Applying formal Project Governance to Teams

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Few would argue that using Teams for smaller, less formal projects is a breakthrough. But could we actually use Microsoft Teams for very formal projects that require stricter governance and more control. This blog will walk you through what works and what doesn’t, using our PACE Project Governance principles as a guideline.

Ensuring the project is aligned to the organisations vision and strategy is an important role for the Project Leader and Project Sponsors. Capturing this and communicating it with the rest of the team is something a Teams Wiki can do really well. This applies to capturing project objectives and any other information that can be classed as long term (not likely to change much) – think of the scope of the project, business case or impact analysis.

Personally I have yet to discover an easy way to create an org-chart of the members of the Project Team or a RACI chart. But a simple table with the names, roles and responsibilities may be sufficient. (If not creating a SharePoint list is certainly an option or even an Excel spreadsheet. Save the spreadsheet in the Team and publish a link in the Wiki.)

A great benefit of the wiki is to on-board new project members, simply send them a link to the wiki, they can read up on background of the project. Before catching up on specific conversations and action lists.

Communication is vital to any project and takes on different forms. Discussions, whatever you do don’t discuss project matters in emails. Use Teams conversations functionality to discuss all matters for the project. Short status updates can be made in the General tab and specific updates or discussions in channels if required. Meetings, periodic, spontaneous, virtual or around the boardroom table. Skype functionality built into Teams means the whole team, or parts thereof, can meet. Meetings can be recorded, action items captured in you Planner action list. And finally, documentation, the more formal and long term form of communication.

Saving all documentation in the Files library of the Team (channel) epitomises modern collaboration. One file saved online, where everyone can edit or comment on the file. Versions are automatically saved and can be reverted to if required. By default, the latest version is always opened. Connect a file to a specific task, hold discussions around a document. Regardless of the size or complexity of a project, this functionality solves a myriad of collaboration issues.

Should your team members still find it difficult to keep track of conversations? Using @mentions can help significantly.

Then, vital to any project, task management in Microsoft Teams is basically what the name says, a way to manage tasks. A little limiting if you are used to managing your projects formally or have complex projects that require RAID or CARDI logs. But you can get creative using the buckets and labels to take task management up a step towards project management.

This is definitely a point where good planning will be worth the time you invest. If you rely heavily on dependencies, timelines and milestones consider opening the Team in SharePoint and adding a Task list. The list is highly customisable and users can link the tasks to their Outlook Tasks if they already work in Outlook. The downside is, there is currently no easy way to add this list to Teams. Your team would have to go to the SharePoint site to see the list. You can however build a mobile app for this list using PowerApps, which would make it very simple for users to add new tasks.

In conclusion, Microsoft Teams, combined with Microsoft Planner (or SharePoint depending on the complexity of your task management requirements), is a great solution for projects. Applying good project governance principles is possible in this modern collaboration tool.