Amidst the rising complexity of the modern workplace, today’s organizations are suffering from a work management gap. Despite a shift towards remote collaboration and increased reliance on digital tools, 51% of employees across large enterprises report that they do not use any work management software, even though they’d like to.
In the absence of an integrated work management solution, keeping track of projects while staying on time, on budget and within the scope of pre-determined goals can be a chaotic and highly challenging task. Surprisingly, an answer to this problem may lie in a product that most organizations are already using every day: Microsoft Teams. In this article, we will explain why.
Struggling to Keep Up
According to a study by the Project Management Institute, fewer than 25% of all organizations employ standardized project management practices across all departments. But this back-burner approach leaves them struggling to keep up – for instance, these organizations:
- Can’t explain what’s happening with projects – three out of every four organizations aren’t using any kind of project management software at all – this hinders their visibility and leaves them unable to track KPIs over time. Teams are also left with poorly defined and nebulous objectives leading to missed deadlines, wasted time and low-quality work.
- Can’t track resource utilization – without a project management strategy, some resources inevitably shoulder a disproportionate amount of responsibility for any given project, while others are underutilized. In the short term, this leads to dissatisfaction from both employees and clients; in the long term, it prevents organizations from forming realistic expectations for how long projects will take, and how much they will cost.
- Struggle to produce accurate metrics and reports – good reporting is essential for project-based decisions, investment planning, flexibility during times of organizational change, and communication with stakeholders or clients. But without good data, good reporting is impossible, and without project management tools, good project data is left scattered across multiple siloes (if it is even recorded at all).
In large enterprises with highly complex portfolios, the cost of poor project management can be significant, leading to losses of at least $122 million on average for every $1 billion invested. But even in small organizations with more limited portfolios, the impact is cumulative, leading to higher and higher losses over time.
The Benefits of Project Management
A Project Management Office (PMO) and Project Portfolio Management (PPM) practices are reliable and time-tested strategies for helping organizations to create order out of chaos, reduce losses and improve efficiency over time. Above all, they serve three basic purposes:
- Keep projects on time – keeping track of projects helps organizations to set more realistic deadlines and utilize their resources more effectively. It cuts down on unnecessary work caused by poor communication and a lack of clearly defined goals.
- Keep projects on budget – better project management helps decision makers to keep track of spending. When comparing organizations who tried to reduce overbudget spending, those who used project management software were almost 20% more likely to succeed than those who didn’t.
- Keep projects within scope – by setting goals and communicating them clearly with teams, organizations are much more likely to stay within the bounds of their initial objectives without getting sidetracked.
Ultimately, any project management tool is a way of leveraging technology to help organizations include more projects in their portfolio, manage them more proactively, and hit their target KPIs on a consistent basis.
So Why Teams?
For many readers, the importance of project management is not new – but the idea of using Teams to manage projects is. Many are only acquainted with Teams as a tool for communication and collaboration. So why Teams? Among other reasons, these are key:
- Organizations are already using it – 500,000 businesses are already using Teams, including 91 of the 100 largest U.S companies. And as of 2021, 145 million people are using it every day – this makes it easy for users to adopt for new purposes, driving higher utilization and better data.
- Focus on collaboration – collaboration is strongly correlated with talent retention and team engagement – moreover, employees who use collaboration tools are up to 10% more productive according to Forrester. As a product focused on communication and collaboration, Teams brings your employees together, enabling them to resolve questions and stay on the same page.
- Advanced integration support – Teams offers integration with third-party apps and connectors that can expand its function significantly. In the context of project management, it can act as the frontend of a fully integrated solution built entirely off a pre-existing or newly deployed software stack.
In our next article, we will go into more detail about the versatility of Teams, and some of the specific ways it can be leveraged to manage projects more effectively. But as a starting point, it just makes sense: your employees are already spending a lot of time there. Why not use it to do more?
Register for Our Free Webinar
Want to learn more about using Teams for project management? Join Projility co-cofounder and PPM expert Rob Hirschmann on June 2nd at 11:00 AM Pacific Time/2:00 PM Eastern Time for free webinar that will teach you how to:
- Set up a robust project management environment entirely within Microsoft Teams, Project and Office 365
- Manage and share files stored across your information systems from one, central location
- Leverage integration with dozens of business applications for advanced project management functionality, from Microsoft Azure DevOps, SharePoint, Planner, Power BI and more
- Generate visually rich, on-demand reports that include overdue tasks, budget information, resource tracking and other metrics tailored for your stakeholders
- Simplify the complexity of your workplace and increase team member engagement
And much more. Register now for Using Microsoft Project and Teams to Improve Project Management to be reminded ahead of time and receive free resources after the event.