Project Management 101

With a proper understanding, project management can benefit your business in a multitude of ways. It can enhance your bottom line with projects completed on time and within budget. Proper project management will reduce the chances of failed projects in terms of time, scope, and cost while also increasing productivity of employees. Over time you will see improvement in planning, prioritization, and decision making.

The five phases of project management are:

  • Initiation – a project is formally started and defined at a high level
  • Planning – a comprehensive plan that covers – cost, scope, time, quality, communication, risk and resources
  • Execution – by following the project plan, the project deliverables are developed and completed
  • Controlling – measures the project performance and progression against the project plan
  • Closing – the project is formally closed

When utilizing project management, you should keep a few things in mind. Goals and expectations need to be established with your team prior to starting the project planning phase. Everyone must know what needs to be accomplished and who is responsible for each task. In the planning phase, the team will want to sit down and brainstorm potential risks and how they can be easily mitigated. In the event of a complication, every team member should know their role in resolving the issue. Some preemptive planning from the start may minimize the number of meetings throughout the project duration. Finally, set your team up for success with the right tools. Ensure everyone has access to the required software and consider applying a project management tool, like Microsoft Planner.

Microsoft Planner, an application available within Office 365, lets you easily bring together teams, tasks, documents and conversations, for better management and subsequent results. It allows users to create project plans, add team members, assign tasks, and add comments that contribute to team conversations.  The application will even send emails to notify you when most of these changes occur. Employees can work remotely with Planner across a variety of devices and platforms, and it integrates with other Office 365 applications such as OneDrive, Outlook Calendar, OneNote, plus many more. This user-friendly tool keeps teams on track and makes projects productive.

If you are a project manager or a team leader that is still not sure if Planner is the right tool for you, consider this:  If you are already an Office 365 subscriber with an Enterprise E1–E5 subscription plan, Office 365 Business Essentials or Premium plan, or Office 365 Education – then you already own it.  Why not give it a try?

Do you dread having to devote so much of your time to simply building a project plan, setting up file sharing and access, and scheduling tasks with resources?  Get started with Planner and see how it can help to save you time and energy by reducing the amount of administrative effort you spend up-front through its built-in features that make getting started so simple.

Microsoft is actively developing new features, which will make the product even stronger. Here are some of the items on the horizon for release in Microsoft Planner:

  • iOS and Android apps
  • Assigning a task to multiple team members
  • Custom backgrounds
  • Pre-built Planner templates
  • External (guest) user access

 

Planner is a great tool for managing internal projects and task lists, and it requires minimal setup to be off and running.

 

For a deeper dive into our recommended project management tool, Microsoft Planner, take a look at our recent webinar “Learning Microsoft Planner” and for even more assistance with Microsoft Office 365 and the Planner tool,   email us or call us at 502-240-0404!