This was an interesting recent Project Online case, but also applies to Project Server 2013, and I thought it worth sharing. The customer wanted to use workflows on their project sites, and have a task list associated with them for the approvals related to workflows. Should be no problem you’d think? Well that depends what you call the new additional task list. In this case the list was called Approval Tasks – and once a new project was created this list was being taken over as the task list that Project Online would synchronize tasks to – giving a read only list as the editing of the tasks would happen in the schedule web part? So how do I make sure this doesn’t happen and that I can use my extra list for my own purposes? Easy, just make sure it comes later in the alphabet than the default ‘Tasks’ list.
My initial thought was this was a bug – but thinking about the design there isn’t really an easy and foolproof way to do this any better that would still allow customers a degree of freedom to customize the site. We can’t hard code to the tasks list – as it may well be renamed, recreated or whatever. Using some different content type for our specific list would get complicated.
Once customers know that the first task list alphabetically will be the one we will sync the tasks with then they can plan their custom sites to allow for this – and either rename Tasks to something low in the alphabet (Assignments? Although they aren’t really) – or make you one higher in the alphabet for your specific use(Workflow Approval Tasks for example – would work in this particular scenario.
Here is an example:
Here my tasks are not displayed – as they have been sync’d to the Approval Tasks list:
You can always see which list is being used from the Connected SharePoint sites page:
Another thing to note here – for a couple of my large plans I use a template for my project site that does not have a task list – for me it didn’t make sense to use such a long task list so it saves the time of syncing the tasks by not having a list in the template for that EPT.
While we are on the subject of tasks and project sites and syncing – keep your eye out for the new ways to control site creation and task synchronization mentioned in mine and Adrian’s recent webcast. Expect another blog post and the features to be lighting up in the next few weeks.