December 22, 2022

The guide to optimizing project management in Microsoft Teams



5 min reading

Find out how to optimize your project management without leaving Microsoft Teams.

Challenges and tools of project management in companies

Project management, can be defined as the activity that consists of organizing different tasks and resources (human, budget, material) in order to achieve an objective within a given time frame.

Project management issues

Whether it concerns an event, the launch of a new product, a customer project or an internal transformation project, project management is essential in companies.

And for good reason, all organizations must carry out projects, large or small. But without structured project management , these projects are likely to fail.

According to a study published by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in 2020, organizations that do not consider project management a strategic competency have a 67% higher project failure rate than companies that are aware of the impact of project management.

This has serious financial consequences. According to the same survey, 11.4% of investments made by companies are wasted due to poor project performance.

Optimizing project management in Teams

The key role of project management tools

Faced with this problem, the implementation of a corporate culture that values project management and the training of employees are essential. But these efforts are not enough.

They must be coupled with the adoption of methodologies (waterfall method, Agile method, Lean Management, etc.) andproject management tools (GANTT chart, RACI matrix, Kanban board, etc.) ad hoc.

But above all, to succeed, projects must be supported by technology and more specifically, by project management software .

In fact, according to a study published in 2007 by PWC, 77% of the most successful projects are based on project management software .

Project management software: a (not so) difficult choice

So which project management software should you choose? In this area, the decision is a priori all the more difficult as the offer is very wide.

Many project management softwares exist: Trello, Asana, Microsoft Project (MS Project) or Monday to name a few.

Moreover, for a good communication between project stakeholders, these softwares must be coupled with collaboration platforms such as Teams or Slack.

So many tools that can accumulate and complicate the daily life of employees. The solution? Keep it simple and use the Microsoft suite to its fullest potential.

๐Ÿš€To go further, check out our article dedicated to the issues and methods of project management in Microsoft Teams.
Optimize projet management

Project management tools in the Microsoft ecosystem

Microsoft is interested in projectmanagement and has been offering solutions in this field for several decades.

As proof, the famous project management software MS Project has been on the market since 1984.

Teams, a high value-added project management software

Most importantly, since 2017, Microsoft has been marketing Teams, a collaborative communication application that has real value for project management .

Specifically, according to a study conducted by Forrester on behalf of Microsoft in 2019:

  • Teams saves employees 4 hours a week through better information sharing and smoother collaboration;
  • Teams reduces the number and length of meetings by 18.9% each week with its reliable video conferencing feature;
  • For managers, Teams accelerates decision making by 17.7% through easier access to strategic data;
  • Finally, with Teams, all the applications and resources that employees need are in one place, saving them over an hour a week.

Teams, a hub for project management

Yes, one of the great strengths of Teams is that the application centralizes all the tools and resources that project team members need to complete their missions.

Specifically, it is possible to use features from other software directly in Teams, which is a real time saver for project stakeholders.

They can hold a video conference meeting, use a Microsoft Whiteboard, consult a to-do list created on ToDo or consult a Microsoft Planner project plan, all without leaving the Teams application.

๐Ÿš€ To go further, we recommend reading our article about Microsoft internal collaboration tools.

Project management with Microsoft Teams

As we have seen, Microsoft Teams offers many benefits for project management.

So, in practice, how do you use this application for your projects? Here we go. ย 

How to prepare Teams for a new project?

๐Ÿ‘‰ To set up Teams for a new project, start by adding all your project stakeholders to a Teams team.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Then, within that team, create channels dedicated to the different topics related to the project: budget, deliverables, events, meeting, monitoring, communication, etc.

Creating thematic channels has two main advantages:

  • It offers real time savings for the project team members since the compartmentalization of discussions ensures clarity and facilitates the search for information;
  • It allows you to contact the right people at the right time, without saturating the mailboxes of all stakeholders.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Finally, within your team, list the tools used in the project and create shortcuts to them.

This way, your employees will be more productive, as they will be able to easily switch from one software to another.

In addition, people who join the project along the way will be able to be Onboarded and get up to speed more quickly.

If creating teams and Teams channels is not your forte, you should know that solutions like exist to make your task easier. In just a few clicks, you can publish Teams that are perfectly adapted to the type of project you are working on, based on ready-to-use templates.

How to optimize project management in Microsoft Teams ?

How to manage the progress of a project in Teams?

๐Ÿ‘‰ To drive a project in Teams, first create lists of tasks and subtasks in the ToDo app and/or the Planner tool.

Then assign the tasks to each member of the project team, taking care to specify the timeframe within which they must be completed.

To make employees' work easier, save them time and avoid errors, link SharePoint documents to the various tasks set.

๐Ÿ‘‰ With that out of the way, feel free to use all the features of Teams tools to unfold your project management methodology.

You can, for example, create an MS Project tab in a Teams channel.

If none of the tools meet your needs, add additional applications. But be careful not to create confusion by drowning your team in tools.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Finally, track your project's progressdirectly in Teams using the "Charts" view.

Diagrams will allow you to visualize the degree of completion of each of your project's phases.

This makes it easy to spot any malfunctions and find solutions quickly to keep the project on time and on budget.

How to collaborate on project documentation in Teams?

Teams is a very good tool to create, validate and make available to the project team deliverables and practical documents related to the project(processes, best practices, etc.).

๐Ÿ‘‰ With the Teams application you can indeed create a shared document and then :

  • Manage access rights;
  • Edit it with several people;
  • Track changes made by co-authors;
  • Add each of the comments;
  • Tag project team members to notify them of a change or issue;
  • Save the file online so that teammates can access it from anywhere at any time, simply by logging in with their Microsoft account;
  • View the different versions, in order to go back for example.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Teams also allows you to set up validation processes for your documents.

Once completed, the content can be verified and approved by the appropriate party (your N-1 and then you, for example).

๐Ÿ‘‰ But that's not all. On Teams, you also have the ability to create Wikis, i.e. informative pages, in your channels.

A Wiki can, for example, document feedback or good work practices in order to share them with the team.

Beware, however: Wikis created in Team channels are not accessible to the whole company.

Thus, to circulate information to all employees, it is preferable to set up a knowledge base shared with the entire company.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Finally, Teams allows you to conduct surveys or questionnaires using Microsoft Forms.

This feature is ideal for collecting and organizing data such as customer feedback , user test results, bug reports, etc.

๐Ÿš€ Togo further, consider checking out our article "How do you create an effective project plan with Teams and SharePoint? ".

A space for every project

Each project involves many people, exchanges, tools, documents and deadlines.

To gain in productivity and working comfort, we strongly recommend that you dedicate a workspace to each of your projects.

This workspace can be a Teams channel, a SharePoint project site, a Project Dashboard or even a shared folder in a drive.

Centralize exchanges, information and resources

Whichever option you choose, it will allow you to centralize conversations, documents and information about each project in a single tool.

Passwords, contact lists of service providers, meeting minutes, deliverables and contracts associated with a project will be easily accessible.

Multiple benefits

๐Ÿ‘‰ Result: a lighter mental load for the project team members.

Indeed, they no longer have to juggle between projects. They can focus on each one in a timely manner and be more efficient.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Better still, all project stakeholders have access to information about the project.

In case of absence, employees can quickly update themselves and even review a missed meeting.

No more incomplete summary emails and forgotten information, meetings can be used to discuss, decide, unblock situations, in short, to effectively advance the project in progress.

๐Ÿ‘‰ In addition, the best practice of creating a space per project allows for easier Onboardingand eventual handover of the project.

Employees can easily access all the resources and exchanges associated with the project. The project's continuity is thus assured.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Finally, since all the elements are centralized, it is easy toaggregate project and budget relatedKPIs.

From then on, it becomes much simpler to follow your progress and to adapt to unforeseen events in order to reach the set objectives.

๐Ÿš€ To go further, we invite you to read our article on tracking your Digital Workplace KPIs

Optimizing project management in Microsoft Teams: conclusion

Microsoft Teams is a very powerful project management tool.

Project managers are sure to be pleased with this application, which allows them to organize a project, track its progress and document it, all from a single interface .

For Microsoft licensees, choosing another project management solution would therefore be both costly and counterproductive.

Does Teams software seem a bit austere?

Mozzaik365 facilitates the adoption and use of Teams and Microsoft project management tools by creating engaging, design and secure digital environments .

For more information, contact us.

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