Add tasks to your project

One of the first steps to managing a project is to add the tasks that get your project done. Your list of tasks can be as simple as a checklist of things that need to get done, or it can be somewhat more involved, with start and finish dates, relationships with other tasks, and other associated task information. A simple checklist of tasks and a scheduled list of tasks both use the same list on your site, so you can start with a simple checklist, and then add detail to the tasks later to make it a scheduled list of tasks.

Add a simple checklist of tasks

If you are just getting started with your project planning, or if you don’t anticipate this project being particularly complicated, a simple checklist of tasks may be enough for you to effectively manage your project. Your checklist may include due dates for your project’s tasks, and assignments to project team members.

To add a simple checklist of tasks:

  1. On the Quick Launch for your site, click Tasks.
  2. On the Tasks page, click Edit.
  3. In the Task Name column, type a name for each task that needs to be completed in your project. Press Enter to move to the next line after adding a task.

 Tip    Do you want to add a new task between two tasks that are already listed? Click in the space to the left of the check box for an existing task, and then press Insert. A new row is added above the existing task that you selected. You can also click Insert in the Hierarchy group on the Tasks tab.

  1. In the Due Date column, type or select a date for when each task in the list should be complete. If you’re not sure when a task needs to be complete, leave this column blank for that task.
  2. In the Assigned To column, type or select the name of each person who will work on each task in the list.

 Tip    A best practice is to only assign one person to each task. If you need to assign more than one person, this can lead to issues with marking tasks as complete. If Ann finishes her work on the task, it makes sense for her to check it off as complete on her My Tasks page. However, this marks the task as complete for everyone assigned, not just Ann. Someone else on the task may still have work to do. If you decide that you do still need to assign more than one person to a task, you can separate names with a semicolon (;).

  1. When you have finished adding your simple checklist of tasks, click Stop.

Another quick way to add a simple checklist of tasks is by pasting a list from an Excel worksheet. As long as the columns you use in the worksheet line up with the columns that are displayed on the Tasks page, you can simply click in the task list and paste your worksheet data. Names will be paired with accounts, if possible, in the Assigned To column.

As you work on your project, you can select the check box beside each task name when the task is completed.

If you find that you need more control over the tasks in your simple checklist, you can use the steps in the next section to add detail to your tasks, to make a more robust scheduled list.

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Add a scheduled list of tasks

If your project is somewhat complex, you may find that a scheduled list of tasks helps you keep track of the work in a more manageable way.

To add a scheduled list of tasks:

  1. On the Quick Launch for your site, click Tasks.
  2. On the Tasks page, click New Task. Or, on the Tasks tab of the ribbon, click New Item.

 Note    If you initially created a simple checklist of tasks, but the project became a bit more involved, you can easily add more detail to your existing tasks. To select a task, click in the space to the left of the check box for it, and then, on the Tasks tab of the ribbon, click Edit Item. This opens the task so that you can add greater scheduling detail.

  1. Type a name for your task in the Task Name box.
  2. Type or select a start and finish date for your task in the Start Date and Due Date boxes. If you’re not sure of either of these dates, leave this information out for now. You can always return later and add information by editing the task.
  3. Type the name or email address of the person you want to work on the task in the Assigned To box.

 Tip    A best practice is to only assign one person to each task. If you need to assign more than one person, this can lead to issues with marking tasks as complete. If Ann finishes her work on the task, it makes sense for her to check it off as complete on her My Tasks page. However, this marks the task as complete for everyone assigned, not just Ann. Someone else on the task may still have work to do. If you decide that you do still need to assign more than one person to a task, you can separate names with a semicolon (;).

  1. If work has already begun on the task, enter a percentage in the % Complete box, to indicate approximately how much work has been done, and what is left to do.

 Tip    This is a great field for your project’s team members to update on a regular basis. It can help you understand how work on your project is progressing, and whether your project is on track to finish on time.

  1. Type a brief description of the task in the Description box, if you would like to provide greater detail about the work that is involved. This may be helpful for executives or other stakeholders who are trying to understand your project.
  2. Use the boxes and buttons next to Predecessors to indicate which tasks in your project need to be completed before the current task can start.

For example, let’s say you create a task called “Publish press release,” which can’t begin until the “Write press release” task has completed. Select the “Write press release” task from the box on the left, and then click Add to move it to the box on the right. This indicates that the “Write press release” task is a predecessor to (that is, it precedes) the “Publish press release” task.

  1. Select the appropriate priority level from the Priority list.
  2. Select the appropriate status level from the Task Status list.

 Tip    This is another field that is helpful for your project team members to update regularly. It can help you stay on top of work blockages, schedule delays, and other critical scheduling issues.

  1. Click Save.

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Work with your task list

As you work with your list of tasks, those with due dates listed in red are late. Once you mark a late task as complete by selecting the check box next to the task, the due date no longer appears as red text.

Also, you can switch between different views of your task list by clicking the view links above the list. You can choose from All Tasks, Calendar, Completed, Gantt Chart, Late Tasks, My Tasks, and Upcoming, or you can modify an existing view or create your own view of your task list. If the view you want to use isn’t listed above the task list, click Click for additional options (…) next to the view links and choose the view you want to use. For more information on creating your own view, see Create, change, or delete a view of a list or library.

After you add detailed tasks to your project, you may want to:

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Applies to:
SharePoint Foundation 2013, SharePoint Online Enterprise (E1), SharePoint Online Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E1 & E2), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Enterprise (E3 & E4), SharePoint Online operated by 21Vianet - Small Business, SharePoint Online Small Business, SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise, SharePoint Server 2013 Standard