The Best Office 365 Collaboration Tools For Project Management [2019]
August 1, 2019

The Best Office 365 Collaboration Tools For Project Management [2021]

By Brian McHale

Project management isn’t easy.

There are so many tasks to keep track of, and you always have to make sure that your team is collaborating and performing to the best of their abilities.

Fortunately, that’s why we have project management software.

If you’re not a trained project manager, Microsoft Office 365 is a great solution for online collaboration during projects.

However, the key to successfully completing projects is using the right Office 365 collaboration tools.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at some of the best Microsoft collaboration tools, and help you wrap up that project before you can say: “Deadline!”


Using Microsoft Office 365 for Project Management

Every successful team needs a powerful tool that helps them streamlines tedious tasks and focuses them on those that really mater.

And when it comes to managing projects, Office 365’s collaboration tools are a great option as they are:

  • Simple
  • Efficient
  • Reliable.

You can connect and collaborate with your team in real time.

There’s no need for long email threads that end up buried in your team’s inboxes.

Office 365 makes managing projects easy; as easy as grabbing a cup of coffee at the end of a very good day.

And the best part is: it doesn’t just make it easy for you.

It makes project collaboration easy for your team, as well.


The Importance of Online Team Collaboration

The main cause of project failure today is poor communication.

In fact, over 30% of teams whose projects failed cited communication breakdowns as the main reason.

Even half of the surveyed successful projects felt the negative effects of ineffective communication.

How is this possible?

We live in an age where we can talk to our friends who live across the country with a tap of our finger.

We order things from abroad because they’re cheaper than in our area.

There are billions of emails being sent every day.

And still, projects fail because communication is becoming exceedingly hard.

Conversely, that same study shows that 80% of organizations who successfully complete projects invest more than their competitors into communications plans, strategies and tools.

99% of employees prefer a workplace where people identify and discuss issues truthfully and effectively.

Consequently, companies which communicate effectively are 4.5x more likely to retain the best employees.

Finally, 83% of professionals depend on technology to collaborate.

Only when everyone knows what needs to be done can a project succeed.

Otherwise, you’re risking:

  • Conflict
  • Extensions
  • Budget and scope creep
  • Project failure.

The need for better collaboration and communication is particularly important for distributed teams which rely on digital tools to collaborate.

It really is the prime time to make use of the Microsoft project collaboration tools at our disposal.


The Best Office 365 Project Collaboration Tools

1. Email: Outlook

In addition to email, which is Outlook’s basic function, this tool also comes in handy for plenty of other things that’ll help you get your project done in time.

Synced emails, calendars and contacts

Outlook comes equipped with features enabling you and your team members to stay on schedule.

Not only are emails synced across devices, but Outlook also offers a Calendar function.

Add the most important events and ask your team members to RSVP in a matter of seconds.

Additionally, Outlook automatically recognizes and adds important things like bills and expenses notifications to your calendar.

You and your team can stay in sync seamlessly.

Pricing: Free, included in the basic Office 365 package


2. Messaging: Microsoft Teams

When you work with a distributed team, keeping in touch is one of the most important things.

Yes, you could sign up for Slack but since Microsoft Teams is already a part of the Office 365 product suite, it means you will be seamlessly integrating it with all the other tools you are already using.

Chat, calling, web conferencing

Microsoft Teams offers chat, calling and web conferencing to help you collaborate with your team.

Integrations and apps

Teams comes with inbuilt apps for other Office 365 collaboration tools such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint.

You can also add other third-party applications.

Pricing: Free

Free Project Plan Template in Excel

Click to download our Free Project Plan Template in Excel to begin simplifying your project management.

3. Working and Collaboration: Word, Excel and PowerPoint

There is a reason why Word is still popular: it’s one of the best writing tools. It’s flexible, adaptable, and with other Office 365 project collaboration tools, it becomes an absolute powerhouse.

The same is true for Excel and PowerPoint, as well. Can you imagine your team working without them?

Turn data into insights

Excel has incredible capabilities, allowing you to create project tracking dashboards, sales dashboards, or simply just calculate your expenses.

Beautiful presentation

Facts matter, but the presentation of them is a close second.

Word, Excel and PowerPoint help you communicate with your clients and team members in a sleek, efficient manner.

Collaborate in real-time

When you’re collaborating with Office 365 tools, you can collaborate in real time.

There’s no need to send documents back and forth; your team members can track and respond to changes as they occur.

Pricing: Free with Office 365


4. File Storage: SharePoint for Office 365 Collaboration

The majority of other collaboration tools only offer blank boards for team collaboration and updates.

However, SharePoint is a dynamic, secure platform for content management and collaboration.

Intelligent and seamless sharing

SharePoint allows you to share information with your team, and with people outside of your organization.

Everyone can stay in the know about what truly matters to get the projects done successfully.

Intranets and communication sites

Inform, share and engage your team members and other stakeholders with the help of SharePoint’s user-friendly intranets and communication sites.

Team collaboration areas

Knowledge sharing is easy with SharePoint.

Everything you need to find and share is just a click away, allowing you to spend less time tracking down information you need.

File storage

Each user gets 1TB of secure cloud-based storage.

Improve productivity

SharePoint allows you not only to share files, but also create forms, automated workflows, and everything else your team needs to do their best work.

Pricing: SharePoint is included in the Office 365 Premium plan, or available at $5/user/month


5. Integrated O365 Project Management: Project Central

If you need a powerful project management tool that integrates with Office 365, Project Central is just what the doctor ordered.

Visualize your projects and monitor the status

Project Central makes the best of visual task and project management to help you access the most important information about your projects at a glance.

You can use the simple, user-friendly dashboard to review the health of your projects, add tasks, and so much more.

You can also monitor the progress of your projects in real time, and make sure that all the issues are nipped in the bud.

Set your team’s priorities

You can plan projects and tasks in a way that works for you.

Project Central allows you to:

  • Set priorities
  • Label and tag tasks
  • Assign tasks to team members
  • And so much more.

Coordination is key, and it’s exactly what Project Central offers.

Features that help your team succeed

Project Central makes handling multiple projects at once a piece of cake.

You can keep your team in the loop and improve your overall performance.

Everything you need to know about the status and the health of your projects is right there.

Additionally, it comes with the Activity Feed allowing you to see the recent action your team members took.

Project Central is a powerful albeit simple Office 365 collaboration tool that allows you to track your work and stay on schedule.

And if you can track your work, you can improve it.

Pricing: 14-day free trial. Try Project Central now.

Get Started With Project Central

Sign up for Project Central's FREE 14-day trial & try out project management for teams using Office 365.
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