Microsoft is in the process of going up against another competitor, this time in the project management department. Microsoft started releasing their preview version of what they are calling “Project Moca,” which will eventually be known as “Outlook Spaces.” Right now, the preview option of Project Moca / Microsoft Spaces is only available to Microsoft Insiders though Microsoft has plans to eventually release it to all Office 365 users.
What IS OUtlook Spaces?
Project Moca is a collaboration tool for project management allowing users to work on projects in “spaces.” This tool has features with Planner, Whiteboard, and Sway, but it's really in a field of its own. As it stands in the preview phase, you can choose a canvas for your space (either a template or blank) and begin creating. Adding contacts to the space will search keywords for matching emails, documents, and other files from your O365 account too add to the space.
Drag and drop options called “Kanban Columns” allow you to easily move emails, documents, and tasks into the space and assign activities and users to each of these.
Outlook Spaces essentially gives you a place where you can put together the important things for your project. It will automatically search your account with the keywords provided during setup for relevant emails and documents, which you can drag into your project space for future reference.
Right now, you can put things like emails, tasks lists, OneDrive files, links, weather, sticky notes, and deadlines on your Spaces. In the future, Microsoft will let you add Word, PowerPoint, and Excel documents.
How can you tell if you have access?
To see if you currently have access to the Project Moca preview, log into your O365/M365 account, open Outlook Online, and look at the bottom of the app bar on the left-hand side. If you have the Project Moca app, it’ll be at the bottom.
What does this mean for other project management tools like trello, asana, etc?
Much like Microsoft Teams did to slack, their competition with this new “Spaces” tool is going to eliminate “one-trick pony” project collaboration tools like Trello and Asana. While these tools are great on their own, and users love them, they can’t compete with a complete integration with Office, which almost every user already has.
The ability to connect the documents you have in Excel, Powerpoint, and Word with a project manager tool is undeniably going to push other tools out as the end user’s main choice. Microsoft Insiders have already taken notice of the similarities between Spaces and Trello like their cards for managing content with editing, leaving links, and ticking off tasks.
While Spaces is still too premature to rollout fully for all Microsoft Office users, they are cleaning up all of their missing features to make sure that the competition is tough with already situated softwares. Where it stands right now, the process is very manual for the user to have to move tasks with updated statuses and there is definitely a lack of Visio-style flowcharting options. But, Microsoft is known for adding in missing features over time during their previews.
Just like Microsoft has done time and time again, we fully expect “Outlook Spaces” to beat out the need for additional project management tools with individuals and businesses preferring the use of a completely integrated project tool.
If you’re interested in learning more about Microsoft Offices Spaces, or are interested in adding Office 365 to your business please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org