Tracking and Reporting Projects using Office 365 and Project Online
Project and portfolio managers continually reach for the proverbial brass ring of managing their plans and portfolios towards an “on time” and “on budget” delivery. These project management professionals usually contribute to a Project Management Office (PMO) responsible for a comprehensive portfolio of programs or projects owned by the complete project management staff. The PMO traditionally produces high-level reports tracking project health, costs, issues, risks, and/or milestones to share project progress and health with stakeholders. Without using the proper tools, aggregating the above data from multiple project information sources can be challenging and is usually a manual process undertaken by smart people who fully understand the process. Once the data is successfully collected and scrubbed, creating a multi-level project portfolio report in an easy to understand, “pretty” format becomes the next challenge.
Using Office 365, specifically SharePoint Online and Project Online components, the manual aggregation of project data is minimized as centrally managed projects share the same custom fields to enforce metadata requirements. The project templates used to create projects are pre-configured with tagged KPIs, visual timeline phases, and milestones, to ensure custom reports and project information rollups display your project’s information. This means all the project manager has to do is update the key metric as needed to ensure reporting accuracy.
So where do I see my project data?
1. The project site – a single point of truth
A SharePoint site is created for each published project where all documents and contributing project information can be found. The site template used to create the site can be customized based on the affiliated enterprise project type. This allows users to manage project documents, decisions, action items, issues, and risks. In addition, the site created synchronizes tasks and security membership with MS Project and Project Online allowing for automated project team access and task/timeline updates each time a project is published.
2. The Project Center – real-time tracking from the portfolio down to task levels
The Project Center provides both out of the box and configurable views displaying project level information filtered, grouped, or sorted as needed. Each project name is hyperlinked allowing drill down to display task level items for the selected project including milestones and task level costs. Project information can also be tracked using both the standard out of the box MS Project fields and custom Project Online fields.
3. A Power BI Report– configurable real-time dash boarding
With the real-time dash boarding and visualizations functionality of the new Power BI solution, you can customize dashboards or reports, and create unique drill downs for your project management teams. An experienced, dedicated report writer is now less needed as reports can be created using the user intuitive Power BI Desktop which is a free download with your Office 365 subscription. Here is an example with a live Project Dashboard report using an OData live data connection to access the project metrics and costs:
Once on the Office 365 platform, you can use all the tools Microsoft provides including SharePoint, Power BI, MS Project and MS Project Online to make your PMO run more efficiently. Want to learn more about the benefits of SharePoint, Project Online, or PowerBI? Fill out the contact form below, and our SharePoint team will answer any questions you may have.