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Improve your understanding on Microsoft Planner through our blog series

  1. Using Microsoft Planner
  2. 5 Smart Strategies for Organizing Microsoft Planner
  3. Agile Project Management Software with Microsoft Teams &amp Planner
  4. Things To Use &amp When: Microsoft Project versus. Microsoft Planner 

Like a technical author at AvePoint, I recieve lots of input from various teams over the organization. I recieve task demands from the SharePoint list, email, and conferences. Sometimes these jobs are small. Other occasions these tasks have plenty of dependencies. In all likelihood though, these jobs are mix-functional, shared by my team people, and phased more than a couple of several weeks.

This isn’t new or news. In the current workforce, everyone’s job is much like mine — fast-paced along with a little overwhelming. All people have plenty of stakeholders in most our work, and a lot of people who can request our help. To keep an eye on work, many of us need some kind of task management system.

Getting were built with a lengthy career dealing with analog as well as on-prem tools, I’ve acquired understanding of things i really needed from the task management system:

  • Information Hub: I wish to visit one spot to see everything. I do not mind drilling lower into a product to obtain a description from it, or perhaps a connect to the document, or perhaps a comment chain, however i would like them all in the same location.
  • Flexible Categorization: I’m able to rapidly reprioritize tasks, change their category or status, and tag all of them with useful metadata.
  • Comments and Communication: Sometimes all of the tags and statuses aren’t enough, and I wish to leave myself useful information, but I wish to surface it towards the team. Did I send this doc back for review? When?
  • Insights: Assist me to understand my team’s workload and showcase to my boss.

What exactly will i do in order to tame each one of these tasks and obtain things completed with these needs in your mind? To put it simply, I personally use Planner integrated with Teams. Without a doubt the way i arrived.

Old-fashioned Task Management

Initially when i first began like a technical author nine years back, I’d exactly the same problem I’ve now — a lot of inputs to keep an eye on. At that time, I had been a solo author, and so i did whatever felt best. Initially, I attempted to help keep a listing on sticky notes, emulating all individuals awesome Kanban boards I saw on the other party’s desks. Things got lost.

Leave the clutter of sticky notes behind with Microsoft Planner

I Then attempted a bullet journal. Should you haven’t seen bullet journals on Pinterest, it’s all the trend with bloggers and Instagrammers who’ve beautiful penmanship and lots of spare time. I’ve neither of individuals, and so i rapidly lost track, and that i lost curiosity about the systems I built.

What Pinterest states my journal need to look like:

how to use microsoft planner journal task management

What my journal really appears like:

how to use microsoft planner journal

I even attempted a white-colored board. I figured it was the solution: totally flexible, non-permanent, meets me, and that i can doodle. Doodling, not task management grew to become the main focus from the board, and, such as the other analog solutions I created, it had been abandoned.

Planner functions like a white-colored board that may be taken on the run and become distributed to colleagues

Using Microsoft Planner: Task Management within the Digital Age

After I found AvePoint, my house-grown technical writing techniques needed a significant overhaul. We is shipped around the world so we have numerous synchronised projects and deliverables in process at any time. I’d my very own discrete tasks, and so i initially attempted to digitize my earlier attempts with software like Trello and Wunderlist. These both labored for some time, however, I couldn’t communicate well with my team because i was all by ourselves personal instances or didn’t have systems whatsoever.

Before moving to Office 365, we chosen using OneNote being an random task manager. We made huge tables with a lot of posts and checkboxes and hyperlinks. In lots of ways, it was a precursor to Planner. We’d make new tabs for particular projects or people, we’d make new lists, we’d color code, and tag, and collate information as well as we’re able to. Tasks, regrettably, sometimes got lost within the shuffle or were misinterpreted. In addition, using OneNote such as this was labor intensive, and that i lost productivity if you attempt to become more lucrative.

Planner has replaced OneNote files such as this one employed for managing tasks

Four Ways Planner Makes Work Smarter

Planner generates for me the 4 primary functionalities which i need inside a task management system: an info hub, flexible categorization, communication, and insights.

Information Hub

Planner is really a one-stop shop. After you have your Plan ready to go, you’ll will never need multiple tabs of the identical factor open again. I can tell everything in one location. Here’s things i do after i enter into work every single day:

  1. Each morning, I check my email, Teams channels, and Groups for brand new assignments.
  2. I’ll adding individuals tasks to Planner having a general description.
  3. Basically know who’ll finish up performing this, I’ll assign it for them otherwise, I’ll let it rest unassigned until my team can sync up.
  4. I’ll break lower any sub-steps or deliverables needed to complete the job and employ the listing within the Planner card to create an itemized list.
  5. Since all of our documents have been in SharePoint, I’ll go ahead and take links people send me and add individuals towards the task. If a person is silly enough to transmit me an attachment, I’ll drop it in to the appropriate SharePoint location and make up a link.

After I produce a task in Planner, I only remember the originating email if I have to respond.  This can help me avoid the dreaded inbox and remain centered on work.

By creating tasks in this manner each time, I pressure myself to consider critically about each one of these. The operation is quick, and that i break each task lower into achievable sub-tasks in summary things i should do.

Sometimes, several people works on the task. Thankfully, Microsoft has folded out the opportunity to assign tasks to multiple people. Announced within an article from Mansoor Malik, Principal Product Manager at Microsoft, as well as on the Office 365 roadmap, Planner now supports adding several owner to some task. I’m honestly thrilled! Why? Two reasons: 1) I do not need to duplicate tasks any longer, and a pair of) Microsoft took in to among the greatest pains the city was getting and glued it rapidly.

Flexible Categorization

Planner’s buckets are flexible methods to classify your tasks. You may create as numerous buckets as you would like, with any name you would like, and add tasks for them having a simple drag.

I personally use two kinds of buckets concurrently — time buckets and project buckets. Time-oriented buckets assist me to sort miscellaneous tasks into groups according to when they’re due, i.e., To Complete, Happening, and Coming. Project-based buckets collect all of the tasks for any specific project no matter their deadline, which will help me organize that project.

how to use microsoft planner integrated with teams
Creating buckets in Planner helps users prioritize and manage the work they do

Buckets are awesome because they may be added or deleted effortlessly, and adding tasks for them couldn’t become more simple. In addition, while Microsoft might have incorporated lots of features for the buckets, they didn’t. There’s something freeing about the simplicity grouping tasks up consecutively.

Buckets aren’t the finish of Planner’s versatility, either. Personally, i prefer to switch views sometimes and also have planner group all tasks by owner. This can help me see precisely what I have to do now.


Communicating about tasks together with your team can often be a difficult proposition. Maybe they aren’t aware of the initial email thread. Maybe they weren’t within the meeting whenever you were assigned a brand new project. Maybe these were just onboarded and barely know what’s going on. This is when Planner’s foundation, Groups, is available in.

On every task card, there’s a comments section. Whenever you leave a remark there, you start a discussion inside your Group’s mailbox, that is broadcast to everybody within the Group. This is a great method to create a culture of transparency around your tasks.

To become more transparent with my team, I use Planner’s comment feature to notice important milestones that aren’t sub-tasks. For example, when I’ve reviewed a document, but haven’t printed it since i had questions for that author, I’ll note within the comments from the Planner card which i sent it to the writer. Doing this helps me have a log of interactions, helping me recall the subtler phase changes from the document.


Planner also provided some functionality I did not know I desired. Namely, soft analytics which help me find out if any one of my team people are overloaded and showcase my team’s productivity to my bosses.

Planner provides soft analytics to assist users balance workloads and monitor productivity

After I consider the Charts overview in Planner, I’m able to rapidly get a feeling of what’s going on with my team, with a lot happening, who doesn’t, and when any projects are late. After I see that someone is overburdened, I’m able to reprioritize to assist them to out. Working together helps make the dream work.

What We’d Want to see Much more of

Planner is excellent. Since I’ve settled right into a rhythm and hang up some team practices, I want to has totally replaced my other task management tools. However, Planner comes with a few rough edges that hold me up from time to time. I’d be thrilled if Microsoft improved the next:

  • Syncing tasks: Because Groups governance could be confusing at occasions, I’m in many groups with many different plans. I’d like so that you can sync my tasks to multiple groups so individuals stakeholders can easily see what I’m as much as too.

Microsoft has folded out a brand new functionality that nearly will get only at that paint point. Planner now supports developing a connect to a person task and discussing in Teams conversation. Presently, those who are not an element of the group don’t appear so that you can view these tasks. Although this does facilitate some intra-group work, it doesn’t help my mix-functional team much.

  • Conveying tasks: Presently you cannot export your completed task list from Planner to Stand out or other application. I’d like so that you can export listing of tasks in order to fiddle together in pivot tables for several important presentations.
  • Mobile access: There’s no Microsoft Planner application at this time, but there have been lots of votes for a Microsoft Planner Android application as well as an iOS application on UserVoice. The Planner team responded, saying mobile phone applications have been in development which they’ll work using the Groups team “to determine all of the right integration points.”

Exactly what do you consider Microsoft Planner, and just how will it assist you to work smarter? Tell me within the comments! Be also sure to sign up for our blog.

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