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3 ways to empower your project team with Project Online

Blog: Professional advantage - BPM blog

You’re a project manager working to deliver multiple, complex and time sensitive projects. You know the process well, but do you have the right tools that enable you to deliver?

You may be the only user with access to the project management spreadsheets or software. Team members can’t update tasks, so you spend half the day chasing people for updates. And with no easy way to keep people informed about scope changes, communication roadblocks are common.

A job that once seemed straightforward is now complicated and prone to risk.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. Having the right tools at hand helps resolve everyday project management problems.

Why aren’t more organisations using project management software?
The right project management software can improve project outcomes and job satisfaction. However, 43% of project managers say they don’t use any project management tools.

This doesn’t mean project managers are intentionally making it difficult to deliver successful projects. Perhaps they just haven’t found the right tools for the job.

Spreadsheets and on-premise project management software platforms have plenty of shortcomings. For example, many make time management and collaboration a challenge. They provide limited project oversight, and open up the mystifying world of project management to a select few (usually the project manager and a handful of key specialists).

Microsoft Project Online to the rescue!
Project Online is Microsoft’s online project management platform. It solves many of the common issues experienced by project managers that depend on spreadsheets and on-premise project management software.

Key Project Online benefits include:

1. Teamwork made simple
Unlike other types of software, Project Online is available to the entire team. That’s right: the days of closed off project plans that one person owns and updates are over. With Project Online, team members comment on tasks and tick completed items off on their smartphones or tablets. Project managers save time chasing people for updates and have current information at their fingertips. At the same time, team members work more productively and collaboratively.

2. Streamlined task completion and approvals
Project Online also keeps projects on track. Automated workflows alert team members when tasks are completed or ready for sign off. Because workers receive instant notifications when dependent tasks are completed, they can get started on subsequent tasks without delay.

3. Work in a familiar environment
Not ready to abandon your Excel spreadsheets? That’s no problem either. If you or other team members prefer working in Excel, you can load up a project in Project Online and export as a spreadsheet. It’s easy, convenient and provides the benefits of Project Online in a familiar format.

What else makes Project Online great?
We’ll go into Project Online in more detail in future blog posts. For now, I’ll leave you with a quick list of my favourite Project Online features:

1. Streamlined team interactions and task management through email, SharePoint and Office 365 integration
2. Simple and intuitive web-based interface for rapid adoption
3. Ability for team members to complete timesheets, view task statuses, share document updates and collaborate on changes
4. Ability to import and export Excel task lists without opening Microsoft Project
5. Real-time portfolio view helps managers track budgets and project progress across multiple projects so they can manage resources more effectively
6. Analytics and reporting from Power BI provide insights into why projects fall behind or go over budget

Start your Project Online journey on the right foot
Any organisation can install Project Online and get started almost straight away. However, there’s more to improving project management processes than choosing a great product, especially if you seek:

• Integration with third-party platforms
• Long-term user adoption
• Best-practice change management
• Project management solutions that add value for many years

Unsure where to start or how Project Online fits with your project management processes? Register for our Project Online seminar to learn more about what Project Online can do for you.

Alternatively, contact us today for considered, customised advice unique to your situation. As one of Australia’s top Microsoft partners, Professional Advantage will quickly assess your business environment and identify the best project management solution to match your needs.

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