Office 365 Planner, the new project tool you need

Have you heard about Office 365 Planner? It’s a pretty cool little project tool that Microsoft introduced recently. If you are an Office 365 subscriber, chances are you already have it. Full disclosure, I LOVE Microsoft Project (and Project Server/Project Online). So I was a little skeptical of ‘another’ project tool.. but I have to say I’m pleasantly surprised.

It’s different than MS Project. You’ll still see tasks, due dates, and assignments, but there’s no timeline, critical path, or budget information.

Tasks are shown in cards, and cards can be moved into various buckets. You set up the buckets however you need; for our recent Open House I used buckets such as Food & Beverages, Decorations, Marketing and Invitations, Games & Entertainment. So the buckets acted as categories for my tasks. The cards are great because you can attach files, assign resources, leave comments, and label each card however you’d like.

Office 365 doesn’t have the robust reporting tools that MS Project has, but there are some views where you can see a count of tasks in each bucket, number of unassigned tasks, etc.

One of my favorite features is the integration with Office 365. Groups for each project are created, so you have a shared calendar, document library, OneNote notebook and threaded conversations. Using these really adds to the functionality of the tool.

I have been using MS Planner for some smaller, less structured projects and it’s working out great. Definitely nice when you don’t have a lot of task dependencies and budgeting requirements.

All in all, it’s a great little project tool. Not nearly as robust as MS Project, but a strong tool. It’s a little different methodology, but I think it’s off to a good start. Rumors of new features will make it even better.

I’ll be demonstrating Office 365 Planner and how I use it at Simplex-IT, in our monthly Project Management webinar on September 22nd at 10:00am EST. We did this a few months ago, and received requests to demo it again, so it’s back by popular demand! If you have any specific questions you want to me address, please send them over me to at patti@simplex-it.com


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