Microsoft Project is really great for managing one project schedule, but what happens when you have more than one project to manage? Sure, you can view the projects indivually, but did you know Microsoft Project Online has views to show consolidate project information? Sorted, grouped, sliced and diced however you’d like!
Project Online is a cloud based solution, similar to Microsoft Project Server (the on premise solution). It’s designed to help you manage multiple projects, resources, budgets, etc and get an overview view of all your projects.
You can still start off by creating a project in MS Project or Project Online. Project Online has the capability to create new project schedules, so if you don’t have the full version of MS Project, it’s no problem. Think of it as a scaled down, web based version of MS Project. It has the basics to get you by, but if you’re doing a lot of schedule development, you’ll want MS Project Professional.
Once you have your Project schedules created, you can view their status on your main Project Online page, called Project Center (shown below).
You can also process task status updates from your resources in one place. So if you are managing several projects, you have one central screen to accept and reject all status updates.
Remember our PM topic last month, Risk Management? Using Project Online, you can manage risks (and issues) in multiple projects.
One of the key metrics we want to track when managing multiple projects, are resources, right? Resource availability and utilization to be exact, across all projects. Using Project Online, you can clearly view and report on project resources quickly and easily. On the image below, I’ve collapsed Bob’s project so it shows a summary, and I’ve expanded my tasks so it shows all the detail.
The Resource Availability graph is also great – It has four options for viewing Resource information:
- Assignment Work by Resource
- Assignment Work by Project
- Remaining Availability
Below I’ve selected the third option, Remaining Availability:
It’s very clear which one of us has availability in this example 🙂
If you’re interested in diving deeper into managing multiple projects, please join us on December 20th at 10:00am (eastern) for this month’s Project Management Webinar.