Initiating Your PMO on Microsoft 365: A Simple Guide to Getting Started

Billy Guinan
By | Updated October 20, 2023 | 16 min read

Key Take Aways

What you will learn: Discover a practical and effective approach to deploying a project and portfolio management solution in your organization and how you can leverage that approach to kickstart your PMO on Microsoft 365.


Organizations that try to deploy a project management often fall into the same trap: overload.

They simply try to put in too much.

At BrightWork, we instead advocate for a philosophy called Start-Evolve.

Start-Evolve can mean different things to different organizations because the context is different.

The high-level idea is the same for any organization, though:

  1. Start with a reasonable amount of project management and give executives immediate visibility (even if they’re not all great, at least you know which projects are going well and not well).
  2. Gradually Evolve your project management practices over time.

Standardize your project management processes with Microsoft 365

Watch a demo of BrightWork 365 project and portfolio management templates for Microsoft 365, Power Platform, and Teams.

How to Initiate Your PMO on Microsoft 365 – A Practical Strategy

All organizations are different; the “project management context” is different.

Therefore, your starting point in deploying a solution will be different.

So how do you judge that?

You’ll note in the BrightWork Approach diagram that Start-Evolve is surrounded by the Project Management Success Strategy.

The Project Management Success Strategy is a simple but clear approach (developed along with your BrightWork Customer Success Partner) to rolling out the BrightWork 365 solution.

Rather than a haphazard approach where you might install the software, turn a few knobs, and hope everything works, our deployment approach is completely focused on your project management success.

We execute this strategy in a Start-Evolve manner.

As I have mentioned a few times, where and how you start depends on your unique context and situation.

Here is an example of a practical approach to starting your PMO using Microsoft 365:

  • Start with a “Lite” template so Project Managers have a place to manage their projects without too much process.
  • Give Team Members My Work reports so they understand what they have to do.
  • Create simple Portfolio and Program dashboards so Senior Executives can track across all the projects going on.


Collect and Present Actionable Information with a Project Lite Template

The key to getting started with your PMO on Microsoft 365 is to give Project Managers simple way to get their projects under control.

BrightWork 365 delivers a range of project management templates that leverage Microsoft 365, Power Platform, and Teams to get you started.

You could start with the Project Lite Template, which has the basics of project management built-in.


The Charter is the statement of work, explaining what is this project meant to achieve.


The Status Report tells you where the project is at right now.

It can updated and consulted at any point in time with progress, dates, KPIs, and comments for any additional explanation necessary.

Sample Project Screenshot - BrightWork 365


This is the project roster, which is automatically updated with who is on the project once you assign work in the tasks list.


The Gantt is where you can add tasks, plan the project schedule, and create your work breakdown structure.

My Work

The My Work report shows the team the work that they have to do on this project.

My Work Screenshot - BrightWork 365


This is place to stores docs and deliverables related to the project and that is backed with SharePoint Online.

Project Managers have access to additional settings and there is the ability to add stage Approvals to Project Lite if you wish.

What you really want is a “light” start to project management that is easy to consume.

The alternative is that you develop a perfect project management process, with every bell and whistle, and then it is hard to get everyone to use it and senior executives do not have the visibility into what’s going on.

If you don’t burden your team with too much you can get going much faster.

Even a template that had just a Statement, Status, and Tasks would go a long way, because that will drive the second part of getting started: My Work reports for the Team.

Standardize your project management processes with Microsoft 365

Watch a demo of BrightWork 365 project and portfolio management templates for Microsoft 365, Power Platform, and Teams.

Track Work with Visual and Actionable Reports

Once you have project sites up and running and work planned and assigned, you need to give Team Members an easy way to find their work so they know what to do.

On the menu in BrightWork 365, there is a section for My Work, which is a series of reports for Team Members to use to see all the work they have to do, across all projects in the system.

For example, here is a look at the My Work – Open report.

Here team members will find a list of everything assigned to them, including different types of work such as tasks, issues, stages, and deliverables.

The beauty of the My Work report is that you can click into the work item without having to navigate to the project site.

You can view details of the task, as well as fill in any relevant updates such as percent complete.

The same process would apply to any work item that appears in this list.

The second key to setting up your PMO in Microsoft 365 is to give your team easy access to the work they have to do, and make it easy for them to update it in the solution.

Make Decision-making Easier with Visually Obvious and Appealing Dashboards

The third step you critical success factor in starting your PMO on Microsoft 365 is to give Senior Executives visibility and access to dashboards.

In order to deliver that visibility quickly, you can start with simple Power Apps dashboards to begin with, with the option to bring in more interactive dashboards in Power BI at a later point.

In BrightWork 365, several Power Apps reports and dashboards come out of the box, for example by Health, Status, Sponsor, Project Manager, and so on.

All of these reports have the ability to drill-down.

For example, you can navigate into the Projects by Health dashboard, where you’ll see a list of the projects as well as a chart with the overall project health breakdown.

By clicking on red on the chart, the list will filter to show the projects that are in danger.

Without resorting to Power BI (which BrightWork 365 has even more reporting in) you can you out-of-the-box Power Apps to deliver insightful information for Senior Management to aid decision-making.


When you’re looking to deploy a project management solution, it’s important to remember not to give your project teams more than they can handle.

Based on our Start-Evolve approach, your initial rollout could look something like:

  1. A lite project management template to begin with, that absolutely has the basics and get a lot of projects up and running on that.
  2. My Work for team members, so they can easily find and do their work
  3. Dashboards for senior management, so they get visibility across the project portfolio and make better decisions.


With BrightWork 365 templates, this can be done extremely quickly within Microsoft 365 to get you started.

Standardize your project management processes with Microsoft 365

Watch a demo of BrightWork 365 project and portfolio management templates for Microsoft 365, Power Platform, and Teams.

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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