Maximizing Project Management with Microsoft 365: Best Practices and Strategies

Billy Guinan
By | Updated April 27, 2023 | 14 min read

Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform are well-suited for project management due to their comprehensive suite of apps, flexibility, and integration capabilities.

Microsoft 365 offers a wide range of tools that can be used in project management, including SharePoint Online for document management and Teams for communication and collaboration.

The Power Platform is highly customizable, allowing project managers to create custom apps and workflows, automate tasks, and integrate data from various sources. This flexibility ensures that the project management solution meets the specific needs of the organization.

By leveraging Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform for project management, organizations can increase efficiency, reduce costs, and improve project outcomes.

One such solution that delivers project management templates, workflows, and reporting for Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform is BrightWork 365.

Manage Projects with Microsoft 365

Project management templates for Microsoft 365, Teams, and the Power Platform.

BrightWork 365 – The What?

So what is BrightWork 365?

The BrightWork 365 solution essentially gives organizations the ability to:

  • manage requests for new projects,
  • manage the resulting projects from those requests,
  • and roll those projects up into programs and portfolios.


Collectively you could call that project and portfolio management, all using Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform.

BrightWork 365 – The How?

The second question is what is the BrightWork 365 take on it?

There are hundreds of PPM solutions on the market, and each one is a slightly different take. I’m not sure if they’re all unique, but certainly distinctive. But what makes BrightWork 365 distinctive?

For a little background, we are now in our 28th year as a company developing project management solutions. For most of those years, we’ve been developing BrightWork on the SharePoint platform, driven by templates and our Start/Evolve approach to deploying project management. We also have a team that accompanies customers on their journey with some professional services as well.

That has been a formula that’s worked well, so we decided to stick and accentuate with that formula with BrightWork 365.

Rather than using only SharePoint Online for BrightWork 365, we looked into Microsoft 365 and assessed what is in that kit. What do you have in your Microsoft 365 clouds?

There was a lot there to leverage in Microsoft 365, including:

  • Microsoft Teams,
  • SharePoint Online,
  • Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, and OneNote,
  • Azure Active Directory
  • Outlook


And of course the Power Platform with Power Apps, Power BI, and Power Automate, all underpinned by Dataverse.

Essentially our approach to developing BrightWork 365 was to build the best solution we can for project requests and project portfolio management (using the prior experiences and learnings of BrightWork for SharePoint), and utilizing the best combination of Microsoft 365 that we can.

Project Management with Microsoft 365 and the Power Platform – An Overview of BrightWork 365

Homepage and Navigation

The first page you see when you log into BrightWork 365 are see the three key areas: Requests, Projects, and Portfolios and links into various aspects of them.

On the left hand side is the Navigation. Under Home, you see My Work. My Work essentially tells you what you have to do to keep your end up across all the projects you’re working on as a team member.

As a team member, you’ll also be interested in the dashboards as well because it’ll help you understand how the projects doing or the projects of your teams.

Senior executives are very interested in the dashboards because it’s giving them the visibility into what’s happening with the projects, so that they have the opportunity to exercise control. These dashboards ship out of the box, some using Power Apps and some using Power BI.

Project Request Management

Next in the overview are Project Requests.

Really what you’re trying to do here is you’re trying to make sure that the right projects get started on the right foot at the right time with the right team. Hopefully that helps you make sure that you have less challenged projects and less failed projects.

Here’s an example of a request that’s in play in our demo server.

You can see across the top here is that this one is going through a process where it’ll be going through:

  1. an accept phase (is it a valid request?),
  2. a review phase,
  3. an approved phase,
  4. and then eventually a project will be created, if that’s the right and the desired outcome.

Project Management

So having gone through the funnel of deciding what projects are and aren’t valid, you then end up in the Projects Area.

In the Projects Area, you have access to all the projects and all sorts of different views on the projects, for example by budget, by health, by priority, and so on.

The key thing about the projects is to make sure that each one has the right amount of project management process for the project and the team at hand.

Program and Portfolio Visibility

Now all of your projects then roll up into Portfolios.

Here’s one portfolio (and of course you can have more). If you go in to that portfolio, there are multiple Programs.

If you click into one of the programs, there are multiple projects.

So you get this sense of items on a project like tasks, issues, and risks all roll up to a project, which can roll up to a program, which roll up to a portfolio, giving you visibility across all the work you need to see.

What you want to do in the portfolio dashboards is to give the senior managers the visibility so that they have the opportunity to decide how to exert control and changes.

Microsoft 365 Templates

All of these are driven by project management templates.

On the bottom left where we have the Templates Area, where you can manage and configure your form requests and project templates.

The basic idea here is that you want to be able to use some combination of templates to manage requests, projects and portfolios.

BrightWork 365 enables you to get started quickly by having a set of templates that drive project management in the solution and with the ability to change and adopt them to your local context.

Manage Projects with Microsoft 365

Project management templates for Microsoft 365, Teams, and the Power Platform.

Billy Guinan
Billy Guinan

BrightWork Demand Generation Manager • Marketing

Working with a range of B2B SaaS project portfolio management software for nearly 15 years, Billy specializes in best practices and methods of how to leverage Microsoft 365, Teams, Power Platform, and SharePoint to make project management easier. His focus areas are Collaborative Project Management and Template-Driven Project Management on the Microsoft platform. Beyond all things BrightWork, Billy enjoys reading, trying to golf, and walking his pug named Nova.

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