Ask any project manager in the world and they’ll tell you—project management is no walk in the park. While advances in technology have helped, e.g. the invention of project management applications like Slack, Trello, and Asana, these applications are not without their limitations and they might not scale well enough for larger organizations.
Don’t worry! The solution to your project management needs might already be in your hands – Microsoft Teams. Teams is a widely used application (there are 270 million active users on Microsoft Teams as of Jan 2022 per Microsoft’s official statistics) with many functions that can facilitate effective project management such as real-time chat and messaging, video conferencing, live events, document storage, and real-time co-editing.
Read on to find out how Microsoft Teams can optimize project management and set your teams up for success!
The lifeblood of any successful project is effective communication. With Microsoft Teams, you can send customized messages, tag your team members, make a video call, or screen share. Furthermore, you can also create project-dedicated channels to help team members segment discussions more effectively.
See how the channels can focus your discussions?
Microsoft Teams also boasts audio conferencing, a rare feature in many collaboration platforms. With audio conferencing, your team members can join an online meeting via phone. With a dial-in number for practically any city in the world, your users can even participate with no internet required, which is perfect for those ad-hoc meetings that happen all too frequently.
This is what audio conferencing looks like!
In the context of the ongoing pandemic where the number of full-time remote workers is at an all-time high, it is unfortunate that these workers have reported spending less time collaborating than they would in person, given the importance of collaboration. When collaboration is hindered, you can’t manage and execute your projects successfully.
This is where Teams really shines with its video conferencing function, especially for the commonly-used Scrum framework in agile project management. Since many of the Scrum ceremonies involve meetings, being able to host high-quality, lag-free meetings on Teams removes one roadblock to effective collaboration. Surveys by Lifesize have also indicated that 41% of all respondents believe that video conferencing can lead to more engaged employees, which further underscores the importance of effective video conferencing.
During a video conference, you can also leverage the screen share function to great effect. First of all, you save a lot of time from not needing to email the necessary files to your participants. Second, there is added clarity of communication since your participants can browse your material and take in your presentation at the same time. There is no need for them to process and remember every word from you any longer.
Screen share with the click of a button!
As mentioned above, channels can be created on Microsoft Teams to establish structure and focus discussions. An unexpected benefit of this newfound structure is the improved ease of sharing information. Channels can save you the trouble of sending whatever information you want to individual colleagues. You can share any links or files in the right channel and they are instantly accessible to the relevant colleagues.
Again, it’s as simple as clicking a button!
Unfortunately, there is a slight issue of information (links) being misplaced this way (especially when there are too many teams and channels). It is very easy to get distracted while you’re opening a message and lose track of the channel a link is shared in, after all. We’re sure it has happened to you at least once or twice, right?
Fortunately, Microsoft Teams can easily integrate with third-party apps like Link Spotter to resolve this issue. This app can quickly help you spot all the links from your Teams channels and gather them in a single tab. You can then directly start working with the link, copy it, or join the conversation with your team members.
Thus, information sharing remains a powerful strength of Microsoft Teams.
If you’re working on large projects, there is a high chance that you might have to work with team members outside the Microsoft environment, who might commonly be based in the Atlassian or Salesforce environment, for example. After all, 63% of companies using Microsoft apps are using Slack in parallel. As such, being able to connect effectively with these non-Microsoft users is crucial for a good project management experience.
This brings us to another strength of Teams – namely, the number of apps that can integrate with Teams for various functions. For example, there are apps that allow you to address poorly engaged employees with real-time polls during meetings, or even silly polls like which bar to hit after work on Friday. In this case, there are also third-party apps to facilitate effective cross-platform communication by seamlessly linking them both.
If you’re managing a large internal project with users working on Microsoft Teams and non-Microsoft applications, your colleagues no longer have to spend all day navigating between Teams and other apps. They don’t have to choose between using Teams or their own preferred app, which reduces friction and improves the collaborative experience.
Thus, using Microsoft Teams (in conjunction with the right app) can empower you to run bigger projects with less demand on human resources.
Let Microsoft Teams Transform You into a Project Management Powerhouse
Just to recap, Microsoft Teams has many functions that optimize it for project management, such as file sharing, video conferencing, and instant messaging, which can all result in increased productivity and engagement.
If you’re considering Microsoft Teams as the solution for your project management needs, do check out the supplementary app mentioned above to mitigate any weaknesses and leverage all strengths!