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MS Teams

Microsoft Teams – My Next Project Management Tool?

In this blog post, I want to share my experiences with Microsoft Teams. As you know, I was a long time Microsoft employee, where I worked there for 14 years under Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Satya Nadella until 2019. I mention that, because when you work there every day, you live and breathe Microsoft products. Products like Microsoft Teams people are now using every day, were tools I got to touch and play with long before the public ever did. It was an amazing and frustrating experience all at once, but I am thrilled now to be talking about Teams today in its current form.

I can tell you, when Teams first came out, it had a lot of work to do before it was going to be ready for world-wide release. A lot of work, but that was then. Today, after many-many releases, this tool is certainly ready for prime time.

Let’s jump into this review now.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a chat-based workspace that brings together people, conversations and content from across Office 365. Teams enable you to have everything you need in one place, including access to your SharePoint sites, files and OneNote, so you can easily collaborate on projects and share ideas.

You can use Microsoft Teams with your current Office 365 subscription plan. It’s available on Macs too as well as iOS and Android devices through dedicated apps. If you don’t have Office 365 and want to try it out, I have links below.

In this blog post, I want to share my experiences with Microsoft Teams as a project manager. I would also like to cover the areas of Microsoft Teams I am using as a PMO Director/Manager as well. I find I am falling in love with this tool more and more each day. It is a tool that I can’t live without in my PMO.

But, let’s focus first on how I used it as a Project Manager. Remember, I was a project manager for many years before I moved into the Manager and Director roles and even in those roles, I still manage projects and I use Teams, as my primary communication tool.

Let’s step back now and dive into the tool’s features, especially looking at each of them as to how you would use them to drive your projects.

Microsoft Team Features

  • Individual Teams
  • Channel functionality
  • Individual and Team chat function
  • Document storage in SharePoint backend
  • Online video calling and screen sharing functionality
  • Online meetings
  • Audio conferencing
  • Full Telephone functionality with voice mail features.

I am going to stop here because this list grows and grows regularly, which is amazing, and be sure to watch Microsoft Team’s Twitter Account, they announce new features all the time.

Use of Microsoft Teams as a Project Manager

When I think about project management and how I use Microsoft Teams, I break down the core components of running a project first and then look to Teams to see if the tool can help me with those core activities. Let’s start at what you need to do to setup and run a project.

  1. Setup a project environment for document storage.
  2. Setup project OneNote for note taking and project meeting minutes/agendas.
  3. Setup Project Calendar for project events.
  4. Develop a communication channel with your customers.
  5. Hold weekly project team meetings.
  6. Project Team Member calls and chats.
  7. Setup project forms for project execution.
  8. Setup PowerBI Dashboards and Reports for Project status reporting.
  9. Setup project polls for voting on project execution items.
  10. Setup project whiteboards for project execution items.
  11. Running Virtual Project Go lives.
  12. Etc….

Ok, for now, that’s a pretty solid list of how you setup and run a project. Now, let’s relook at that list again and decide if we can use Microsoft Teams to get that job done.

Check, Check, Check…. Clearly Microsoft Teams is ready for each one of these project setup tasks.

That is amazing, and with the pandemic occurring, what it did was force Teams to get even better. Microsoft Teams has done an amazing job adapting quickly based on the growing demand of this remote world we now live in.

What do you think?

How are you using Microsoft Teams as a project manager? Are you using these same features or different ones? Do you use Teams or does your company have another product they use that can duplicate these same functions? Comment below, I can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

Use of Microsoft Teams as a PMO Director/Manager

Using Microsoft Teams as someone in management and/or running an organization differs from someone running it to execute an individual project(s). See, the focus from a manager’s or leader’s perspective is on communications and team member connections. Let me dive into this a bit because it is fascinating how much this has been a key part of my day-to-day tool set. As a functional manager, here is how I use Microsoft Teams every day.

  1. Communicating to my leadership team (phone and chats)
  2. PMO Leadership Channels (Leaders only)
  3. PMO Organizational Channels (whole organization)
  4. PMO Specific Channels (PMO Process Improvements channel)
  5. Group chats with my organization
  6. Phone calls with my organization
  7. Group calls with individual members of my organization
  8. File storage for major leadership meetings with individual program and project managers
  9. File storage for PMO Leadership team
  10. PMO org wide announcements

What do you think?

How are you using this as a PMO Director? Are you using it at all? Did you find I missed anything as a functional manager? I have found this tool to be a life saver to get a hold and connect with everyone in my organization. With us being in this remote business world we are now all working in, the ability to connect real time and connect with individuals is so important. Comment below, I can’t wait to hear how you are using Microsoft Teams from a functional manager’s perspective.

Summary

I would recommend that you give Teams a try if you live in the project management world like I do every day. As mentioned before, the ease of use of Microsoft Teams with all the other Office365 products makes this product and no-brainer. Again, I think the possibilities of where Microsoft Teams is going, especially now, we are in this remote world it is a must have product for any project manager and every PMO. I am a proud Microsoft Affiliate seller and if you are interested, you can grab a copy of Office 365 from my affiliate link here.

Note: This is an affiliate link, if you do end up purchasing, I will make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Let me know!

If you like this article, you will like this one on Best Practices for creating a Microsoft Project Schedule. Or you might even like my article on Zoom and some interviewing techniques you can use to interview over Zoom. You can find that article here. Top 10 Tricks for Interviewing over Zoom!

Thanks!

Bill Dow, PMP

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BillDow
Bill Dow, a PMP-certified expert in Project Management Offices (PMOs), has co-authored books on the subject. With over 20 years of teaching experience and having built 10 PMOs across 4 companies.

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