Is your project management environment prone to haphazard solutions, sometimes resulting in success and sometimes…not so much? Do you find yourself lacking the tools that will let you enhance your projects’ collaborative processes?

If you’re working in an enterprise where most project management efforts are ad hoc and not organized for maximum efficiency and effectiveness, you may be used to using email, spreadsheets, Word documents, a file share (or, ideally, SharePoint) and mobile devices to manage your projects.

Distributed Workflows

All of these tools are great for collaboration, but don’t always provide the most robust project management solution on their own, without a process in place to define how they’re used or how to use them to sync up and collect project information in a central location.

This can lead to gaps like a lack of project reporting, lack of consistency in look and feel of the project artifacts, no place to store project artifacts, no version history and control of documents, no easily accessed shared project schedule for everyone on the team, and no way to collaborate on artifacts in real time.

First Steps

This is the first in a series which will show you how to use Office 365, Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft Project Professional 2010 and Windows Phone 7.5 technologies to put together a streamlined project management system that encourages effective collaboration and will yield a more complete, standard and workable solution than your on-the-fly project managements have yielded.

One of the very first steps you’ll want to take is to create a standard project site with a set of templates that will enhance a consistent look and feel, and will provide a basis for all your collaboration sites. SharePoint Online is built into Office 365, as are other familiar Microsoft tools like Word, Excel and Outlook. Today we'll use SharePoint Online to create a project site in Office 365:

Once you’ve created a SharePoint site, you can make it a template to pattern other collaborative sites on the first one. Then you can brand each to your needs so that each site your organization uses is well-formatted, uses the same features and is consistent across the board.

Laying a firm foundation for your project is something you can learn a lot more about if you attend Microsoft Project Conference 2012, March 19-22 in Phoenix, AZ!

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