Table of contents
Project Management is critical for any type of project, including those in the financial industry. The project management processes required, as well as the knowledge to effectively execute those processes, help organizations ensure projects are executed successfully. Completed On-time and on-budget.
In order to help ensure project success, however, project management software is an important component in the project management suite of tools.
Along comes Microsoft Project Online:
First, however, let’s discuss project management tools. And there are many options!
When discussing project management tools, we are talking about those things that assist with the successful management and tracking of project schedules. They do this by allowing the creation of a task list, sequencing tasks, assigning resource, and tracking progress.
In addition to these core requirements, tools may also help a project team collaborate and communicate as well as manage documents.
When it comes to financial projects and teams, the project management software allows the creation of a project portal to:
- Plan, assign and track work against a timeline (calendar) and a resources availability.
- Create and manage project artifacts, and route project documents through an approval process if necessary.
- Create and deploy project dashboards, which communicate real-time project tracking information.
Project Management tools in the finance industry
Whether your organization is big or small, as a project team member you will more than likely be working on multiple projects simultaneously.
Things can get out of hand quickly if the organization is not using a single resource pool for asingle source of truth. Ultimately a single project management solution. Resource overallocations will occur, conflicts will arise, delays will result and, well, you know the rest. Forget about the on-time, on-budget analysis.
A project portfolio management solution based on Microsoft Project Online allows project managers to create a project using a template or from scratch. From there the PM modifies the template or enters a hierarchical list of tasks, task dependencies, work estimates to create a realistic timeline.
The scheduled work and when it occurs will be part of the resources capacity vs. demand. Meaning, when other project managers schedule the same resource for work in another project, the resources scheduled work will be noted. Ensuring the resources remaining availability reflects reality, helping to keep resources from becoming overallocated.
Once the project schedule is completed and published to Project Web App, the project manager will manage and execute the project. The execution process requires monitoring progress against the scheduled work. This process helps ensure projects actually do finish on-time and on-budget!
What is Microsoft Project Online?
Microsoft 365 Project Online is a flexible, cloud-based online solution for Project Portfolio Management (PPM) and everyday work. Project Online provides powerful project management capabilities for planning, prioritizing, and managing projects and project portfolio investments.
Some amazing features of Microsoft Project Online
What makes Microsoft Project Online a good fit for financial organizations? There are so many items to list, however, we’ll get to just a handful!
1) Executive dashboards
Visibility into project execution is critical for the success of any organization. Microsoft Project Online has views across projects, resources, and tasks.
When we add Power BI and Power BI mobile to the mix, we are able to create reports that are highly visual and dynamic. With Power BI, we access the Project Online Odata feeds and create powerful dashboards and reports using a myriad of data visualizations.
These highly visual reports may be filtered by simply clicking on a specific area in a visual on any quadrant of a dashboard. And there’s really no limit to the options. Across projects, programs, resource heat maps, utilization, etc. It’s all there.
2) Project plan templates
Whether you are new to Microsoft Project Online or a seasoned professional, the pre-built range of project schedule templates can be found very helpful.
Whether you are moving to a new house or developing a large software development program, the project templates cover just about any type of project imaginable.
Navigate File à New and check them out for yourself!
3) Robust collaboration
Read any project management book or article and you’ll quickly understand the communication is critical to the success of a project. Logically, the more people involved in a project the more important the need for robust communication. Fortunately, Microsoft Project Online is not only a great solution for tactical project management, however, it is also a powerful communication and collaboration solution.
Built on SharePoint, each project team site allows for the management of documents, issues and risks. Documents may have version control, check-in/check-out and alerts setup to notify a user the moment a document is updated. Power Automate (previously Microsoft Flow) may be used to create a workflow to route shared files through an approval process. Ultimately until the deliverable becomes final.
And if you add Microsoft Teams to the mix you have even more collaboration possibilities. Microsoft Teams is the ultimate messaging app for your organization. MS Teams is a workspace for real-time collaboration and communication, meetings, video calls, and file and app sharing.
Using Microsoft Project Online and Microsoft Teams together provides outstanding tactical and collaborative capabilities for your organization.
4) Simple planning tools
It probably pretty obvious that every project plan starts with a planning process. And it’s the planning the scheduling process that are the foundation for every project schedule.
Microsoft Project Online utilizes the Office 365 Project Online desktop client. It’s here where you can build your project schedule. The desktop version of MS Project is where users enter tasks and build a work breakdown structure (WBS).
Project Managers would build the team of resources to do the work of the project and assign those resources to the tasks of the project. Project Web App will also send notifications to team members when they have new assignments or assignments have changed. In this way, Project Online ensures team members are aware of important project-related items.
As you can see, Microsoft Project Online along with Project Professional have some key features to help organizations manage and execute many projects successfully at the same time. Every organization considers this a key requirement for a PPM system.