July 6, 2022

How to optimize your project management with Teams & Microsoft 365?



5 min reading

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Project management is indeed a technical subject which requires the use of adapted tools. However, the choice of these tools and the way they interlock is a real challenge for managers. And for good reason, from one type of project to another (event, product launch, transformation project, etc.) the needs vary greatly.

Microsoftis particularly sensitive to this issue, and offers a wide range of project management software, which can be combined to meet the needs of each project team. Better still, these applications are built around the Microsoft365 ecosystem and Teams in order to offer employees a fluid and seamless user experience, conducive to greater engagement.

Do you want to know how to better manage your projects with Teams and Microsoft 365 project management tools? To understand everything and identify the applications that fit your needs, read on.

1. Project management: a priority for Microsoft

Project management is one of Microsoft's strategic priorities. The software distributed by the publisher is designed to help people work together. With this in mind, Microsoft offers its customers increasingly sophisticated services:

  • Project, a tool which is 100% dedicated to project management , created in 1984;
  • SharePoint, a collaborative application dedicated to the sharing and management of various contents (documents, applications, etc.), revealed in 2001;
  • Skype, the popular software for phone calls and video meetings, released in 2003;
  • Teams, the famous collaborative communication application, released in 2017;
  • Viva, an employee experience platform facilitating teamwork, launched in 2021;
  • Loop, a collaboration platform designed for project management, is gradually becoming available.

And the success is there: in 2022, the Microsoft365 suite is used by no less than 1 million organizations worldwide and in January of the same year, the unavoidable Teams tool exceeded 270 million monthly active users. A record!

Why is there so much enthusiasm for the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and for Teams, especially among project teams? That's what we'll look at.

2. Teams and Microsoft 365 project management tools

Event, product launch, customer project, internal transformation project, etc. There are several project management methodologies depending on the scope of each project.

Thanks to its wide range of project management softwares, Microsoft is able to adapt finely to each type of project, hence its success with companies.

Does this all sound abstract to you? Let's take a look at the main project management tools Teams and Microsoft 365 and their respective uses.

2.1. Microsoft Project, for managing the most complex projects  

Project is an advanced project management tool that allows you to manage tasks, resources (time, manpower, etc.) and budgets.

The Project application offers many advantages:

  • It allows each employee to view their current project(s), their objectives and the status of their various personal tasks on a single page. The ideal way to increase individual productivity and commitment;
  • It also offers different types of support to make it easier for the stakeholders to coordinate their actions: a Kanban board to follow the tasks accomplished by everyone, a Gantt chart to visualize the chronology of the whole project, etc;
  • It includes features designed to simplify project management: a dashboard offering an overview of project resources and their allocation, a general project timeline, reporting, etc. A real "plus" for project leaders and their managers.

In short, Microsoft Project allows you to manage key resources (labour, material and cost), allocate costs to these resources, analyze data and communicate project information.

This comprehensive project management software is suitable for complex and lengthy projects, such as internal transformation projects.

How to optimize project management in Teams ?

2.2 Microsoft Teams, the hub for teamwork

Teams is Microsoft's star collaborative communication application.

This software is a must-have for project management. More than a simple internal communication platform, Teams is a true hub that brings together in one place all the features and resources that a project team needs to work effectively.

With Teams, stakeholders can exchange information synchronously (video meetings, calls) and asynchronously (messaging, comments and chat) . Collaborators can also share and co-edit documents (PowerPoint presentations, Excel files, etc.) and access all their tools (Tasks, List, Project, WhiteBoard, etc.) in one click.

💡 To go further, discover 5 uses of Microsoft Teams that you must know

Teams is ideal for working with others, no matter how complex the project. This collaborative software allows you to structure even the most complex projects:

  • Either by grouping all the employees in the same team and creating different channels corresponding to the different projects carried out by the group;
  • Or by setting up a team for each project and subdividing each team into thematic channels, dedicated to various topics related to the project.

As an added bonus, with Teams, the project manager can invite external stakeholders (contractors, consultants, clients, etc.) and manage their access.

How to optimize project management in Microsoft ?

2.3 Microsoft Planner, for managing tasks in a team

Planner is an application designed to facilitate the management of tasks in teams. It is mainly based on a Kanban board that allows you to easily visualize, assign and prioritize tasks within a project.

With this software, tasks can be assigned very simply to the project stakeholders. Better still, various attachments can be added, templates can be created for recurring tasks and automatic reminders can be programmed.

With Planner, each member of the project team therefore knows what he or she has to do and follows the progress of other tasks. This project management software is therefore an important ally in strengthening individual and collective productivity in projects.

This simple project management tool, which is perfectly integrated with the tools in the Microsoft 365 suite, will be adapted to the organization of an internal event (webinar, team building, etc.). It will then be synchronized with Teams in order to facilitate communication between the project stakeholders.

But that's not all. Planner can also be used to plan more complex projects (product launch or customer project for example). In this case, it should be coupled with other applications (Teams but also Viva and SharePoint) in order to meet all the needs that have been expressed.

📌 To go further, discover 6 good practices to manage your teleworking team well

2.4. Microsoft ToDo, allowing everyone to organize their tasks

The ToDo application is a tool for creating task lists. This software was designed to facilitate the management of individual tasks on a daily basis.

In detail, ToDo helps each employee to identify and prioritize what they have to do. With it, employees can list their various "missions" (finalize a presentation, hand in a deliverable, follow a training course, etc.) and are automatically suggested personalized tasks.

ToDo users can also break down each task so they know how to complete it step by step, add files, set reminders and even share a task list with colleagues.

This not only improves concentration and productivity, but also reduces the mental burden on employees by helping them to organize themselves better.

How to optimize project management in Teams and Microsoft ?

2.5. Microsoft Tasks, to prioritize all the tasks to be done

The Tasks management application is designed to prioritize all the tasks to be carried out within the framework of a more or less complex project.

Tasks integrates individual tasks, which are entered in ToDo, and collective tasks, which are entered in Planner.

Finally, the Tasks module, accessible in Teams, allows tasks to be centralized and ordered in order to offer better visibility to project team members.

2.6. Microsoft List, to collect a set ofItems

As the name suggests, the List feature allows you to create, share and track lists of a wide variety of information: tasks, contacts, resources, etc.

The lists created with this tool are easily accessible through the application itself. They can also be linked to a SharePoint intranet or to a Teams team.

The List software can be used to compile a list of people to contact, with their names, contact details, roles, status of the request, etc. But that is not all. This software can also be used to create and duplicate real workflows, which are very useful for teamwork.

Thanks to List, a project manager will be able, for example, to list all the bugs to be rectified on a digital product and indicate, for each of them, the details of the modifications to be made, the developer concerned, the possible validator, the status of the task, etc.

2.7. Microsoft SharePoint for document management and the creation of customized team sites

SharePoint is a document management software, but also an editor of team sites and intranets.

The SharePoint application facilitates teamwork. It allows each project group to have its own dynamic and personalized project or team site. This allows employees to access project resources (lists, forms, files, applications, etc.) from anywhere.

Third-party applications such as HelloSign, Power BI or Facebook Integration can be integrated into the project team's SharePoint site. In this way, all the tools that employees need to enable them to work are centralized in one place. Team members can choose applications from a wide range of solutions simply by visiting the SharePoint Store.

In addition, SharePoint facilitates the sharing and co-editing of documents. By creating your DMS with SharePoint, you can do away with email exchanges and attachments that get lost or don't get through. Project team members can view and edit work materials and documentation directly in their SharePoint site. A real time saver.

💡 To go further, find out how to turn SharePoint into a true EDM?

Microsoft SharePoint is mainly used for projects with a relatively high degree of complexity. For example, it could be used in a construction project to create and share a library of technical and regulatory documents.

2.8. Microsoft Viva, to improve the employee experience

Microsoft Viva is an employee experience platform (or EXP), designed to improve employee engagement, productivity and well-being, especially during projects.

This platform brings together all the tools to meet the needs of employees and offers them a seamless experience on a daily basis.

In detail:

  • The Viva Connexion module, which is integrated into Teams, makes communication between employees even more fluid, particularly in the context of projects.
  • The Viva Insight module helps stakeholders to keep a clear view of their objectives and missions, while keeping them stress-free.
  • The Viva Topics module facilitates access to knowledge and experts. It allows you to create topic sheets that can be shared, for example, in a team.
  • Finally, the Viva Learning module allows employees to train during the project if necessary. Thanks to this learning center integrated into Teams, the employee can, for example, find online courses recommended by the project manager.

3. A flexible, efficient, collaborative project management environment

As you can see, the project management tools presented above are best used together to meet the needs of each project team. These software applications, integrated into Microsoft 356, combine to offer users a collaborative, flexible, efficient and effective project management environment.

The various components of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem can be articulated in different ways depending on the needs of the project group. For example, a complex project, such as the implementation of an internal ERP(Enterprise Resource Planning ), may require the use of :

  • Project, for 360° project management;
  • List, to inventory contacts or resources to be managed in parallel;
  • SharePoint, to store and share a wide range of documents;
  • Viva Learning, to train stakeholders;
  • Teams, to centralize all communications and tools.
📌 To go further discover which Microsoft tools to use to boost internal collaboration in your company

Conclusion: Facilitate the adoption and use of Teams & Microsoft 365 project management tools

As we have seen, Microsoft project management softwares are numerous and offer a wide range of features. However, this can be daunting for users.

Mozzaik365 addresses this problem. This extension to SharePoint, which can be used in Teams, allows you to create engaging and designer digital environments while remaining in Microsoft 365.

It facilitates the adoption of the project management tools of the Microsoft suite and simplifies their use by making them more efficient and by centralizing them in a single, secure working environment.

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