Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Why aren’t you using SharePoint Gantt Charts?




by Robert Schley

As a SharePoint enthusiast, and an instructor focused on SharePoint 2013 training, I’m constantly finding things in SharePoint to get excited about. For example, I’m finding that a Gantt Chart is becoming one of my favorite views to use in SharePoint.  Despite its flaws, I’m enjoying and finding creative uses for the graphical display of information, especially in situations where you really just need a snapshot estimate of what you are looking at.

 
I recently had a situation where I was dissatisfied with the manipulation of standard views for showing the last time something was published.  I was involved in a situation where it is advantageous to see the last time someone posted content to a site.  My specific problems were:

1. I only wanted to see the last time content was posted for 5+ unique blogs

2. I didn’t want to see everything posted to that blog, just the last item

3. I couldn’t limit it to a range because if the last item was out of that range then I wouldn’t see that blog anymore in my list

I went around in circles a couple of times.  I even tried creating a page with 5+ content queries on the page to pull each last item for each blog; a nightmare.


SharePoint 2013 Training screen
Tracey put me onto the solution with a “Totals” option for a view.  Depending on the column that you use, you can display a Max value for a column.  This means that the highest value will be put at the top of the grouping.   

This step was good, but at a glance you still have to think about what today is and compare that to each Max value displayed in the list.  If only there was a gui-like option that allowed a visual display of information?! 

Enter the Gantt!  While the Gantt in SharePoint can be unwieldy and a little difficult to setup, the amount of information displayed in a Gantt Chart at a glance is unparalleled by anything else but custom solutions(that you have to pay for!).  So what happens when I add my blog grouping with Max values into a Gantt view?

  

A beautiful simple interface that allows you to see immediately which blogs have current content and which ones need a little boost.

We can see at a glance which blog is behind on posting.  The blue line is today’s date and each dot is the last post for a particular blog.  Obviously, the “Find Waldo” blog needs to be updated since it’s lagging so far behind.  Easy, right?  Tell me about how you’ve used the Gantt view to make your life easier in the comments.

Note: I originally built this solution in SharePoint 2010 but this example is 2013.  I think that the implementation of Gantt in 2013 is better.