Connecting the dots

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Previously we talked about building best practice into your software capability. The results from a three week trial of Microsoft online revealed a lack of clarity around how to get the most from your software solution, with some reviewers reporting as little as 20% functionality. The next step is to build software maturity and start to connect the dots – from time tracking and collaboration to business growth.

A number of the users we spoke to already have some sort of in-house software capability, which was being utilised successfully to some degree. “We already have Office365 which definitely helped when it came to using this software – it felt like another application within that suite of technology and it fitted in with the dashboard well,” said one reviewer.

Another added: “It dawned on me as I was using it though, that it was quite similar to the way we’ve developed SharePoint – so that already covers some of the things we’d be using in MS Project Server.”

When it comes to new software familiarity is a major plus point. We find one of the biggest barriers to greater integration is accessibility. If it looks and feels good users are more inclined to use it, particularly those who aren’t tech savvy.

And once you start to engage users, you can then look at bringing together different software elements to boost overall capability.

Here are the top 5 tips for achieving a more consistent approach to project management software

  1. Get started quickly –walk through project basics such as organising tasks, linking tasks, and creating timeline. Enable your teams to work within a familiar environment.
     
  2. Take action –See and act on your tasks (including business and personal) in one location. Keep your teams organised in one location – their project site – where they can view project summaries, documents, tasks, newsfeeds and calendars.
     
  3. Strengthen everyday collaboration –Easily share and keep track of what teams are talking about and working on by following people, sites, tags, and documents with newsfeeds. Utilise search capabilities to find the right information in the right context. Share information and collaborate with trusted business partners on projects and everyday work.
     
  4. Seamlessly communicate – Find new ways to collaborate and communicate, helping to improve overall teamwork. Hover over an individual’s name in your plan to see if a team member is available to talk or instant message. Discover potential problems before they become real ones through applications such as new task path analysis.
     
  5. Make data-driven decisions – See summary dashboards or mine and aggregate data, helping you glean further insight and make better decisions. Optimise utilisation and plan allocation for your organisation’s resource requirements through the resource centre in the Project Web App (PWA). Look at sample reports in the business intelligence centre in PWA to help you get started. Quickly aggregate data on many dimensions via self-service access with Excel Services.

Other blogs in this series:

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Posted by Guillaume Garcin on 31st Mar 2015

About the Author
Guillaume is the Product Marketing Manager for Project and Visio at Microsoft Ltd. Graduating with a Master of Business Administration in Enterprise Finance, he enjoyed a successful career as a programme manager and business analyst at Microsoft. In 2011, after few years working for Microsoft successively in France and Canada, Guillaume was offered to continue his career in the United Kingdom. He is passionate about working with customers to realize the potential of enterprise project and portfolio management that enable to deliver outstanding results.

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