As Teams adoption has skyrocketed, Microsoft has been working hard to make project management more and more efficient in their signature collaboration and communication platform. The Lists app within Teams is a great example: We’ve been using Lists to keep track of project progress, facilitate user acceptance testing, and archive project debriefs. Here’s how to manage projects with Microsoft Lists.
What is Microsoft Lists?
First, a key definition. Microsoft Lists is an app that sits inside of Microsoft Teams that allows users to build and structure data lists. For those working in SharePoint, Microsoft Lists is just a nice way to do what we’ve been doing in SharePoint for years: building lists. However, that “nicer way” is a key factor here. So is that fact that it inside Teams, where more than 115 million of us (and counting) work every day.
Here’s how we manage complex projects inside Teams with Microsoft Lists
Here at StitchDX, we take on complex projects that require keeping track of multiple elements, organized client communication, and long-term planning. We use Lists to help with each of these.
Precise project management, page by page
When building complex websites, one of the key challenges is keeping track of the status of dozens if not hundreds of individual pages, each with unique content and requirements. To meet this project management challenge, we build a list that includes fields for key information like page name, URL, content status, special requirements, and development status. With this list, it is easy to manage site builds with large numbers of pages. When all the pages are marked with the green “approved” status, we are good to go!
Keeping tasks straight, avoiding overlap and double work
When we go through our UAT process prior to launching a website, our team members are often tackling items simultaneously. Especially with us all working remotely, two or more people may often try to complete the same task. This can lead to miscommunication and additional work.
By using Lists, we have streamlined our work process and reduced the back-and-forth communication needed to stay aligned and updated on tasks. Lists is one of the many tools within Microsoft Teams that helped improve our remote working experience. (Our Digital Marketing Specialist Kelsey Flannery shares other ways she’s used Microsoft tools WFH at her best during the pandemic.)
Issue tracking made simple
One of the things we love about SharePoint is the ease of sharing lists with clients. This becomes crucial when we arrive at the quality testing phase of a website or Digital Workplace project. We share the link to the SharePoint page, although we can just as easily share the Microsoft Teams team or channel with the List app as a tab.
With that access, our clients can easily enter the information about changes they’d like to see or issues they’ve encountered on the site. For each issue, I review the details, ask clarifying questions as needed, and assign it to the relevant resource quickly and easily with a dropdown menu. Again, as we hit all green, we’re ready for launch.
3, 2, 1…Launch!
Bringing a website live is a mini project unto itself. We need to complete numerous tasks in a specific order for the launch to go off without a hitch.
Here too, we can use Lists to ensure we’re organized and everyone’s on the same page. It’s a relatively simple list here with columns for task names, status, and person responsible.
Keeping tabs on customers past and present
As agencies like ours grow from year to year, our customer grows longer and longer. We have also created a list where we keep the important details of each customer engagement. We can see at a glance what we did for each project, the key contacts, and potential for future engagements. This is a valuable tool for both our sales team and our client services team.
Improving our ongoing marketing projects
Some of our work includes ongoing marketing work for our clients. One client constantly hosts and shares new events with their network, and we need to be ready at any moment to help promote, optimize, and update these events as they come through. Before applying Microsoft Lists to the task, we used email to keep track of these events. But combing through numerous emails every day to make sure we didn’t miss anything was often a time-suck.
With Lists, we now have a central location where the client can add the event and any necessary information whenever it comes up. We have specific sections where they can add key information like the event title, date, time, the purpose of the event, target audience, and event registration page URLs.
From there we can update or publish a registration page, track our progress and make note of when we start promoting the event. Our client can use the list to see our progress and quickly provide any new information that may come in. It has reduced the hours spent scouring emails and lessened the chance of information getting lost.
Multiple uses for Microsoft Lists across every stage of project management.
While it is true that we use Microsoft Planner and Project for actual task and phase management, Microsoft Lists plays an important part of our overall project management strategy. It’s particularly valuable when used as an app within Microsoft Teams—we can quickly and easily access the information we need without ever leaving Teams.
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