Microsoft Team Manager is a new category of workgroup software designed tofacilitate the management of teams and the work they do. It is acollaborative management tool that is used to consolidate, coordinate, andtrack team activity. It consists of the following three separate programs:
Microsoft Team Manager (Teammgr.exe) is used by the team manager toconsolidate and centrally manage all the information about the team and itsactivities. All the information is stored in a team file.
Microsoft Team Manager for Team Members (Teammemb.exe), also known asIndividual Task List, is used by team members to create or edit tasks, tosend update messages and status reports to the team manager, and to storetasks and notes sent from the team manager. Team members can also useMicrosoft Schedule+ or Microsoft Outlook to store or view their tasks.
Team Status (Tmstatus.exe) lets team members view non-confidentialinformation in a Team file without changing it, so they know what the restof the team is doing.
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 theteam, and are responsible for the overall productivity and well being ofthe team. They set goals for their team and ensure that these goals are metthrough effective management. They manage day-to-day tasks, set performanceobjectives, and conduct performance reviews for the individual teammembers.
Typical responsibilities of team managers and team members are listedbelow, although in practice, many activities and responsibilities areshared 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 ManagerConsolidation and Communication
The Team file contains all information about the team in one place, makingit easier to manage the team and its activities, and to create reports. Itincludes task-level information about the team, such as dates, work, cost,and people assigned, as well as member-level information, such as payrates, working times, goals, progress, notes, performance reviews, andstatus reports.
By using the messaging tools of Microsoft Team Manager, information in theform of task updates, status reports, and notes can be sent from teammembers and be incorporated easily into the Team file. If the team managerwishes to delegate some of the planning responsibility, team members cancreate tasks themselves in the Individual Task List, Microsoft Schedule+,or Microsoft Outlook, and send a task update to the team manager, so thattheir tasks can be incorporated into the Team file.
In addition to the messaging tools, the Team Status application increasescommunication by allowing team members to view the Team file. This allowsteam members to assist the team manager in spotting potential schedulingproblems and to assist in planning.Consistency
The team manager can control the fields that appear in the member'sIndividual Task List and in the Task Update messages, as well as the topicsin the status reports and the frequency with which they should be sent.This encourages consistent performance and reporting procedures across theteam.Scheduling
Microsoft Team Manager has a unique scheduling engine that attempts tooptimize the scheduling of work based on deadlines, priorities, andconstraints, while minimizing work overloads. It also helps the teammanager identify and solve scheduling conflicts by visibly marking taskswith potential scheduling problems and providing suggestions on how tosolve 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 bigpicture, and have the information they need to provide useful feedback onthe schedule. Team members also can affect the schedule by creating orupdating tasks in their Individual Task List and sending a Task Update tothe 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 ina Timesheet view, leaving the scheduling engine to reschedule remainingwork. The team manager can enter actual work, or team members can updatetheir actual work for a given time period in their Individual Task List (aswell as Microsoft Schedule+ or Microsoft Outlook), and send a task updateto the team manager. In addition to tracking work, costs, and dates, theteam manager can create a status report template for members to fill outand send in at specified intervals. This provides an organized way todetermine progress in a descriptive text format. Also, the Notes field inTask Updates can be used to keep a history of communications between theteam manager and team members regarding specific tasks. Such notes arepreserved as dated threads.Goals and Performance Reviews
Microsoft Team Manager has tools that the team manager can use to creategoals for specific team members, with the option to associate one or moretasks with each goal. The team manager can rate a team member's performanceon his/her goals using a customizable rating system. Goal Review reportscan be created from the goals for individual members. The Goal Reviewreports 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 avariety of informative, customizable views. Many views can be filtered,grouped, or sorted. There are Sheet views to display information in tableformat. There are Timescaled views to display task bars, and to graphicallyor numerically display task-level and assignment-level actual, remaining,overloaded, regular and overtime work. Task notes, people notes, assignmentnotes, goal notes, and general team notes can be printed from variousviews, including Goal Reviews and Team Status Reports.
What Microsoft Team Manager is NOT
Microsoft Team Manager should not be confused with classical projectmanagement software. The list below points out some of the potentialmisunderstandings:Not Project Management software
Project management software is used to manage a project that has a definitestart and (eventually) a definite end, and the schedule itself is theprimary focus. Microsoft Team Manager's emphasis on people, goals, reviews,and communication distinguishes it from project management software, andalthough it has a scheduling engine, it is not a classical Critical PathMethod (CPM) engine. A Microsoft Team Manager team file may consist of manyunrelated past, present, and future activities and projects that involvethe team. It is an on-going record of the team and team activities withoutany event that determines when the team file is finished. There is a latestfinishing activity at any given point in the evolution of a team file, butthat finish changes as future activities are added, and the team file isnever officially finished. (However, as time goes on, old tasks can beremoved from the team file and archived ).Not a Shift Scheduler
Microsoft Team Manager is not a shift scheduler; however, Microsoft TeamManager does contain information on the working times for team members andthe activities on which they work.Not a Personal Information Manager (PIM)
Microsoft Team Manager is focused on team activities rather than onindividual 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. Itdoes 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 filecontains a timesheet for tracking actual work.Not a Resource Management add-on for Microsoft Project
Microsoft Team Manager does have some integration with Microsoft Projectbut does not require Microsoft Project. A project manager using MicrosoftProject can assign a team manager to a task and send a Team Assign. Thenthe team manager can assign team members to the task and send high levelupdates back to the project manager. The project manager does not receivedetails about individual team members.
The difference between Microsoft Team Manager and project managementsoftware is clarified further in the table below by comparing the rolesplayed by a team manager and a project manager.
- 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?"
- 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 ?"