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Editor’s Note: This publish may be the second in Matt’s “Which Tool When” series. You are able to get caught up on the others below!


With the development of Microsoft Planner in 2016, organizations found a brand new “which tool when” scenario at work arena: which tool will i use for project management software? The 2 apps their very own weaknesses and strengths so when you’re deciding which to make use of, keep a few of these ideas in your mind.

Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Project possess some overlap within their use cases, but you’ll need to know the outcome of selecting one within the other with regards to everyday work. I’ll cover several the main variations to bear in mind below. I’ve used both products in a variety of roles: Project like a formal project manager in a Government contractor and Planner for managing smaller sized team projects within my current role.

Planner is considerably simpler to make use of than Project and needs hardly any training. It’s intended to be a Trello or Jira competitor and employs the concepts of tasks, buckets, boards, and dashboards to cleanly display approaching tasks, their proprietors, and connected details. As being a new software program, its UI was built lately and with different modern workplace philosophy and training learned from similar apps. Planner can be obtained via browser and mobile application.

microsoft planner

Project is much more complex than Planner and for that reason requires some training to know how it’s best employed. In my opinion, a professional Project Manager (PM) keeps charge of the work MPP file and just enables others to create updates, if anybody whatsoever (this might not describe your circumstances, but it’s been common for me personally).

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Jobs are itemized, grouped, connected, and customizable. Individuals could be tracked as sources and assigned these tasks throughout the size of the work to make sure that a project’s talent needs are foreseeable. MPP files could be nested into portfolios and folded as high-level presentations. Based on your license, Project could be available through the browser or perhaps a Home windows application. Only third-party apps provide mobile and MacOS support.

Now let’s talk poultry. Cost can be a big decision factor for you personally. There are several major variations backward and forward tools.

Microsoft Planner comes free with just about all Office 365 Enterprise (including non-profit), Government (where available), and Education licenses. Project Online, Project Server, and Project Professional require additional licenses (per user) and may rapidly become costly.

Ultimately, if cost is among your greatest concerns, Planner can meet a lot of your requirements at no additional licensing cost (presuming you will find the right Office 365 license) whereas Project could possibly get costly because to even open a task MPP file, you must have a task license (or perhaps a third-party application).

Planner is supposed to be user-friendly and clear to see. People can begin rapidly, create tasks, organize buckets, drag-and-drop products, etc. Planner provides multiple ways to check out many projects on the personal dashboard as well as aggregates tasks within given projects and teams. The mobile application is fairly good and simple to use.

Project will get into formal project management software techniques and it is a popular tool of Project Management Software Institute-certified project managers (PMPs). To actually know Project and make the most of it, a multiday course is suggested. I required a 5-day course included in a PMP class once and that i still don’t feel fully knowledgeable about Project’s effective features.

Consequently, I generally suggest that a delegated owner (the work manager) be the sole one that can edit increase a task MPP file, lest someone with less experience unintentionally cause issues within the project timeline.

Two major variations between Planner and Project are 1) how are all structured inside the Office 365 ecosystem and a pair of) how you’re designed to communicate with each application.

Project creates MPP files. They are discrete files it can save you to some hard disk, network drive, SharePoint site, OneDrive, etc. You may create as much as you would like, you may create templates from existing MPPs, you are able to move them around, and you may connect them. They’re somewhat much like Word documents or Stand out spreadsheets in this manner.

Project predates Office 365 and cloud-computing. Consequently, it type of stands alone from all of those other platform (for much better or worse). Collaboration is usually minimized because one individual or perhaps a small team manage the MPP, making updates according to statuses supplied by the colleagues who’re carrying it out.

However, Planner is an essential part of Office 365, particularly Office 365 Groups. If you are unfamiliar with Groups yet, you’re likely likely to become familiar with a lot as you become into Planner. Whenever you produce a plan in Planner, you do not just obtain the plan. You receive an Outlook group, a SharePoint team site, and many other services included in a web-based workspace.

Planner is supposed to participate a larger collaborative ecosystem. When you produce a plan, Microsoft assumes you’ll like so that you can communicate with that project (Outlook), share relevant files (SharePoint), take notes (OneNote), etc. Begin to see the graphic below for a concept of what i’m saying. And When you’re acquainted with Microsoft Teams, Planner integrates well while offering a choice to include Teams talk to the Outlook group that will get provisioned whenever you make your plan.

Planner is renowned for its user-friendly design, so various team people can each result in their tasks and buckets individually of the central project manager. It may still help to possess a PM to light fires under people sometimes, but Planner is a great tool for those who wish to accomplish the work they do without requiring guidance, support, or the aid of an administrative expert. They are able to concentrate on doing the work they do, this is not on tracking it.

Planner and Project can both be configured in their own individual ways. Project supports the opportunity to add custom fields for your tasks and also to create custom views and filters. Planner, however, is principally restricted to appearance it features a set listing of fields you cannot change (yet). If you are searching to tweak the knowledge, Project is the better bet as lengthy as you’re confident with it. Anything additional you would like to incorporate in a Planner task will finish in the Description or Comments field.

Connecting projects (nesting right into a portfolio) can be done with Project there isn’t any method to connect disparate Planner plans yet.

“Why can’t I simply use both?” A great question. Why don’t you get the advantage of the beautiful and straightforward UI of Planner combined with the PM and ERP tools in Project? Well, you are able to for an extent.

Project Online can connect tasks in Project to Planner tasks, however the functionality isn’t quite there yet. Project Server doesn’t support this. There are several serious limitations here, though it’s a well known feature request to completely integrate. Hopefully much deeper connections have been in the whole shebang.


Blog: 5 Smart Strategies for Organizing in Microsoft Planner


However, if you prefer a “safe” method to share Project files together with your team without the chance of the bull-in-a-China-shop situation, I highly recommend studying up regarding how to sync Project to some SharePoint task list.

SharePoint is simple enough to see and edit, and it is task lists are extremely effective when associated with a task file. You may also pull off only one licensed user for Project, saving lots of money along the way.

Microsoft Project was created to take tasks as well as their believed occasions to completion, then apply these to individuals who do this work in the actual application. This idea is known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and it is a effective method to know when work is going to be completed. Project is fairly proficient at this and technology-not only to smartly plan work according to available expertise and experience.

Microsoft Planner doesn’t really support ERP. Planner doesn’t even support a period or Gantt look at tasks yet. If you have a Dynamics 365 license, though, you should use Dynamics for ERP in conjunction with Planner for tasks. On the other hand, if you are venturing in to the Dynamics world, you’re likely getting good complex than the usual Planner experience is supposed to get.

Since most of the readers available researching this subject most likely range from IT field, where agile project management software practices have ruled during the last decade, it’s important to indicate that both Planner and Project support agile project management software.

Planner was basically created to support agile, with its project board, buckets, and task designs, while Project was pretty much tweaked to do this, getting been designed like a waterfall tool. Project comes with explicit sprint tools built-in, though. Combine Planner and OneNote, and you have virtually the whole agile way of thinking.

If you are running projects while using agile methodology, I would recommend carrying out a deep dive overview of the various tools to determine whether or not to use Planner for agile or Task for agile. There are many sources and blogs available that will get in to the nitty gritty for you personally.

As always, which tool to make use of depends upon the problem you face. If you are a little team who just must get stuff done, try Microsoft Planner and find out if you want it. If you are a far more formal organization that employs an expert project manager to help keep everything moving, you most likely desire to use Microsoft Project. If you are in the centre, take these suggestions into consideration and make certain to poke around elsewhere on the web to learn more.

You are able to take care of the latest Project and Planner developments on various resource websites. Listed here are a couple of:

An execllent resource is that this short video from AvePoint CMO Dux Raymond Sy about how Microsoft To-Do, Planner and Project Online will help you manage your workload:

What exactly are your ideas? Which tool would you prefer and why? Comment below and I’ll make sure to chime along with some responses.


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Increase you 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