I am really excited to tell you about a cool event I attended recently. Held on Saturday April 1st at Davenport University, it was a free workshop for any attendee who wanted to learn more about Office 365 including Word, Excel, Access, Power BI and more.
The event was organized by Microsoft MVP Andy Tabisz of WorkSmart Database Masters.
Underwritten by sponsors, including Davenport University and WorkSmart, there was no cost to attend and even included lunch.
Without further ado, here are some of my takeaways from this event:
Presented by Amy Babinchak – The Art of Integration: How Do Your Programs Work Together?
Presented by Bethann Talsma – How to Give an Effective PowerPoint Presentation
Presented by Corentin Cras-Meneur – Taming Outlook for Mac (and some Tips for Windows too!)
At the end of the year many organizations are working on their budgets for 2017 and one of the expensive items that companies deal with is software. By choosing cloud options available within Office 365, you now have more options related to Microsoft Project and less expensive ways to add users. You may also completely eliminate buying expensive licenses that are tied to one computer. I would personally hate to spend over $1,000US for software that I would lose if my computer hard drive fails.
With Office 365 your licensing is based on users and you can easily activate or deactivate computers that your users might be using. In fact, one of the pluses of Office 365 is you can provide each user a license for up to 5 devices. Now your users can have the same software at home that they use at work and provide even more value to your organization. You may choose to purchase these licenses on a month-to-month basis with no commitment or commit to one year for further discounts.
Here are the new options in Microsoft Project licenses:
Project Online Essentials – In conjunction with a Project Online system, this license is optimized for team members who need limited features such as completing timesheets or task updates. Since this provides web browser access, there is no limit on devices.
Project Online Professional – Contains all the features of stand-alone Project Professional but includes features related to managing projects in a Project Online system. Schedule owners and project managers are recommended individuals who need this license. Includes installation of Project Professional on up to 5 devices per user.
Project Online Premium – Contains all the features of Project Online Professional but also includes portfolio management, resource management, administrative functions, and reporting functions. Program managers, portfolio managers, administrators, and members of the project management office typically need this license. Includes installation of Project Professional on up to 5 devices per user.
View this link to see a list of all features including pricing.
Stand-alone licenses are still available if desired:
Project Standard – Desktop scheduling tool that does not have the ability to connect to Project Online and excludes advanced scheduling features. Limited to 1 installation.
Project Professional – All the features of Project Standard plus advanced scheduling features and the ability to connect to Project Online. Limited to 1 installation.
View this link to see a list of all features including pricing.
Don’t be surprised if you hear these new licensing choices in your organization or from messages delivered by Microsoft.
I’m happy to discuss these options in person if you have further questions. Contact me to request a personal appointment.
As many of you know, it is often the user of a great product who has the best idea for improvement. A Starbucks employee told me one of their customers suggested the plastic drink stopper to keep you from spilling coffee on yourself. While in reality it may not have been a Starbuck’s customer, I’m sure it was a hot beverage drinker out there somewhere who came up with the idea.
I recently read a book called Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry. In that book, it talked about Lego’s plans to go after a new industry for them at the time – online gaming. It seemed like every time something was shown to management, the team would be sent back to the drawing board. Continuing to invest money and time in a game whose release date was forever being postponed did not prove to be the best approach. Lego’s initial attempts at an online game were finally released and titled Lego Universe, but it was eventually shut down at around 18 months.
In an effort to release the nearly perfect game, Lego lost their potential market share to a company that did something different. That company was Minecraft which started out with a simple game, relatively low price, but immediately went to the marketplace. The concepts of the game were similar to what Lego was trying to produce, but Minecraft didn’t wait until the game was perfect. Minecraft decided to evolve through user feedback. The game began to improve based on what the users actually wanted, not what someone thought they wanted. As of 2016, Minecraft has been purchased by over 23 million users. This is really a testament to user feedback.
On a future project, Lego decided to use the concept of user feedback and they had one of their most successful new product launches ever. According to Brick by Brick, Nothing beats the feedback you get when you put the product in the hands of the kids. The kids can’t tell what you need to fix in the design, but people watching them can figure it out.
Microsoft is definitely a company that believes in feedback from the users. Now as a Project Online user, you have the ability to suggest and vote on feedback for new product changes. You can do this through something called User Voice. The concept behind User Voice is any number of ideas maybe posted, but you are given a finite number of votes; in this case 10 votes. Since you have a limited number of votes, the most desired changes receive the highest number of votes.
Quite a number of years ago, select individuals (e.g. MVPs, Microsoft employees) were invited to contribute to suggestions related to anything Microsoft Project. I participated in the User Voice that was available at that time. Unfortunately there was a period where it really wasn’t being used or viewed and of course many of us dropped off. I’m happy to see that it has returned and even customers have the ability to contribute to User Voice. Since this is truly open to all users, I’m excited to see the great ideas that rise to the top.
Note – For those of you who remember a long time ago there was something called the Microsoft Project Wish List. I know I had customers who were complaining about that going away. Finally, it has been reinstated in a new way.
Here is how to access User Voice via Project Online:
One of the greatest takeaways I want to give you is you can use User Voice to determine if there is a shortcoming in a feature before you spend hours upon hours trying to solve a problem or search out a solution. I’m often pleased to see a suggestion improvement idea because I can now share that with my customers and basically say “Microsoft already has that suggestion and you can view it here.”
Please let me know if you have found User Voice useful.
As a daily user of Office 365, I find that I am asked to change my password on a very frequent basis. The request is so often that I would often forget my new password and have to log into my password manager to retrieve it. Another frustration is sometimes when I do change my password, it would not fully change in Outlook. I have called support numerous times to get my Outlook reconfigured and synced up with the new password. And if I missed the password warning period, I was sometimes locked out and had to call Microsoft for help.
Frustration no more! I have discovered how to solve this problem and manage my password change policy for myself and others.
Notice you can choose a more reasonable password change policy or not require changes at all.
For all of the Office 365 Admins out there who have flexibility with passwords, I suggest a more lenient schedule to reduce your support tickets.
Hope this tip was useful. If you have another Office 365 tip, please feel free to share it.