Project Management and SharePoint – Where’s the Fit?

Highly configurable, the SharePoint platform is perfectly suited to the function of project management. Before we can look at the benefits and possibilities of SharePoint for project management,  it’s important that we have a common understanding of what project management is, so we can map that process to a SharePoint site. I know that many of you involved in project management could give me a much better and richer definition of project management, but for the purposes of this example, we will use the following simple approach to show you why SharePoint is so suitable for project management.   Download our free templates to get started managing projects on SharePoint   What is Project Management? A Simple Version Project Management Processes This could include items like the project charter and goals, project issues and risks, tasks, and so on.  All of these are “sub-processes” of project management, which you will have to decide whether or not you want to manage when you initiate your project.   Project Management Reporting Clearly, in project management, we need lots of reporting – to know where we are and where we are not!  So this includes reports on things like overdue work, open or…

Four Ways To Save Time On Your Projects With BrightWork and SharePoint

Having a project management solution in place will really help you get projects under control in your organization.  And SharePoint is the perfect platform to achieve it! With BrightWork, you can extend Microsoft SharePoint to save time and manage projects more efficiently with project management templates, keeping everyone on the same page.  This blog will cover four ways that BrightWork and SharePoint save you time on your projects: Project management templates Quick and fast project reporting Automated project management processes BrightWork Template Design Sync.   1. Project management templates In our Collaborative Project Management Handbook, we suggest you decide the project management approach you are going to use during the “Initiate” phase of a project.  We also recommend creating a collaborative project management site to facilitate the process. This can be daunting for project managers, especially if their organization does not have any “formal” project management practices in place.  If this is the case, the project manager has to decide how they want to manage the project and try to figure the best tools to carry out that approach. Often, this leads to many different PMs in one organization using several different methods, essentially re-inventing the wheel every time a…

The 3 Ds for Managing Distractions!

We have found that the folks who find themselves easily distracted are the ones who have not set goals, have not organized their schedule to live their lives on purpose. Below is a summary diagram of our 5 step approach to time management.  You’ll see you should be very deliberate in setting your personal and professional goals, before planning out your week to achieve these goals – they cannot happen by accident!   However,  without fail,  there will be many distractions and interruptions that try to pull you away from what you are meant to be doing right now. Research shows an average office worker is interrupted or distracted every 3 mins, taking 23 minutes to fully re-focus on what they were doing! This short video explains a simple technique to manage the inevitable distractions – the 3Ds. Decide: When a distraction arises, you decide if you want to deal with this distraction now or later. Delegate: If you decide to tackle the distraction, consider if you can delegate some work to a team member. Defer:  Ask yourself – does this extra work need to happen right now or can you defer until a more suitable time?       Additional Resources Rest More…

3 Ways to Deliver a Consistent Project Management Approach

One of the common challenges with deploying project management to an organization, or to a new group or department, is the differing needs and experience of the end users in that group.  As a result, getting people to start managing projects with any kind of consistency can be a real challenge. In these scenarios, practically everyone involved in project management has their own way of doing things. Some of these approaches can be quite structured and mature, while others are very light or completely ad hoc, as many people have never really received project management training. In addition, the variety of projects, from simple to complex and short to long, also complicates things. So it is hard to find suitable best practices at the best of times but this kind of mixed environment makes it even harder. But there are ways to alleviate these pains. Use best-practice project management templates (like BrightWork, for example!) that will help make your roll-out smooth and easy.  Using a range of templates enables a quick start and helps deliver consistency in approach to managing projects.   Here are three things you can do to help make the transition that much smoother:   Start with a range of best practices Starting with a range of…

Cultivating a Successful Project Management Culture at Your Company

Like every other company out there, your company works on projects.  Anytime you want to do something new, strategic, or challenging – that’s a project. Projects help bring order to chaos, and balance demands for resources. When delivered successfully, projects lower operating costs, improve efficiencies, and fulfill strategic objectives. However, many organizations fail to realize the benefits of projects for many reasons such as lack of buy-in from senior management and the absence of defined project management standards. In this article, I’ll explore three common reasons why organizations struggle to implement effective project management, and four ways to cultivate a successful project management culture in your organization.   3 Reasons Organizations Fail with Project Management 1. Lack of a Project Management Framework Quite often, individuals tasked with managing a project have no formal training in project management. As a result, the whole idea of “project management” is a new concept. In the absence of a clear approach, individuals will get creative and develop their own ways of working, leading to multiple styles in one organization!     2. No Best Practice Templates or Guidance The lack of standard templates, a collaborative tool, or a knowledge base with lessons learned forces project managers to…

How to Track Resources in SharePoint with Configurable Reports

SharePoint can be configured quite easily to provide a collaborative site to track and manage all project-related work. Tracking work and responsibilities, knowing who is doing what, and seeing how work is progressing is simple with your project site in SharePoint. Collaborative project sites in SharePoint are a great way to track the work on a single project.  But, I’m sure you have more than one project underway at any given time!  With BrightWork, you can transform your SharePoint environment into a portfolio management tool, rolling up crucial data across all your projects into a set of unified dashboard reports. Here are a few ways you can use BrightWork and SharePoint to track work and resources in your project portfolio easily and efficiently. Track work at a glance Senior executives like to get a snapshot of the projects underway.  It’s important to get the high-level overview to see what’s on track, what isn’t on track, and any issues that may be popping up. Here we see a roll-up dashboard report that shows all the work in the portfolio, this one showing the top 5 Open Tasks and top 5 Open Issues under each project in the portfolio.  You can easily see what work is in…

Working Effectively with Remote Teams Using SharePoint

One of the bigger shifts that have occurred in the modern workplace is the ability for team members to work remotely. With the internet, cloud storage, email, chat and video conferencing, and project management software, it has become incredibly easy for team members to “log on” and get work done from anywhere in the world. Remote working can be beneficial for employers and employees alike. Employers can reduce some overhead, minimize in-office distractions, and get access to a wider pool of talent.  For employees, they can reduce the cost of commuting to and from the office, freeing up time to pursue other passions.  Remote workers often report higher productivity and a better work-life balance. However, remote working is not without its challenges. The lack of in-person communication can lead to problems when it comes to team cohesion, shared vision, knowledge sharing, and general team engagement. If these issues persist for too long in remote teams, it creates barriers to open communication and collaboration, resulting in less-than-successful projects. So if you find yourself managing a remote team, how can you reduce these risks and help the team move work forward?  Here are three ways you can use SharePoint to improve collaboration…

Project Management on SharePoint: Build vs. Buy

A common conversation that we frequently have with executives and management at companies of all sizes and industries involves the decision to “in-house” develop project management systems or buy out-of-the-box. As a matter of fact, I heard one today where a colleague was on the phone with an IT Director discussing where they have been, where they are and ultimately where they want and need to be in terms of managing their projects. He has been at the company for ten years and from the beginning recognized that improving project visibility and collaboration in a centralized system would improve their success. Their IT staff is relatively small, so assigning internal resources to develop a system outside of the core business was not feasible, but they did hire a consulting company a few years ago to develop and maintain their current project management system. Fast forward to today. The cost to maintain has been overwhelming; they have frequent “blackouts” due to updates and “it really was not as intuitive as we had envisioned.” He mentioned that he was planning a blog post on this very subject and before I could complete the title he interrupted “BUY!” The timeliness of this conversation…

Project Management on SharePoint: Better and Faster with BrightWork and Nintex

With BrightWork powering your project portfolio management on SharePoint, combined with the point-and-click automation of Nintex, you will get faster and better Project Portfolio Management, so you can make decisions faster and move projects forward to success sooner.   Automated Status Reporting and Email Alerts BrightWork project management templates on SharePoint provide all the tools required for project managers to track both project progress and performance and keep stakeholders informed. One way of tracking project progress is by it’s phase. As project tasks are completed by team members, so are their relative phases. Using Nintex Workflows, you can automatically alert stakeholders via email that a phase is complete and indicate what the next actions are at this stage of the project.   Automated Exception Reporting BrightWork templates for portfolio management give senior executives high-level visibility into the health of multiple projects across the organization. Nintex Workflows make it easy to create new activities (e.g. issues or risks) in your projects, based on certain conditions. A typical example is that an issue is automatically logged if a critical milestone misses its deadline, which can then be tracked and assigned on the portfolio dashboards in BrightWork.   Flexible Project Request Management BrightWork…

4 Steps to Effectively Track and Re-Plan Your Project

As any project manager knows, even the best project plan won’t last very long once the work gets started.  As you work through a project, it’s inevitable that things will go wrong, fall behind … surprises will crop up.  That’s why it’s so important to regularly check in and see how things are going, so you can adjust the plan to match the reality of what is actually happening.  Here are four key steps to easily find out the status of the project, see what’s going awry, and re-plan as necessary so as to minimize the impact on the project goals.  Find and Manage Exceptions First, manage the “exceptions.” Exceptions on a project can take a few forms, typically risks, issues or change requests. Risks are any factors on the project that have the possibility of becoming an issue.  You would have identified some risks in the project planning phase.  Some of them may have been dealt with already, or there might be new risks that have appeared.  If there are any open risks, you will need decide the best course of action to mitigate these risks or in some cases create a contingency plan.  Issues are risks whose time…

Are You Haunted By Poor Project Management?

In many organizations, the ghosts and goblins of poor project management are haunting all year round, not just at Halloween! A Frightening Scenario Here’s a scary scenario that anyone involved in project management will probably recognize: Projects are not meeting expectations! They can drag on over-scope, over-budget, over-schedule, or under deliver on promised deliverables. Executives do not have real-time visibility into all projects! If they have visibility, senior executives and project managers can begin to pull on the levers of control. The people working on projects are not trained in formal collaborative project management! The people involved in the project – especially those managing the project – are not experienced and trained enough in collaborative project management. A term that has been in use for many years now is “P-MBA” or Project Manager by Accident! This label describes the project management reality of many organizations. Your organization does not have best practice processes and guidance for project managers! This includes documentation, explanations, templates and training that explain to people how you want projects run and how you want them to be successful. It Doesn’t Have to be so Scary! Does the scenario above seem all to familiar?  Well… it doesn’t have…

Lessons in Leadership: John Wooden

Sport is a great place to turn when looking for examples of great leadership. You think of the legendary coaches who led their teams to tremendous success. To me, one person who stands out as a great source of inspiration and an example of a great leader, is the late John Wooden, former UCLA Men’s Head Basketball Coach. John Wooden is widely considered to be one of the greatest coaches of all time, in any sport. He was the Head Basketball Coach at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1948 – 1975. Towards the end of his tenure as a head basketball coach, he won ten national championships in the space of twelve years. His achievements on the court and building UCLA into a dominant program was an amazing feat in and of itself. But there was more to his leadership than just the trophies. There is a chapter in our Collaborative Project Management Handbook that starts with the following quote: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams, Sixth President of the United States* Wooden captured that essence in his approach. One of the…

Reporting on a Hierarchy of Sites and Projects in SharePoint

Microsoft SharePoint is the perfect solution for collaborative project management. Native SharePoint sites can be configured to provide a centralized workspace to manage a project. All team members need is access to a web browser to be connected to their work and to their peers in SharePoint. No more worrying about what’s on the project plan or who has the latest versions of a document… it is all housed in one central project site! BrightWork even has two Free SharePoint Project Management Templates to get you started (so you have no excuse!) Manage Many Individual Projects in SharePoint Here you see an example of a SharePoint project management site in BrightWork, tracking information about an individual project: This one happens to use a loosely structured approach. You can have as many project sites like this as you have projects, with varying amounts of project management rigor. Limitations of SharePoint for Project Management There are, however, limitations to out-of-the-box SharePoint. One of those boundaries is that native SharePoint does not allow for reporting across multiple project sites. You could have ten, twenty, one hundred or even a thousand individual project sites on the go, but reporting across them at the Project…

A Brief Introduction to Project Portfolio Governance

Trying to run successful project management in an organization without knowing what projects are underway, what projects are planned, and who is doing which work is like flying blind.  Inevitably, some projects are doomed from the start. An article in CIO Magazine shared two anecdotes (and I’m sure you can tell me more just like them!): A director of information services in one organization estimated that his department had 20 projects in flight. Turns out, they had 60! In another organization, three project managers arrived at a planning meeting with project plans that all required 100 percent of available resources.   Situations like this are quite common in project management, making strong project portfolio governance essential.  The rest of this blog will explore the importance of project portfolio governance in an organization, including a few ways a tool like BrightWork can help! What is Project Portfolio Governance? The Association for Project Management defines project portfolio governance as: “the selection, prioritization, and control of an organization’s projects and programmes in line with its strategic objectives and capacity to deliver. The goal is to balance change initiatives and business-as-usual while optimizing return on investment.” Just because someone has an idea for a…

Project Reports – Know Your Audience!

Having accurate and up-to-date project reports is critical to project success.  But when it comes to creating just the right set of project reporting dashboards, it’s important to know your audience. Everyone involved on a project will need to see a slightly different set of information depending on their specific roles and responsibilities on the project.  For example, team members should be able to easily find their open tasks on a particular project, while senior executives are more likely interested in the high-level status of many projects. The key is to enable every person involved in the project to do their job more efficiently by getting rid of the clutter and providing them with the right project reports, with relevant data, at the right time. For the rest of this blog, I will look at three main roles of a project team and an overview of the key project reports they each audience is likely looking for. Project Reports for Senior Executives One common challenge for senior executives is that they have to go through multiple channels to get status updates regarding all the projects in the organization. The information they receive is often of varying quality and timeliness. Occasionally, by…

3 Project Reporting Scenarios Your Senior Executives Will Love

One of the most common challenges faced by senior executives is a lack of visibility into ongoing and proposed projects. When this happens, projects are in trouble beyond rescue before anyone notices, approved projects may not be aligned with the strategic objectives, and good resources can be way under-or way over-allocated. It doesn’t have to be that way! Here are three project reporting scenarios (in SharePoint!) that will give your senior executives the necessary visibility they need into project statuses, resources, and the project pipeline in order to be able to make decisions and provide guidance to keep projects on track. Scenario #1: Project request management for selecting the right projects The idea of managing project requests seems like it should be simple.  Is the project going to provide value? Yes? Approved! But, it’s not that easy. In many organizations, the process for deciding which projects get approved or dropped is informal and inconsistent.  Just because someone has an idea for a project does not mean it is the right project for your organization! Having the ability to capture and log project requests is the critical first step.  How can you rank and prioritize new projects if you don’t even know what they…

Using Project Metrics for Successful Project Management

Easy access to accurate data is key to project performance, helping to improve visibility, collaboration, and decision-making. Project metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are particularly useful because they provide an objective measure of project health and allow project managers to make important decisions about a project. What Is A Project Metric? A metric is simply a measurement of something.  When managing a project you can choose to use project metrics or not. An example of a project metric could be: the estimated cost of the project, the number of issues that are late, the duration of a project.   You then track how the project is performing relative to that measure over time, and therefore you have a metric. Using Metrics for Better Project Reporting Project metrics are a very efficient way to assess the health of a project because they tell the project manager how the project is doing relative to the key performance indicators that have been selected.  This makes it very easy to identify the areas of a project that require attention. So let’s think about the simple cycle here and why project metrics are incredibly useful if implemented and reported the right way. Project team members execute their work and…

The Business Case for Project Portfolio Management Software

You would think because project management is a relatively old and mature discipline, it would be practiced successfully everywhere, and there wouldn’t be many failed projects. Unfortunately, this is not the case. What we find is a landscape littered with delayed, challenged, and unfortunately, failed projects. Unfortunately, while we would think that project management is easy and natural, careful and effective project management is still needed. Deploying a project portfolio management solution will help you get projects under control and on the right track. FREE EBOOK: PROJECT & PORTFOLIO MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE EVALUATION GUIDE Project Management Quiz Let’s start with a few questions to assess the state of project management in your organization: Are all your projects performing to expectations? Have you real-time visibility into all projects? Are all the individuals involved skilled and trained in Project Management? Are there templates (i.e. guidance) on how to deliver projects collaboratively?   If the answered “No” to some or all of the above questions, it may be helpful to deploy a solution to support your project management initiatives. The Cost of Failed Projects One of the biggest reasons to invest in a PPM solution is the bottom line.  Failed projects are a waste of…

4 Tips for Project Management Reporting

No matter what project management tool you are using, one of the most important capabilities you will have is the ability to quickly and easily report on project data and share that information with the relevant audiences in a format that works for them. Having accurate, up-to-date, and accessible project reports is critical to understanding how a project is progressing and helps the team to make better,more informed decisions. Since project reports provide the visibility to deliver necessary successful projects, I wanted to put together some reporting best practices to help kick-start your reporting efforts! The examples we are using in this blog are based on SharePoint project management reporting and BrightWork, but these ideas could be applicable to project management reporting in general. Your project reporting is only as good as the data you put in You know the saying: “garbage in, garbage out,” and of course, that is going to be true with your project portfolio management as well. On any project, you will have many people updating and looking for information in the project site.  Therefore, you need to make sure that all the data entry points are grooming the data as it is entered.  Make sure there are processes in…

How to Engage Project Sponsors to Keep Projects on Track

One of the most difficult parts of the job for a new project manager is managing the relationships and expectations with senior executives and project sponsors. For a variety of reasons, project updates are often inaccurate and not provided to them in a timely manner.  As a result, sponsors and senior executives don’t participate in the project to the fullest extent possible. It’s not that they don’t want to be helpful, as they have a vested interest in the successful delivery of the project.  But when they don’t have a clear picture of the state of the project, it is hard to give quality feedback to provide guidance. Don’t turn sponsors into roadblocks.  With open and accurate communication, you can turn them into enablers who can help get a project back on track when they are needed.   The importance of open communication It’s important that the project manager keeps executives and project sponsor up-to-date on the progress of a project, even when it’s all good news.  This will help you build a relationship and rapport with the project sponsor. Having this kind of open communication and trust will make it easier to indicate to the sponsor the possibility of trouble as soon as…

BrightWork Announce Integration with HMS Software

BrightWork have teamed with the publishers of TimeControl to integrate timesheets into their project and portfolio solution for SharePoint (Boston, MA – June 2, 2017) BrightWork are delighted to announce the availability of a new integration with TimeControl, the leading multi-purpose timesheet system from HMS Software. The integration links the TimeControl enterprise timesheet product to BrightWork, allowing users to report on timesheets right from their collaborative project management system in SharePoint.  The alliance between BrightWork and HMS was announced several weeks ago and the new integrated link between their products is now available. “Integrating with best of breed systems such as TimeControl is one of the benefits of the SharePoint-based architecture of BrightWork,” says Éamonn McGuinness, CEO of BrightWork. “TimeControl extends the already extensive functionality of BrightWork to make task updating a natural part of ending one’s day or week.  We already have some clients in common using both TimeControl and BrightWork and we are very much looking forward to working with HMS on other clients.” The combination of the BrightWork project management solution for SharePoint with TimeControl will deliver comprehensive project planning and tracking with task-by-task progressed timesheets.  Not only will BrightWork now be able to have timesheets with…

Which Collaboration Option is Best in Office 365?

Office 365 has some of the best team collaboration options on the market today. But as you start to use these tools more and more (you can connect Office 365 and BrightWork by the way!), it can be hard to wrap your head around the various collaborative options available.  You could use Teams, Planner, SharePoint, or other some combination of apps and tools! So which collaboration tool should you be using?  How do you pick? I don’t think you should or really even need to pick one winner.  What you have to keep in mind is that with these collaborative tools, each one has slightly different use cases.  In this blog, I’m going to cover three that we utilize here at BrightWork, and how you can use them to suit our different collaboration needs. FREE DOWNLOAD: PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEMPLATES FOR SHAREPOINT AND OFFICE 365 Teams for a chat and conversations Teams is a Slack-like app within Office 365 that provides a chat-based workspace for teams to talk and collaborate.  At its heart, Teams is a messaging app.  You create different “Teams”, or channels, for a department, or a team, or even a sub-set of people working on a particular project.  By default, threads are visible to the entire team…

9 Tips for Facilitating Better Project Meetings

As I sat down to put write this blog post, my mind ran to the poster on the right that one my colleagues shared with me a few years ago. I know it’s a bit facetious, but it does make you think about the purpose and function of meetings in our work day. I’m sure we’ve all been there many times.  We’ve agonized through a meeting we had no business attending.  Or the meeting that had no set agenda to drive the conversation and direct decisions. Or the meeting that attendees were not prepared for, which is both frustrating and counter-productive. However, in the right context with the right agenda and attendees, meetings are a very effective way to move work forward.  But to get the most benefit from a project meeting, they must be facilitated efficiently. 9 ways to facilitate better project meetings Only invite necessary attendees Start by keeping the list of attendees as small as possible and limited to those who absolutely need to be there.  There must be a better way to communicate with your teams if every update comes from an all-hands meeting.  Bigger groups are certainly useful for a brainstorm-type session where you need the creative juices to flow openly.  But generally speaking,…

3 Ways BrightWork Makes Task Management Easier in SharePoint

Most people on your team are working on more than one project at once.  With so many competing priorities, it can be overwhelming to stay on top of what needs to be done. Here’s a common scenario we hear from customers: It’s difficult to keep track of their assigned work and when it is due, especially across competing projects Team members struggle to contribute to projects and providing status updates is too time-consuming There is no objective way to highlight when they have an issue or have too much on their plate Project deliverables are not managed in a central library and version control is lost. Task Management Made Easy with BrightWork and SharePoint SharePoint is the perfect platform for team collaboration, with some robust task management capabilities.  BrightWork is designed to extend those capabilities to give team members a simple work management system in SharePoint. With BrightWork, all team members can: find their responsibilities easily carry out the some of the project work quickly report on progress right from the project site in SharePoint.   Find your work Project management templates from BrightWork give the team a virtual workspace to connect and collaborate on the project.  At any time, team members…

5 Ways BrightWork Transforms SharePoint Into a Project and Portfolio Management Solution

I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that you have lots of projects happening in your organization, across several teams, departments and maybe even regions.  And it might not be a stretch to say you’re already using SharePoint for document management and basic collaboration. Why not leverage the SharePoint platform to manage projects and portfolios in a simple and practical way? Here at BrightWork, we’ve built a project management solution that plugs right into SharePoint to help you get up and running quickly with project management on the platform.  The project and portfolio management templates bring together all the project data floating around in email, Excel, and various tools, and turn it into robust reporting dashboards in SharePoint. In this blog, you’ll see five key ways that BrightWork transforms SharePoint from that basic file sharing platform you might have thought it was… into a complete project and portfolio management solution. 1. Easy to Navigate Project Hierarchy Those of you familiar with SharePoint will know that you can build out the environment with a set of sites and subsites.  BrightWork builds on this concept and helps you organize all your projects into a logical hierarchy.  Below is a sample image…

BrightWork Launches the 2nd Edition of Their Collaborative Project Management Handbook

Today, BrightWork launched the second edition of their book, Collaborative Project Management: A Handbook. In recent years there has been a shift away from the traditional managerial hierarchies to a much more collaborative approach to managing projects, which emphasizes teamwork and cooperation. With that in mind, BrightWork last year published the first edition of their Collaborative Project Management handbook to outline the processes, resources, and leadership skills required to manage projects collaboratively with a team. In this new edition, they have built on the practical guidance in the first book and introduced a three-step framework for implementing collaborative project management in any organization (Collaborate – Lead – Evolve). Speaking about the new edition, Éamonn McGuinness, CEO of BrightWork and book author, explained, “Modern, effective project management is about collaborative project management. It’s people working together, enjoying the journey on the way to an agreed, better destination.” He added that “The handbook is intended as a practical resource for new or accidental project managers, team members, and experienced project managers who need to coach new managers.” What’s inside this expanded edition? This second edition expands on the first version of the handbook and adds: A new 3-step Collaborative Project Management Framework with suggested implementation steps An expanded section on leadership, with new chapters covering Personal Leadership and Situational Leadership.   Praise for…

Using SharePoint for Project Management – An Overview

Microsoft SharePoint is an amazing collaborative platform that can be easily configured to provide a more coordinated environment to track and manage a project with your team. One of the biggest benefits of using SharePoint for project management is that each project site can be set up to match and expose your project management processes. We’ll see what this looks like and how you might get started in this blog.   Free Download: Two Project Management Templates for SharePoint and Office 365   Collaborative Project Sites in SharePoint Below is an example of what an out-of-the-box SharePoint site can look like when configured for project management. Using SharePoint sites to manage a project helps you bring all project information together in one collaborative environment. The project homepage (pictured above), for example, gives you a straightforward dashboard that shows you how the project is doing with a summary of work, goals, project status, and so on. The links on the left-hand side make up the Quick Launch of your different processes. The Quick Launch can be tailored so the grouping and taxonomy mimics the PM process you use in your organization. All of the processes you need can be built right in.…

4 Quick Steps To Set Up SharePoint For Project Management

If you are not using SharePoint templates for project management today… you should be! SharePoint is a feature-rich platform for team collaboration. With a few simple configurations, it can mimic the structure required to manage projects of all sizes and type. It’s not very difficult, you just have to know what to do! FREE DOWNLOAD: PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEMPLATES FOR SHAREPOINT Here are 4 things you can do to set up your SharePoint site to manage a project. 1. Use the Quick Launch to manage the project management process In SharePoint, you can create team sites, which are essentially web pages for teams to connect and collaborate on work or a project.  With some edits to the Quick Launch, you can map your SharePoint site to manage the project management processes (with as much or as little process as you want). You can add different lists and apps to manage all aspects of your project, including project issues, risks, tasks, goals, change requests, and project status reports. In the screenshot below, you see how the Quick Launch can map to various project phases. On the left you see a “lite” amount of project management broken down into Initiate and Plan and…

Making Project Management Easy with SharePoint and BrightWork [SlideShare]

SharePoint is a great tool for team collaboration. Native SharePoint platform capabilities such as shared sites, document management, co-authoring, version control, discussions give you the tools necessary to collaboratively manage a project. SharePoint can also be extended with project management templates, portfolio dashboards and smart project management capabilities to create a powerful project and portfolio management solution. Watch the recorded webinar: “Making Project Management Easy with SharePoint and BrightWork” Now! Tools like BrightWork will help you deploy additional project and portfolio management capabilities to create a complete collaborative project management tool right in SharePoint. Check out the SlideShare below our recent webinar to find out how BrightWork will make project and portfolio management easier for you. You’ll see how BrightWork will help you to: Manage projects with best-practice project management templates Control portfolios and track the health of all projects across the organization Bring all project information together in one collaborative environment Easily capture, reuse and deploy new processes.   Watch webinar now!

All These Small Projects Are Starting To Add Up!

In many organizations, the only projects that get formally tracked are large, complicated projects. They tend to be complex in nature, with a long duration, lots of stakeholders and many moving parts. And those kinds of projects do require a high level of project management process. But those certainly are not the only projects that an organization typically works on! Every department, team, and group will have their own initiatives and project work to carry out. They might have one or two of those large and medium projects, but others will only need a few tasks and a place to store some documents and that’s it. Just because the projects are small, it doesn’t mean they don’t need to be tracked.  These smaller projects can start to add up over time, creating strains on personnel resources and time allocation. So what can you do to get the visibility into these projects?   GET STARTED MANAGING PROJECTS WITH SHAREPOINT OR OFFICE 365 WITH OUR FREE PROJECT MANAGEMENT TEMPLATES!   Smaller projects are just as important as the bigger ones! A lot of the time, the projects that get “formally” tracked are the ones that require significant capital investment. Smaller projects happen without the visibility into how they fit into the overall strategic picture. So start…

The 3 D’s of a Successful BrightWork Deployment

When deploying any new software or business system, it’s the important to have a process in place to ensure you have a smooth and efficient roll out. It’s no different when it comes to implementing collaborative project management software. Your change management process should be transparent and focused on delivering value, driven by your needs. At BrightWork we work with our customers on the 3D Deployment Process which is comprised of three stages: 1). Design; 2). Deliver; 3). Deploy. This process enables you to have an iterative and purposeful approach to building up the project management processes in your organization. Design using best practices The first thing you need to do is gather your requirements. Decide your project management vision, both the short-term needs and your long-term goals. It’s a good idea to include senior management in this requirements gathering process. This makes sure they get what they need and you also get buy-in and have a champion. As you hopefully know, at BrightWork we are strong advocates of the Start | Evolve approach to project management. We don’t recommend trying to build all your requirements in the first iteration of the solution. Rather, in this phase you determine what will be in this iteration and what will come in a future…

5 Ways to Get Users to Follow Your Local Project Methodology

Tell me if this scenario is familiar. You have lots of projects underway. You have many project managers, some trained and others not trained. Each one is using their own approach to project management.  In addition, project plans are being managed in email and Excel with project documents are floating around in obscure file locations. I could go on, but I think you get the picture. The absence of a consistent approach to project management has numerous impacts on organizations, including: Projects delivered too late or over budget – if at all! Failure to meet original goals or business objectives, leading to inadequate Benefits Realization. Poor stakeholder satisfaction Lack of change management processes, resulting in low user-adoption.   According to research conducted by the Project Management Institute, organizations waste an average of $97 million for every $1 billion invested, due to poor project performance. Wouldn’t it be better if you had a project management methodology to get this situation under control? With the introduction of any new process or business system, you’ll likely run into some resistance from users. The task becomes about managing the change and getting users to buy-in.  If you don’t make it easy for them to adopt the new approach, they will inevitably revert back to old habits! Here…

BrightWork and Office 365 Hybrid [Short Demo]

At BrightWork, we focus on project and portfolio management (PPM) on SharePoint. But we are talking to lots of people who have moved many of their business systems to cloud, and they ask us “Does BrightWork have an Office 365 story?” Well, the answer is yes. If you want to use both BrightWork and Office 365 together, you can. It should be noted that BrightWork can not be installed in SharePoint Online in Office 365. BrightWork has to be installed on either SharePoint on-premise or on SharePoint hosted in a separate cloud; however, that doesn’t mean the two can’t be connected! So we have developed a hybrid model using single sign-on to connect BrightWork (housed in SharePoint outside of Office 365) to Office 365, allowing users to move seamlessly between the two environments  to access projects, manage projects, and search and discover information. Here is a short movie that gives you overview of the BrightWork and Office 365 hybrid solution and a brief demo of how easy it is to move between the systems with this hybrid approach. If you are interested in learning more about this BrightWork and Office 365 hyrbid model, please contact us today to discuss your needs. Click here to learn more about our hybrid story,…

Project Communication: The Right Time, Right Way and Right People

In order for a project to be successful, all project stakeholders need to know what is happening at all times. From team members knowing their work and responsibilities, to senior management who need to know the overall status of all the projects, communicating project information clearly is crucial every step of the way. Without open, accurate and consistent project communication, it’s almost guaranteed your project will fail… or at least run into some major problems along the way. These days there are so many collaboration tools designed to facilitate proper project communication. But naturally enough, our favorite here at BrightWork is SharePoint! Here are 5 ways you can use SharePoint and BrightWork to communicate project information the right way, at the right time and to the right audience. Notify team members of responsibilities Planning is the first step on any project journey.  But once you map out the steps needed to reach your destination, you’ll need to let team members know the plan for success.  The more high quality and consistent communication you have with your team, the greater your chances for success.  Project team members are eager to contribute to the success of projects, so make sure they have the information to participate fully in the project. Some ways to communication these responsibilities…

Why Communication Is So Important for Project Success

I recently came across an article on the Harvard Business Review titled The Dirty Little Secret of Project Management. In the article, the authors describe an issue that they see in project management. Surprisingly to me, they find that many project managers don’t care about project schedule… It’s too hard to get it right anyway. There are too many “variables” beyond their control. The project will be finished when it’s finished. But that’s no way to run a project. Just because things can (and will) go wrong, it does not mean you should throw your hands in the air and say that’s the way it goes. As a project manager, you have agreed to a set of deliverables and parameters. The job of project management is to plan and re-plan to meet those agreed objectives.  So a good project manager should be aware of risks and issues facing the project and take mitigating actions along the way. But sometimes an issue will arise that will affect the outcome of the project in a major way, and you will have to come to the customer and stakeholders with this news. And the article points out, as has also been noted on this blog before, that…

The Future of SharePoint – The Latest from Microsoft

Microsoft yesterday unveiled a cloud-first, mobile-first revamp for SharePoint to “empower people, teams and organizations to intelligently discover, share and collaborate on content from anywhere and on any device”. In a blog post titled The Future of SharePoint, Jeff Teper, corporate vice president for the OneDrive and SharePoint teams, explained four areas of innovation for the SharePoint platform: Simple and powerful file sharing and collaboration on any device. The mobile and intelligent intranet, with modern team sites, publishing and business applications on your desktop and in your pocket. An open and connected platform that evolves SharePoint extensibility to embrace modern web development. Investments in security, privacy and compliance across Office 365. Better Collaboration and Document Management The first innovation is described as “unified access and intelligent discovery” of your files, giving you the ability to easily create, manage and collaborate on documents – no matter where you are and what device you are using. Check out this blog to learn more about the improved document management and collaborative capabilities coming to SharePoint. Mobile and Intelligent Intranet To me, one of the most exciting announcements in the post was the announcement of SharePoint mobile apps designed for iOS, Android and Windows devices. The apps will provide access to your…

4 Tips to Avoid This Common Project Management Trap

Organizations who are new to formal project management often fall into a trap.  They realize that project management is important and that they need to get something in place. Great, that’s step one. However, it can be tough to know exactly which processes they really need to deploy to get started.  And this is where they start to go astray. It seems like more often than not, organizations make the mistake of trying to implement a  fully-structured project management process on day one. But when you’re just starting out, this can be overwhelming to project teams.  It takes time to build up to that level of project management structure. In addition, you can have small projects and big projects.  Simple projects and complex projects. Teams that are trained in project management, and teams that are not. People who buy-in and people who resist change at all costs. To accommodate this reality, you can’t think of project management as “one-size-fits-all.” Instead, at BrightWork we like the idea of project management as a spectrum. The beauty of a spectrum like this one is that there is no one “correct” spot. Only the spot(s) that are appropriate for you and your team. With all the above in mind, here a four…

How Much Are Your Meetings Costing You?

I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and we got talking about work and he said to me that he “it seems like I spend so much time in meetings that there’s no time left to actually do any work!” I thought there was a bit of an exaggeration factor in there, but then again maybe not. As we continued to talk, we got to thinking that that probably wasn’t a unique sentiment. We figured that a lot of people, all over the world, were sitting through unnecessary, unproductive meetings.  (By the way, we have a pretty simple test of a good meeting here at BrightWork… did you leave the meeting with more energy than when the meeting started?) I would bet that we’ve all probably sat through that meeting that we really didn’t need to attend.  Or the meeting that has no agenda that resulted in no real actionable outcomes.  Or the ones where folks are not prepared, which is not only counter-productive, but also really frustrating! Before I go any further, I want to say that I’m not anti-meeting.  In the right context, with the right agenda and attendees, meetings can be a very effective way to get things done.  But I think we all…

Simplify Project Initiation Using SharePoint Templates

Someone asked a question during a recent webinar, and it really got me thinking about how we use BrightWork to manage our own marketing campaigns. They asked: “The lifecycle for projects within my company is pretty short.  Most projects will require the same layout and base information.  Can you create a baseline project (look, feel, content, tasks, etc.) and clone that for new projects coming up?” If I think about the marketing team I am a part of and our projects for a minute, it’s a similar scenario to which BrightWork is perfectly suited.  Whether it is a eBook, or a video series, or a webinar, they tend to follow the same basic lifecycle.  There is a set of pre-launch tasks (e.g. create the content, create landing pages, update website, etc.) through to launch activities and post-launch analysis. The specific tasks might change from project to project, but some of the really important tasks and milestones will occur on every project.  We often have to make adjustments to the plan based on the type of content package we are delivering, but it’s incredibly easy to make changes the plan, while ensuring the that nothing is missed because the tasks are pre-populated in the in the tasks list in the…

Our First Time Management Workshop

15th of March, 2016: Recently, BrightWork held 2 interactive time management workshops on the 23rd and 24th of March. Watch the recorded session These were a first for the company and consisted of an interactive session where attendees received training on managing the finite resource that is time. In the 1 hour session, BrightWork CEO Éamonn McGuinness went through the following: A deeper understanding of time management and its real meaning Energy management advice Email management advice A 5 step approach to managing your time 18 hints and tips to overcome common time management traps You can watch a recorded version of the workshop by following this link.  

What’s In Office 365?

Office 365 has allowed more and more organizations to move their tools and apps to the cloud and take advantage of the all the productivity benefits of the cloud. We are using Office 365 here at BrightWork.  We actually have a hybrid project management environment set up as well, that enables us to move back and forth between the two environments with ease.  So we get all the productivity benefits of Office 365, plus the PPM in BrightWork! And even though we use it all the time, I definitely didn’t know everything that was in Office 365. I came across this infographic that the folks over at Sharegate put together with a helpful guide to what’s included Office 365. I thought many of you might be interested in it as well to help you get your head around. Crafted by: Sharegate, The SIMPLEST Office 365 and SharePoint Security & Management tool suite. Project and Portfolio Management with BrightWork and Office 365 Some companies might not yet be utilizing all the many productivity tools in Office 365, but it’s not uncommon for many organizations to have moved there for email, file storage, team sites and groups, and more.  And as we go, more and more…

Introducing the New BrightWork Free Trial!

2nd of March, 2016: BrightWork are delighted to announce a new free trial experience for our project and portfolio management software, making it easier than ever for users to start managing projects with SharePoint. Within minutes of signing up for the 30 Day Free Trial, users are guided through a set of on-screen walkthroughs that highlight the key features BrightWork delivers to successful project management on SharePoint.   Regarding the new experience, BrightWork CEO Éamonn McGuinness said: “Our mission at BrightWork is to make successful project management possible and easy for every organization. With this new free trial experience, we are lowering the bar for these organizations to get started quickly, and setting them on a path to project management success with BrightWork.” The new BrightWork Quick Start in the free trial consists of a set of four on-screen walkthroughs that provide step-by-step directions on how to get started managing projects in BrightWork. Within a few minutes of signing up for the BrightWork free trial, users will be able to: Create a project in the Projects and Work Tracker Add tasks and documents, and start managing the project with their team Create a project site for a larger project Understand…

Is Project Management Exciting?

If you’re in an organization and you want to do something new, strategic, exciting, challenging, difficult – it’s a project. So a project is a way to transform, to bring an organization, to bring a group to a new place. A project is a way to realize ambitions. A project is a way to help people in some cases achieve their dreams. So a project is from here to a new place, to a better place, to an exciting place, to a different place. A project is a way to get to where you want to go to. A really good project would be enjoyable because of the destination you want to reach and the journey that you’re taking. So it should be “I really want to get there. And it’s important to me. Or it’s important to my group, or my team, or my organization, but I’m enjoying the journey.” Proper project management, exciting project management is both an enjoyable journey and a fabulous destination.

Evolve Project Management with Easy to Configure Templates

One of the most common challenges when rolling out a new tool is resistance to change.  A new tool is not always viewed by user as a productivity aid, but rather just some extra admin they have to do. As the project management champion in your organization, you know that introducing project management best practices and processes and fine-tuning others will result in increased efficiencies and greater project success.  However, I bet it’s difficult to convince the people involved in projects to accept any kind of initial change, and even more difficult rolling out incremental changes to project management processes and practices. In this short playlist from our Extended Demo series, you will learn how the template-based approach to project management on SharePoint in BrightWork makes it easier to deploy and evolve project management processes in your organization by allowing you to: Configure templates to suit local usage Manage templates and process updates to projects Integrate project data with other systems

Project & Portfolio Management with Office 365 and BrightWork

Many of our customers and prospects are moving business systems to the cloud.  For example, maybe their organization has moved to Office 365 and are now using: Exchange Online for email OneDrive for personal file storage Groups for team collaboration SharePoint Online for portals and team sites But they also want to use BrightWork for collaborative project management. And this is becoming the reality for many organizations, where they have some tools in the cloud, maybe Office 365, and some other tools on-premises on SharePoint or perhaps in a different cloud (Azure, AWS, and more).  So there has to by some way to connect those systems. And we get asked frequently: “Does BrightWork have an Office 365 story?”  And the answer is yes, we do. Using Office 365 and BrightWork hybrid, you can connect the two platforms to Access Projects, Manage Projects and Search and Discover Projects. Office 365 and BrightWork at BrightWork! As a matter of fact, at BrightWork we have deployed this hybrid model in house! So before we dive in further, I wanted to explain a little bit about how we use it here at BrightWork – our own company. On the left hand side of the image below, you see…

BrightWork is 20 Years Old!

BrightWork officially turned 20 years of age late in 2015, and what a 20 years it has been. We have grown from strength-to-strength and are delighted to say we are still helping people all around the world achieve project management success on SharePoint. As a company, we are excited and eager to serve the project management needs of those who need it and will continue to do so for many years to come. With a constant desire to improve the BrightWork product and a fantastic team driving the company, we know that the best is yet to come. There is one particular group of people we would like to express our gratitude to most. If you have been a customer of BrightWork at any stage during the last 20 years, we thank you. All of this would not have been possible without your support and input. We care very much about the customer here in BrightWork and what you need and want from the product and have always taken your opinions into account. We are incredibly lucky to have such a loyal customer base. Here’s to another 20 years of project management success on SharePoint!

Deploying Project Management with a Low IT Burden

Does your organization have a strategy to move business solutions to the cloud? The first reaction from a lot of IT departments to the proposed introduction of any new enterprise tool is generally “No!” – even for something as important as project management (which they need as well)! But they have solid reasons for this: IT resources are always constrained and they know from prior experience that introducing new enterprise tools can be an expensive and time-consuming process. They need to believe that any tool will be easy to setup and be maintainable by end users before it can be deployed. With it’s low IT burden, familiar SharePoint interface and easy cloud or on-premise deployment, BrightWork is designed to deliver successful user and organizational adoption of project management on SharePoint. Check out the playlist below from our Extended Demo Series, and learn how you can leverage SharePoint to deploy project management with a low IT burden: Quickly Deploy in the Cloud BrightWork Online is a low-maintenance cloud solution that requires zero IT involvement and no internal infrastructure to setup and maintain.  BrightWork Online is free for the first 30 days. Easily Deploy On-Premise on SharePoint Your organization can start to manage projects by quickly deploying BrightWork on…