Managing Projects and Tasks using Microsoft 365

Vanessa Damaso

by Vanessa Damaso     7 MIN READ

Projects can be tedious, complex, and confusing if you do not know the right tools. While most people are familiar with Microsoft 365, a substantial number still struggle to understand how to effectively use it to manage projects and figure out what project tools are available and how to make them work together.

Fortunately, M365 has many helpful apps and services that will streamline your workflow and simplify your process, whether you are working by yourself or as part of a team.

With a customizable toolset that can manage tasks, team communications, files, notes, and more, Microsoft 365 is a compelling project management solution.

At Vineforce, we build tools that make it easier for teams using Microsoft 365 to function more effectively, feel more connected, and experience less burnout. We have unique insights into adopting, refining, and managing M365 to match your project management style or process.

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 (also known as Office 365) is a collection of web-based productivity apps for individuals and groups designed to help users be more productive across any device.

The flexibility of M365 will allow you to choose from the list of apps that you can use depending on your business needs.

Your first interaction with M365 was with the most common office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) preinstalled on your personal or work computer. However, there is a lot more to M365.

With Microsoft 365, you can edit and manage documents and files with OneDrive and SharePoint.

You can also communicate more efficiently using Teams to set up meetings.

Planner and To-Do will help you be more productive, and OneNote will let you take notes without the hassle of writing everything down on paper. With all these tools, you will be able to manage projects with ease.

What is Project Management?

2b38544c-bad3-4add-9605-843feb9f04e7

Projects are more than just organizing work. When you break down a project, it is usually broken down into tasks assigned to team members.

These tasks typically have deadlines that involve monitoring progress and communication. Project management aims to achieve the best results with distinct phases.

The first phase is initiation, where goals are defined, followed by planning, where project plans, scope, roles, and responsibilities are discussed.

After planning comes execution, where the actual work is done; this includes managing project resources, building processes and workflows, and fixing issues. After execution, there is monitoring and controlling, where progress tracking is observed, and then completion, which is the result of the project.

Project management tools in Microsoft 365

If you want to make your next project a success, look no further than Microsoft 365.

With this body of products, you will have the tools to make it happen.

Whether managing meetings and communications with MS Teams, project files with OneDrive or SharePoint, capturing notes with OneNote or assigning tasks with Planner, M365 provides a simple all-in-one project management solution.

Setting up your project workspace

 Organizing a workspace for each project is essential to ensure nothing falls through the cracks and everyone is kept on the same page.

Below, we will discuss all the elements needed to create an effective project workspace using the M365 suite of apps.

1. Managing Meetings and Communications

If you want to streamline your project communications, consider using Microsoft Teams.

Teams will help you communicate with your colleagues whether you are in the same office. You can use Teams, Channels, and Groups to discuss tasks and projects.

Setting Up Microsoft Teams to Manage Your Projects

MS Teams is a new way to collaborate with your team. The easiest way to get started is by creating a Team and inviting people to it.

You can create Channels to break information down into discrete subgroups. A general channel is created by default, but you can make other channels specific to your needs.

Vineforce has always been a team-based company. That is why we love using MS Teams to collaborate and work together. We use the default general channel for announcements and create other department-specific channels for marketing, HR, etc.

Channels are great collaboration hubs as they allow you to send messages, attach files, and create tabs for accessing other apps or websites without leaving Teams.

Another way to collaborate within MS Teams is through Groups. Groups are like teams without channels.

One significant difference between groups and teams is that groups are made for real-time communication and collaboration with all or some stakeholders within a project.

Watch Video: How to create a team and add members

Messaging teammates

The best way to communicate with your team is through chat or messaging. It is real-time, and it will help you get rid of those long emails.

Collaboration is also faster with messaging because of the integrated apps that help you with tasks and projects.

The formatting options in MS Teams make it easy to make your text more readable. You can emphasize words by making them bold, italics, underlined, or strikethrough text.

You can also add highlighting or choose the color of the font. If you are sending a list, there is an option for adding bullets or numbers.

You can also add emojis and GIFs to the chat message to make it more conversational. Attaching files is easier too.

One remarkable thing about MS Teams is that you could edit your message if you misspelled something.

Sometimes you will need to send messages of different importance levels. MS Teams gives you an option to choose the kind of messages you want to send. Here, you can send out standard messages, tag them as essential, or make them urgent, which will send out notifications to the receiver every two minutes for 20 minutes.

The possibilities are endless with MS Teams. You can tag or mention people within team channels and groups if necessary. Options for receiving notifications depend on you, so you have the luxury to hide or mute a chat. You can turn off notifications in settings if you do not want to receive any urgent or important messages. You can also save messages and access them by going to your profile.

There is also a filter feature in MS Teams.

Watch Video for more info: Microsoft Teams - Chat in Teams | Tips and Tricks

Scheduling Meetings

Meetings are an essential part of the success of a project, and you cannot get any more seamless than what MS Teams has to offer.

With the built-in video and voice meetings, you can ensure that your meetings are done efficiently.

MS Teams works in harmony with Outlook. You can create Teams meetings from Outlook or within MS Teams. The wonderful thing is, it is automatically added to your Outlook calendar regardless of where it was made.

2. Managing Files & Notes

You cannot manage your files and notes without the best tools. With M365, you can work efficiently on a project with others by inviting them to the project, sharing files, and collaborating in real-time. It is easier to be more organized with OneDrive for personal use and SharePoint for collaboration.

OneDrive

OneDrive is a cloud storage system part of M365. It allows the creation, organization, and storage of files in a secure environment accessible from anywhere on almost any device.

By default, files stored in OneDrive are not accessible by other people from your company until they are shared, making OneDrive ideal for storing your drafts or anything you are currently working on before sharing it with a colleague. 

Sharing documents with teammates is simple, with the ability to share files via a secure link to one or more people while defining the level of access they will need (view, edit, and more).

SharePoint

SharePoint is a collaboration hub that unites document storage, lists (mini-databases), Web Parts (mini-apps), and workflows in a secure web-based system.

It is designed to improve the way teams work together by helping them store, organize, and share information needed to do their daily work. 

SharePoint is the best way to store documents used by multiple team members, while OneDrive is better suited for personal records or draft copies of your work. 

If you are using MS Teams, it is best to let MS Teams create a team site for you, as it will automatically set up everything you need to collaborate effectively. 

When To Use OneDrive vs SharePoint?

When managing files, OneDrive and SharePoint are both great options. OneDrive is best for storing files that do not require much collaboration.

On the other hand, SharePoint is best for teams that need cooperation and access to documents and files without the hassle of asking for permission.

Get tips on how to get more out of
Microsoft 365 delivered straight to your inbox.

3. Keeping notes for each project

OneNote  is an excellent tool for jotting down project notes in one place without creating unnecessary separate documents. This tool allows you to add images, text, tables, etc. 

Formatting text is a breeze with its Word-like formatting options.

OneNote helps you stay organized with sections, pages, and subpages. 

One unique feature is how notes are automatically synchronized to OneDrive or SharePoint and are available from the web on any mobile device. 

4. Managing tasks

Effective task management is an essential part of a company's growth, and with great options for task management, you cannot go wrong with Microsoft 365. 

To-Do is the best management tool for your personal tasks, while Planner will help you manage your projects and tasks distributed across the team. 

Microsoft To-Do

Microsoft To-Do is a task management tool that will help you get things done. This app is designed to help you manage your tasks and allows you to share them with your colleagues.

One excellent feature of MS To-Do is that if you flag an email from Outlook, the To-Do list will automatically update, saving you time switching from one app to another. 

To-Do also notifies you of each task nearing a deadline, increasing your accountability on a specific project, and avoiding unnecessary follow-ups from your colleagues. 

Microsoft Planner

With Microsoft Planner, you can manage your projects in a Kanban-style tool that lets you assign and monitor tasks. Once you create a plan, anyone in your M365 group can access it to see the tasks assigned to them or their teammates. 

You can use Microsoft Planner with other M365 tools like MS Teams and SharePoint. When you use MS Teams, you can access Planner from within Teams and get alerts when assigned tasks. 

It is also very customizable as you can create different buckets to represent your /workflows, such as "to-do," "doing," and "done." 

What is the Difference between To-Do and Planner?

Managing projects is a tough job. It is important to use the right tool to get the job done. To-Do and Planner are great apps built to help you manage your daily tasks and projects efficiently, but there is a difference between the two.

To-Do is best for helping you organize your personal tasks and giving you the option to share them with your team. At the same time, Planner is best for collaboration as it is built to help your organization both manage projects and assign individual tasks to team members. 

Project reporting

Reports are an essential part of exploring an idea in detail. Each business must evaluate and discuss a particular project to ensure that everyone is on par with what is going on within the organization.

Microsoft 365 offers project management tools to ease the hassle of creating reports effectively and concisely. Projects must be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound in any given situation.

Teams and Planner Integration

With Teams integrated with Planner, you can view projects’ progress, create charts, and assign/reassign tasks. Tracking progress is more accessible by selecting Charts view. This will give you a bird-eye idea of which projects or tasks are running late, have not started, are in progress, or are completed in the Status chart view.

If you want to see only the specific status, you can easily filter them depending on what you want to appear on the dashboard. There are buckets where you will see the number of color-coded tasks and check their progress. Here you will see which tasks are behind schedule, which will allow your team to act depending on their relevance.

The Priority view will help you see which task is urgent, meaningful, and with medium or low priority.

Charts will also give you an idea of who among the team has more tasks than everyone else. This will help you decide whom to reassign duties to avoid work overload for your team members. Work overload affects productivity and will impact the overall performance of a project.

Vineforce as a Solution

It is hard to keep up with all the possibilities of Microsoft 365 to manage your tasks and projects.

Luckily, we have a solution! We built the Vineforce app specifically for teams using M365 to have instant workflow by taking advantage of all the values that M365 offers.

Vineforce connects the dots within M365 and makes managing your tasks and projects seamless and cohesive.

It pulls together all the functionalities mentioned above into your daily routine, so you get more done without the complexity of understanding how to use all these apps.

Working Remotely? Use Microsoft 365?
Vineforce is the tool for you.

It helps you keep tabs on your team's morale, work progress, time spent working, or projects completed - from anywhere.

Plans start from $15.83 per user per month; when paid annually