With your needs undoubtedly evolving throughout your project management journey, choosing the right software is a game-changer. Microsoft Office 365 project management software options and Fluid each provide unique offerings.
What is project management software?
Project management software is a powerful digital tool that fuels collaboration, streamlines activities, leading to project success. With a centralised space for planning, executing, and monitoring projects, it brings teams together, makes communication easier, and boosts efficiency. From seamless task management to resource allocation and progress tracking, this software empowers businesses of all sizes across diverse industries.
What does project management software typically include?
With so many options for project management software on the market, it’s important to understand what capabilities it should typically includes. This list isn’t exhaustive, but provides some of the top highlights of what should be included:
· Scheduling/Gantt charts
· Task management
· Resource management
· Time and expense tracking
· Budget planning
· Financial management
· Project tracking
· Collaboration and communication aids
· Task dependencies
· Document management
Types of project management software
When comparing Microsoft Office 365 project management and Fluid, it’s worth knowing the different types of project management software available. This is especially important for Microsoft Office 365 as there are a variety of options and an organisation needs to understand what is suitable for them.
· PPM software, also known as Project Portfolio Management Software, brings together multiple projects. It provides a comprehensive view of your project portfolio, allowing you to assess project health, allocate resources, and enhance overall performance. With PPM software, you can prioritise projects, optimise resource usage, and align projects with strategic business goals.
· Task management software helps you stay organised, meet deadlines, and track progress, making it easier to conquer your to-do list. From creating to-do lists to receiving real-time updates, this software simplifies task prioritisation and ensures project milestones are achieved. While these tools may lack certain advanced capabilities, they provide an effective way to manage individual tasks.
· Work management software is a digital tool or platform designed to help individuals and teams plan, organise, track, and execute their work efficiently. It provides a structured framework for managing tasks, projects, and processes.
What is Microsoft office 365 project management software?
Microsoft offers a range of tools and applications within the Microsoft Office 365 suite that can be used for project management, collaboration, and related tasks. Here are some of the notable software solutions that can be used to aid project management.
Microsoft Project Online:
Microsoft Project Online is a web-based application for more complex project and portfolio management. This is really the only application of the Office 365 project management offering that can be considered as a project management software. It offers schedules, multiple views and progress updates across the project portfolio.
Microsoft Project for the Web:
Microsoft Project for the Web is a web-based project management tool designed for smaller projects and simple task tracking. Project for the Web is a much more simplistic form of Microsoft Project Online and provides Boards and Gantt views. It's part of the broader Microsoft Project system and can be used alongside Microsoft Project Online.
Planner is a lightweight project management tool that's part of Office 365. It allows teams to create plans, organise tasks, and track progress. It's user-friendly and integrates well with other Office 365 apps.
To-do is a task management application developed by Microsoft. It's designed to help individuals and teams create to-do lists, manage tasks, and increase productivity.
While Teams is primarily a collaboration and communication tool, many organisations use it for the communication aspect of projects. Whilst it’s great for collaboration, and integrates with various Office 365 apps, it’s not a project management software itself. There are several project management software solutions which integrate with Office 365 apps. We’ll get more into that later.
What is Fluid project management software?
Fluid is a comprehensive project and project portfolio management (PPM) software designed to help organisations plan, execute, and manage their projects efficiently. It's a tool that offers a wide range of features, making it a powerful choice for businesses looking to streamline their project management processes. There are countless capabilities that Fluid offers for effective project management, but let’s go through a few key aspects:
Project and Portfolio Management
Fluid combines project management with project portfolio management. This means it's capable of managing individual projects while also helping organisations assess the big picture by analysing and optimising the entire portfolio of projects. This is helpful for executives and managers who need to make strategic decisions based on the performance and aligning projects with organisational goals.
Fluid offers an all-in-one project management software. It's user-friendly, so your team can quickly adapt to it without extensive training. It’s easy to find what you’re looking for when all projects are managed in one intuitive workspace.
Fluid allows users to create detailed project plans with tasks, timelines, and dependencies. This feature is essential for project managers who need to outline how a project will unfold and allocate resources effectively.
Fluid enables for effective resource management through several ways. Users can assign team members to projects, track resource utilisation, and ensure that workloads are balanced, which is crucial for keeping projects on schedule and within budget.
Reporting and analytics:
Fluid provides robust reporting and analytics features. Users can generate custom reports and dashboards to gain insights into project and portfolio performance. This data-driven approach is valuable for making informed decisions.
Fluid offers robust financial capabilities. Organisations can track financials and create in depth budgets. They can also generate financial reports that provide insights into project costs, revenue, and profitability. These reports are invaluable for financial and executive teams when making strategic decisions.
Fluid integrates with a variety of other software tools. This means it can fit seamlessly into your existing tech stack, whether that includes calendars, email clients, or more specialised project management tools. As we mentioned earlier, Fluid can integrate with Microsoft applications too allowing you to make the best of multiple platforms.
Microsoft Office 365 project management vs Fluid
With the overview of the Office 365 project management offerings, it’s pretty evident to see that there is only one or two applications really suited to effective project management. Fluid on the other hand is tailor made for successful project management as its capabilities are targeted as such.
Although Microsoft to-do and Microsoft Planner are useful tools, they would only suit an organisation looking exclusively for simple task management. Or more so, organisations looking for a basic planning tool to help with day-to-day activities.
Projects are more strategic and in-depth, requiring more detail to aid their success. Microsoft Project online and for the web is the most appropriate Office 365 project management applications available from Microsoft, but it’s still important to understand whether they’re right for your organisation or not.
The key features of each one differs, with Microsoft Project for the web still being deemed the lightweight sibling of Microsoft Project online. The capabilities of Fluid would far outweigh those of Microsoft Project for the web as they are more comprehensive for project management as a whole. Although comparable to Microsoft Project online, Fluid can be believed to be easier to use and intuitive.
How to choose the right software for your company
Choosing the right project management software is crucial for any organisation. Here are three steps to help you make a well-informed decision:
- Assess your needs and objectives:
- Begin by thoroughly assessing your organisation's needs and objectives. Identify the specific challenges you face and the goals you want to achieve with project management software. Consider factors such as the size of your organisation, the nature of your projects, the number of users, and your budget constraints.
- Engage with key stakeholders, including project managers, team members, and decision-makers, to gather their input on the required features and functionalities. This ensures that the selected software addresses their pain points and aligns with their goals.
- Research and compare options:
- Once you have outlined your requirements, start researching project management software options. There are various tools available, ranging from comprehensive enterprise solutions to simpler, cloud-based platforms.
- Create a shortlist of potential software solutions that meet your needs. Look for features that are essential to your organisation, such as task management, collaboration, reporting, integration with other tools, scalability, and customisation capabilities. Pay attention to user reviews, case studies, and testimonials to gain insights into the real-world performance of these tools.
- Utilise comparison charts and online resources to comprehensively evaluate the shortlisted options. Compare features, pricing plans, ease of use, and customer support.
- Trial and feedback:
- Before making a final decision, consider conducting trials or demos of the software you are interested in. Many project management software providers offer free trials or demo versions, allowing you to test the software's functionality and interface in a real-world scenario.
- Involve potential users in the testing phase and collect their feedback on usability, features, and how well the software aligns with their daily tasks. This input is invaluable in determining whether the software is the right fit for your organisation.
- Take the software for a test drive by creating a project, assigning tasks, and monitoring progress. Evaluate its performance in terms of project visibility, communication, and collaboration.
By following these steps, your organisation can make an informed decision when selecting project management software that aligns with your needs and objectives. This will ultimately lead to more efficient project management, improved collaboration, and better project outcomes.