By now the chances are that you have heard about Microsoft Project Plan 1, aka Project for The Web, the ‘Reimagined Project’, which builds on the legacy that started back in 1984 with the first release of the infamous Microsoft Project desktop app. 

Screenshot of Microsoft Project 1.0

Screenshot of Microsoft Project 1.0

Thankfully, user interfaces have come a long way since then and the entire approach to project/work management and collaboration, in general, has been accelerated by the move towards the cloud and through solutions like Microsoft Teams.

Despite this, there are still many people that fall within the categories of ‘Accidental’ and ‘Professional’ Project Managers who are still attempting to manage often complex and/or large initiatives that involve dispersed teams with nothing more than Microsoft Excel. Tut-tut.

It is time to embrace modern work management and #WorkSmarter. Here are 5 reasons why you might want to start using the new Microsoft Project!

1. Easy to Use

Project for The Web has been designed to be intuitive and it is! It is a far cry from Microsoft Project Professional with no sign of the ribbon menu and the myriad of sophisticated options.

Literally, anyone (most people) within a few minutes of self-exploration will be able to start creating projects and getting better organised with Project Plan 1. One of the biggest changes from the traditional Project offering from Microsoft is the jargon-free terminology that had been adopted, gone are words like ‘Predecessors’ and ‘Successors’, they’ve been replaced with ‘Depends on’ and ‘Dependents’ – with this release it appears that Microsoft has joined the Plain English Campaign!

Project for The Web is accessible by the masses, rather than a group of highly trained Commandos (Project Managers), it is after all geared towards the ‘Accidental Project Managers’ to wean them away from the likes of Excel, Planner and Microsoft Paint.

Microsoft Project for The Web in Action

Microsoft Project for the Web in Action

2. This is the Microsoft Planner you Wanted

Many of you will be ardent users of Microsoft Planner, a great solution for getting better organised and adding structure to your plans or campaigns whilst strengthening collaboration. However, there are some shortfalls as expressed through the Planner UserVoice portal i.e. lack of Gantt Chart Views, inability to add Custom Fields and Subtasks.

In this regard, Microsoft has listened and rather than endlessly extend what was/has been intended to remain as a simple task board solution – they released Project Plan 1. Within this solution, you retain the task board view for the most part and gain two additional views, the Grid and Timeline (my personal favourite).

Microsoft Project for The Web: Timeline View

Microsoft Project for The Web: Timeline View

3. Integrates with Microsoft 365 Groups

For those of you using Microsoft Teams, you may or may not be aware that you are already using Microsoft 365 Groups, for instance, each time a new ‘team’ is created it’s either link to a new group or added to an existing one.

Microsoft 365 Groups are essentially bubbles containing people that come together in a shared workspace for projects, emails, conversations, files etc. The great news is that Project for The Web features native Groups integration, allowing for the streamlined creation of teams and to enhance existing groups with an integrated project/work management solution!

Linking a Project for The Web to a Microsoft 365 Group

Linking a Project for The Web to a Microsoft 365 Group

A list showing the existing Group members

A list showing the existing group members

4. Access to the latest features

By adopting Project for The Web you are investing in a future-proof solution. It is built on the Common Data Service, the same as Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform, all areas of significant investment from Microsoft.

The Microsoft Project UserVoice Portal

The Microsoft Project UserVoice Portal

5. Extensibility with Power Platform

Lastly (for now) you can extend the base Microsoft Project Plan 1 through the Power Platform. Using Power Apps and Power Automate you can access a richer, fully-featured Project and Portfolio Management solution that can be moulded based upon your specific requirements to suit your ways of working.

Rather than provide you with a comprehensive pre-built PPM solution, Microsoft is essentially providing you with a LEGO® set with limitless potential.

An example PowerApps – Project for The Web – App

An example PowerApps – Project for The Web – App

Next Steps

If you would like to learn more about Project for The Web or discuss how Wellingtone can help you to work smarter then please contact us.

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