Microsoft introduced a new tool into Office 365 in June of 2016 called Planner. Planner is a great way to keep track of projects, and all the many components and tasks assigned to you and your team. As the resident project manager here at the ACTS Group, part of my job is to keep our projects on target. This can be a challenge with a team spread across the country. Planner is a great tool to help us organize tasks visually and share information quickly.

Planner uses a series of boards to keep track of projects, with tasks shown on the board as cards. Every card can be a simple task, or contain documents, links, or checklists. The chart view gives a quick at-a-glance of task progress and status as well.

We often setup our tasks in three columns: “To Do”, “In Progress”, and “Done”. This helps us visually see what’s left on a project, what our engineers are working on presently, and what is complete. Tasks can be assigned to a user, and with the integration as part of the Office 365 toolset, the user will receive emails letting them know tasks are assigned, as well as reminders as due dates approach. Comments and notes can also be left for items that need follow up or additional discussion. This function can be useful for teams that are spread out, or when your staff is not in the office every day. The instant feedback allows team members to continue working, instead of waiting for someone to follow up in person.

Planner, being part of the Office 365 toolset, also allows integration into Microsoft Teams. The planner page will be inset into the team’s channel as a tab, along with the other tabs, such as posts or files.

Teams is Microsoft’s next generation collaboration tool, also a part of Office 365, and topic for another post!