This is the first post in a series that will show you how to use Microsoft 365 to run your PMO.
We’ll concentrate on making use of the features and functionality available with the subscription level that everyone in your company can access i.e. without spending money on additional licenses.
That means this series is not about specific Microsoft PPM solutions like Project, Project for the Web, PWA, Dynamics 365 Projects Operations or Azure DevOps which typically require additional licenses and/or expertise to use.
We’ll touch on how Microsoft PPM solutions and other popular third-party PPM tools can be incorporated if you do have them – but implementing anything here will not depend on it!
We’ll cover all you need to know about how to use Microsoft 365 to run your PMO, including:
- SharePoint set up
- Teams set up
- Teams apps
- Using Forms
- Using Planner
- Using OneNote
- Email / Calendar in Outlook
- Dashboards and reports with Power BI
- Making life easier with Power Automate and Power Apps
- Things your IT team will be concerned about
- Ongoing administration and maintenance
We may even make some videos to accompany the series and to demonstrate some of the more detailed steps involved!
Step 1: Groups
Starting with a key concept – getting familiar with Groups will really help you to use Microsoft 365 to run your PMO.
Groups are the engine of your Microsoft 365 platform and are used to power the various methods for collaboration between people both inside and outside your company.
Depending on how a Group is created, certain connected tools are provided automatically:
- shared Outlook inbox
- shared calendar
- SharePoint site with a document library
- OneNote notebook
- Power BI
*additional actions are required to fully enable these features once a Group has been created.
Adding people to a Group automatically gives them the permissions they need to use the Group tools and resources. Similarly, removing someone from a Group also removes their permissions. So you don’t have to manually assign permissions unless you need to give someone outside the Group specific access to something.
People in Groups can have the following roles:
- Owners– Group owners can add or remove members and have unique permissions like the ability to delete conversations from the shared inbox or change different settings about the group. Group owners can rename the group, update the description or picture and more.
- Members– Members can access everything in the group but can’t change group settings. By default, group members can invite guests to join your group (if your company allows), though the group Owner can control that setting.
- Guests– Group guests are members who are from outside your company i.e. they don’t have a license as part of your platform.
Visibility or “discoverability” of Groups within the platform can be Private (only visible to those who are members) or Public (appear in search and accept requests to join).
Check how the Group will be created
Global admins can create Groups via the Microsoft 365 admin center; others can via Planner, Teams, Outlook and SharePoint but your IT team might have turned off the ability to create Groups. If that’s the case, users who cannot create groups will also not be able to create SharePoint sites, Planners, or Teams because these services require the people creating them to be able to create a Group.
If a Group is created via the Microsoft 365 admin center – likely if IT will be doing it for you – by default users do not get copies of group emails and meeting invitations sent to their own inboxes; they will need to go to the group via SharePoint to see all conversations and meetings.
This setting can be changed for each Group; when turned on, those in the group will get a copy of emails and meeting invitations sent to their own Outlook inbox as well as the shared ones. They can read and delete this copy of the email and not affect anyone else – in the Group inbox, a copy of the email still exists.
Remember: people in the group can opt out of receiving emails directly to their own inbox by choosing to stop following the group in Outlook. If they do, they will always need to go via SharePoint to find them so try to discourage it.
Group members can send as or send on behalf of the group email address if this has been enabled by the administrator; handy for project or PMO scenarios where several people might need to send on behalf of the whole group.
Finally, ongoing administration of Groups can be streamlined via security groups, and if you prefer a more automated way to manage the lifecycle of your Groups, you can use expiration policies to expire groups at a specific time interval. The group’s owners will get an email 30, 15 and 1 day before the group expiration that allows them to easily renew the group if its still needed. You can also recover a Group within 30 days of deletion if you DO make a mistake.