Free Project Management Templates for Microsoft SharePoint

Launching today at Microsoft Ignite in Atlanta Georgia, Atidan is pleased to offer free Project Management Templates from BrightWork for all versions of SharePoint.

The Free Lite and Free Structured templates will help you get started managing projects on SharePoint.

The free templates are available for all versions of SharePoint 2010, 2013 AND 2016, including Office 365 (you select the version you want to download after registration).

Download now and you will get:

  • Two free SharePoint project management templates
  • Tutorials and movies on how to install, setup and use the free templates
  • Access to an online community to chat to other free template users

Download HERE and Get Started Today!

For additional information about the full suite of BrightWork Project Management solutions for Microsoft SharePoint please contact us at brightwork@atidan.com

How to Save Time, Save Money and Eliminate Manual Processes

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There’s still time to save time.

Sign up for the Nintex Forms and Mobile Webinar: save time, money and eliminate manual processes.

Your people are going places, why not give them the tools it takes to be productive on the go?

Join us for a 30-minute webinar, Thursday, September 8th, at 2pm EST.You’ll learn how to bring forms and mobile together in your Nintex Workflow platform, and that will:

Give your team access to content from everywhere.

Make it easier for your employees to collaborate.

Keep your people productive when they’re not behind their desks.

Make your workflow mobile. Make forms easier to manage. Make the most of your Nintex platform.

To register, please go to the following link:

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/how-to-save-time-save-money-and-eliminate-manual-processes-tickets-27077284888

 

For more information, please contact: elizabeth.lebeaux@atidan.com

The Future of Planning -Online Project Planning in the Cloud

For almost any company, whether large or small, project management is necessary for getting—and remaining—organized. There are multiple project management tools available to help your business manage resources, project and control costs, communicate effectively with multiple team members, and track progress on any given project. While some of these tools can be installed as software on individual network computers, a great many of them are web-based—in other words, they’re available in the cloud.

Project planning in the cloudBenefits of project management tools in the cloud

You may be one of those people who shudders at the phrase “cloud computing,” but take a moment to consider what it really means. While on-premises project management tools have their place, cloud-based software comes with a plethora of benefits, including the following:

  • Lower upfront cost. When you use on-premises project management software, you have to pay for a number of items, including software license investments, server hardware, IT staff for support, lengthy deployments and more. Alternately, a cloud-based solution typically only requires a monthly or annual fee.
  • More secure than ever. Despite what many business executives have believed in the past, the cloud offers just as much security as on-premises solutions—the company simply does not control the physical servers. As a recent article in Forbes suggests, “cloud computing is no longer an oxymoron.”
  • Accessible from anywhere. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can access your project management software in the cloud. Because access is achieved through a web browser, it’s also possible to allow team members to view, edit and manage documents via devices other than computers.
  • Connected team. Even when workers are separated by miles, they can feel part of a cohesive unit with a cloud-based solution. Because everyone receives to-the-minute updates, no one relevant to the project is accidentally left out of the conversation. Furthermore, conversations can be conducted in the project space (instead of via email) and stored for future reference.
  • Increased productivity. Thanks to a centralized location where all project summaries, tasks, documents, newsfeeds and calendars are kept, cloud-based project management solutions can save time. And when time is saved, productivity can increase. In addition, a centralized location allows team members to access project documents in real time wherever they are located.
  • Real-time communication. One of the biggest benefits of using project management software in the cloud is the ability to give quick feedback on information as soon as it’s uploaded to the project workspace. This can also increase productivity because it lowers the instances of work that needs to be redone.
  • Up-to-date, data-driven decisions. As a business looking to become—and stay—profitable, it’s important to base decisions on more than just a whim. Thanks to the fact cloud-based software is instantaneously updated, you have the necessary information at your fingertips. In addition, most tools will have built-in reports to bring you the insights you need to make business-related decisions.
  • Simplified IT. When you use on-premises project management software, you are typically responsible for server maintenance, which requires the attention of internal IT personnel. Cloud-based software, on the other hand, is maintained for you by the service provider (or another resource)—saving you the time and hassle of dealing with any updates or bugs, and allowing you to focus on running your projects smoothly.
  • Instant updates. Unlike on-premises software, which requires you to download updates whenever a new version is released, cloud-based tools are updated automatically. There’s no need to pay to upgrade your entire application suite or wait for your IT team to have the time available to implement the updates.

Steps for finding the best cloud-based project management solution for you

Unfortunately, getting started with a new project management solution isn’t as simple as understanding the difference between on-premises and web-based, cloud choices. Selecting the best solution for your company requires several steps—but the end result is worth the effort you put forth. Follow these steps to decide on a qualified service provider.

Step 1: Conduct a needs analysis.

This won’t come as a shock to you, but every company is different—with different sizes, different goals and different needs. That means it’s up to your company to decide exactly which solution fits you best. Be sure those who actually will use the product have a voice in the discussion. Consider factors like whether your projects only involve internal employees or external clients as well, or what kinds of reports you will need to run. Once you know your needs, it’s easier to evaluate service providers based on the features they offer.

Step 2: Research, research, research.

When searching for a service provider, be on the lookout for those that offer the following features:

  • Enterprise-grade reliability
  • Ability to add teams and projects quickly
  • Reporting features that give quick insights about your portfolio
  • A familiar environment or at least one that’s easy to navigate and use
  • Ability to see and act on tasks in one location
  • Scheduling capabilities that allow you to plan and manage tasks effectively
  • Summary dashboards for data-driven decisions
  • 24/7 IT support
  • Continuous data backup, disaster recovery and globally redundant data centers
  • Scalable solution that grows with your business

Step 3: Take a test drive.

In the same way you’d test drive a vehicle before purchasing it, you should try out a project management solution before implementation. Test drives allow you to get a closer look at a tool’s features and imagine how the tool would work in a situation similar to yours.

Step 4: Consider timeline and process for implementation.

If you’ve decided to go with an online-based tool for project management, it doesn’t matter if it matches up well with your current applications—this only applies to on-premises solutions. But you will need to consider when you will have the manpower and budget to make the switch, and then coordinate with your chosen service provider to make it happen.

Step 5: Implement and train.

You’ve finally implemented a new project management software solution. Congratulations! But unfortunately, your work isn’t complete. It’s important to make sure your employees have the training they need to use the new tool effectively. Set up multiple sessions so everyone can work one into their schedule. In addition, create practice projects so everyone has a chance to explore and become familiar with the tool’s features before they have to use it in the real world.

Project management in the cloud is the wave of the future. Find a tool that works for you—and don’t be left behind.

For more information about moving to the cloud check out our eBook: Myths About Moving to the Cloud.

Contact the Atidan team at http://bit.ly/1QwmS5Y for additional information and a no obligation PMO / PM briefing!

Credit to https://blogs.office.com/2015/11/18/the-future-of-planning-online-project-planning-in-the-cloud/

The Project Manager’s Guide to Planning a Perfect Project

Being a project manager (even here at Atidan) is a tough job. There are constant demands on your time, people to keep on track, pressure to do a certain amount of work in what often seems like an impossibly short amount of time and much more.

With the launch of Project 2016 from Microsoft, we are excited to expand our PMO offerings and are offering free trials and demonstrations. Contact us at project@atidan.com for additional information.

Working as a project manager is also a necessary role that can bring extraordinary value to your company. In fact, according to a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, more than 60 percent of project failures are linked to internal issues such as insufficient resources or missed deadlines—i.e., situations a project manager can help avoid. In addition, it’s a growing industry, as more and more companies realize the importance of solid project management.

Project Manager FI

Being a project manager is like being a juggler who spins several plates in the air at once—not easy. There are constant demands on your time, people to keep on track, pressure to do a certain amount of work in what often seems like an impossibly short amount of time and much more.

In addition, it’s a growing industry, as more and more companies realize the importance of solid project management. Specifically, a separate Project Management Institute study estimated nearly 16 million new project management positions will be created around the world between 2010 and 2020, and the industry will grow by $6.61 trillion.

All that said, managing projects is a huge responsibility, no matter who your employer is. Whether you’re an official project manager or simply leading a project, the following seven tips should help you get your bearings and set your project up for success.

Tip 1: Establish clear goals for the project

Take a look at the big picture and determine what you want to accomplish with this project. If a client or outside stakeholder is involved in the project, external sources will obviously help determine your goals. Overarching goals you should consider include:

  • Preventing scope creep, which means keeping the scope of the project from growing.
  • Staying within a given budget.
  • Completing all aspects of the project.
  • Providing quality work.
  • Completing work on time.
  • Securing the right resources in advance.

Tip 2: Set expectations up front

Everyone should be on the same page in order to guarantee a successful project. Clearly sharing your expectations as the project lead and asking others to communicate their own is an important step in setting up any project. These expectations should include specific ways your team can achieve the goals you’ve already established. In addition, you’ll want to include the following:

  • List of deliverables and due date.
  • Statement of scope.
  • Roles and responsibilities defined.
  • Q&A process.
  • Communication plan, including how often you plan to communicate with stakeholders/client.

Tip 3: Outline potential risks and how you’ll manage them if hazards arise

Let’s face it—even if you’ve planned everything to the minutest detail, the unexpected can still occur. So what’s a good project manager to do? Make a plan for the unexpected, of course! Obviously, you may not be able to predict the exact hazard that might befall your project—everything from bad weather to political unrest to technology flubs can occur – but it is still possible to lessen the potential impact of hazards through risk management.

Tip 4: Minimize the number of meetings

A study by Verizon Conferencing found that only 22 percent of meetings are considered “extremely productive” and 44 percent “very productive.” That leaves 34 percent of meetings as only somewhat or not at all productive. Obviously, meetings are a necessary part of project planning, but really consider whether a meeting is a best use of your time or if email or some other form of communication—like project planning software, which allows you to share files, assign tasks and exchange ideas without having to meet—can do the trick just as well. The more time spent in meetings means less time spent on actual deliverables. Consider that before sending yet another meeting invite.

Tip 5: Plan the perfect kickoff meeting

Speaking of meetings, the kickoff meeting sets the tone for the entire project. When planning this meeting, be sure to adhere to the following standards:

  • Invite the right people and ensure the key players can be in attendance.
  • Create a detailed agenda stating what the meeting will cover. This will help everyone stay on task and understand the meeting objective.
  • Determine if this can be an online meeting or if it needs to be held in person. This will be different depending on how large the project is, whether you’re working with a new client, the budget for the project, etc. Keep in mind that in-person meetings are usually more complicated to plan—and more expensive too, especially if they involve travel.
  • Reschedule if the key players can’t be there—there’s no point in holding a meeting without them. You’ll often have to hold another meeting to update them or get their input.
  • Before forming the agenda, be sure to understand the point of the meeting and what information people should walk away from the meeting knowing.

Tip 6: Pull reports throughout the project

The only way to know if your project is on track is to pull consistent reports. This can often be accomplished through your project management software program. Reports help you measure the efficiency of your resource allocation and make sure you’re on track to reach your budget goals and deadlines.

Tip 7: Get the right tools

While there are many project management tools on the market, not all are created equal. Decide what you really need and compare the products that interest you. At the very least, be sure to choose a tool that allows you to do the following:

  • Organize and link tasks to create timelines and plans.
  • Share insights that help you better communicate progress.
  • Quickly understand how to use the interface.
  • Customize your plan to fit your team’s needs.

Even though being an amazing project manager is difficult, it’s still doable. You simply need the skills, know-how and appropriate tools to get the job done and achieve the right results.

Content credit: https://blogs.office.com/2015/10/08/project-managers-guide-to-planning-a-perfect-project/

Microsoft Project 2016 Launched – Manage Your Resources

Atidan is excited to announce availability of Project 2016. This release includes significant updates to Project Professional, Project Pro for Office 365 and Project Online. Project 2016 delivers on some of the most requested capabilities: Resource Management and Resource Capacity Planning. Supporting these key capabilities are enhancements such as new Resource Engagements, a brand new experience for resource managers, and Capacity heat maps. Project 2016 now provides an end-to-end experience for managing and optimizing your resource utilization.

In addition to resource management, there are a host of improvements and new features to help you be more productive with Project, such as improved timelines, Tell Me integration and full support for Office Add-ins.

Contact us at office365@atidan.com for a demonstration!

Resource Engagements

For project managers, securing resources to ensure your project is properly staffed has always been a challenge. With Project 2016, it’s now possible to systematically request a resource, and once approved, lock that resource to guarantee it’s available.

Creating an engagement and submitting it for approval sets off a simple workflow that enables the resource manager to approve or reject the request.

The project manager will always have an up-to-date view of the status of their requests from within Project Professional 2016 or Project Pro for Office 365. Once a locked resource is assigned to a project for a duration of time, managers of other projects will get notified if they try to overbook a resource.

The resource manager experience

The resource manager (or line manager) is a people manager who may not want to use the full Project client. To allow the resource manager to collaborate with the project manager, Project Online now has an area for the resource manager to view and approve or reject all proposed resource contracts. In addition, the new resource views allow the manager to understand the capacity utilization of their resources at a quick glance.

Resource Capacity heat maps

Ensuring that the resources are well utilized and productive is a key strategic need for any company. Project 2016 introduces the Capacity heat maps and a brand new set of intuitive reports to enable at-a-glance visualization of resource utilization. Both under- and over-utilization of resources can be problematic, and both can be seen quickly with the new heat map.

Timelines

Communicating the project schedule is a critical part of any project manager’s job. But for many audiences, a Gantt chart isn’t the best way to visualize the schedule. More than ever, a timeline is the best way to communicate how a project’s lifecycle lays out. With this in mind, we have overhauled the Timeline feature to include multiple timelines, each with different start and end dates, representing a user-defined set of tasks and milestones.

There are several rich features in the new Timeline visualization, including:

  • Independent start and end dates for each timeline.
  • Drag and drop between different timelines.
  • Save to PowerPoint with editable objects.

Tell Me

With so many features in Project 2016, wouldn’t it be great if you could just ask where a certain feature was, instead of having to hunt for it? With Tell Me, you can do just that. Better yet, the answer that Tell Me provides is a live button, so you just have to click the answer and it will do as you ask. It’s a huge time saver.

new in Project 2016 6

Read/Write Office Add-ins

Office Add-ins are extensions that you can download from the Office store that add functionality to Project. This means that Microsoft and its partners can continuously and easily deliver new features so you can customize Project to your tastes. With Project 2016 release, Office Add-ins now have full Read/Write access to the project you are working on, providing richer extensions than have ever been possible.

new in Project 2016 7

Availability

Project 2016 is immediately available online as part of Office 365. The new service side features, such as Capacity heat maps, are being rolled out into Project Pro for Office 365 and Project Online right now. When you choose to activate these features, we will automatically upgrade all of your existing Resource Plans to Engagements. The new resource management features will be available to on-premises customers in the spring of 2016 when Project Server 2016 is released.

Content from https://blogs.office.com/2015/09/30/whats-new-in-project-2016/

How to Set Up a Program Portfolio for an Executive Team in SharePoint – September 16th, 2PM EDT

Join us and learn how to utilize SharePoint and BrightWork’s PMO solution to create the ultimate project office for Program and Portfolio Management for an Executive Team!  See a single, central system to view, manage and collaborate across all projects and deploy best practices for project and portfolio management.
David Rosenthal, CEO of Atidan will show configurable templates, iterative deployment of PM process and amazing project metrics, portfolio views, status reports, mobile enabled forms, task tracking, KPI’s and more.
We will cover:
1. Project Management Office Overview
2. Program/Department level Dashboards
3. Organization-wide Dashboards including Exception Reporting
4. Key Performance Indicators and Metrics
5. Automated Reporting

All Attendees will receive a free project management template for Microsoft SharePoint and a chance to win a copy of Windows 8 Pro.

Brightwork Template Spectrum - Atidan Brightwork Portfolio Management from Atidan

A Free Template To Get You Started Using SharePoint 2013 for Project Management

We talk a lot about extending SharePoint for managing projects, and we cite the collaborative benefits of having project teams working together in one organized and easy to use environment.

It's here and it's still free!

In fact, we offer a ton of free guidance on our website and a trial of the full BrightWork solution for PPM on SharePoint – the templates, dashboards, metrics, training guides – the lot!

But for many taking the first step to initiate and formally manage a project in SharePoint isn’t easy.  Questions arise that almost always stop folks in their tracks straight away.

How do we structure the project?  What deliverables and reports are needed by each stakeholder?  How much process is enough?  What best practices/methodology should we follow?  Do we have the skills to set this up ourselves in SharePoint?

So we decided to give people a really easy and risk free way to get started, and we created a set of two free project management templates – based on best practices – that will run on both SharePoint 2010 and 2013.  They’re simply called Project ‘Lite’ and ‘Structured’ and differ in the level of project management process and coordination built in.

The Lite template has been available on SharePoint 2010 and 2013 for a while now with the Structured on 2010 only – until today.  We’ve just released the free Structured template on SharePoint 2013, which I hope will bring a smile to the several thousand of you that have been asking for it.  We know this latest addition will add value as there are now over 15,000 organizations using the current versions and that number is growing every day.  Wowsers!

Here’s what you get in the new Structured template on SharePoint 2013

  1. A best practice template with a structure built in to guide the Initiation, Planning, Tracking, Managing and Closing of a project.
  2. Pre-defined project deliverables including Goals, Tasks, Risks, Issues, and Documents.
  3. Reports and dashboards including Project Status Reports, My Work, Metrics, Gantt Charts, Resource Reports.
  4. Project team collaboration with Discussions, Lessons Learned, Email, and Team Calendars.
  5. An optional two-way sync to Microsoft Project Professional for more advanced scheduling.

SharePoint 2013 Free Template

The icing on the cake?

As with the other free templates, the project Structured is completely integrated with SharePoint 2013 and is highly configurable.  You can make changes to the forms, reports, fields, columns, create new reports etc. with no programming needed.  AND you get installation guides, training videos, and free access to an online community and forum where you can connect with us BrightWorkers, other users worldwide and ask questions etc.

Getting started with project management on SharePoint may seem daunting. But with the right tools and guidance, it can be easy and put you on a path to real project management success.  This new free template is a risk free starting point and it works.

You can download your copy here.  For you admins out there, it runs on all versions of SharePoint 2013, including Office 365.

I have one favor to ask.  Check back in with us in the forum and share your experience.  We want to deliver solutions that make project management success, easy for everyone.  It’s feedback from you, the real users, that matters.