Project Online Migration Made Simple: Key Planning Tips

As the sun sets on Project Online, many businesses are looking for a roadmap to navigate their migration journey to a different technology. In this blog, we guide you through the essential steps to get started with your Project Online migration planning, ensuring a smooth transition to your next project management solution.

While the technical intricacies of migration can be complex and highly dependent on your specific circumstances, we will emphasize the broader strategic aspects of the process.

It’s important to note that you have a window of approximately four years (or possibly more, given Microsoft’s history of extending deadlines) to work out the technical details.

However, the time to initiate your migration planning is now, as thoughtful consideration and preparation will be key to a successful transition.

So, let’s jump in.

1. Assess Your Situation

The first step in planning a technology shift is to examine how your current project management software works with and/or against your organization’s current situation.

Look at your process.

Start by mapping your processes in a flow chart. Make sure to consider your department and the others who end up inheriting and using project data. Note the applications used at specific steps, including decision points and handoffs.

The best organizations align their technology to their processes, not vice versa, although we’re not trying to invalidate technology’s abilities to revolutionize and improve clunky business processes.

The point is to be realistic! If you don’t have processes or standards, chances are that a new miracle software isn’t going to be maintainable.

Remember your culture.

You can’t shoehorn in a technology that doesn’t work for your team. Think about your organization’s agility, capacity to change, and resource availability (fiscal and people).

Is your current software giving you all the features you need? How do people currently use it? Practically every technology will have a learning curve. How much training would be needed to get everyone on the same page with the new tool?

Consider organizational maturity.

Each tool has a different depth of complexity and power. Each organization works at different levels.

Looking at your processes is a good way to assess maturity—how are your departments (or people) working together? How efficient are they? How many people do you currently have working in your project management software and how many would benefit from access to some or all that data?

2. Examine the Available Toolsets

In this section, we will assume that your organization is immersed in the Microsoft toolset and that you’d like to continue using the Microsoft platform for your Project Online migration.

Project for the Web

First off, you can go to Project for the Web. You can certainly scale with Project for the Web. Some people are already in Project Online, and they also use Project for the Web, leveraging Power BI to bridge those systems together.

They’re using the Microsoft Fabric space to read data from multiple enterprise tools and generate dashboards that combine all the information.

Additionally, Project for the Web adds new features and more capabilities monthly. Project Desktop, Microsoft’s eldest tool in its project arsenal, has deep features that are now being added to Project for the Web.

Microsoft is actively investing in the ease and use of Project for the Web.

Power Platform

Another route to consider is the Power Platform option. Microsoft puts out a specific accelerator for Project for the Web, extending its capabilities using Power Apps. The accelerator is essentially a pack of prebuilt Power Apps.

In these Power Apps, you can track proposals, programs, issues, risks, changes, and status (all of which lie outside of Project for the Web’s basic function of tracking tasks and who is assigned to them). All of these are customizable and easily viewed on your home dashboard.

If you need even deeper enterprise features in the relatively lightweight Project for the Web, chances are they can be built in the Power Platform.

Power Automate and Power Apps offer ways for you to build the processes you need without technical coding skills—perfect for “citizen developers.” Drop in your data sources and functions you’d like to see, then watch your scheduling technology, resource management, and task/work management systems deliver it.

Offering a variety of templates, they’re designed for easy automation. Not everyone has the bandwidth to create these processes, so outsourcing this task is an easy option.

Once properly built and tested, the flow or application should require minimal maintenance.

Project Server

Are you still using Project Server? This project management software option is mostly used by those working with sensitive data or on government initiatives.

If you’re using it, do you have to move it? No, not really. If you’re not using it, should you move to it? No, probably not.

If you’re using Project Server, you could consider hosting it online. You can have your own server for your enterprise environment, whether it be on Azure, Amazon Web Services, or another host.

Technically, even in Project Online you could grab, deploy, and stick it in the Server environment where it would be static and stable. And you can continue to use it since Microsoft isn’t turning it off.

Project Operations

Microsoft’s most heavy-weight, involved project option is Project Operations. This is truly an enterprise-ready application that connects sales to finance and project management, all in one place. Built on Dynamics 365, it’s geared toward project-centric businesses, and moving to it will require/allow a big shift in operations.

As a result, it is meant for mature organizations that are capable of big changes.

3. Think about your situation, future projection, and how the software works together

Perform your discovery activities and talk with your leadership team about Microsoft’s direction and your organization’s direction. This careful deliberation helps you find a solution that’s the right fit for you.

Putting together a Project Online Migration plan matters! Don’t skip this.

Moving software is tricky, and we haven’t even scratched the surface of the complexities of Microsoft’s licensing.

We recommend finding a trusted Microsoft partner to work with to find the best licensing fit for you.

Knowing the right direction forward can involve a lot of grey areas. Pulling in a team of business professionals can save you time, money, and energy.

Here at Advisicon, we not only explain licensing, we specialize in assessing your unique situation and recommending paths forward that meet your specific needs. Learn more about our process here.

We know that by discovering your situation, we’ll be able to analyze the information and provide you with actionable, right-sized next steps on your project management technology journey.