August 19, 2021

How to Use Project Central: Managing a Project

By Billy Guinan

Project Central is designed for teams to quickly and efficiently set up projects and organize work.

Building on this previous blog about setting up a project in Project Central, this article will show you how to get the most out of Project Central to collaborate with your team and track a project.

This article will show you:

  • Seamless team collaboration in the app.
  • Low effort project tracking.

 

Seamless team collaboration in the app

Project Central is fantastic for enabling team members to understand their work and collaborate effectively.

Notify the team of their responsibilities

A key building block for project collaboration is communicating expectations with the team – what needs to be done, by whom, and by when?

When you set up your first project in Project Central, it would be helpful to turn notifcations on in your account (they are switched off by default).

There are optional notifications (that are sent by email) that can be triggered for:

  • Team members added to a project – so they know that they are participating in this new initiative.
  • Task notifications – such as Task Assigned, Due Soon, and Task Overdue.
  • Team members tagged in a comment – for conversations about a specific task.

Notification emails are extremely helpful for team members who may not be checking the site every day.

Alerts for new or upcoming work or comments they are tagged in will remind team members to track their progress and ensure that no task falls through the cracks.

Click the link in an email will bring you straight to the task or comment in Project Central.

Do work and update tasks

Any member of your team can add details like a description and a checklist to the Task to give additional context around what needs to be done or to break it down into smaller chunks of work.

Team members can easily track the status of tasks once they start working on them by progressing through the statuses of In-Progress and Completed.

They can also really easily flag any task that requires further attention.

Use comments to report on progress or discuss work

You can also add comments about the progress of a task to keep everyone on the team up to date about how a task is going.

If you have a specific question that needs to be answered by someone, you can use @mentions to notify a specific person who can address the comment and reply.

With comments, the conversation and context of the discussion remain with the task instead of another tool like email or chat.

Managing documents and deliverables

Often, there will be deliverables and documents as the output of a task.

The team can attach files (already in the Project Library) or upload new files (to the Task and by extension to the Project library) to a task

Finding a collaborative workflow that works for the team

Here’s one example of how the Project Central Marketing team use these capabilities to enable a content approval workflow.

  • Step 1: Task is assigned and notification is sent.
  • Step 2: Do work and set the task in progress.
  • Step 3: Attach deliverable (document) to the task.
  • Step 4: Add a comment for a reviewer and assign task to a reviewer.
  • Step 5: Reviewer completes the review, adds comment, and assigns the task back to be actioned.

And all of this is contained right within Project Central!

 

Low effort project tracking

From a project leaders’ perspective, they will collaborate and guide the team, and in some instances, will be individual contributors on the project.

But you’ll also need to get the zoomed-out view of how the project is progressing and replan it accordingly.

Update the project plan in the Tasks List

The Tasks List is your first port of call on the project plan. Here, you’ll immediately see completed tasks crossed out in the list.

Any overdue task will have the Due Date highlighted in red.

At that stage, you can update the project plan either by dragging and dropping tasks in the list, or adding new sections or tasks necessary as the project progresses.

Check for bottlenecks in Boards

Boards are a very fast way to get a visual Kanban-style update and to update the status of a task.

One of the benefits of the board view is that you can identify bottlenecks in the process and see if throughput is an issue on this project.

Reschedule using the Gantt view

We can check the Gantt again to see how we are doing time-wise, now that the project is moving.

If any tasks are falling behind or need to be rescheduled, simply drag and drop the task right with the Gantt.

You can adjust the start or finish if the task is going to take shorter or longer than expected.

You can also just grab the whole task and reschedule it to a more appropriate timeframe.

Check on important work with Filters

The tasks list can be filtered on many different criteria if you need to see a specific set of tasks.

For example, you could filter the list by:

  • Flagged tasks to identify and resolve issues.
  • Work that is overdue or due in the next 7 days.
  • Tasks by assignee.

Tasks that are “Not Started” yet.

Filters will remain applied as you cycle through the Board and Gantt view of the project, and are also saved from the last time you looked at the project.

Update the Project Dashboard

It is then easy for me to update the Project Tracker with the latest project status and overall health indicator of our project.

Track the project over time with the Activity Feed

Project Central gives you and the team transparency on who and what is and isn’t working using the various activity feeds.

The transparency allow you to have very open, honest, and productive team meetings.

 

Collaborate with your team in Project Central

Project Central can help your team to collaborate together and is your team’s one-stop-shop for visibility into project work.

 

 

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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