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Using the Milestones App in Microsoft Teams

Josh Logozar
February 18, 2021

Microsoft introduced two brand new Power Apps built right into Microsoft Teams. Let's take a look at how to use Milestones, a powerful tool for project management.

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Microsoft just released the Bulletin and Milestones apps in Teams. These are apps that have been created on the Power Platform and are designed to help users manage, track, and collaborate on projects, without leaving Teams. Today, we are going to look at how to create a project and add a new work item in Milestones.

Adding Milestones to a Channel

The first thing that we need to learn how to do is adding the Milestones Tab to a Team of our choice. You'll need to make sure that you have permissions to add the app; and if you don’t, you will need to talk to your Microsoft 365 Administrator to either add it or provide you permissions to add the desired application. Once you are able to add them, all you need to do is go into your apps and search for the Milestones app.

Screenshot of the Milestones app in Microsoft Teams.
Search for the Milestones app in Microsoft Teams.

Now, we need to select the team where we want to add Milestones. When we add this to a team, it will automatically create a new tab. We'll need to select which team we would like this on from the fillable field. If you type in which channel you would like it in, it will autofill.

Finding a team to Milestones to in Microsoft Teams.
Select the Team where we want to add Milestones to.

Now that we've selected which channel you want it in, it will take a few minutes to install. If you start it and walk away, you will receive an email notification that it is complete and ready to go.

Understanding The Milestones Interface

When you first look at the Milestones interface, it can be a little intimidating as there is quite a bit of information on display. Let’s look at what each piece is before we get into the first project.

Breakdown of the different parts of the Milestones app in Microsoft Teams.
Breakdown of the parts of the Milestones app.
  1. Search for projects: This will allow you to search for projects in your view pane inside the application.
  2. Select theme: Allows managers to change the theme, or add custom images or colors.
  3. App information: Provides additional information about the App.
  4. App settings: Provides access for managers to change numerous settings that we will talk about at a later date.
  5. New project: Create a new project.
  6. Sort projects: Allows you to sort your list by project start date.
  7. View status of work items: Color coded counts display work items by team members.
  8. Team/Milestone Toggle: Toggle between Summary view, and milestone status view.
  9. New Activity: Add an update to the activity log.
  10. Expand/collapse the activity log: Expands or collapses the activity log.
  11. Project List: Shows all projects, or searched projects. This will also display any overdue work items.
  12. Customize: Open app inside Power Apps Studio to customize.
  13. Project work items: Create, read update, and delete work items associated with the project.
  14. Activity log: View activity log, add items manually, and receive system generated notifications.

Thank you to Microsoft for the breakdown of what we see when we first get into Milestones. Now that we understand what is going on, let's start our first project.

Creating a Project in Milestones

Milestones is a great app to help both management, and individuals stay on top of their work by tracking projects across your organization. You can set up projects and working items, assign to your employees, and classify them by milestone.

Let’s set up our first project, and see how we can do all of these tasks from the Teams HUB. We are going to start by clicking on "New project".

Creating a new project through the Milestones App in Microsoft Teams.
Starting a new project using the Milestones app.

Once we've started our project, we'll need to give it a name, and a few milestones. You must have a minimum of one, but for projects, it's usually a good idea to have a few milestones that you would like to hit. You can also assign due dates to your milestones. If three milestones is not enough to start with, just click on “Add a milestone”.

New project options in the Milestones app.
Adding milestones to a new project.

Now that you have your milestones and dates set, we need to select who will be working on this project. The creator of the new project will automatically be added to the members, and we'll need to add the team members by entering their name in the search bar.

Creating a Work Item in Milestones

Now, we need to go in and fill out a few work items that are going to be assigned into a milestone. Creating a new work item is as easy as clicking on the “New work item” button. There are a few fields that you'll need to complete, but we are going to start at the top.

  • The first thing that you need to do is give your work item a Name.
  • You can then choose who you want the project to be Assigned to.
  • The next piece will be deciding which Milestone you want it to be a part of. This helps keep everything organized, and when you click into the project, you will quickly have an understanding of the progress of the project.
  • We then have to decide what the Status of this piece is. Normally, if you are just starting a new project, you will assign it as “New”, but if you are just using Milestones to organize an existing project, the status you can select are: New, In Progress, Blocked, or Done.
  • You are now able to set a Category, which can all be customized in your settings, but we will not get into that today, as you do not see the categories in the tracking sheet, and is a little more advanced than we will need for this project.
  • The last two things that we will set is the Priority, and the target date.
  • If you would like to add a Description, you can do that as well, but I like to make sure my titles are as descriptive as possible, so they can be seen from the tracking screen.
Options when creating a New Work Item in the Milestones app in Microsoft Teams.
Properties to set when creating a new work item.

Once you have completed your first work item, you will see that it updates in the Tracking screen. You will see that it also gets added to the activity log on the right-hand side. This is a feed that will keep you up to date on any movement occurring in the project.

Milestones is a great Power App developed by Microsoft that is going to make managing your projects much easier and more streamlined. You can now go and have all of your projects for each team, all in one simple, easy to use and easy to read platform.

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