Take the Easy Road: Create a Project Site Template That Includes Additional Columns

I am not a warm weather kind of person. As soon as May arrives and the warm days become more frequent, I start dreaming of Alaska, Canada and Greenland. Give me negative temperatures and thick sweaters over sunscreen and flip flops any day.

There's just something about warm weather that drains my energy. When the days are hot, I just want to lie around and exert as little energy as possible. So in honor of my summer-inspired laziness, I'm going to show you how to save yourself some time and energy by creating a project site template in PM Central that contains additional columns. It serves as a companion piece to another blog post of mine because it outlines how you can save a project site template that contains the additional columns you created in Displaying Additional Key Metrics on the PM Central Portfolio Site By Adding Additional Columns to the Project Health List (aka the longest blog title ever).

If you customize your project sites to display additional columns, you can save one of these project sites as a project site template. You can then set the template to be the default template so that every new project you create automatically displays the additional columns. This saves you from having to manually configure the columns every time you create a new project.

Just a word of warning: If you have PM Central R1.8 or older, you'll lose your customizations if you do an upgrade. For more information about that, read this KB on Upgrading PM Central.

Create the Project Site Template
First, create the project site template. From your portfolio site, select Central Actions > Add New Project. Enter in a generic title like New Project. Add a description if you want. Choose your permission level and click Create.

create the project site template

Add the New Column to the List
Once the project site has been created, add the new column to the list. In this example, I'm adding the column Documents to the Project Health List. Select the Settings tab > Lists > Project Health > Settings > Create Column.

add the new column

Add your column and click OK. In this example, the new column Documents is added.

the new column is added

Now add the column to all of the views. Select Central Actions > View All Site Content > Customize Project Health. Scroll down to Views and click each view to add the new column.

click each view to add the new column

add the column to the view

Click OK. The new column Documents is displayed in the Project Health List.

the new colum is displayed

Save the Project Site as a Template
Now that you've added the new column, save the project site as a template. Select Site Actions > Site Settings. Under Look and Feel, select Save Site as Template.

save the site as a template

Give the template a file name, a template name and, if you want, a description. Make sure the Include Content box is checked. Click OK.

name the template

wait for the template to save

Set the New Template as the Default Template Using the Site Creation Plus Web Part
Now you can create a new project and and make the new template the default template for all new projects, thanks to our handy Site Creation Plus Web Part.

Navigate to your portfolio site and select Central Actions > Add New Project. Select Site Actions > Edit Page.

edit the page

Click the arrow next to Edit and select Modify Shared Web Part.

modify the web part

In the configuration tool pane under Site Creation Configuration, select the template that you created from the drop-down menu. Click Apply and then OK. Exit the Edit Mode. You have now set this template to be the default template. Any new projects that you create will automatically use this template.

choose your template

Create Your New Project Site
After you select the new template, give your new project site a title and a description, if you want. Choose your permissions and click Create.

create the new project

After the project is created, open the Configuration Checklist and click the Action link to edit the Project Health Information.

open the configuration checklist

click the action link

Your new column is displayed in the Project Health List.

the new column is displayed

Fill out the Project Health Information. Remember that you only need to enter in the project name, project manager and, if necessary, the project type. The other fields are automatically calculated, and you don't need to modify them yourself. Click OK.

Take a look at the Project Health List by selecting the Settings tab > Lists > Project Health. The new column is displayed.

the new column is displayed

You have successfully created and applied your new project site template. Let's celebrate by cranking up the A/C, shall we? 

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