionality and avoid customization that may hinder future updates or maintenance. Consider using workflows, Power BI, forms, and other Microsoft standard functionalities only later in your project stage if necessary or if you have a longer lasting project.


Creating an effective SharePoint site for a project or larger program requires careful planning and consideration of various factors. By focusing on these most important tips, a project manager or PMO can develop a SharePoint site that enhances collaboration, improves efficiency, and supports the project’s overall objectives. For further guidance and more details, I recommend my book SharePoint Online for Project Management: How to Make Your Project Management More Efficient

Here You Can Find Even More Knowledge

Would you like to learn more about how to make your projects more successful with SharePoint? Save time and money and get firsthand experience with my book SharePoint Online for Project Management. It takes you an important step further!

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SharePoint Online for Project Management
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