The communications and collaboration power of Microsoft Teams makes it an invaluable tool for project management.

It allows you to design, plan and organise everything. Who is involved, who is doing what and real-time updates on progress with each element and task.

The savvy Assistant appreciates that effective project management improves efficiency and reduces the chances of tasks getting missed, project delays or a drop in performance.

Why Use Microsoft Teams for Project Management?

There are numerous project management tools out there for Assistants, teams and organisations to use. The strong selling point of Microsoft Teams is that everything can operate within one space.

With everything stored, communicated and actioned in one place it is easier to keep things organised, easier to stay focused, easier to collaborate and easier to keep track of projects from start to finish.

Not only can the savvy Assistant make use of Microsoft Team’s features, but they can also access third party applications within Teams through the technology’s seamless integration. So, if people want or need to use the likes of Slack, Trello, Mural or MindMeister (and more) they can do so easily – all within Microsoft Teams.

It’s a smart way of streamlining workflows and maximising productivity with Microsoft Teams , as more and more VAs, PAs and EAs are discovering for themselves.

And, of course, it’s possible to access Microsoft Teams on any device – desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. This means you can carry on where you left off at any time – in the office, at home or on the go.

Working with Integrated Project Management Applications in Microsoft Teams

The modern-day Assistant, especially if they are working as a VA, may find they have to get to grips with – and even master – many different productivity and project management tools.

Clients tend to have their own preference for applications and will probably expect their Assistant to use those for communications and collaboration.

This might, for instance, be Zoom or Google Meet for video calls; Slack or Trello for team communications and task management; Mural or MindMeister for brainstorming and mind mapping. Or any combination of the dozens and dozens of options available.

Whatever the arrangement, the savvy Assistant can recommend the best ways of setting up and organising Microsoft Teams for Effective Collaboration. Clients and organisations are drawn to solutions which improve efficiency, productivity and cost effectiveness, and, as many Microsoft 365 apps can be used for Project Management – there is no need to pay for third party subscriptions.

For many, the simplest solution is to project manage everything directly within Microsoft Teams.

Using Microsoft SharePoint, Project, Planner, Lists, Tasks and To Do Apps in Microsoft Teams

Planning a project schedule is not easy but can be critical to the success of the project. Developing a project plan helps to allocate resources, set a baseline for performance management and establish progress tracking.

A project has many elements: scope, goals and resources. Stakeholder expectations and proposed schedules. Responsibility allocation for tasks and deliverables. Phases, stages and milestones.

Microsoft has different task management apps for different project scenarios. The savvy Assistant will choose the best option for what each project requires.

Task Management for Individuals

If you’re working on a solo project, you can use Microsoft  To Do, the personal task management app. Tasks from To Do can also be seen in the Tasks app  – Renamed now as Planner app in Teams and in Outlook Tasks. Nice and neat to keep yourself on track.

If you’re working on a team project, Microsoft 365 offers a number of ways to work with Project Management applications in Microsoft Teams. It is worth looking at each app (some subscription-based) to see what it does and how it supports task management, collaboration and Project Management essentials.

Here are some of the key tools available to the Assistant who wants to stay on track.

Using Channels to streamline work

By using Channels in Microsoft Teams, the savvy assistant will make sure that communication is kept on topic. By adding relevant applications to a channel and setting up the tabs in a channel logically, all participants will know what is going on and where to find things.

Add a SharePoint Library

Already have a SharePoint document library with all the relevant documentation and want to make sure that all team members have access? Add an existing SharePoint document library to a channel and keep all the documents for that project in one shared location. No need to duplicate documents or folders in Teams, simply add the relevant SharePoint document library to a tab and you have everything at your fingertips.

SharePoint is such a useful application that I’m brushing up my own knowledge of its capabilities and how to use it more productively. My Masterclass on SharePoint and Microsoft Teams (which also touches on OneDrive) has proved very popular and I’ll be offering more SharePoint training soon.

Working with Microsoft Lists

Microsoft Lists – this powerful application is part of your Microsoft 365 subscription and brings many features to organise and keep track of projects. If you are creating an event or onboarding a client Lists has a template to help, or simply build your own list and add your own columns and fields.

Project Managing with Planner

For simpler team projects, Planner is fine. This mobile, web-based app lets you create plans, assign tasks, chat about tasks and monitor project progress. All from within Microsoft Teams. Planner is part of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and will come with your Microsoft 365 Business license.

For anything more substantial you can use Project. Microsoft Project is a subscription-based app and is available through Microsoft 365 and it is most likely to be encountered with corporate clients or projects.

Project for More Complex Project Management

Project is an application which offers extra functionality compared with Planner. As with Planner, the choice of grid, board or timeline view is there, and in addition you have the Gantt chart view which shows task dependencies as well as who is doing what and when.

Making Project Management Easier with Microsoft Teams

Good communications and collaboration are essential components of a successful project. It’s why Microsoft continues to develop, expand and improve Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams allows you to manage projects within one space, whether using original Microsoft applications or integrating other apps from other technology providers.

The savvy Assistant involved in a lot of project work, with clients or their employer, will understand the value of having the inside edge of what Microsoft Teams can do to make project management more efficient and effective.

Shelley Fishel - The MS Office Maestro
Posted in TomorrowsVa, Microsoft Teams, Teams

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I find Shelley’s training easy to follow and the very best thing is that you can do it all at your own pace and revisit modules if it doesn’t quite sink in the first time round! I have learned so much from her training and continue to do so! She is responsive to my questions and I learn something new with each module. I find Iam hardly ever having to Google or YouTube information now, so it really is saving me time in my work day. Time that can be better used by learning more about the business I operate in!
Thanks Shelley!

Tracey Whitehouse – Executive Assistant

I have been following Shelley on Linkedin for several years, and always loved her hints and tips. In May of this year, I had the opportunity to recommend Shelley as one of our workshop speakers at the annual HMC Heads’ PA Conference in Sheffield.

On receiving the brief Shelley quickly produced content for two IT Microsoft Skills Workshops covering nuggets from Outlook, Word and Excel. Shelley then delivered (virtually) these two fantastic workshops to over 60 PAs at our conference.

From initial enquiry to delivery Shelley is the consummate professional and it was my pleasure to have had the opportunity to engage with her.

I would have no hesitation in recommending Shelley to any individual or group.

Michaela Fletcher – Heads PA

Shelley is THE guru on all things Microsoft.

I love Outlook, use it every day, and think I have a pretty good understanding of it. But every time I attend one of her sessions I learn a lot more. Her knowledge is remarkable. And she delivers her knowledge in a really clear, engaging way.

Thanks Shelley

Kathy Soulsby

I have just spent less than an hour at one of Shelley’s presentations and my mind is truly blown! I thought I was fairly proficient in Outlook, but I had no idea it could do so much more! So many time saving tips and shortcuts to help me – I can’t wait to get stuck in and implement them all! Thank you Shelley – I would highly recommend!

Hayley Rose – Executive Assistant -Dalcour Maclaren

Shelley joined us for the annual HMC Heads’ PAs conference in May 2023, where she delivered two hands-on practical IT skills workshops for over 60 PAs in attendance. Both sessions were warmly received by all participants, and from a personal perspective it was an absolute pleasure for me to work with Shelley both offline in the extensive prep phase ahead of the sessions, and online during the day itself – sharp in subject knowledge, flexible in content delivery and everything executed with a really affable manner and “can-do” approach throughout. I would recommend her services wholeheartedly.

Gareth Johnson – Leader GRE Education

Heads PA Conference

The session was well structured and the explanation was very clear. It was amazing how Shelley managed to squeeze so much info in just one hour and a half! Colin’s support and contributions were also very valuable, and so were “Virtual Veronica”‘s. Thank you for a most interesting and useful training session at the Miss Jones Virtual Summit!

Laura Carizzo- Royal Norwegian Embassy in Argentina

I haven’t used PowerPoint in 20 years, this has really boosted my confidence.

Lyn Parker

Course is packed with so much valuable information in a easy-to-understand and follow language, even for a complete beginner. I can respect the fact that sometimes it’s very hard for an expert to break the information down to basics. but Shelley has done it brilliantly. I was sure that I knew quite a bit but Shelley has proven me wrong even at the very beginning of the basics of PowerPoint. Lessons are short and precise which allowed me to easily transfer the new skill into practice without being overwhelmed and to carry on adding on more with each lesson. I had so many ‘Aha!’ moments and for most of them I couldn’t believe I used to pay graphic designer to do it for me, now, thanks to Shelley, I am looking forward to creating, designing, converting my presentations all by myself!

Iva Freeman – Vertex Human Capital

Shelley was very thorough and knew a lot of tip’s for using Teams, thank you 🙂

James O’Connor – Cavannah Homes

Very informative, constantly getting everyone in the meeting involved, loved every bit of it!

Dylan Teal Hopkins – Cavannah Homes
Fantastic and informative training and great to see all of the exciting functions with Microsoft Teams.
Laura Rigby – The Apprenticeship College
Shelley was really clear in her teaching and went at a pace that was helpful to us. We covered all we needed to know to get us started, as a small team, using MS Teams. She was also very helpful in the run up to the session, with check in calls and ensuring our platform was set up correctly. I would highly recommend Shelley to anyone wanting to learn to navigate their way around MS Teams.
Leigh Dowling – Innuous

Microsoft Teams One to One Training Session

Shelley was approachable, easy to work with, and agile with answering questions to apply the session to my specific needs

Melissa Marshall – Present Your Science

A course on Outlook had been on the top of my list when Shelley asked VA’s what they wanted to learn. It was a real case of ‘so that’s how you do it’ or ‘I never knew that’. I have to say that I learnt so many great tips it has definitely improved the way I work in Outlook and my inbox is looking colourful and organised and I can’t wait to share this knowledge with my clients.

Jacqueline Leake – JLeake VA Services – Outlook

A great course with lots of examples and step by step instructions. I can now confidently create infographics and as a bonus, I learnt a lot of new PowerPoint functionality that will enhance all my PowerPoint work and save me so much time.

Jessica Bailey – Integral Resource

I really like Shelley’s courses. She has a clear and easy to follow teaching style. In ‘How to Create Fillable Forms’ I’ve learned about the functions of the Developer ribbon which will mean I’ll be able to create a bespoke Returns Form for a client who has an online shop

Freya Henderson – Virtual Office Orkney