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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Deploying a Team Collaboration Solution with SharePoint

A team collaboration site is used by a group of people working together for a common end result or to complete a project. The success of the team or project depends on the effectiveness of the team and its ability to collaborate efficiently to complete the project. Therefore, the site is designed to facilitate team communications and sharing project information.

Typically, a team collaboration site is an internal, decentralized site that has a relatively small number of members. However, it can be configured to provide access for members external to the organization. When the site is implemented, it replaces the traditional file-share–based storage, use of email, and use of other traditional applications that the organization might have for storing and accessing documents and other information.

Outlining Business Needs for the Team Collaboration Solution

The general categories of business needs for this group are communications, project management, and document management. These needs can be mapped to SharePoint features as presented in this section:

  • Communications—Interacting with other team members electronically using workspace instant messaging capabilities. Finding out when information has changed through the use of alerts. Having discussions on issues or documents using the general or document discussion components.
  • Project management—Assigning major project tasks to individuals using a Tasks list. Tracking and following up on tasks using a Tasks list and various views of the list. Centralizing and distributing information such as objectives, agendas, and decisions for project meetings in one place using meeting workspaces. Providing status reports to management based on information in task items.
  • Document management—Having a common place for storing documents by using shared document libraries. Managing document revisions using the check-in/check-out and version retention features. Controlling document publication using content approval. Enhancing the ability to find and feature specific documents by assigning them to topics and Best Bets. Classifying documents for retrieval using metadata attached to the document.

Implementing a Team Collaboration Solution with SharePoint

A team collaboration site is implemented using a Windows SharePoint Services team site. A shared document library is created in the team site for document management and a Tasks list is created for assigning responsibilities. Content approval is enabled for the document library with the project manager assigned the role of approver. Document workspaces are also used for individual documents to incorporate direct access from Microsoft Office 2007/2003 applications. The team uses document discussions to communicate ideas about document contents and a general discussion for items relating to the project. The team site is part of a SharePoint implementation that has content sources defined for searching relevant information and archived documents.

Outlining Ideas for Using the Team Collaboration Solution

This section includes some ideas to incorporate into the team site solution in congruence with the elements previously discussed.

The major project milestone tasks can be entered into a Tasks list, assigned to individual team members, and then tracked by the project manager. The Tasks list can also be used for status reporting.

Users can initially create documents using Microsoft Office 2007/2003 applications and then save them to a document workspace. The document workspace can be used by the team members as a conduit for instant messaging on project-related issues. Discussions within the document can be used for providing feedback and recommendations for document content.

When the document is ready for "publishing," it can be moved to the shared library where it is reviewed by the approver. The approver can set up an alert to be notified when the new documents are added or modified within the library.

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