Webinar Recap: Agile Series Part 3 – Best Practices & Real World Use of Agile with MS Project / Project PPM

Please find below a transcription of the audio portion of Tim Runcie’s Agile Series Part 3 webinar being provided by MPUG for the convenience of our members. You may wish to use this transcript for the purposes of self-paced learning, searching for specific information, and/or performing a quick review of webinar content. There may be exclusions, such as those steps included in product demonstrations. You may watch the live recording of this webinar at your convenience.

Kyle: Hello everyone, and welcome to the third and final session of MPUG’s Agile training series, covering best practices and the real world use of Agile with Microsoft Project and Project PPM. My name is Kyle, and I’ll be the moderator today. And this session is eligible for one PMI, PDU in the Technical category. If you have any questions during today’s presentation, please send those over at any time using the chat question box on the GoToWebinar control panel. We do plan to answer those for you at the end of the session as time permits.

All right, we’ll go ahead and get started. We’re very happy to welcome back Tim Runcie today. For those of you that may have missed it, Tim is one of the six Microsoft Project MVPs in North America and has held that title for 16 years in a row. Tim works with companies like Microsoft on next generations of Project program and portfolio technologies. He’s an accomplished speaker, consultant and educator, supporting the project management community for over 25 years. As the president and founder of Advisicon, Tim has written over 38 books on PM methodologies and technologies.

So welcome back Tim, and at this time, I’ll go ahead and hand it over to you.

Tim Runcie: Excellent, Kyle. Thank you so much. All right, let me share my screen. Let’s see, I need to make sure I share a lot more than my screen. Let’s share the whole monitor. There we go. Perfect. Well, welcome back everyone. I think this is kind of exciting to be learning a little bit more about not only just the Agile disciplines, but the technologies that go together. This is session number three, where we really kind of take our final kind of what I’ll refer to as an overall summary of the activities that we’ve done, and we bring that together. So I’ve been working with both Agile, Waterfall, Lean, I’ve worked with a lot of different methodologies, and it’s a lot of fun to just kind of look at how you can basically work forward, make these tools work for you. I just kind of encourage people that I’ve had a few conversations over the last couple of weeks with folks from the MPUG sessions. If you do have questions, reach out. I really want to encourage you to do so.

Sometimes just a couple pointers in the right direction will help get you pointed in the right direction, but doing this a long time. And sometimes inversely, I think that information and I will go back to Microsoft and say, “Hey, look, this is what the community practice is really wrestling with, and how do we go from there.” So want to continue to do that, and again, for those of you that are on the MPUG membership, there are other articles, videos and things that we’ve been doing over the last few years. So there’s actually a rich information out there. So encourage you to take a look at that.

So today, without further ado, jumping right in here. We’re going to take a quick review of Agile options and approaches. We’ll talk about a little bit of the technology piece, but not a lot because I’ve got four personas, I’m going to walk you through, and we’re going to be in demo mode most of today’s session. I want you guys to see it live, see it work or not work, you never know. Sometimes we feel the real pain of somebody doing an update on the back end or something that’s going on in 365. But I’m going to weave you through, I think I figured it out, eight different technologies. So we’ll talk about this and again, it’s all part of the Office 365 and the Project experience. So we’ll take a look at those and then we’ll do a quick summary. I will try and make sure I have a little bit of time for questions, but I encourage people to definitely reach out and ask any questions that they want to. I think this will be helpful.

So kind of moving along with our Agile recap. Again, think about all these terms and terminology that we’ve come across, which are about scrum, we hear about Kanban boards, you hear about different ways, you know, talking about the product backlog, I’m product owner and a scrum master, and chickens and pigs, and you get all these flavors of terms that come from just some or in many cases, Agile disciplines that roll across and approach these. So without going through the hour and a half presentation that we did on our first session, I want to make sure people understand is that in many cases, the focus of any Agile methodology is going to be zeroing in on making sure that you are quickly getting to value, and that means not spending a ton of time creating infinite documentation. It doesn’t mean that you won’t be doing wireframes, so it doesn’t mean you won’t be doing process maps. These are all important things.

However, the idea is to quickly go, is this good enough? Can we actually zero in on making sure we get to clarity, and the idea of producing value where we can actually see working software or a working solution, or doing some sort of a progressive elaboration of work and work that goes together. So very many cases, we call that reflects it. So complex adaptive systems, the term CAS, complex adaptive systems. You hear all the Agile disciplines kind of bundled into it. They’re iterative. They also assume that requirements are going to change, right. They can and will change. Well, if you’ve ever been a project manager working in there, not only does the customer sometimes not fully understand what they want, they have an idea, but then when they look at it, they go, “Nah, that’s not it.”

And so instead of spending tons of time trying to get to a finished solution that may not meet the mark, the idea is to quickly realize something that says, “Is this what you’re looking for?”, so maybe a mock up, or maybe it’s a way that you click the submit button, and sure enough, this is how it does that. So these are things that are helpful. And again, you could group and categorize all of the work activities, these Agile methodologies and disciplines allow you to organize, group it and then very importantly, prioritize. So the technology I’m going to be showing you today are going to weave across this bulleted list here. The ability to rate, rank, prioritize, kind of organize your key activities. Understand that the focus is right to your team, not on the big picture, we don’t want you to be overwhelmed.

But at the same time, there’s an important step, program managers, portfolio managers, people who are working on multiple projects may have to see the big picture. And so we’re going to talk about how that’s kind of woven through the what’s called the task fabric. So the tapestry of task in an environment, portfolio or program, is important to be able to zero in and see those, especially if you manage multiple projects. So again, part of that Agile discipline is to help the teams be focused, to help them estimate and learn because in many cases, they’ve never done this work before. So you hear the term story points and people go, “Well, story points is just a way to hide how many hours you think it’s really going to take.”, but if somebody asked you to build a waterfall in your backyard with a recirculating pump, you know, a 30 foot stream and then a koi pond at the end, and go, “Well how long is that going to take?” You’re kind of like, “Well, I’ve never done this before.”

So you have to kind of think, is it complex? Is it bigger than a breadbox? Well, here are some ways that we can look and see how to prioritize those. And again, important is that we want to set targets and goals. All these Agile disciplines are saying, not only focus on key activities, but we want to make sure that we are zeroing in on a feature, something that’s tangible, something of value. Whether we have a structured environment, which we call sprints, whether it’s a feature driven development or testing driven development, there is a goal, there’s a target, there’s an importance of what and how you’re organizing the team to deliver the information. And then what I really like about Agile is that not, is it a single methodology fits all, right. It is really the ability to blend these. As I’ve stated before, I have worked on project teams where I would came in to help represent the voice of the customer and look at the technology stack as an architect.

And I kind of grown because they were dogmatically following an Agile process and it was clearly not working but yet, they wouldn’t deviate from the fact that we have stand up meetings and certain people could talk and estimating only can be talked in a certain way and I thought, “You know what? You just need to adapt this to your culture, whether you’re in the south, the north, you’re in the east or the west, it doesn’t matter where you’re coming from, your country of origin, we have to look at the culture.” And so back in 1990, I coined a phrase, helping you build a project management culture, and we put that as our tagline at Advisicon because it isn’t just about a tool, and it’s not just about a methodology, but it’s really about looking at your culture. So take this with a grain of salt, look at some of these, find what works best for you. And I think that’s going to be helpful.

Now from the technology stack, which is kind of be fun today, is as we look at the direction where Microsoft’s going, it’s not about a single tool, right. Not the Swiss Army knife, Gartner talks about this saying, “Hey, listen, don’t try and buy the one size fits all. If you’ve ever been involved in an accounting system, or an ERP implementation.”, and it’s a $2.4 million project, and by the time they’re done at $6.8 million, and it’s three years over budget, it’s because you’re trying to bolt everything in the kitchen sink. And part of that is, these are big, they impact lots of systems. So we think about project management and program management and portfolio management, and we think about work management and task management, human beings or what we refer to sometimes as human systems really do look at things differently. And so what we want to do is find what works for them.

And so we’re going to see the difference between some of the tools, and what might be a better fit for you, might be a better fit for your team, but also the ability to say when do you leave that tool, and go into that grow up story that says, “Hey, we started in MS To Do, or maybe we jumped over to Teams, played with some organization structure there, but now I got to have predecessor successors, and while Planner is great for a Kanban board, I need to have dynamic scheduling and I need the resource and capacity planning.” Now we’re back into a scheduling tool. And so we’re going to see this kind of woven together through not only these releases that you’re going to see today, but future releases. Again, as I mentioned in the next month and a half, even though the next three months, you’re going to see new tools emerging from Microsoft Projects team that’s saying, “We see gaps in the marketplace, we want to make sure that’s filled, that still gives you that Agile-esque environment to work with.”

So stay tuned at MPUG or Advisicon, any the blog post or video channels that we throw stuff out there, you’ll see more and more of this. And I encourage you just to come back and keep checking. So whether it’s working with a big ERP system, like Dynamics or Microsoft Project, or you’re in a development side, and you’re working with Azure DevOps, there’s a lot of things that we can weave these together. And again, these Agile capabilities are embedded inside of Office 365 tools. Now people ask all the time, “What license do I need to get?” It’s going to be in the cloud. This is where Microsoft’s leading. So if you’re in Office 365, in fact, yesterday, I had one of my oldest colleagues reach out to me and I shouldn’t say old because that’s not very nice. One of my long standing colleagues reach out to me and she said, “I can’t find Planner. I want it now.” And so we just have to show you how to turn it on, right. A lot of these are free. You just need to turn these on in your admin portal.

But in general, pretty exciting to make sure that you can continue to use if you’re just on an E1 license using Word Excel, you can start using these. Even if you’re not on Office 365, you can use Microsoft To Do, right. It’s designed to work independently of that, in fact, all you just need is an email address, and you could be using some of these tools right away. The core foundation here is that this is data. Everything is a database, right. So we talk about interfaces, but we talk about that one version of the truth, or touch the data once so that my team members are progressing it, my project managers are updating and forecasting, my PMO manager is looking out and creating prioritization, steering committee reports. All of these are helpful because we only want to touch that data once. So again, the idea is to find the blend for you.

Okay, now let’s actually watch the fun happen. So we’re going to do a series of personas, and if you’ve ever done a web application development, or if you’ve ever done kind of a testing, is that you create a persona, like a person or a group or a stakeholder that you want to say, “Ah, this is this person, and this is what they do, and this is how they think, and we’re going to approach it as if we are that person.” So we’re going to do is look at a couple of different personas, and I’m going to start off with Jeremy. Now, Jeremy is a full time project manager. He’s fairly new to the Agile world, but you know, he’s deep in Microsoft Project. His teams use multiple tools, they’re kind of mixed and matched on that. And he’s got lots of questions, right. He’s got a lot of things that says, “You know, I’m not quite sure how this works.”, hence the question mark mustache there.

So when we think about, what is it? How does it work? I like my project schedule, and you know, I got teams using other places, but I kind of need to bring this all together with either views or reports. So what will that look like? How is that going to actually have, it’s kind of a technology flow for me, and how am I going to put that together? So let’s first start with our favorite, good old Microsoft Project. So let me bring Project up here. And Kyle, I think you should be able to see my screen. It should have everything here. So if you want to just give me a conversion because I’m switching between monitors here.

Kyle: Yes, it looks [inaudible 00:13:18]

Tim Runcie: We should have a Gantt chart. We good?

Kyle: That looks great, Tim.

Tim Runcie: Awesome. All right. So schedules, right. We can sit here, we can build these all day long. In fact, the nice thing is, is that whether you’re in an Office 365 environment, or you’re just in good old Microsoft Project, I won’t say 2003 because you’re going to lose the graphical indicators but if you’re in 2007 or higher, when you’ve got this old version, we could get in building sprints, creating milestones using manual scheduling and kind of forecasting. You can obviously go in into the views itself and you can say, “Hey listen, let’s just do some grouping by burndown or sprint.” And when I do that, you’ll notice here, hey, I’ve got some great dashboards but maybe I want to switch to my Agile table, right. So we can make these tables that say, “Hey, I’ve got story points. I got prioritization. I can pick these out. I can kind of plan and estimate. I can see the state something’s in. I can look at the board status, or what sprint it belongs to.”

And again, this allows me to come in and just go, “Hey, could you do me a favor and just give me a quick burndown.” Let’s just kind of group these together and say, “All right, there’s some things that are not in sprints. I just want to look at what’s being done in the different sprints.” I like the cost, the hours or any of that information to roll out so maybe I’m validating that I have enough work going on, or perhaps I’m looking at my story points and saying, “Hey, 31 story points, 46. That’s a really heavy backlog here. Let’s just kind of figure out what that might be”, or then again, I might just zero right into the sprints itself and go, “Hey, let’s just kind of quickly plan these, we’ll filter out the stuff, that’s all the waterfall things.”, those guys are always working on other elements. But I’m in here as my Microsoft Project, and I’m working with this.

Now, if you’re current, let’s kind of step back into the current world of Project, so let me turn off my group. We have the ability to go to our view tab, and we have something here that says, “I’ve got these tasks in sprint planning boards.” Now if you go here, you’re going to say, “Hey Tim, where’s my sprint planning board?” And this is a bit of an annoyance for me so I usually just kind of poke the bear at Microsoft and say, “Could we make this sprint planning board visible?” And the reason for this is that there are a lot of views, and if you go into any view itself, the sprint planning board, which I’ll pop in here in just a moment, is as I’m coming in here, when I click on this, if I edit that, you’ll notice there’s a little checkbox showing the menu.

So a lot of times, I’ll build views that have tables and filters and groups, I turn them on and then I forget to check the box, show it in the menu, so nobody sees these. So if you want that sprint planning board, turn it on, but let’s take a look at these so here we go. I’m going to go and click on a task board. Hey, let’s just take the timeline out of the way here for a moment. And I now can say, “Hey, what’s next up? What’s in progress? What’s done? What’s deeper estimates?” And so when I’m starting with a new file, so if I’m doing file, and then I come up here and hit new, and I want to do a sprints project, you can toggle back and forth between these. You just need to turn on your view and begin to build that. One thing about if you start with a sprint project is that you can go in, you can actually set what your sprints are.

So again, this is a Kanban-esque view where I could drag and say, “Hey Feature 13, let’s actually put some information here.” So Feature 13 is going to be our, we’ll call this our invoice submission, okay. And I might want to have resources assigned to these but I can move them around. I can plan them directly or if you’re doing sprint planning again, you know, poor Jeremy, he’s in here saying, “Yeah, they want to do sprint stuff.” So I can come in here and just say, “Listen, I’m going to go ahead and grab my features. I’m going to move these around. I’ll double click on them and I’ll sign them.”, and what I could do is organize the views, the sprints and what I’m doing, what I’m working on, pull stuff off the backlog if I want to, create some of that visualization. And again, I just want to look at where am I at? What am I working with? And again, you can come in here and manage these. You can filter these directly.

What’s nice about this is as you kind of go in and you’re looking at whether it’s a view or, I’m changing it back and forth here is that, honestly, as we’re working in our environments, we actually have our ability to come in and say, “Wow. Let’s switch over to a sheet view.” So good old Microsoft Project guy says, “Ah, that Kanban thing’s got way too many cards for me to see. Let me come in here, and I can actually change the sprints. I can define the board status where it is, where it has, and I’ve got that whole sheet view to work with.” And then I can also organize what summary task are these under. So again, from our layout or from our perspective, we’ve got some good visibility we can manage to. And so Jeremy’s pretty happy. He’s got this project schedule. He works with it. He builds it. And then he wants to publish this into the enterprise environment. So instead of doing a file, save as, saving it locally, he could certainly publish that back in there.

But he always could come back in at least with the desktop tool, go to that view tab and as long as he’s using the current, he could hop in here and work with the task boards, even coming in and saying, “Hey, if it’s done, let’s just mark it 100% complete because you know, frankly, I don’t want to have to check these things every time I come in.” So I drag it, I drop it. Notice it marks at 100% complete. There’s Feature seven. If I go back to a Gantt chart, let’s just go find our Feature seven here. There it is, highlight it to mark complete, very nice. So this is probably the easiest place to start with for those of us that are very comfortable and familiar with Project. We’re going to come back to this in a couple different scenarios, but the idea is that he builds a schedule, sprint and Kanban, and then when he’s ready, he’s going to save and publish that into an enterprise environment.

And what I mean by an enterprise environment is that you’ll save and publish this up into where all the projects are there. And you’ll be able to come in here in a browser view, take a look at what’s going on with the project. So again, kind of getting the idea of one version of the truth. Now if you’re buying Project Pro for Office 365, the license, you get the enterprise environment. You get this without any additional costs. Now there’s some setup and configuration, maybe a little training around it. But in general, this just comes with your Project environment. So while we’re working through there, he’s kind of publishing and managing and says, “Hey listen, I want to create some reports.” So when we go back to our Microsoft Project, let’s just kind of start there. Certainly can come in and say, “Wow, we have this report tab.” And notice I have this whole task board where I can say, “Show me some task board views, right. I can actually see where things are at, what the status is.”

So again, going back into that report view, and saying, “Well listen, I’m looking for what’s in my current sprint? What’s my test status?” Looks like I need to actually progress some of my schedule, because these are not looking at our current date. But I come back in again and say, “Oh I’ve got these reports I can play with which is, what’s our work status? How are we doing?” Again, looking at a current schedule and the information available so I like this is that you can play around here and again, you can also come in and tinker with these, you can make your own. You can even say I really enjoy looking at a burndown. And so as you begin progressing your schedule, you can see with your header behind. Sometimes what I’ll get in is I’ll play around and create velocities, which just says, “Hey, I want a velocity. I want to see are we actually reaching the plan versus the actual realization of the work in a project schedule?”, again, using your native reports to visualize some of this information. So super helpful.

If you publish it into that project online environment, then what we wrestle with is, “Hey, not only do we have lots of reports in.”, let me go back to their project, but we also have this whole ability to come in here and do dashboards in Power BI. And so there’s native content packs that the Microsoft engineering team has made available. And so whether you want to look at cost, or you want to look at a timeline, or you want to go in and take a look at the overall visualization of information, it’s going to read your project data and your SharePoint data. So most of this should be pretty normal. Most of you should be at least familiar with this and if you don’t have this, let me know because a lot of times, it’s just a little bit of a coaching on how to put this in place. So again looking at kind of the all up visualization, not just a single project, but looking at these together.

Now with Jeremy, he’s pretty happy. He kind of looks at this and so he might say, “Well, you know, while I’m working in this environment, I got this whole Planner thing going on, and I hear about it and I go to the Agile team, but they just don’t want to come into Microsoft Project to work.” And so what he’d like to do is use something that comes in the Office 365 MI or something called Planner. It’s actually owned by the project team, and it’s designed for you to create the same type of Kanban-esque environment where you can come in and either do sprints or you could create buckets for how you want to organize things. So if I want to say, “Here’s my product backlog or sprint, or drag these around.”, or if I want to come in and create a new bucket, I’ll call this super high priority. I can add these and then I can move tasks around.

And so inherently though, he’s thinking, “I’m working in Project, I’ve got some of these tasks, it’s nice to have a Planner board. I can flag these done or not done, and kind of move them around, and make sure I see who’s assigned to these activities. But I’m still a project guy, and I need to be able to somehow connect to that environment.” So let me go and bring up a project. Now the key here is you’re going to have to be in the online environment. So if you’re working locally offline, you’re not going to be able to connect to a Planner board. So if I do a file open, let’s just grab an example so you can kind of see this. So if I up and say, “You know what, I really need to pull this in. And I need to add that.”, you’re going to have to pull that from your project online environment, you actually pull these in. And the icon will be different for an enterprise project. And the reason why this is important is that now we’re talking about Office 365 talking to Office 365.

So while you can have your dashboards and your views, you may actually come down here and say, “Hey listen, this assigned pilot stage resources, this is pretty complex stuff and our development team is completely owning this. I just need to see when that’s going to happen. I need to have some sort of an idea or just to make sure it’s actually getting done here.” And if you look closely on my screen, you’ll see a Planner icon. So how did Tim get a Planner icon for this? Well, if you notice in Project, I can actually come up here and click on any task. It’ll ask me to create a link. Now in this case, I’ve already built one. But let me remove this link, and I’ll just kind of do this right on the fly here. So yup, I’m going to remove the link and let me pick a different task. Oh, that’s right, we’ve got something else going on here, a little bit later on here.

But the idea is that I can actually click on this and say, “Take me right to that Planner board.” So the idea is that it’s going to look for a Planner board, it’s going to look for the activities of what you’re working with. And from Project, I can actually quickly connect to that. In the future, you’ll see things like where Microsoft is intending to say, “Hey listen, maybe we just give you a Planner board in a tab. You actually have your own view where if you’re going to connect to that you can actually see this.”, but what we could do is use our Planner connection to say, “Look, I don’t need the details to be here. I want them to stay directly and officially in my environment. And anytime I connect to that, I’ll just have a nice visual cue here that points to where that information is at.” So now we have higher level schedules where the details can actually live in Planner and that’s pretty helpful.

So Jeremy’s excited, he’s not necessarily having to learn all the Agile pieces, but he’s able to say, “Look, I could connect to a Planner board, I can go and view what’s going on. I don’t even have to be the manager of that. I just need to make sure that I have some information there.” People ask about, “Hey, can I flow data from Planner back in the Project?” And the intent natively with Microsoft is to not allow you to do that out of the box, but you can create flow. There’s actually some things you can do to actually move data or updates back from there, but that’s some customization. So just kind of put that in your back pocket at some point, if you say, “Hey, some of these Planner boards, I’d like them to kind of progress my schedule.” These are things that you’ll have to do a little bit of automation through the Office 365 Flow. You can use power apps or some other ways to get around doing that and not actually too terribly difficult.

Now that’s Jeremy. So Jeremy is pretty happy. He’s got a Project schedule. He’s linking to Planner, and he might be able to come out and say, “Well, from that Planner board, I can come in here and I can kind of see the overall picture of key activities. I can make these my favorite. I can go in and I can see recent plans or all plans, but I’ve got that flexibility.” When I come in here, it’s not hard to say, “Hey, give me a quick chart of whether people are getting things done.” And so he’s saying, “Hey, I can actually see you know, what buckets I’m organizing it by. I can actually come in here and see if we’re grouping by bucket, maybe I want to group by who’s got stuff done or not done. And I want to see here it is on the right, hey, that Tim Runcie guy needs to get this done in July 4, apparently he didn’t do it. And I can see who’s assigned to it.”

And immediately right here, I can click on my name, and then send an electric shock right through the keyboard and wake me up so I actually get some work. So while there’s no electric shock, you could certainly come in and add or remove people, but the idea is that it’s a whole bit of information and I can switch back and forth between the calendar view, I can look at the board. If I’m looking forward and backwards, let’s just go back to July. Let’s take a look at that. So as I’m looking through my timeline, I’m on wake up, don’t highlight. Show me my months. There we go, there’s July. I can pop back in here and I can see what’s going on in the calendar. And if I click on any one of these, again it’s an interface that allows me to drill right into that card. Look at the task, look at that information.

Now I’m going to come back here because I’m going to show you other things that you can do in Planner and how that’s going to work, but I’m going to do that under a different persona. So let’s take a look at a new person. Let’s just see someone else who has a different role. This is actually something I want you to take, if you want to write, grab a pen and pencil, I want you to write a few things down here. This is actually pretty important to understand, not only the direction Microsoft’s going but where project management is going in the future. So as we look here, we’ve got Janice.

Now notice Janice, she’s a little frustrated there. In fact, she even wrote a little help sign. And she is our unofficial project manager. And what’s funny about this is that, and maybe not so funny is that this happens all the time, where people are not trained as a project manager. They may have not had any classes. They don’t understand methodology, Agile? What’s Agile? All I know is I’m really highly organized, and I did a great job helping my executive, and now they stuck me as a project manager on something. And so what Jan wants to do is she’s thinking, “You know what, I’ve been made a project manager, I’m going to do my best here. I definitely have a lot of collaboration and communication that needs to go on. I think that’s one of the things that I do really well, is I walk around and I manage people all the time, and I make sure stuff gets done.”

Now we know that’s not scalable, but Janice doesn’t know that. So as she’s thinking about this, she’s super organized, but you know, she’s not really familiar with Office 365, or let alone even Microsoft Project. So let’s take a look at the accidental or the unofficial project manager, and what I want you to write down is that Microsoft is going to be releasing a new version of Microsoft Project. It will run in parallel with the existing version of Project because the existing version of Project, we’ll call it Project Legacy, is super powerful. It is really an amazing tool. However, right now, there’s about 5 million project managers. This whole category of what we call the accidental or the unofficial project manager, people getting deputized to do projects or people managing projects. Remember, a project is something that has a beginning, a middle and an end.

And so the expectation is that this group of people is going to hit about 87 million. 87 million unofficial PMs in the next three years. This is going to be a whole different demographic. We’re talking about people who have not traditionally been a project manager, talking about just different mindset of looking at the complexities of the tools. And they may not be allowed or have the time to sit down and go through that formal methodology, but yet they’re stuck in managing a project. So we want to do is say, “Well, I’m overwhelmed. I’m Janice, I’m trying to figure this out. I’ve got to have some accountability. How do we make that work?” So let’s take a look at a couple things here. I’m going to start with, let me do this. I think I’ve got Kyle’s message here. I’m going to bring over one of the most common task management tools in the world. It is Outlook.

And so here I come in, I’ve got my Outlook inbox. I got stuff coming in. And a lot of people are like, “Oh, my gosh, I got to do something with this.” And so they put a task on their calendar. Well, Janice knows that she has things that need to come up, need to get done. And so she come over here and says, “Hey, Kyle.”, says, “I’ll see you tomorrow at nine. Oh, that’s right. I got to get ready for this.” I’m going to go ahead and I’m going to basically do a follow up or I’m going to flag this. And the ability for us to actually flag this for today means that I can create some prioritization. I can actually color code these. I can actually make sure that it appears. Now remember, she doesn’t have Projects, not even familiar with it, never heard of Planner before. In fact, some of you on this session and the recording may not have ever heard of Planner before. But let’s talk about something called Microsoft To Do.

So down here, I can come in and say, “Show me tasks,” right. So if I turn on my task view, I can see tasks coming from Planner, I can see things coming from Dynamics, I can see things that are been assigned and then up feed my MPUG pug, that’s a real important one. I can actually see what is this that I need to do, and notice I just added from my inbox, this activity here that says, “Agile series part one.” That’s really part three, Kyle, but we won’t tell anybody. We’re doing number three today. I noticed there’s something called a running store list, what’s that? And so I click on this. Again, I’m in Outlook. Now this is not necessarily the best view to see this information. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to open up something called Microsoft To Do, and I’m going to do this from two different ways. First off, is I can go to a web browser, literally go into my Office 365 and say turn on Microsoft To Do.

If you don’t see it in your running list there, you can always go to all apps, and this is where I tell people, if you haven’t done this, you can kind of find what’s available for you. There’s Planner. You know, you can turn these on, and what I usually do is well, come in and say, “Hey, you know what, when you’re here, let me hit this ellipses and make sure that it is basically pinned, right. Pin to the launcher.” So I always see this. Now, I like browser based technology because I can quickly hit it, I can see that but it doesn’t necessarily as pretty or maybe have all the functionality. But Microsoft To Do, about the only thing that’s different between the desktop version of To Do is that I get to play with my colors and my layouts and we call these skins, right. So I can come in and say, “Ah, you know, it’s all my planned stuff. I want it to seem more like a beach and I can kind of arrange these.”

But Microsoft To Do has a list of task, this is the same Azure Outlook task list, but we have a lot of things that we can make happen here. Number one, here’s that running store list, right. I can create custom list of activities and organize all these task that are coming from Planner, or from Outlook or from just standard task. I can feed them in here, I can organize them. I can also go out and I can invite people. So I can create an invitation link and share this with somebody who’s either outside the organization, if your IT organization will let you do that, or someone who’s in your organization, but I just need to be able to share that. If you’re using the desktop version of this, you won’t even need Office 365. You can basically say, “What’s the email address? I want to bring this to a link when they click on it, they’re going to be able to see that information in terms of sharing.” So I can bring people to my task list.

Then I can come in, and while I’m working on these, I can actually come here. Now this is a little bit of fun. You can rename them. I like to actually put little icons on here. And the reason for this, if this is my running store list and I’m using pizza, is that when I go back and I start planning out my activities about what’s going on, I can quickly see with my icon, which tasks are coming from different places. So again, notice I’m not building a schedule, I’m not linking in predecessor success these things. I’m just making sure stuff gets done. And so Janice, very excited, she says, “Hey look, I can kind of organize things. I have a place to go here. I can flag them by importance. I can quickly add my task right here at the bottom and just say, look at that, add a task, okay.” Feed the kitty meter, so no more tickets.

I always go park somewhere and I forget to feed the meter. All right, there it is. I need to make sure this happened. Well, wait a minute. Since I go to this place every Wednesday, I’m thinking while I’m in here, I may want to repeat this. I’m going to make this a recurring activity daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. I can get into a custom format says every third day I want to do this. So the idea is that you can have this thing, you can make it recurring.

You can add it to something called My Day. So if I flag this and say, you know what, put this on My Day, up here, when I click on My Day, this just tells me what’s happening today. Really, it’s kind of dropping it into a calendar. And so while you’re working, you can put these in here again. You can always come and change a due date. And what’s important is if you want to see things show up in other views, so you say, “Hey, let’s go ahead and put a due date.” I’ll just flag mine today.

And I want to remind her, I want to know, at least later today, sometime maybe at 1 p.m., that you remind me get out there and do that. Notice we’re talking about task management, not project and program and portfolio management. But this is where a lot of the organizations are living and working with, which is how to make this kind of an activity work. What’s assigned to me? How am I grouping things by other people? Hey, I’ve got some stuff that I flagged in from my email, look at that. And so from a very lightweight component here, we’re in a place where we could use Microsoft to do to actually capture, track, manage work activities, and I can invite other people in here to begin to work with that.

She’s pretty excited. Now she’s got a better tool to organize it than just creating a scratch pad by her desk or having to re-key or re-type all this stuff in an Excel file and she’s working on it. Then somebody mentions, “Well listen, while we’re in here, I can actually go to my planned activities.” And what’s kind of nice is that if I open this up, see if I can zoom this for you guys. Do you see the little tiny attachment icon there?

I can put attachments. But that’s not super clear. So if I click on this and say, “Hey, listen, if Tim’s got to go meet with a client, here’s the picture of what they’re wrestling with in terms of their computer. And how does that appear?” Normally, let me bring over that picture so you guys can see that better and I’ll just zoom that a little bit more. So this person is struggling with technology. This is their idea of what technology really looks like. So I put it in a picture and I’m going to attach it and put it in there. But I can make these things in here but itself, I’m really only looking at one activity. Each one of these is an activity itself.

So Janice says, “You know what, I have a lot more going on, I like this whole idea of organizing to do. But I heard about something called Planner. And I’d like to take a look at that a little bit more in detail.” And so while she can hit this on her phone, she can pull this information, she can progress this, she’s going to go and actually jump into that Planner environment and say, “Hey, I’ve got a Planner Hub.”

And so very easily she can create a new plan, or she can link to an existing plan or be pulled in. And what’s nice is that I can very easily add people to this. So I can come in and say, “Hey, make that my favorite.” And then I want to say, “Let’s add a few more members.” And so what it’s doing is if you’re on Active Directory, it actually looks out there and says, “Hey, can we add some of these people directly into our environment and actually see that they have work and work assignments.” And so when she comes in here, she says, “Hey, listen, it’s nice to be able to complete things. But while I’m working on maybe it’s my project celebration, I realized that ordering supplies is actually going to be a very complex activity. And so what I’m going to do is I’m actually going to kick these particular checklist items, order supplies, what I’m going to do is for the big celebration, I’m going to validate handouts.

And I’m going through here but ordering supplies, I want to kick this out to its own card. So let me promote it. So she’ll promote this. And there it is here on the right, let me just close my view. There’s my order supplies. Now I’ve got a checklist item that says this is big enough to invite a few more people. Let’s assign a couple folks. Let’s pull them in. And we’ll give that to not Amanda because she just had a baby and give it to David. And we’ll go ahead and put Laurel in. She’s going to ask what I’m asking her do, order supplies for fun. That will make it really intriguing. Now we’re in here, we can create start date, right? We can put to what bucket it belongs to. And whether I use the dropdown view here or I’m using progress, I set priorities, all helpful. And I like the idea that I can really just say, “Look, there’s no hours, there’s no percent complete here.” It’s either done. It’s in progress. It’s not started. I can actually see where these are at.

And what also you could do here is you could come up and you can create these tags like these little… think of it like a three ring binder, you can put these little post it notes in here or these side flags. And you can go in here and say, “Well, that’s a medium priority.” We’re going to do reporting, and it’s also for the PM, I got to make sure they see it. And right behind us, as I’m making these changes, it’s saving. It didn’t ask me to save it. It didn’t ask me to publish it. I can actually see these appear directly.

I can go out and attach documents. I can have threaded conversations, but I have this ability to really work with that. So Janice is pretty excited. All she’s got to do is take her post to note kind of approach to things and move these around. Let’s just kind of move them around between the buckets or mark it done, mark it not done, move it where I want it to go. I got an easy time to work but again, that’s the idea is keep it simple, keep it organized, and then be able to go in and just say, “Listen, while I’m in here, maybe while I’m keeping track of some of this information. I just want to go and see the One Note information I put in here.” And so we might have an entire One Note threaded discussion, where a lot more detail and our planning meeting minutes always go. So I can come in here. I can put stuff in there, my team is really thinking that is important.

And apparently my team thinks that coffee is a reason to live. And this is their idea of motivation. But again, this One Note is for the whole overall board. So you can have lots of evolving conversations. You can have different pages and if you use One Note, amazing product, great thing to keep attached with my overall Planner board.

So Janice is pretty excited. Notice I didn’t say anything about Microsoft Project. I didn’t talk about earned value. I didn’t talk about the difference between lag time and lead time and successors and predecessors. I didn’t get into effort driven scheduling. I didn’t talk about fixed work. I gave her something that she can get done. And we know that if Jeremy is the PM maybe overseeing this, he can connect to it and very easily see, “Hey, I’ve got a task where all this stuff’s getting done.”

So Janice is pretty happy at looking at this using the Sprint buckets. And again, she is part of an emerging community of potentially 87 million unofficial project managers. I’m sure there’s already more than 5 million “PMs” today. But when we think about the unofficial project manager, there is a lot of people out there doing this. And there is a significant opportunity to help begin to really organize, make sure things get done.

So speaking about things getting done, there’s a person who’s responsible for seeing things get done. And this is persona number three, Tom. Tom, he’s been around for a while. He’s a smart guy, sharp dresser. And he really is sitting in charge of kind of the PMO. Now he has and allows his teams to use different technologies, right? The problem is, is that Tom just says, “Hey, look, I know the developers are using Agile, they use things like Azure DevOps, but it’s really hard for me to get visibility. I don’t necessarily fully understand all of the methodology around Agile but I definitely manage and lead the project organization. And our job is to execute and deliver and communicate. And so I’m constantly going back in front of my steering committees, or my sponsors or stakeholders, and I have to present this. And so I’m having a hard time kind of keeping track of all of this.”

So as Tom’s going through here and thinking, “All right, I’m a PMO, Portfolio Manager, I’ve got people using different tools, which I try and get them out of, but you know what? Those developers and engineers, they won’t give up their Agile tools. Maybe they’re over in Jira or they’re using something completely different, but that’s fine.” So it is important, though, to quickly not have to touch that data more than once. And so while I don’t have to become a rocket scientist in Agile, what I need to do is make sure that things are getting done and that my teams have an effective use of project technologies or tools or processes that we’re putting in place. So one of the things that Tom wants to do is make sure that he’s looking at creating efficiency, both in communicating up or managing down.

So let’s look at this persona. And again, talk about what that would be. So remember when we start talking about the collection of projects, so we go back in and say, “Hey, listen, I started a project environment. I’ve got kind of this SharePoint environment where I can play with them by web parts. I can go in and I can trigger new projects. I can kind of have a nice place for my project managers to pin their activities. And then I can jump into a project center where I actually could create different views to see where it’s at.” Where’s that different project managers? What are they working on? And at any given time, as long as my teams are simply building progress in updating this, I’ve got this nice little red yellow green dashboard that tells me the health of the project, the cost slippage, the schedule slippage, the work slippage. And any one of these, for example, if I want to go down and pick a project, I can click on, let’s just find our biothermal. That’s always kind of a fun one here. So if I click on this link, it will either drop me right into the browser, or if I click right here, I’ll go right to the desktop.

So now I jump into my projects. So here’s my biothermal project, and I can see hey, there’s a schedule. I have my own little miniature dashboard down here, I even have the ability to go over to a SharePoint site, let me open that up in a new tab. So I can actually come in and say, “Well, I’m kind of interested in making sure that we have our issues and risk being tracked.” And so it’s got this nice environment, it all comes directly with the same license that we use for project and I can have all my information in a browser based connection. But now I got those crazy developers who are doing this Agile stuff, and I need to kind of get that folded in. And so Tom’s not going to roll down and start using Planner. It’s nice to know that the detail’s there, but what he needs to be able to do is say, “How do I roll up this information and make sure that I can actually see it?” So I just tried to hit back and it’s just asking me to refresh. So here we go.

So Tom needs to think a little bit differently about this, because we’re putting all the products in the same place, we do have these Power BI reports. So literally, I could come in and say, “You know, if we’re thinking of modeling costs or forecasting cost information, which you could do very nicely in Project, which says I can look at non labor, I can look at labor, I can look at budget and baseline and estimating I can make sure it’s there, I can look at an entire portfolio.”, and I interactively could say, “Hey, I can filter my information and say listen, let’s just quickly drop two things that are over 20% or hey, less than 20% of baseline costs. I want to see who’s going to get the ribbon today for the PMO meeting for who’s doing a good job.” And again, I can go through these and say, “What are my issues? What are my risks?

I don’t even have to jump out there and go to all the SharePoint sites. I can actually see this information kind of summarized and pulled together. Again, that’s the idea of one version of the tool is to bring it together and use Power BI as that bridging tool instead of lifting and scooping, we’re simply going and reading and centralizing that information. So he’s pretty happy with the product side of things, but he’s got to do planning. So with Project comes a new tool called Roadmap. You’re going to notice here, I’ve got a little icon that says, “Hey, listen, what do you want to create?”

Do I want to create a new roadmap or am I going to fire up a new project? And so some of this is part of our idea is that we absolutely want to make sure that we’re in a good place where I can actually see this. So let’s take a look at a roadmap. Let me actually just bring one up here. So the idea of roadmap is going to be kind of a portfolio tool, the ability to come in and link to different projects from even different tenants, I can have totally different tenants, as long as I have the ability to connect and have access to those, I can read things from one environment to another and centralize it for executives to have, key dates, key bits of information. Now remember, we talked about those Azure DevOps folks, if I want to connect to an Azure DevOps, I can simply add a row. And what that will do is it will run over here and fly out this window that says, “Hey, what do I want to look for?” I want to look for this project. It needs to know who you are. And I can click on add items.

Well, remember the idea for my roadmap is I want to make sure that I can bring in something perhaps from invoice creation, or maybe there’s a big rollout, so let me just type invoice. And I actually have a creation option here, here it is, I’m going to add this activity. So literally, I can pull this in, I could pull different tasks, and add those from my environment into my roadmap where I could actually see it. Now there it is, just little tiny things. The guys didn’t put a long date here. But what I can do is look for epics and user stories. And from Azure DevOps, the idea is that I’m actually in a place where I can come in and look at work items, user stories, test case, tasks, requirements, issues, risk. This is where they can come in. And they also could create little Kanban boards to begin organizing the work and the work activity that’s going on here.

So if I want to go in and say, “Hey, let’s go and take a look at our backlog, let’s sprint here.” I can create new items. I have kind of this Agile-esque and the ability to come in and also create summary and dashboards and reports as well, about what’s being worked on.

So again, this is an environment that’s really for people who work in more of a requirements and the delivering a particular solution piece. So here’s Tom. He’s trying to make sure you can pull that in. Well, by using Roadmap, not only can I bring an activity in here, but I can also come in and say, “Well listen, maybe I also want to connect to a Microsoft product schedule.” So what I can do here is say, “Hey, listen, let’s go ahead and connect for a project.” And let’s just do that biothermal, bio, there it is, biothermal heating system, it’s in my environment. I know what URL I’m trying to connect to. And I’m going to actually bring in some activities, because what I need to do is start doing some high level planning for my information.

So inherently, the idea is that we’re going to type it, we’re going to connect it and we’re going to bring these in. And the nice thing about it is that it’s going to drop these items. Here we go, we can actually start creating a row that says on this project, here are the key phases or key milestones. So Tom is thinking about, “I don’t need to get data. I need to get to a place where I can either do top down planning or I could do high level thinking.”

But really that Agile-esque so that I can connect to other tools. And we will see in the future as you go to add more rows, that this dropdown choice is going to continue to add more options. And I think that’s kind of important for us to begin to plan, the fact that if I want to connect it to your other tools that are out there, these APIs exist today, this Roadmap tool is going to continue to add these so that you can connect to those.

So Tom’s pretty happy, he’s gotten reports. As long as he makes his teams are building and publishing from the project schedule, we can actually roll those back and then he can actually stand up Roadmap and begin sharing those with anybody who has a license, whether it’s a team member or an executive, but really sitting down and saying I’ve got good visibility and I have that whole to do information from the Power BI being pulled together.

Now the final and most probably interesting persona we’re going to take a look at is a guy goes by the name Turkey Tim and this guy, he’s just a consummate technologist. He just has no time for anything, likes to have fun, doesn’t like complex tools. In fact, here he is in his 80s metal gear for a high school reunion. I won’t say how many years. But if you look at my picture there on the bottom, you can see my I think this is one of  my senior pictures at the bottom. So I was still rocking the mustache there.

But this Turkey Tim guy, he is a scrumologist. All right, he really likes to look at Agile. He loves Jira. He loves spreadsheets, he loves post-it notes. He loves all those things. And the thing is, he set his mind at projects too hard to work with. He works as a functional analyst or a technical analyst, and I call it the lazy or more appropriately the efficient technologist because what this Turkey Tim guy wants to do is he really wants to ensure that stuff gets done and it’s as little time as possible. I really don’t want to wrestle with that. But the idea is that if I could do it from my phone, I don’t want to jump between tools and I love visualization. This is where I’m coming from.

So let’s take a look at kind of bringing these pieces together. So first off, let’s talk about kind of what I call the technology flow. And what I’m going to do is I’m going to bring up Teams again here. So the reason I’m going to talk about Teams is that perhaps I know a little bit about Planner. You saw a little bit earlier that we could go into Planner and we can use this.

In fact, if I want to start building and managing in Planner, let’s just show you a couple things that we didn’t show before, is if I go to Planner, and I hop over to my Planner board, maybe what I want to do is while I’m sitting here in my Hub going, “Wow, there’s a lot here.”, we’re going to do about five of these. There’s one of these modules every quarter. I’m going to copy the whole plan. And so you can come in here and say, “Look, this whole plan, everything that’s there. I can go and clean this up later. But I don’t want to re-type all this stuff and I’m just going to copy the plan.” Or better yet, maybe I want to analyze this in Excel. I’m going to kind of take it and play around with it.

I want to drop this by exporting it directly out in there, or, “Hey, listen, let’s just throw the whole thing over to a calendar where I can see kind of the dates, and I want to just kind of look at that from a different type of view.” So not only does Planner give you the ability to export your data, but something else that comes up very commonly is I like copying the plan. I like exporting it. But part of it also is if I’m in Power BI, and I’m trying to communicate with audiences or stakeholders, and I’m saying, “Well, yeah, you can get it on their phone.” They’re like, “You know, we don’t want it on our phone.

What we want to do is get it in a PowerPoint presentation.”, and that Turkey Tim guy just kind of puts this, does a face palm and says, “Oh man, why don’t we just export these dashboards right over PowerPoint?” That Tom guy keeps asking me lots of questions about what my Agile team’s doing. I’ll just give him some metrics of Azure DevOps on what our burn down or velocities are. I’ll throw it in a PowerPoint, send it over and there he goes. He didn’t have to do anything, but I’m actually connecting it directly to my data.

So in that process of looking at this, whether it’s using network, or perhaps I really spend a lot of time in my Azure environment, really looking at kind of what are the boards, what are we working on, what are my work items, and I’m tracking and managing these, there’s a lot. We could go into our filters, we can do grouping, I can look at the state of an activity. And I can actually use this environment because it is a relational database.

It allows you to kind of organize and keep track of what’s happening. So if I pop into one of these, I can start seeing what was updated. Is it the work activities? What’s the planning? The documentation? There’s a lot here, especially if I’m doing a case study or user story, I’m tying it back to requirements that might tie to a feature that developers are writing code for. There is no disconnect between the person writing code and then being able to quickly see what are the user stories? What are the scenarios that we’re working with? And what are the success criteria to make sure that we’re doing it correctly?

But we’re going to go back to Teams for a moment because what I want to show you is that if you really want to think about where the investment in Microsoft’s going is that look, it’s great to have lots of tools, but again, some people don’t have the patience to hop in 15 tools.

What they want to be able to do is come in here and say, “Hey, listen, I want to connect to Power BI. I want to put this right in my Planner environment, or excuse me, my Teams environment. And what I’m going to do is go to my things that I may be flagged or made favorite, that I could come in here, instead of having to hop to a different window is I can actually pick and say this, I’ll just turn this off here, because I have people in this channel, we’re going to get notifications that I’m adding tabs, but here it is, suddenly dropping in and going, “Hey, look, let’s actually drop in that Power BI dashboard.”

So now my team doesn’t have to go anywhere except go right to the channel. So I can come in here and say, “Hey, there’s a team.” I’d like to create a, this is a team. I’d like to create a series of channels, you can have hidden channels, you can join or create teams, if you see them there that you get to the bottom. You can even have hidden teams depending on how much you’re using. So you’ve got some flexibility here where you can kind of organize this and I usually encourage people to begin thinking about how you want to structure the accessibility to this but it is a mixture of bringing PowerPoint, instant message, chat, phone, task information here.

In fact, let me just continue with that story. So maybe there it is. I want to come in and say, “I want to put that Microsoft Project SharePoint site in here. I don’t even want to hop over there and log into a different portal. I just want to go to my Teams. I want to do it on my phone, which you can do. And let me go grab a website.”

Now the cool thing here is I’m just going to go ahead and call this biothermal project. And I’m just going to pop over and I’m just going to say, “You know, let’s go grab that thing. Where is it at?” There’s the One Note notepad. Let’s go to our project details. Here we go. I want this. I want my team if they have licenses to see if they do, they’ll see it. They don’t, they don’t. But if people want to come in here, I don’t want them to go into four other places right from your phone. You can kind of visualize this.

Let me paste this in. Turn that off so I don’t log my team with all the changes and wait for it. Wait for it. Here we are, I got a team, I can have a conversation, I can put files in here, these files are stored in a SharePoint environment. You can basically even synchronize your hard drive. If you really want to, you can go and synchronize your environment to be connected directly to this. You can do that also through Outlook, where I can come in and say, “Hey, listen, when I’m in my Outlook environment here, I can actually bring it in. Here’s my biothermal project team.”

And I can see the task or things that we’re working with directly into my Planner. I have information accessible. I can even create folders where I can put emails in and have those directly show up in my SharePoint site and be able to visualize this. Again, remember, this is add a web page, right? I’m really talking about looking at a SharePoint site or a project schedule. So whether it’s Power BI, or “Hey, listen, let’s go ahead and create a Planner board for this.” I’ve got Planner here, so I can actually add my Planner board so I can start building in this environment to see what’s being done.

So again, from my phone, I could do this. You do not know how many times my phone will start ringing and my computer’s ringing, I’m looking at them both because somebody’s at Teams trying to chat me or give me a call. And after a couple seconds, when I don’t pick up on the PC, it will roll to my cellphone. So again, the idea is that from an Agile-esque, scrumologist, somebody says, “Hey, look, I’ve got a lot of tools out there.”, I really want to wrap these together, and make sure I can quickly find an access either Planner, I may want to add Microsoft Shifts in here so you can add other tabs. And I know I won’t have time to do all of this. But maybe in the future, I’ll do a more advanced project manager with Teams.

But the idea is that there’s a lot of great things that you can kind of put in here. I love POPin, I call it POPin. This is really doing surveys, you can come in and actually start doing a poll by polling people what’s going on, but it’s here, and I create the tabs. I’ve got a wiki. I’ve got a project site that I can add here. I’ve got One Note. All of this information is kind of sitting there. Here’s my SharePoint site where I want to go and look at the documents and things that are happening. But my Teams don’t go anywhere, they go here.

So at my company, many of our senior staff and our product managers, they live in Teams, Outlook and Teams, that’s really the environment because they actually have everything connected through there. And they’re still working maybe in different apps that come for free with that environment, including Teams. But the idea is that it’s one version of the truth, we can touch it, we can see it, and it will roll up to those type of reports.

So if you have not felt like I just took you on a screeching rocket ride through some of the technologies, there are certainly more features and capabilities around these. And again, I’m going to be very excited to introduce the new version called product service, which is a very simple version of Project and in many cases will not be compatible with other versions of Project like you’re trying to put it out there. But it’s got some amazing ways to allow Agile teams to quickly build schedules, do it completely web based, there’s not a desktop for this, but to make that work and work specifically.

So while we’re playing with that, let me just kind of go to a wrap here. And I think it’s important for us to think in general, which is lots of methodology, certainly lots of tools. And these are going to continue to evolve, and what’s nice about I feel is Microsoft has really started to move forward, and to begin to turn on things that they’ve been sitting on for the last, believe it or not, three years. So leverage your best to breed, understand your requirements will change. And if we’re going to use a methodology, what we want to do is make sure that you are able to spend the time on the highest value items.

Project is an amazing product. It is one of my first loves. I love the ability to be able to work there and then have that information flow or not put the information there but connect to a Planner board and see what’s going on. But again, the idea is that there’s one version of the tool and the variations of tools or methodologies can be blended together. And what you need to do is figure out what will work best for you.

So remember, it is not just about the high level work in project management. It’s about work in task management where most people spend their time. The unofficial or the accidental project managers like Janice, are going to be coming in droves. And what they need to be able to do is get in, get out and get back to work and pull those together. And so using that task fabric woven across Word and Excel, in fact, you’re going to see things emerging that will say, “Hey, I’m in Microsoft Word, I’m going to put a little reminder here, I can actually flag that as a task and throw it from Microsoft Word into a Planner board.” I actually have the ability to use that app, call out a name, assign somebody to it, and have that appear. So from our planning perspective, we saw a smidgen I didn’t even go into the dynamics tools that are there but we looked at Azure DevOps, Microsoft To Do, Teams, Project.

We look at Project online, we looked at Project the desktop and we certainly looked at a kind of a blend of these together and I think what you’re going to find is that this is not hard. Again in one hour, I’ve kind of led you through approaches to doing this, so while you unpack this may be a little bit more and think through that, find what will work best for you.

Do not forget about Roadmap, a lot of people are not even thinking about this, but Roadmap is going to continue to grow and capabilities and functionality. In fact, I sent Microsoft engineering team a wish list of things. I didn’t give them a spreadsheet of things that I wanted it to do that would actually sort and filter and prioritize.

But the idea is that we can actually pull information from an Agile environment into a strategic plan or a roadmap and look at project schedules, task details, and really make sure that we have good information showing up here so that we don’t have to chase across multiple tenants. We have to build complex reports to do that.

Okay, so Kyle, I think we’re right at the top of the hour, I wasn’t sure if we would have time for questions. But if you do have questions, Kyle, if you send them to me, I’m happy to share those. If you’re watching this recording, and you want to reach out to me with other questions, let me put my contact information up here. I’ve got a whole team that does training and software development and integration, but we really love the project management space. So just reach out to me happy to answer questions. In fact, I usually love giving people a pointer in the right direction and taking five or 10 minutes to help you get your world kind of right sided and get a good direction is part of my passion.

And as a product MVP, it’s one of my charges is to be kind of an advocate for you in the community back to Microsoft, but also the current feed for our environment. So Kyle, let me turn to you. I know you got to talk about PDUs and everything that we have here. So thank you very much.

Kyle: Tim, thank you so much for the great session today and thanks for sharing your expertise with us throughout the whole three part series that you presented was excellent, and we really appreciate it. And thank you to everyone that joined us for some or all the series, which is also available to view on demand as well. So if you missed any of the previous sessions or today’s or would like to go back and review, that’s all going to be available on mpug.com. And as Tim mentioned, today’s session is eligible for PDU so that information, I’ll put back on the screen, today’s session is eligible for one technical PDU, and mpugwebnlearn092519 is the code that you’ll use to claim that.

We also have another three part training series on the schedule. Now it will be presented by another Microsoft MVP Eric van Hurck. This series will teach you how to master Microsoft Project visualization, starting with the first session on view and table creation best practices. And then next, we’ll have a deep dive into project reporting. And then finally, Eric will demystify the printing of your project schedule, which as we know can be a struggle at times. So be sure to save your seat for those and I’ll chat over a link so you can register for that session, which is coming up throughout October. So that’s in the chat window there for you now.

And that does it for today. Tim, thanks again for your time and sharing your knowledge with the community. We really appreciate it.

Tim Runcie: You bet. Anytime.

Kyle: And thanks to everyone that joined us live or watching on demand. We’ll see you back in a couple of weeks for the beginning of our next series. Thanks.


Watch the on-demand recording


Tim Runcie, PMP, MCP, MCTS, P-TSP, MVP is one of 6 Microsoft Project MVP’s in North America and has held that title for 17 years in a row.  A seasoned veteran of complex programs, and portfolio management systems, Tim works with companies like Microsoft on next generations of Project, Program, and portfolio technologies.  Tim is an accomplished speaker, consultant, and educator, supporting the project management community for over 25 years. As the President and founder of Advisicon, Tim has written over 38 books on PM methodologies and technologies. Advisicon has recently added a non-profit division focused on helping faith-based and 501-C3 organizations with implementing and training on available business solutions and providing business coaching or process automation with the mission of “Serving those who Serve.”

Free resources are available at www.YouTube.com/Advisicon or on Tim’s LMS, www.Advisicon.thinkific.com

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