Welcome to the first in a three-part article & webinar series exploring the use cases for Microsoft Project for the Web, officially known as Microsoft Project Plan 1.
Within this first article, I am going to focus on the use case for Accidental Project Managers, those individuals who never uttered the words “I want to be a Project Manager” whilst growing up, but have through a cruel twist of fate ended up ‘managing’ projects without any formal training or the right tools for the job.
Most Accidental Project Managers tend to be subject matter experts, where managing projects is essentially a secondary part of their official role. So, if you’re a Marketing Manager, Campaign Manager, Product Manager or someone who needs to define a set of tasks, assign deadlines and people to get the work done – like it or not, you are managing a project – congrats!
Project Management Tools Evolution
Inevitably, when you start off, one of the first things you need to do is start listing out the tasks, deciding when they should be completed by and who is going to work on them.
When starting out, some might come up with a simple list in Word, Excel, or OneNote but before long it becomes a slightly more complicated list and the limitations start to become apparent. Neither of the above options is great for collaboration and it is difficult to report up and provide shiny reports.
As you progress along the project management tools journey, you might discover Microsoft Planner within Microsoft 365. Initially, Planner is GREAT for managing simple ‘projects’, but when you get to the point where you want to start linking tasks to show dependencies/relations or view the tasks on a timeline instead of a Kanban Board – you can’t.
This is where Microsoft Project for the Web (Project Plan 1) bridges the gap and provides those often much-needed features plus the ability to report via Power BI, rather than through native charts.
Microsoft Project for the Web
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? It’s Microsoft Project reimagined! The chances are that you’ve most likely heard of Microsoft Project, perhaps even had a look at the desktop app and decided against using it – as it can look a little complex – with new users asking “which button do I press?”
On the other hand, if you head over to Project Home within Microsoft 365 (license permitting) – you simply click on + New blank project and you’re off.
Once in Project you are presented with a blank but intuitive screen that most people will be able to delve into and get started by adding new tasks – without training.
Within Project for The Web, you have access to three default views – so you can visualise your Projects the way in which you want:
Grid – a table layout where you can add tasks, assign them to your team members. You can extend the views by adding additional columns, with the option for custom columns coming soon.
Project for The Web ‘Grid’ view
Board – a Kanban Board layout using cards with the ability to use the default buckets or create your own custom buckets.
Project for The Web ‘Board’ view
Timeline – a ‘traditional’ but highly interactive ‘click and drag’ Gantt chart view.
Project for The Web ‘Timeline’ view
Embed Project for the Web with Microsoft Teams
An increasing number of organisations are now using Microsoft Teams to collaborate, a practice that will only increase as the number of people working from home rises. The great news is that within Teams you can create a Project Plan tab and display live fully editable plans:
Automate your project reporting with Power BI
Reporting is typically a manual, time-consuming task. However, with Power BI you can bring your Project for The Web data to life using the Power BI Content Pack from Microsoft. The pack includes a suite of nine reports which will enable you to focus more on managing your work! The report pack includes the following:
- Portfolio Dashboard
- Portfolio Timeline
- Portfolio Milestones
- Resource Dashboard
- Resource Assignments
- Task Overview
- Project Timeline
- My Work, and
- My Timeline
Please register for the upcoming webinar on this topic and look out for next months article on how you can extend Microsoft Project for the Web with the Microsoft Power Platform (Power Apps & Power Automate).
If you want to discuss how Wellingtone can help you to work smarter then contact us.