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Aggregate All of Your Tasks with SharePoint 2013

Everyone is striving to become a more efficient worker. One theory on how to do that is to clear your mind of any clutter so you can focus all of your attention on your current task. That can be a challenge since throughout the day you might be thinking of what other tasks are due and when. I started by using a scratch pad, and kept constantly updating the list; crossing off tasks, adding new ones. Once it gets too messy, I’d have to start again on a new sheet of paper.

Once we started using SharePoint and Project Server, my list became redundant. Now I was keeping the same list of tasks in multiple different places. Not to mention Outlook has its own tasks list. Which is convenient since you regularly find out about new tasks via email, but it’s inconvenient since Outlook is off by itself. Enter SharePoint 2013.

A great feature introduced in SharePoint 2013 is the Work Management Service Application. This application aggregates every task assigned to you from within SharePoint, Project Server, and Exchange 2013, and displays it in one convenient location: My Sites. In addition to that, you can identify which of those tasks are important and even add your own, which are visible only to you. There is also a “Sync to Outlook”, so that all your tasks can be accessed within Outlook and be available anywhere, including your smart phone.

The following is a screenshot, which shows all the tasks that are currently due, or that I’ve marked as important. The tasks can be grouped by source (SharePoint sites, Project Server projects, personal list, or your Exchange mailbox), and can be viewed as a Gantt chart, which is more descriptive than a list of scattered due dates.

Within the Tasks section of My Sites, you have other default views to get at your tasks.

  • Important and Upcoming: Displays a Gantt chart of all tasks. Lists out only those tasks which are marked as important (by you) or are due 2 weeks prior and 2 weeks after today.
  • Active: List of all tasks which are not marked complete.
  • Completed: List of all completed tasks.
  • Recently Added: List of all active tasks that have been added within the past day.
  • Timesheet: Link to Project Server’s Timesheet page.
  • Task Status Reporting: Link to Project Server’s task status page of all your tasks by project within Project Server.

You can personalize your tasks section, so you can define the number of days to identify what a Recently Active task is, or what defines Upcoming. In addition to other settings like project tasks color and display order.

With that, I’ve found a new home to keep all of my tasks. And the best part is that I’ve finally retired my scratch pad.

For more information, see the TechNet article SharePoint 2013 – Work Management Service Application.