4 Ways to Better Teamwork Using Intranet Software

4 Ways to Better Teamwork Using Intranet Software

Every project manager has had to learn how to keep his or her teams on target when their workloads may be pulling them in dozens of different directions. In some cases, that may mean working with other project managers to prioritize projects, or helping team members get (and stay) organized as the work ramps up, or it may mean giving team members – who may live in different cities, states or countries – the tools they need to collaborate effectively. And while project prioritization skills will come through personal experience, there is intranet software available that can help you not only keep your teams organized and collaborative, but will also allow you to communicate effectively with individuals and your teams.

Of course, not all intranet portal software is created equally, so let's take a look at four tools to look for in an intranet solution.

Information Management

In order to keep everyone on track, it's important for your team to know who's responsible for what, and when. In addition, you'll also need to give your team information on how to contact other members, details on how to access important web pages or documents (especially if they're password protected or on staging servers), have the ability to make important announcements or post reminders, etc. So, look for a company intranet that allows you to seamlessly create team pages that can be customized for your needs. This way, you'll be able to house, and share important information in a central location.

Libraries

Collaboration software should, first and foremost, make it easy for your team to work together. So choose a solution that allows you to give everyone access to the same files, documents, images, meeting notes, etc. By giving you the power to create libraries of documents, labeled in a way that makes sense for your project and your team, everyone can find the most up-to-date information on your project, review past iterations of deliverables, see current artwork, refresh their memories on project requirements and more.

Collaborative Tools

An employee intranet portal should include the ability for your team members to create spaces where they can share and manage information – and work on files together. To that end, look for collaboration software that features things like threaded discussions, as well as surveys – which can help make meeting planning and/or decision-making easier, shared calendars, task lists, and meeting spaces and where you can house all of your meeting notes, documents and agendas, etc. Like meeting spaces, an intranet solution with a work space tool can allow specific team members, like a graphic designer and copywriter, to work on the same file in the same space, without overwriting the other's work, which can ultimately improve productivity.

Integrates with Existing Tools

No matter how much intranet portal software promises to improve your productivity and collaborative efforts, if it's challenging to use or requires you to replace your existing tools (like your word processing, spreadsheet, graphic design, and/or email tools), it may be difficult to convince your team to use it. In order to achieve the level of productivity and organization you need, look for an intranet solution that integrates well with the tools that your team already uses. This way, your organization won't need to purchase costly, and possibly less effective, programs, and your team won't have to endure a steep learning curve.

When it comes to collaboration software, it should be simple, seamless, and customizable – giving you and your team the things you need to work together as a whole, and in smaller groups. When you choose a solution that allows you to organize your files your way, use your existing tools, and gives you collaborative tools that make it easy for members to simultaneously work on files, share documents and information, and track important discussions, you'll achieve what every project manager wants – an organized, productive team.

 

6th Street Consulting is a Microsoft technology firm specializing in user productivity and collaboration on SharePoint and Office365.  Our biggest differentiator is we put business before technology in creating solutions tailored fit to your organization.

For additional information please contact:

Michelle Hollis

michelle.hollis@6sc.com

(310) 694-3844


Do Less So You Can Achieve More with SharePoint

Do Less So You Can Achieve More with SharePoint

Business process automation is integral to any growing business. Let's look at how SharePoint can help business' of all sizes streamline, automate, and transform processes with rich forms, workflows, and custom mobile apps.

Gather and manage data and files

SharePoint lists collect data—just like you might in Excel—and are easy to share and manage on an intranet. More than ten million custom lists are in use across Office 365—from simple lists like contacts and tasks to lists that power mission-critical business operations for large enterprises. Use Microsoft PowerApps to build custom forms to view, create, and modify data and files.

 

Automate repetitive tasks

Free yourself and your team from the time you spend on recurring manual team and organizational processes. Use the simple, visual designer in Flow to lay out the steps. You can do everything in Flow from configuring alerts and approvals to modeling complex, multistage processes.

 

Connect to and integrate data sources and services

When your process needs data from other sources and services, Flow lets you automate data exchange, synchronize files, and more. Use Flow, for example, to copy information entered by a sales team in Microsoft Dynamics to a SharePoint list used by operations. Flow also integrates with on-premises and third-party services.

Build apps that transform your business

With PowerApps, you can create, without writing code, apps that interact with data in SharePoint lists and libraries, as well as other cloud and on-premises sources. Use PowerApps to create digital experiences that take advantage of technology like cameras on mobile phones to work in innovative ways.


Better Together - SharePoint Tasks List plus Project

Better Together - SharePoint Tasks List plus Project

SharePoint tasks lists provide a great way to collaborate and stay up to date on the status of your projects. By using Microsoft Project Professional, you can take your project management to the next level by using more advanced features like scheduling and even create gorgeous and comprehensive reports. In a way, the SharePoint site and its tasks lists are where team members can view and edit the progress of their tasks, and Project Professional is where project managers can manage the progress of their projects. SharePoint tasks list sync empowers you to use the great functionalities of both Project and SharePoint tasks lists, at the same time.

You can create a new SharePoint tasks list that supports tasks with hierarchy, and indent/outdent those tasks while typing them in SharePoint, using the Alt+shift+Right/Left shortcuts. Then, in order to sync this SharePoint tasks list with Project, all you need to do is select the “Open with Project” button in the List tab of the ribbon:

This will open your tasks list along with the timeline view in Project Professional and you’ll even be started in a screen that walks you through 3 steps to show you how you can take advantage of the powerful features of Project:

And when you switch to the Gantt view, you can see the same tasks list as was in SharePoint:

You can continue editing the project plan in Project, and when you hit Save, Project will automatically sync the plan with the SharePoint tasks list, and also save the project file (.mpp) in the Site Assets library of the SharePoint site. Therefore, every time you, or any other project manager, open the project plan, you can view the most recent status of the project. By saving an up to date project file in the Site Assets library it makes sure that users won’t have to deal with multiple conflicting or out-of-date project files.

Accessing and re-opening a project is very easy: if you are in the SharePoint site, you can open the same project plan by selecting the “Open with Project” button. Alternatively, if you already have Project Professional open, you can find this project in the Recent Projects list in the Open tab:

Using the SharePoint tasks list feature, you can also convert standalone project plans into SharePoint tasks list and start collaborating with other team members on those plans. For instance, if you are using Project Professional to manage a special launch event, you can now go to the Save As tab of the File menu and create a new project site with an associated SharePoint tasks list:

This will create a new Project Site and save the project plan in the Site Assets library of that site. From that point on, you can open this this project plan from the tasks list and keep the tasks list and the project plan in sync.

During the SharePoint tasks list sync, the following fields between your SharePoint list and Project by default: task name, start date, finish (due) date, % Complete, resource name, and predecessors. However, if you want to map more fields to be synced between Project and SharePoint, you can do so in the Info tab of the File menu: open the “Map Fields” dialog, and pick any new fields that you’d like to sync. This way, you can have your team members report on other custom fields, or generate reports based on non-default SharePoint columns.

This is a great feature for all you project managers, try it out and let us know what you think!


Introducing New Ways to Work in Microsoft Project

Introducing New Ways to Work in Microsoft Project

Today’s project teams need to collaborate successfully to deliver value. Project managers and teams want to work in ways that make sense for their projects. Program and portfolio managers want transparency and governance across the entire project portfolio.

How can your company or department support different work styles without losing the power of a centralized project management system? With agile in Project, project managers and teams can choose the methodology that makes sense for the project at hand, including: agile, waterfall, hybrid, or task-oriented. The integration of Project with Microsoft Planner lets you connect Project tasks to a Planner plan and track detailed work in Planner.

Use agility in your Project portfolio

With agile in Project, you can use agile methods to track your projects in Project Online Desktop Client. You can create new agile projects or apply agile views to your existing waterfall projects. You can track your projects using Scrum and Kanban methodologies, including viewing task boards, creating backlogs, and tracking sprints, as well as viewing reports on agile statistics.

For more details, see “Use agile in Microsoft Project.”

Manage Project task work in Planner

With the new integration between the Project Online Desktop Client and Planner, task owners can track granular task details in a lightweight tool. Project managers retain control over the project’s work breakdown structure and can easily view the detailed work being done against a task.

This capability may also be used to reduce complexity of project plans in Project, enabling the project manager to control a smaller number of tasks while task owners can further break down the tasks in Planner. Teams that manage their work in Project Online can better streamline work with teams that use Planner.

For more details, see “Streamline cross-team work with the newly integrated Project Online Desktop Client and Microsoft Planner.”

The new agile functionality for Project and integration with Planner are both now available.