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how to manage projects with apps that integrate with Office 365
February 5, 2019

Office 365 Project Management: Apps for Monitoring Tasks and Projects

By Simon Gorman

Fast-paced office environments don’t make it easy for you to keep on top of the litany of various work you must oversee as a project manager. By the time you’re finished receiving one brief, there’s an ambush of another multitude of tasks and projects lying in wait.

It doesn’t matter how much you have on your plate, every bit of work is expected to be executed on schedule and with proficiency.

So, it’s only natural that you should start utilizing the most state-of-the-art software in order to reduce the time spent on planning. Then, you can increase the focus on execution.

Project managers far and wide have begun leveraging the numerous tools offered by Office 365, but it’s not always easy to know which tools you should be using. It all comes down to the nature of the work being done. There are different software choices that can be catered to either singular tasks or large-scale projects.

Read on and I’ll assess the various kinds of work you’ll be faced with and the most relevant available software you should integrate.

Tasks

Tasks can either be ‘one-and-done’ in nature or the building blocks of a larger project. Even though many tasks can comprise a project, you’d benefit from simpler software because of a. it’s cost-efficient and b. complex software is superfluous when completing simple tasks.

The goal of task management software has a singular, narrow scope. There should be naming and categorizing options as well as flexibility on starting and finishing points. Since the nature of tasks should be short and sweet, the software offers easier usability and setup processes.

Furthermore, these tools can actually be utilized to manage simple projects consisting of five tasks or less or if you’re working with five or fewer employees.

Task management software is suited well for any industry or businesses where users operate independently as well as for self-employed individuals.

Office 365 Task Management Software

Microsoft To-Do is a perfect way to keep your team on top of personal projects and smaller tasks, offering an abundance of to-do lists, steps within each to-do, due-dates, reminder notifications, and markings for significant to-dos. 

Todoist is an online task management app that allows your team to schedule and prioritize personal tasks. You can create tasks for flagged 365 emails, create events in Office 365 when Todoist tasks are created, create Todoist items for new Google tasks, amongst a litany of other features.

Your team will also love the versatility of Wunderlist, where they can manage tasks via mobile and desktop. Users can organize tasks via hashtags and add lists to properly categorize tasks while placing lists in folders to organize their structure.

Projects

Experts believe that project management software provides a great boon to overall team communication.

As a whole, software of this nature has a deeper, more comprehensive scope than its task management counterpart. Ideal Office 365 project management software should feature projections of team contributions, actual team efforts, resource management, and resource dependencies.

If you’re running a larger team, usually of five-plus members, you’ll benefit more from Office 365 project management software because each member will be executing complex, multi-layered tasks. Every one of these tasks impacts the next facet of a given project and your team requires a framework for both communications and the bevy of activities they must track.

Office 365 project management software is more relevant to certain industries than others. If you’re a construction manager, you’ll be faced with massive projects in need of extensive planning, tracking, and execution that can take months or even years (E.g. whether you’re building a home or a stadium).

Office 365 Project Management Software

 There is an abundance of advantages when using Office 365 for project management.

By allowing teams to manage private plans, public plans, and task buckets, Planner enables users to create, follow, and prioritize an array of tasks and plans. Teams also receive instant information via board and chart views.

Since Planner is part of the Office 365 Groups, team members can collaborate on documents through a SharePoint library, send task communications in Outlook Groups, schedule project milestones in a team calendar, and take notes in the OneNote notebook. 

Planner boasts a strong visual platform offering your team members a clear illustration of their activities. Your team will also be able to clearly assess whether or not a project is going according to schedule. Activities are structured efficiently, and as such, are easy to manage. The program also integrates with Microsoft teams.

Through SharePoint Project Task Lists, your team can create a task and subtask list while assessing work-distribution on a project timeline.

Users are also able to manage tasks, coordinate resources and acquire a multitude of task views through sources such as ‘Gantt charts’, ‘late tasks’, and ‘my tasks’. When utilizing Task Lists, your team members can also access Outlook calendar and conversations, a SharePoint library for document management, and a project-specific notebook.

Your team will appreciate the Task Lists’ concise representation of all layers of a project. When used in tandem with other SharePoint features such as Project Document, there are even more options to work with.

Conclusion

If you’re working in a small office environment with less than five employees, it may be better to rely on task management software as to not over-complicate your workflow.

Conversely, if you’re responsible for managing the workflow of a multi-layered operation, using more comprehensive Office 365 project management tools will be relevant to your needs. Still, given that the scope and weight of projects will vary and consist of many smaller tasks, it would be ideal to also employ the use of task management software.

I hope you’ve found these distinctions between Office 365 project management and task management helpful and are now able to further leverage the software into better workflow practices for your team.

Project Central specializes in simple, intuitive, and beautiful project management by enabling teams using Office 365 for project management. Your team will enjoy goal setting, tracking progress, task completion, and harmonious collaboration. All it takes to get hooked up is your Microsoft work account and a few simple clicks! 

Sources

What’s the Difference Between Project Management Software and Task Management Software? (2015, December 29th). From Capterra: https://blog.capterra.com/whats-the-difference-between-project-management-software-and-task-management-software/

Differentiating Between Task Management & Project Management. From Bright Hub PM: https://www.brighthubpm.com/methods-strategies/128323-the-difference-between-task-management-and-project-management/

Office 365 project management: tools and capabilities. From ScienceSoft: https://www.scnsoft.com/blog/office-365-project-management

Project and Task Management Software: What’s the Difference? (2016, October 17). From G2 Crowd Learning Hub: https://learn.g2crowd.com/difference-project-and-task-management-software

Do you need more power than Todoist? From clickup: https://clickup.com/todoist-alternative

Wunderlist. From Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wunderlist