Microsoft calls its Planner application “an easy, visual way to organize teamwork.” This project management app helps you create a project plan, create and assign tasks in different categories, and view plan data and statistics, among other things.
Anyone who has an Office 365 subscription, whether it’s a personal subscription or a business subscription through your employer, has access to the Microsoft Planner.
Microsoft Planner Tutorial
Microsoft Planner has several front doors. Start by logging into your Office 365 account† You can do that at any of Office 365’s many access points, including:
If you’re already signed in to another section of Microsoft Office, you can find the link to the Microsoft Planner app by selecting the app launch icon in the top left corner and choosing Planner. If Planner is not in the list, select All apps and find planner in the list.
You can also sign in directly to Microsoft Planner at: tasks.office.com†
After you sign up, your first stop will be the Planner hub. From there, you can start a new plan, view recent plans, view all your plans, or view tasks assigned to you.
Note the link to download the Planner mobile app at the bottom of the left menu. Select the link and click Send in the modal dialog.
The Microsoft Planner mobile app is available for both Android and iPhone.
Create a plan in the Microsoft Planner app
Before you can assign tasks to yourself or other people, you need to create a plan.
Make a plan
In the left pane, select New plan† Fill in all the requested information in the New plan window.
- Give your plan a name.
- (Optional) If you want to invite an existing Microsoft group to your subscription (for example, through Microsoft Teams), you can now add your subscription to the group by selecting Add to an existing Microsoft 365 group and then choose a group for your subscription. This is useful if you think you have multiple subscriptions for the same group.
- Decide whether your plan is public or private. if you choose public, everyone in your organization can see your subscription. if you choose privatethen only the people you add to your subscription can see it.
- (Optional) Write a group description† When you add new members to your subscription, they see the group description, which gives them an idea of the purpose of the subscription.
- Select To plan†
Then you will see the main dashboard or Plate for the plan you just made.
The dashboard view is card-based, just like Trello. Add members of your team to the plan before adding tasks.
Add other people to your subscription
From the schedule dashboard, select the Members drop. Enter a person’s name to add them as a member.
Add and assign tasks
Your subscription comes with one default task bucket called To do†
- You can add a task to that bucket by selecting Add task.
- You can create additional buckets for your tasks by using the Add new bucket clutch. Type the name of the new bucket and press Enter†
- Then choose the Add task link under the desired bucket. Enter one Job name†
- Set the due date†
- Then choose who to assign this task to. The task card indicates: Unassigned until you assign the task.
- Make sure you have the . select Add task button to save the job.
- Your task appears as a card under the bucket you chose.
To add more details to the task, select the card on the dashboard. From there, you can add a label, change which bucket the task is in, and indicate the task’s progress, priority, start date, and due date.
You can also add notes, checklists, and attachments. Any team member can add comments to the task.
Staying on track
Microsoft Planner offers several ways to get a bird’s eye view of your plan.
The Graphs tab shows summaries of the status of all tasks in the plan, how many tasks are in each bucket, a graph showing how many tasks there are in each priority level (urgent, important, medium and low), a list of the members of the plan , and how many tasks each person is assigned.
The Scheme tab shows all tasks in a calendar, giving you an idea of which task deadlines are approaching.
Select the three dots to the right of the Scheme tab, and you will find many other features of Microsoft Planner.
- Conversation takes you straight to Outlook so you can email team members.
- Members takes you to the Group Membership page for your subscription where you can add and remove members.
- Files takes you to the group’s Sharepoint library where you can create, upload, delete, and edit documents related to your subscription.
- Notebook launches a Microsoft OneNote notebook specifically for your subscription.
- Sites takes you to a page where you can create and edit a team Sharepoint site for your plan.
You can also add the plan to your favorites, make a copy of your plan in Microsoft Planner, export your plan to Excel, copy the link to your plan, and add your plan to your Outlook calendar.
Group owners can select Schedule Settings to configure the group’s email settings and whether the group should receive an email when a task is assigned or completed. This is also where the owner can remove the plan.
Complete tasks in the Microsoft Planner
When a task is completed, the person assigned to the task can mark it as completed on their card on the Plate†
After the task is marked as complete, you can find it again by clicking the Show completed drop.
Receive updates about your subscription
Plan members can choose when to receive notifications from Planner by selecting the gear/settings icon, selecting: notificationsand specify their notification preferences.
Other task management and collaboration tools
Sometimes Microsoft’s sheer complexity is unappealing to users. If you’ve decided that the Microsoft Office 365 software suite isn’t for you, there are many other excellent task management tools out there Collaborative Tools available.
Whatever tools you choose, an organized project plan will help you achieve your goals.