Performing Administrative Tasks

One feature of SharePoint is that you can use it to collaborate with members of a team to accomplish a project. I can’t think of a better project that requires collaboration among many parties than installing and configuring SharePoint. Apparently Microsoft agrees; it added an Administrator Tasks list to the Central Administration Web site.

By using the Administrator Tasks list, you get a feel for how you can use SharePoint to manage tasks.

Viewing administrative tasks

When you install SharePoint, SharePoint creates a list of administrative tasks that you need to complete if you want to configure SharePoint. You may not need to complete every single task, and you may need to complete additional tasks that aren’t listed.

The list of administrative tasks is just a list that Microsoft believes most installations need to complete. MOSS 2007 includes additional tasks that don’t apply to Windows SharePoint Services such as configured shared services. To view the Administrator Tasks list, browse to your Central Administration site.

If you aren’t sure of the URL for your Central Administration site, you can access a shortcut on the front-end SharePoint server by choosing Start => All Programs => Administrative Tools => SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration. The Administrator Tasks list appears on the home page of the Central Administration site.

If the list includes more tasks than what can appear on the home page, click the More Items link to view the entire list of tasks. To view a task in the Administrator Tasks list, click the hyperlinked task title. The task detail appears in the browser. Each task provides the following information:

  • Action: A hyperlink to the page in SharePoint’s Central Administration site where you perform the task described.
  • Associated Service: The service that’s involved with completing the task.
  • Description: A high-level description of the administrative task, its purpose, and the information you need to complete it.
  • Order: The relative order in which the tasks should be completed.
  • System Task: A Yes/No value indicating whether the task is associated with setting up the SharePoint system.

The Administrator Tasks list is based on a standard SharePoint Tasks list. As a result, the list includes all the standard Tasks columns such as Status, Due Date, % Complete, and Assigned To.

Assigning administrative tasks

You probably have multiple people assisting you with your SharePoint configuration. Rather than keeping track of who needs to do what, you can use the Administrative Tasks list to assign tasks to members of your team.

To assign a task to someone, follow these steps:

  1. Click the task’s hyperlinked title in the Administrative Tasks list on the Central Administration site’s home page. The task appears in the browser.
  2. Click the Edit Item button.
  3. In the Assigned To field, type the account name of the person you want to assign to the task.
  4. Set the task’s Start Date and Due Date.
  5. Click OK to save the record.

If you configured the outgoing e-mail service, the person to whom you assign the task to receives an e-mail notifying him or her of the task assignment. You can click the Outgoing e-mail settings link on the Operations page of the Central Administration site to configure outgoing e-mail. Windows SharePoint Services includes an administrator task for this action.

Completing administrative tasks

You can use the Administrator Tasks list in several ways. In a simple configuration, you may want to step through each of the tasks and complete the task as you go. In a more complex configuration, you may need to do more research before you can complete the configuration.

You should consider using the Status, Due Date, and % Complete fields to keep track of your progress. You also have the option of attaching a document to the task. This feature might be helpful if you want to create a support document that outlines your progress.

I suggest you use the Administrator Tasks list as a roadmap for getting started with configuring your SharePoint deployment. To complete tasks in the Administrator Tasks list, follow these steps:

  1. Click the hyperlinked title to view the task details.
  2. Read the task’s description to get a better understanding of the task.
  3. Click the Action link to go to the page in SharePoint’s Central Administration site where you perform the configuration task.
  4. Configure the administrative task. Don’t be afraid to peek at SharePoint’s administrative pages. If you’re unsure how to complete the task, you may click Cancel and return to the page later.

Configuring an administrative task doesn’t update the task’s status in the Administrative Tasks list. You must manually update the status of the task. To manually update a task’s status, follow these steps:

  1. Click the hyperlinked title to view the task’s details.
  2. Click the Edit Item button.
  3. Update the Status and % Complete fields.
  4. Click OK.

The list of Administrator Tasks that appears on the home page of the Central Administration site is displayed by using a Web part. (SharePoint uses Web parts to display modules of content on a page.)

You may want to remove this Web part after you finish completing the administrative tasks. You may also want to change the view displayed in the Administrative Tasks Web part.