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5 Microsoft Project features you should be using every day

Microsoft Project is the go-to application for assisting project managers in streamlining their projects, as well as for resource and portfolio management.  There are many key features embedded that can help users execute their projects efficiently.  Here are the top five features of Project that you should be using today.

Templates

Project’s built-in, customisable templates make the process of bringing a project to life very simple for both regular and first-timers users.  You can find a template to suit any kind of project, with templates ranging from software development plans, to commercial construction plans.  The first steps of a project can be the hardest. This feature helps you skip it altogether and get your project off the ground quickly.

Timeline view

Timeline view is a great option for viewing your entire project in an easily digestible format.  The feature allows you to show tasks as blocks of time allocated over your project’s timeline. It is great for inserting into reports or PowerPoint Slides when giving updates to stakeholders.  You can customise timelines by colour coding for visual impact. Colour code project phases, date scales or choose to represent only specific data.  This is an incredible feature. It can enhance the “big picture” view many us need when staying on top of a project and ensuring its timely delivery.

Resource management

Project is an incredible tool for gaining insight into how your resources are being used. This program also helps you remain proactive in your resource management.  It allows for a lot of flexibility to track and monitor all of your resources, such as allowing for the analysis of where resources are being overused or underused in order to re-allocate them.  Project’s Capacity heat maps are another useful tool within resource management. This enables you to visualise your resource allocation via easy to read heat maps.  Further, the Resource Engagements feature within Project, is a portal where teams can request and lock in resources for their project.

Project reporting

An integral part of tracking a project’s process lies in the reporting.  Project allows for real-time reporting and the customisation of the way your data is presented in those reports.  You can share reports across your organisation, and produce anything from burn down reports, financials, resource availability, targets achieved and more.  Power BI also seamlessly integrates with Project. This allows users to gain dynamic, visual insights across their portfolios and share those across their organisation.  Reporting helps users monitor their project’s progress, so everyone knows what’s coming and issues can be addressed promptly.  Reports can help users compare resources and produce forecasts as to how their resources will be used throughout their project.

Integrated collaboration tools

Collaboration is a core component of any successful project, where quality information sharing and communication are key.  With Skype for Business fully integrated inside project plans, teams can collaborate in real-time without the need to close and open new apps.  Microsoft Project also allows for easy file sharing between team members, so everyone has access to up-to-date documentation.  The team dashboard also houses an overview of key stats related to your project. This information can be summed up in a visually pleasing and organised manner. This is a great feature to display when presenting to project stakeholders.


To learn more about Microsoft Project and how to best use it for your business, you can check out our courses here.

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