Using Microsoft 365 for Project Management

By JJ Rosen June 25, 2020
microsoft 365

The workplace is changing. Water cooler talk is being replaced with messaging apps like Teams and Slack. Team meetings are being held on Zoom with fake backgrounds, barking dogs, and children running around.

The tools of business are becoming more flexible, remote, and user-friendly. Project management isn’t done on whiteboards and spreadsheets anymore. But it’s still complex and important work. Offices are using Microsoft 365 for well-executed project management in the new mobile and remote world of business.

Not new to the IT solutions game, Microsoft shows that it understands how people work and what they need, now and in the future. Time and time again, Microsoft has shown that it offers effective tools for businesses.

Microsoft 365 is packed with remote, secure, reliable, and collaborative work solutions that can be scaled and updated quickly. Its available packages include personal, non-profit, small to large businesses and just anything in between. For users looking for a quick-to-launch, easy-to-use, and reliable tool for project management, Microsoft 365 is a great solution.

As an online subscription service, it’s affordable and fast to implement. We here at Atiba are huge fans of the 365 package and have been using it for years.

Besides our own personal endorsement, what else makes it great?

Let’s dive into some details about what it not only offers businesses but how it can change the project management game.

The New Office: From the Building to the Laptop

Let’s start by talking about how the workplace has changed.

Over the past few years, we’ve seen a shift to remote work solutions. Work has moved away from project management based on in-person meetings, whiteboard timelines, and endless spreadsheets. Managing a team spread across numerous time zones can be tough which is why project managers need new solutions for collaboration, knowledge sharing, coordinating schedules, and reporting.

remote working project management

Despite the upheaval in workplace strategy, standards haven’t changed. One of the biggest challenges that project managers face is making sure the work productivity doesn’t decrease and workers are able to effectively communicate with one another.

We won’t lie to you, effective project management is hard. There is a laundry list of things to do, such as (deep breath) aligning and coordinating many moving parts along a productive and efficient route, towards a common goal, in a set amount of time, on an always too small budget (exhale).

It requires solid communication, effective collaboration, centralized resources, and a way to monitor, schedule, and report project status.

The widespread shift from working in one place to working in many places was empowered by web-based solutions. Fast, affordable internet now connects a workforce that’s spread across the globe. Tools like Office 365 leverage cloud-based and online platforms and allow remote workers in complex projects to work as an organized team.

Project Management with Cloud Solutions

It’s true that computers have become significantly more powerful, lighter, and over the years. We’ve seen enormous desktops with huge boxy monitors and millions of wires abandoned for sleek, lighter laptops. Desktops have also become faster and more powerful. Sometimes, it’s amazing to think about how we got along with our big clunkers.

Even with all those remarkable developments in hardware, there are still a number of limitations. All hardware has limits to storage, computing power, access, and security. The limits to those features can be expanded but there are trade-offs. The more you expand those limits, the less mobile and affordable your hardware becomes.

And the more painful it is to scale and replace the tech per user.

The good news is proper cloud and online solutions offer flexible and adaptable solutions to solve the problems remote and removed workers could encounter. Providers like Microsoft bring experience, familiarity, and reliability businesses can trust.

Cloud 365 vs. Cloud 9

Microsoft 365 offers cloud solutions on a subscription. With a core set of programs (think what you’d have in traditional Microsoft Office) and an app store to supplement any additional services you may need, it’s a robust solution for many types of 365

Apps and services in the Office 365 suite include:

  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Word
  • PowerPoint
  • Excel
  • Skype
  • SharePoint
  • Yammer
  • Planner
  • Teams
  • OneDrive

While all those programs are great, it’s the larger strategy of 365 that’s a real win for project management. Its flexibility and web-based design set it apart from other products.

Why’s that great for project management? Let’s run through some reasons.

  1. It’s packed with tools. Project management requires timelines, reports, spreadsheets, presentations, documents of all sizes, and formats. Microsoft has a myriad of tools to meet the development needs of almost any project. In addition to the familiar Microsoft Office tools, Microsoft 365 also includes access to their app store with tons of options (free and paid) to help you get whatever your job is done.
  2. It’s centralized. You don’t have to worry about your timeline, your spreadsheets, and your reports being separated into different tools. They’re all in the 365 platform.
  3. It’s super accessible. From a coffee shop to your client’s office, as long as you have an internet connection, you can access your files. In addition, you can grant access to team members according to need. No need to email large files to lots of people. If someone needs to use a file, just grant them access. Don’t need them on that file anymore? Update your access group. Don’t have an internet connection right now? Choose the work offline option and update it when you connect again.
  4. It’s sized just right. Upgrade when you need to. Because it’s cloud-based, you can buy as much or as little storage as you need. If your needs change, you can adjust your service.
  5. It’s secure. Not only is the cloud service protected by firewalls and passwords, but it’s also backed up. So you don’t have to worry if your office burns down that you’ve lost your files, too. It’s protected from hackers and catastrophe.
  6. It’s collaborative. There’s more than just being able to share files. Microsoft 365 also fosters collaboration by allowing users to create and update resources together, from interacting in real-time through chat to co-editing and authoring documents, to easily assigning tasks and managing timelines and milestones. Maybe you can’t be in the same room together, but Microsoft 365 can help you feel like you’re on the same team.
  7. It’s familiar. Microsoft has been around for a long time. Most folks in the workforce have used some Microsoft products in their lifetime. Many people have used a lot of Microsoft products for a long time. So even if 365 is new to you or your team, the learning curve is better than most. Navigation, icons, terminology will all feel familiar. And if you need additional help, because Microsoft is SO widely used, there are tons of resources available to skill-up users.

Take My Money Microsoft 365!

OK, there are a lot of compelling reasons to purchase Microsoft 365. If you think that it’s the tool your business needs, let’s talk about becoming a 365-er.

First, let’s identify some questions you need to ask yourself:

microsoft 365 questions

  1. How many subscriptions do you need?
  2. Do you want to pay monthly or annually?
  3. What applications from the app store should you add?
  4. How do you migrate from existing platforms?
  5. Do you have anyone in-house to help you make these decisions and get you set up?

If any of these questions left you saying, “I’m not sure,” then you’re not alone. Many businesses who choose Microsoft 365 for all the flexibility and easy adoption still turn to professionals to help get them going and troubleshoot along the way.

If you’ve decided that Microsoft 365 is the solution there are tons of services that a good tech professional can assist with. You might consider hiring IT to help with services like:

  • Emergency Support
  • Database Application Design
  • Office 365 Services
  • User Management
  • Mobile Device Support
  • Security Audits
  • Technical Support (24/7)
  • Configuration & Patching
  • Real-time Troubleshooting
  • CIO-to-go Services

Atiba has been an official Microsoft partner for over 20 years, and if you don’t have the required technical expertise on staff, we can help. With the proper configuration and support, Office 365 allows users to take a personalized office experience on the go, on a tablet, computer, or phone, increasing productivity.

The workplace is changing. Project management is changing. The tools we use are changing with it to meet the needs of users. Tools like Microsoft 365 are fantastic platforms for businesses to meet the new needs of their teams.

If you need help with your project management or similar tasks, reach out to us today for your project quote. We look forward to helping you!

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