Microsoft Teams - your project management platform
In Microsoft Teams available at a variety of features to discover. Many people use specific parts of the platform separately: to chatting with colleagues, to divide customers into teams or have meetings with customers. Now we want to explain how you use different apps and smart solutions to make Microsoft Teams thet perfect tool also for your various projects.
Some companies use a hundred different software products and a multitude of service providers to manage the organisation's operations. Even those with a Microsoft 365 license sometimes use external tools and platforms to solve various tasks - unnecessarily.
The main reason for choosing the Microsoft 365 platform is to be able to do your work from anywhere without having to be in the office or connected via a VPN. Nevertheless, some companies store their files on other platforms or manage email conversations and other communications outside the Microsoft ecosystem.
"Yes, sometimes we meet people who only use Teams to chat and to book remote meetings; much like the old Skype was used," says Robert Veberg, Cloud Advisor at WeSafe.
So the bad news is that many people are not yet using the full capacity of the platform. The good news is that it's not a long step to take to get more out of the system. For example, to support project work.
Work on your projects in Teams
Many organisations already have solutions that they don't know they have. They are working in an old Excel file and not using the tools they have paid for. If a CEO of a company starts to understand that the Microsoft 365 platform is mostly used for internal use and Teams meetings, there are some logical steps to take; including when it comes to working with projects.
"Sure, it should be interesting for most people to make project work more efficient and have everything in one place. To manage communication there, to get an overview of how much time has been spent and to secure the material that is part of the project in the form of data, files, conversations and other relevant documents. Just imagine being able to set how long each document is saved for - it's all there for those with Microsoft 365," says Robert.
That Microsoft Teams is a project tool many people don't seem to know - something Robert and colleagues want to change.
"Using Teams for projects often leads to the organisation developing the whole Teams usage for other functions as well," says Robert.
A project platform you already have!
So, if a company today uses Excel to structure the flows of its projects and employees send a lot of emails between them to communicate and exchange files - how should they think to change?
"That way of working is actually a very good foundation in combination with the capabilities of the Microsoft platform. They should start by asking themselves what files they have and what the flows look like. Then they can get a picture of what those flows will be like in Teams. For example, the Excel files they send each other can become a list in Microsoft Lists. Moving to Teams and working in a new way creates a new culture," says Robert.
Starting to work with Teams as a project platform is a big cultural change compared to the past for those who are used to working with folders, emails and "their own solutions".
"It's about letting go of this head-knowing thing and trusting the tools and the possibilities - seeing Teams as a communication partner to make the organisation work more efficiently and get more done in an easier way."
Get started in a few simple steps
So what's Robert's first tip to start with for anyone looking to turn the Microsoft platform into a project tool?
"You're already starting by reading this article! Then I suggest you watch a webinar (if you haven't already seen it) from WeSafe where I show you more about how the work is done in practice. If you haven't worked with Teams in your company: start getting your employees to do so. Start by setting up an organization-wide Team, where everyone is automatically added to the organization. Instead of sending out a mass email to everyone in the organization, try the conversation feature in the Team! Next time you need to send an email to a colleague asking about the quarterly report, put it in a chat message. Email is something we would like to see less of and is quite easily replaced by conversations and chat in Teams."
The next step could be to turn an Excel file into a list in Microsoft Lists. Using lists gives you more and better ways to track and work with information. Automate processes that would otherwise require manual hands-on work. An example of a list suitable for a project could be an "EAT" list, which tracks and displays changes and additions made during the course of the project. Or a list to ensure that the project budget is maintained, or perhaps a list to keep track of the time spent on each phase.
Everything is already there! Ready to use. Robert says that most people can start working with Teams as a project platform on their own. Some people need help setting up a structure and turn to WeSafe.
"One of the biggest benefits is that you can reuse any Teams, Planner and Lists template once you've created it. So when you do a new project, you don't have to start from scratch - you're basically already there," says Robert.
FIVE TIPS ON HOW TO KICKSTART MICROSOFT TEAMS AS A PROJECT PLATFORM:
- Listen to our webinar to get a better idea of all the possibilities available when it comes to project management in Microsoft 365
- Create project teams in Teams named after the project name or customer name. Make sure to save documents, files and everything related to the project.
- Invite all interested people and encourage them to use the chat linked to the project channel for all communication related to the project, instead of emailing the information around
- Manage all project planning with activities, resources and deadlines integrated in the project channel. Use the tools provided, such as Microsoft Lists and Planner, instead of using Excel documents.
- Create a good structure from the start that you can reuse in future, new projects. Take external help from WeSafe if you need to refine/adjust or have specific requests.
If you would like help setting up a structure for project work in Microsoft Teams, please contact us!