Project Management Best Practices for Microsoft 365
It’s always good to turn to industry experts and their best practices when starting a new project. Each project can have its own demands, but some requirements and practices remain standard. Before we dive into some of the industry’s project management best practices, here’s a question – as project managers, what’s your approach to starting a new project?
In this article, you will know:
Approach to project management
Factors to consider when deciding PPM approach
Project management best practices for Microsoft 365
A – Do you follow standardized project management practices?
B – Do you customize your project and portfolio management practices?
Even if you already know the answer, here’s a detailed PMI research that throws light on each of the above approaches. The research shows how project managers and PMOs need to have a fine balance between standardized PM processes and a contingency approach.
Some crucial factors to consider when deciding your approach to project management are –
- Your project management goals
- Your resources
- Your online environment/platform for managing projects
- Your project and portfolio management (PPM) tool
Some project management best practices that BrightWork 365 can accomplish for Microsoft 365.
Establish processes with the help of workflows and templates
Simple steps in a project can seem daunting if you don’t have a system in place. For example, initiating a new project can take loads of time and confusing streams of communication before you can find out – who started the project, how many team members will be on this project, who is the project sponsor, etc. With a project request management system in place, you along with your project teams, will know where and how to initiate the process.
Once, you have decided on what processes would be followed in a project, you can move on to standardizing them with the help of project management templates. PPM templates give your projects a clear structure and help you visualize the flow of your business processes. It is upto you to choose from the pre-built out-of-the-box project management templates or customize as per your project needs.
Clarify Risk Management
One of the industry’s recommended best practice for project management is – risk management. Risks are different from actual issues. They are unseen yet potential challenges that can arise through the course of the project. They can have at least a mild impact on the project, starting from the schedule to the quality of the outcome.
Risk assessment is not only integral to a project’s success, but also to avoiding wastage of your valuable business resources. It is important that your project teams understand why is it necessary to go through risk assessment.
As project managers, it is upto you to have at least some contingencies ready for your projects even if you can’t fully foresee them. This will empower you to mitigate some of the risks in time and keep the projects from derailing. It might take some explanation, meeting(s), and even training to finalize a risk management process for your different projects. You can define your risk management flows with the help of interactive templates. These templates allow your project teams to break silos and communicate about the potential risks with clarity.
Implement Base Lining
A project base line is a time-based standard that you set to measure performance – of either teams or overall projects. This helps you not only track the performance of your projects, but also make adjustments to increase efficiency. Once you have designed the workflow for a project, assembled resources, assigned tasks, and assessed risks, it is time that you set baselines for specific target values. Bring in all the stakeholders and agree to target dates to take the project to next levels and ultimately close. This is of course subject to any risks or issues that arise as projects proceed. Team members can raise issues if need be and this baseline can be adjusted when necessary. In any case, locking in a set target date motivates project teams to stay aligned to project goals and keep the tasks moving.
Create Content Templates
Creating a new workflow each time you start a new project can be taxing on your time and other resources. Another great way to standardize project workflows is setting a content template in place. Why let all the knowledge, experience, and information of your previous projects go to waste. Instead, replicate the project process flows with the help of content templates.
An advanced PPM tool can help you create templates that have the design and data saved from your previous projects. You can use the same design and update new project information where necessary. This makes the visualization of the stages of a new project much easier and effective.
Improve People Management
Managing people is one of the most important aspects of being a good project manager. Even more so, in the modern VUCA business world. The ways of working have evolved more rapidly in the last two years. If you are managing projects for any online business, chances are that you are engaging with at least hybrid teams, if not remote ones. Working with teams spread in different parts of the world across time zones has become an inevitable work aspect for project managers. This justifies the need for a capable tool that allows easy communication. A centralized system to be able to communicate with your remote project teams and store documents is a pre-requisite to successful project team collaboration.
Specific project channels that offer different means to communicate through emails, chats, messages, and calls help project teams to work together without gaps or friction. Logging tasks, notes, and other information regarding a specific project in one place is the most effective way to keep the project teams aligned.
BrightWork 365, an advanced project and portfolio management software, specifically suited to the Microsoft 365 environment is designed to help you adopt these PM best practices.
BrightWork 365 integrates with Microsoft offerings such as Power Automate, Power Platform, Power Apps, and Microsoft Teams to help you manage your projects and control portfolios with ease and clarity. It saves your time, effort, and resources with less or no-code technology that helps you design and standardize your business processes.