According to PWC, more than half of the companies that are unhappy with the project management software say that it is because the software is too expensive. Are you still using sticky notes or Microsoft Excel to manage projects? I continue to be surprised that Excel is still one of the most popular project management applications. If you have not researched your options in the past year or even 6 months, now is the time.
For our customers running SharePoint in their data center, many project managers use Microsoft Project on their desktop and sync with either a SharePoint Project Site Template or Project Server. The project site template allows project managers to share a Gantt chart, tasks, and documents on a SharePoint web page. Project server takes project management to a whole new level allowing for true portfolio management, including resource scheduling/allocation, prioritization, time-sheets, and resource leveling across projects. Our on premises customers have also had success with a 3rd party SharePoint application called BrightWork.
In the past 5 years, we have shifted, along with customers, from waterfall (PMP style) project management to Agile project management, especially when it comes to large software development projects. At Xgility and with several of our customers, we have used a cloud based application called JIRA. JIRA has a helpdesk component as well as an Agile cloud based project management software component. One disadvantage for us is that JIRA is not as tightly integrated with SharePoint, Outlook, and Office 365. The other disadvantage to JIRA is that we already have Office 365 E5 licenses.
For customers using the Microsoft cloud, project managers have a new option. Project managers can continue to use the SharePoint Project Site Template or Project Online (project server in the cloud).
Our team is really excited about a new tool called Office 365 Planner. Office 365 Planner is based on Office 365 Groups, so you if you have tried out groups, you will notice that your Office 365 Groups will show up under planner. I believe many customers that like Agile and don’t need true portfolio management will move to this as a project management tool.
Features of planner include reporting, conversations, tasks and subtasks, conversations, OneNote Notebook, and document storage. As a member, it is easy to track your tasks across multiple projects. For a demo, check out this link.
Try out planner and let us know what you think as compared with the other tools we mentioned. As always, contact us if our team of experts can help your organization become more efficient and effective.
Author: Kurt Greening
Editor: Alex Finkel