Formerly known as Office 365, Microsoft 365 has evolved into a comprehensive set of cloud-based services and apps that are carefully designed to improve productivity and teamwork in the modern office.
Microsoft 365 includes a wide range of capabilities that are specifically tailored to meet the needs of project managers in its comprehensive toolkit.
In this blog post, we will cover various tools and capabilities within Microsoft 365 that empower project management teams to plan, execute, and monitor projects effectively.
Let’s get started with project management tools Microsoft
Office 365 subscribers enjoy access to a variety of task and project management applications. Presently, the roster comprises:
- SharePoint Task Lists
- Project Online
- Outlook Tasks
Planner offers teams the capability to oversee both private and public plans along with task buckets.
Users can generate and track diverse tasks and plans, arrange them by priority, and obtain immediate insights through board and charts views.
Integrated with Office 365 Groups, Planner facilitates collaborative efforts among team members by allowing them to work on project documents using a SharePoint library.
Additionally, users can discuss project tasks in Outlook Groups, plan project-related events using the team Calendar, and compile project notes within a shared OneNote notebook.
SharePoint Project Task Lists:
Utilizing SharePoint Online for project management is a viable alternative for Office 365 subscribers, facilitated through SharePoint Project Task Lists.
This tool empowers users to establish lists of tasks and subtasks, offering a visual representation of their distribution across a project timeline.
Beyond these fundamental features, users can efficiently handle tasks, allocate resources, and access various task views (including Gantt charts, late tasks, my tasks, and upcoming tasks).
Task Lists further facilitate seamless integration with the Outlook calendar and conversations, document management in a dedicated SharePoint library, and the utilization of a project notebook for enhanced collaboration.
Another noteworthy Microsoft 365 project management tool is Project Online. This professional application specializes in project portfolio management, offering three distinct plans: Essentials, Professional, and Premium.
Tailored for diverse user groups, including project and resource managers, each plan caters to projects of varying complexities.
With capabilities encompassing project planning, task scheduling, resource management, and robust reporting features, Project Online stands out as the most potent project management tool within the entire Office 365 suite.
In addition to project management tools, Office 365 users can leverage personalized task management, starting with Outlook Tasks.
Ideal for individuals and teams who prefer overseeing their activities within their email application, Outlook provides a comprehensive display of tasks with various attributes (status, priority, completeness, category, etc.) and customizable views.
Users can seamlessly integrate their tasks into the calendar grid, facilitating easy tracking, and also share them with fellow team members.
To-Do is a personalized task management application designed to replace Wunderlist, which Microsoft acquired in 2015.
This app is versatile, accommodating both personal and business-related tasks. Users can craft task lists, establish due dates, receive notifications, rearrange tasks, and make minor UI adjustments.
As an integral part of the Office 365 suite, To-Do seamlessly integrates with Outlook Tasks, allowing users to synchronize their to-dos with their inbox task management areas.
Administering tasks and projects in Office 365
This involves more than just relying on core tools. Recognizing the need for dynamic collaboration, teams can explore additional options beyond the essential tools. These include:
- SharePoint Project Sites
- Microsoft Teams with the Planner Tab
- Yammer integrated with a SharePoint project site or Project Online
- Office 365 Groups
These supplementary options provide teams with a more versatile and tailored approach to managing collaborative projects and tasks in the Office 365 environment.
Following SharePoint Task Lists, a SharePoint project site emerges as an advanced project management assistant.
Recognizing that teams require not only task visibility but also a platform for collaborative endeavors like document sharing, news dissemination, opinion sharing, and question posing, a fully-functional project site in SharePoint Online adeptly addresses these needs.
With components such as team calendars, newsfeeds, task- and issue-tracking sections, and organized document libraries for project-related files, the SharePoint project site stands as a comprehensive solution. For a firsthand look, explore our interactive demo featuring an example SharePoint project site.
Microsoft Teams, renowned as a robust collaboration tool, serves as the central communication hub in the Office 365 suite, a designation announced during Microsoft Ignite 2017.
To enhance Microsoft Teams’ effectiveness in project management, a strategic move is to integrate the Planner tab. This integration not only leverages the inherent capabilities of Planner but also harnesses the collaborative strength of Teams within a unified interface.
Yammer functions as an extra forum-like space within a SharePoint project site. Moreover, integrating Yammer with Project Online extends broader collaboration functionalities to your project management space.
Office 365 Groups emerge as a collaborative enhancement for project management within the Office 365 environment.
These groups seamlessly integrate wherever teams require them. For instance, users can leverage Outlook Groups for collaborative efforts on their Outlook Tasks.
By incorporating Groups into a SharePoint project site, you can enhance it with features like a shared inbox, a collaborative calendar, a Planner plan, and a team notebook.
Microsoft 365 Project Management tools provide a comprehensive suite of solutions that cater to the diverse needs of project managers and teams.
From simple task management to complex project scheduling, Microsoft 365 offers a versatile and integrated ecosystem that enhances collaboration, communication, and overall project efficiency.
As organizations continue to embrace digital transformation, Microsoft 365 stands out as a powerful ally for effective project management in the modern workplace.