Given the ubiquity of Microsoft, projects are managed here more often than not. That is hardly surprising given powerful applications like Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive. Unfortunately, it is not really optimized for project management the way Trello or Asana is, which might hinder team productivity.
Fortunately, there are quite a number of third-party applications that can integrate with the Microsoft environment to improve your project management experience. To get the most bang for your buck, you must ensure that whatever third-party application you choose can drive and support effective collaboration between team members, improve workflow, support enterprise-level operational needs, and increase access to information.
Read on to learn more about three useful project management applications you can integrate with Microsoft to further optimize your project management workflow!
Research indicates that close to half of all workers have trouble locating documents in general. In addition to files, it stands to reason that most people would also have a hard time searching for website links they need on Microsoft Teams. It is easy to get distracted and lose track of a link shared in a channel, after all.
If your project members are constantly sharing knowledge with each other on the Microsoft Teams pool (especially in the form of links), the loss of information and/or the time searching for this information can negatively impact your project operations. Especially when their focus is diverted away from other more productive activities.
If your project has encountered these problems, you can try leveraging the Link Spotter app. Per the name of the app, it can quickly help you spot all the links from a Teams’ channel by gathering them in a single tab. You can then directly start working with the link, copy it, or join the conversation with your team members. This can save you valuable hours and improve your project management workflow tremendously!
Link Spotter in action
SharePoint Connector for Confluence
If your project members are on both SharePoint and Confluence, you’ve probably realized that there’s no synchronicity between both platforms. Consequently, your team members have a hard time locating documents and files across them. Since new document versions are also not tracked automatically between both platforms, there’s a lot of room for miscommunication and misalignment. Time might also be wasted doing something that was already done by someone else on a different platform.
For example, you made a last-minute change to a press release in SharePoint, but the older version located on Confluence was released by your company before you could update it. Or you needed some documentation done urgently, but it wasn’t communicated clearly what platform it should be done on, so two different versions are published by two different people, which results in redundant work.
In this case, you should check out SharePoint Connector for Confluence – an app that links them together and enables you to leverage both of their strengths. With SharePoint Connector for Confluence, you can instantly embed, share and edit SharePoint documents in your Confluence page. You can also upload files to SharePoint directly from your Confluence page. Likewise, you can easily embed Confluence Cloud pages in SharePoint with just a few clicks.
SharePoint Connector for Confluence at work
User Profiles for Confluence
While working on a project, you probably have many internal stakeholders that reside outside of the platforms/channels that your team uses. Some might prefer the easy and intuitive UI of the Atlassian suite, while others might prefer the sheer functionality and power of the Microsoft environment.
Unfortunately, the lack of centralization can lead to communication issues that hinder effective project management. Someone on Confluence might spot an issue that requires the attention of someone outside the Atlassian environment only to realize that he or she has no way of contacting that person since they are not directly accessible.
Precious time is wasted as they reach out desperately to whoever they can think of to reach the right person. If they’re procrastinators, they might even forget about the issue entirely due to the inconvenience. The potential inefficiencies are mind-boggling indeed.
This is where a product like User Profiles for Confluence comes into play. This product can help your users locate and contact one another more quickly, thanks to the built-in integration with Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business. As an added bonus, the Contact Person Macro also provides clarity on who is in charge of what topic in Confluence Cloud.
Pro tip: You can also check out User Profiles for Jira, which has similar features but is tailored for Jira!
Check out these User Profiles!
Optimize Your Microsoft Environment for Project Management Now!
To recap, the Microsoft environment is where most projects are managed. To optimize it further for project management, be it in terms of increased productivity or connectivity, there are several third party applications you really ought to consider. These applications were designed with Microsoft users in mind, and they can help you find information faster and connect you to applications outside the Microsoft environment to reduce friction in your project teams.