Microsoft Planner has now been released to eligible Office 365 customers on Enterprise E1–E5, Business Essentials, Premium and Education subscription plans.
Microsoft Planner is team collaboration software that allows you to create projects, or “Plans”, collaborate on these with other members of your organisation, and easily add and categorise tasks, view updates and see progress visually towards a goal.
Similar to Trello, tasks can be organised in different vertical columns, commented on, and have files or checklists attached. You can assign tasks to different people in your organisation and set deadlines too.
Where Planner is different to Trello, is that it includes a handy overview screen called Charts, which shows you visual stats which allow you to easily see overall progress, who’s on track, how much work is left to do, etc.
There are other differences too.
Trello is limited to just the boards where you add and arrange tasks. Planner’s main function is virtually identical, but other features also allow you to see an overview of each plan – with visual representations of completion status, workload by team member, and all of your own tasks across all Plans.
In Trello, if you wanted to show completion status on individual tasks, you would have to create different columns such as “to-do”, “started” and “done”. This means you’re not able to categorise by type of task as well as by progress.
With Planner, you can organise tasks into different columns for different categories of tasks – e.g. for marketing – “Search Marketing”, “Case Studies”, “Website” etc. but you can also change the completion status on individual tasks and then see this visually at a glance in the overview section of Planner.
You can also view all tasks assigned to you across all of the Plans you are involved with, or you can group tasks by their completion status, due date or by person they’re assigned to.
Planner is built for Office 365, so collaboration with other users on your plan is easy. You can attach files to tasks and work together on those files online, without having to download them and end up with conflicting versions.
All members of your organisation (if you’re on one of the previously mentioned Office 365 plans) are automatically able to be added to Plans and have tasks assigned to them. No sign up needed.
You can easily see how many tasks have been completed out of those set, and quickly see how much everyone has left to do.
There’s also a shared “wall” called Notebook – which allows anyone to enter notes, ask questions, upload files or insert pictures etc. This automatically saves in OneNotes.
You can easily update everyone in the group by emailing all members at once – you can also do this from within Outlook as your group will get its own email address at your domain name.
To try it out now, go to tasks.office.com and sign in using your Office 365 credentials!