Microsoft Planner

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About Microsoft Planner

Planner icon.jpg

Microsoft Planner is a new program (released in June 2016) available through Office365 for use in organizing teamwork, similar to programs such as Trello and Basecamp. "The addition of Planner to the Office 365 lineup introduces a new and improved way to structure teamwork easily and get more done. With Planner, teams can create new plans; organize, assign and collaborate on tasks; set due dates; update statuses and share files, while visual dashboards and email notifications keep everyone informed on progress" (Team 2016).

Microsoft Planner Overview


Getting Started with Planner

Create a plan

To create a plan, click "New plan" in the upper left hand corner of the application.

New plan.jpg


Add plan name and choose whether the plan should be public or private. Plans are public by default.

Plan name.jpg

Add group members

Click Add Members in the top right corner of the app. Enter name or email address to search for members.

Add members.jpg

Add Buckets

Buckets are used to group tasks. Tasks can be grouped by type of work, departments, project phases or by any other groups that you choose.


Bucket.jpg


Add tasks

Click the plus sign to add a task. You can also assign the task and set a due date from this view.

Add tasks.jpg

Assigning tasks

Tasks can be assigned to both users and buckets. Tasks can be assigned by dragging and dropping the task to the appropriate user or bucket. Or, they can be assigned in the edit task menu.

Editing Tasks

The following items can be performed in the edit task window:

  • Assign task to a user
  • Assign task to a bucket
  • Edit progress of task
  • Set start and due dates
  • Add a checklist of items to the task. This is a useful tool when tasks are large and have many sub items that need to be completed.
  • Set a description of the task
  • Attach documents or link items to the task
  • Comment of the progress of the task

Edit task.jpg

Features

Flag tasks with labels

Creating task labels is away to add another layer of organization to a plan. Within the Board view, users can create labels by selecting the colored boxes on the right side of the screen. Defining labels in one task will make those labels available to all tasks within the plan. Tasks will show up with colored labels to the right of the task.

Share files

Attaching files is a quick and efficient way for a member to review a task's progress. For instance, if you are tasked with editing a graphic, once that is complete you can add the new graphic to the task. Members will be notified via email that a file has been attached to the task. This will help smooth the flow of information and allow greater project transparency.

Notebook

In addition to attaching files, utilizing the Notebook feature in OneNote is an excellent way to share files and information as it can be organized into sections and pages. A Notebook is automatically created for each plan and is accessible through the main menu of the plan.

Chat with other team members

Adding comments to a task allows group members to stay current with their plans. This is done by clicking on a task within the plan view. Once a comment is added, email notification is sent to all group members associated to the plan. Within a plan view, comments are indicated with a comment symbol. This task symbol can be seen in the board view and chart view of a plan. Members also have the option to open all plan conversations by clicking the three dots below the plan name and clicking conversations. All comments are saved with the most recent comment at the top. Planner is integrated with other Office 365 services, such as Office 365 Groups, so all of the conversations in Planner are available in Outlook 2016, Outlook on the Web and the Outlook Groups Mobile Apps.

Planner Views

Planner Hub

Planner Hub is the main page or dashboard a user is taken to when Office 365 planner is launched. From here users can get a summary of their plans and tasks. You have the option of moving plans into the favorites section which adds a plan summary similar to what is seen in the Board view. Planner view.jpg

Board View

The Board view is the default view within a selected plan. The to-do list allows users create tasks and assign them to plan members. From the to-do list, users can check off tasks as they are completed. Tasks can be organized further by creating Bucket Lists, which allow users to drag and drop tasks to different Bucket Lists.

Charts

Within a specific plan, users can select the Charts view to get a task status snapshot. The status section provides a graphic representation of the tasks associated with the plan. The number of tasks at each stage is also provided. The Members section provides a bar chart summary of tasks for each plan member. Color coding is used in both sections to identify task statuses. Charts view.jpg


What's Coming

Microsoft is working on improving the user experience by adding the following features: external user access, assigning multiple users to a task and mobile app for iOS and Android. The status of these developments can be found on the following site. http://fasttrack.microsoft.com/roadmap#I-38611

References

Team, By Planner. "Microsoft Planner Ready for Showtime - Office Blogs." Office Blogs. Microsoft, 14 June 2016. Web. 09 Nov. 2016. (https://blogs.office.com/2016/06/06/microsoft-planner-ready-for-showtime/)

"Get Started Quickly with Microsoft Planner." - Office Support. Microsoft, n.d. Web. 09 Nov. 2016. (https://support.office.com/en-US/article/Get-started-quickly-with-Microsoft-Planner-4a9a13c6-3adf-4a60-a6fc-15c0b15e16fc)