TMGR: What Is Microsoft Team Manager?

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Article ID: 160490 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q160490
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SUMMARY

Microsoft Team Manager is a new category of workgroup software designed to facilitate the management of teams and the work they do. It is a collaborative management tool that is used to consolidate, coordinate, and track team activity. It consists of the following three separate programs:

Microsoft Team Manager (Teammgr.exe) is used by the team manager to consolidate and centrally manage all the information about the team and its activities. All the information is stored in a team file.

Microsoft Team Manager for Team Members (Teammemb.exe), also known as Individual Task List, is used by team members to create or edit tasks, to send update messages and status reports to the team manager, and to store tasks and notes sent from the team manager. Team members can also use Microsoft Schedule+ or Microsoft Outlook to store or view their tasks.

Team Status (Tmstatus.exe) lets team members view non-confidential information in a Team file without changing it, so they know what the rest of the team is doing.

MORE INFORMATION

Who Should Use Microsoft Team Manager

Microsoft Team Manager is designed for white-collar team managers who:

  • Manage between 4 and 25 direct reports
  • Have a need to manage their teams more effectively
  • Use Microsoft Office and/or Microsoft Schedule+ or Microsoft Outlook
Team managers manage the people on their team as well as the work for the team, and are responsible for the overall productivity and well being of the team. They set goals for their team and ensure that these goals are met through effective management. They manage day-to-day tasks, set performance objectives, and conduct performance reviews for the individual team members.

Typical responsibilities of team managers and team members are listed below, although in practice, many activities and responsibilities are shared jointly.

The responsibilities of a team manager typically include:

  • Identifying tasks that need to be performed.
  • Coordinating team activities, resolving scheduling conflicts, and effectively using team members.
  • Tracking the overall progress of the team and creating reports.
  • Establishing goals and performance objectives, and conducting performance reviews.
  • Communicating relevant issues to the team.
The responsibilities of a team member typically include:

  • Performing assigned work effectively.
  • Identifying additional tasks to perform.
  • Reporting progress on tasks to the team manager.
  • Working with the team manager to set goals.
  • Participating in performance reviews.
  • Communicating relevant issues to the team manager.

Benefits of Team Manager

Consolidation and Communication:

The Team file contains all information about the team in one place, making it easier to manage the team and its activities, and to create reports. It includes task-level information about the team, such as dates, work, cost, and people assigned, as well as member-level information, such as pay rates, working times, goals, progress, notes, performance reviews, and status reports.

By using the messaging tools of Microsoft Team Manager, information in the form of task updates, status reports, and notes can be sent from team members and be incorporated easily into the Team file. If the team manager wishes to delegate some of the planning responsibility, team members can create tasks themselves in the Individual Task List, Microsoft Schedule+, or Microsoft Outlook, and send a task update to the team manager, so that their tasks can be incorporated into the Team file.

In addition to the messaging tools, the Team Status application increases communication by allowing team members to view the Team file. This allows team members to assist the team manager in spotting potential scheduling problems and to assist in planning.

Consistency:

The team manager can control the fields that appear in the member's Individual Task List and in the Task Update messages, as well as the topics in the status reports and the frequency with which they should be sent. This encourages consistent performance and reporting procedures across the team.

Scheduling:

Microsoft Team Manager has a unique scheduling engine that attempts to optimize the scheduling of work based on deadlines, priorities, and constraints, while minimizing work overloads. It also helps the team manager identify and solve scheduling conflicts by visibly marking tasks with potential scheduling problems and providing suggestions on how to solve those problems.

In addition, by viewing the Team file with the Team Status application, team members can better understand how their tasks fit into the big picture, and have the information they need to provide useful feedback on the schedule. Team members also can affect the schedule by creating or updating tasks in their Individual Task List and sending a Task Update to the team manager.

Tracking:

Microsoft Team Manager makes it easy to track the progress of team members. Actual work done by members on specific tasks can be entered accurately in a Timesheet view, leaving the scheduling engine to reschedule remaining work. The team manager can enter actual work, or team members can update their actual work for a given time period in their Individual Task List (as well as Microsoft Schedule+ or Microsoft Outlook), and send a task update to the team manager. In addition to tracking work, costs, and dates, the team manager can create a status report template for members to fill out and send in at specified intervals. This provides an organized way to determine progress in a descriptive text format. Also, the Notes field in Task Updates can be used to keep a history of communications between the team manager and team members regarding specific tasks. Such notes are preserved as dated threads.

Goals and Performance Reviews:

Microsoft Team Manager has tools that the team manager can use to create goals for specific team members, with the option to associate one or more tasks with each goal. The team manager can rate a team member's performance on his/her goals using a customizable rating system. Goal Review reports can be created from the goals for individual members. The Goal Review reports can provide useful information during company performance reviews, and can assist the team manager in coaching team members.

Reporting:

The wealth of information in a team file can be viewed and printed from a variety of informative, customizable views. Many views can be filtered, grouped, or sorted. There are Sheet views to display information in table format. There are Timescaled views to display task bars, and to graphically or numerically display task-level and assignment-level actual, remaining, overloaded, regular and overtime work. Task notes, people notes, assignment notes, goal notes, and general team notes can be printed from various views, including Goal Reviews and Team Status Reports.

What Microsoft Team Manager is NOT

Microsoft Team Manager should not be confused with classical project management software. The list below points out some of the potential misunderstandings:

Not Project Management software:

Project management software is used to manage a project that has a definite start and (eventually) a definite end, and the schedule itself is the primary focus. Microsoft Team Manager's emphasis on people, goals, reviews, and communication distinguishes it from project management software, and although it has a scheduling engine, it is not a classical Critical Path Method (CPM) engine. A Microsoft Team Manager team file may consist of many unrelated past, present, and future activities and projects that involve the team. It is an on-going record of the team and team activities without any event that determines when the team file is finished. There is a latest finishing activity at any given point in the evolution of a team file, but that finish changes as future activities are added, and the team file is never officially finished. (However, as time goes on, old tasks can be removed from the team file and archived ).

Not a Shift Scheduler:

Microsoft Team Manager is not a shift scheduler; however, Microsoft Team Manager does contain information on the working times for team members and the activities on which they work.

Not a Personal Information Manager (PIM):

Microsoft Team Manager is focused on team activities rather than on individual activities and is used by a team manager to manage a team, rather than by an individual to manage personal information.

Not a Microsoft Schedule+ or Outlook add-on:

Microsoft Team Manager is not a Microsoft Schedule+ or Outlook add-on. It does have some integration with Microsoft Schedule+ and Microsoft Outlook, but does not require these applications.

Not a Time Card replacement:

Microsoft Team Manager is not a time card replacement; however, a team file contains a timesheet for tracking actual work.

Not a Resource Management add-on for Microsoft Project:

Microsoft Team Manager does have some integration with Microsoft Project but does not require Microsoft Project. A project manager using Microsoft Project can assign a team manager to a task and send a Team Assign. Then the team manager can assign team members to the task and send high level updates back to the project manager. The project manager does not receive details about individual team members.

The difference between Microsoft Team Manager and project management software is clarified further in the table below by comparing the roles played by a team manager and a project manager.

Team Managers

  • Manage their team and the work they do.
  • Team managers and their teams work together on a variety of activities without any predefined "final" activity that signals the end of their working relationship and the disbanding of the team.
  • Team members are the direct reports of the team manager. Team managers have direct responsibility for assigning work to their team members. Teams tend to be functional groups.
  • Team managers are responsible for managing all work for their group, including non-project related work, such as support or administrative tasks. They also manage non-task related work, such as setting performance objectives.
  • Team managers are primarily resource-constrained. "How can I get the most work done given the number of fixed resources I have?"

Project Managers

  • Coordinate projects and related tasks.
  • Project managers work on projects that have a well-defined end as indicated by some final event. The resources involved in one project may not be the same resources involved in another project.
  • Project managers coordinate and oversee projects, but do not usually have direct management responsibilities for team members assigned to their project.
  • Project managers focus only on work that is specific to their project.
  • Project managers are primarily task and time-constrained. "How do I ensure my project gets done in the shortest amount of time ?"

Properties

Article ID: 160490 - Last Review: August 17, 2005 - Revision: 1.1
APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Team Manager 1.0 Standard Edition
Keywords: 
kbfaq KB160490
Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.

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