Microsoft Planner: Quick Overview

Microsoft Planner enables your teams to work more effectively and collaboratively. It also gives you ways to visually organize and track the work of your teams.

These are the top three drives that Planner works with:

Plan: Your plan is your project. When you choose “New Plan” in the side menu, you will have to give a title to your new plan, describe it, decide whether it will be private or public, and give it an email address.

Task: Each task is an item on your list of tasks and lies on a small card. In this card you can add a title to your task, an expiration date, and you can assign it to your team members. Click on a task card to open it and view all its details.

Bucket: Buckets in your plan are your columns to help you organize tasks into phases, type of work, departments, or whatever makes the most sense for your plan. Move a task card from one Bucket to another to organize it.

Accessing Planner

To access Microsoft Planner, first, log in to your Office 365 portal using your user name and password. Then, in the application launcher, select Planner.

The Planner Hub will be loaded which will be the main workspace for the Planner.

Creation of Plans

Once you are in the Planner Hub, click on “New Plan” to create a new plan for your team, so you can track and plan your activities.

You are then prompted in the dialog box for the details of the new plan that you want to create.

In the New Plan box, give your Plan a name. In the e-mail field, an e-mail address will be automatically provisioned based on the name given in the “Plan name” (planname @ yourcompany.com). There is also the option to make the plan available to the public or make it private, so only you can add members to it. Then, in the “Plan Description” field, provide a friendly description of the plan. Once done, click “Create Plan” to finish creating the new plan in your Planner Hub. Note that it will take some time for the plan to be provisioned and to appear in the hub.

Creating Tasks

Once the plan has been provisioned, it will appear in the “All Plans” link in the Planner Hub.

Under the Plan, you will see some options, namely “Board”, “Charts”, “Notepad” and an ellipsis (“…”).

In “Board” you can add tasks or add new Buckets with different tasks and assign tasks related to this Bucket.

For example, let’s say I have a general task category in my plan for “Communication.” Here I can create a new Bucket named “Communication” and assign a Task in this Bucket to the members of my team responsible for the communication demands, just clicking on “Add a new Bucket”. Now we need to create a task and assign it to a team member. To do this, simply click on “+” and create the Task, assign a Date, assign one or more Resources, and then click “Add Task”. Once the task has been created, it will appear under the Bucket, already allocated to the selected resource.

After the task is created, clicking on a task displays its detailed view.

You can then edit the task and add more information, including:

  • Checklist: As you begin to work with your plan, there may be lists of items that you need to follow up for each task. You can add a checklist to a task to help you better track your task. When you hover over an item in the checklist, we also have the option to convert it to a task or remove it. By checking the “show on card” option, the checklist will be displayed on the task card in the panel view.
  • Attachments and Links: You can attach files, photos, and links directly to tasks, making the plan a central place for everyone to collaborate and get the job done. The first time you attach a file, photo, or link to a task, that attachment becomes the task preview image. It is shown in the Panel view and provides a quick way to identify the task and start working
  • Comments: As you’re working on your plan, you may have is questions to any person who works on a task. You can add a comment in the task to start a discussion. Use the Comments box to discuss the questions with your team.
  • Bucket / Progress / Dates: Edit the details initially added to the task at the time of creation.
  • Labels (top right): Labels can help you quickly see certain things that multiple things have in common, such as requirements, locations, dependencies, or important time constraints.

Board View

Some of the details you enter can be previewed on the board. In the board, you can organize the tasks by:

  • Buckets
  • Assigned to
  • Progress

In addition to editing tasks from the task edit menu that appears when you click a task, you can change the progress status of the tasks by selecting and dragging a task from one status to another. For example, to change the progress of a task from “In Progress” to “Completed”, select the task and drag to the completed task group in the task progress view.

Similarly, to change a task Bucket, in the Buckets view, we select a task from a Bucket and drag it to another Bucket. The same happens to change the assignment in assignment view.

To assign a task to a team member, in addition to entering the task at the time of creation or editing, you can also select the person’s photo in the member’s area and drag to the task.

It is also possible to remove or add contributors to the plan on the member list.

To remove, click Members, and from the User Options menu, click “Remove from Plan.”

To add, click members, and in the “Enter the name to add a member” box, search for the desired user.

Chart View

For a graphical interpretation of task progress, select “Charts.”

You will see a graphical representation of Tasks that are not started, late, in progress, and tasks that are completed. You can also view members and their tasks by status.

My Tasks

Each team member has their own vision of the tasks assigned in the “My Tasks” section.

Additional Options

In addition to the above features, you can click the menu button (“…”) for additional options.

Conversations: her you find all your conversations with your colleagues and conversations related to the plan created earlier. All tasks assigned to you will be emailed to this conversation box. Conversations are grouped by task. You can respond to the conversations in this section, or directly in the comments in the tasks.

Calendar: This will be the calendar associated with the plan. Then all members in this Bucket or plan will have a shared calendar.

Members: Lists all members in the Bucket or plan.

Files: This is a shared location where members can store files related to this plan.

Notebook: Notebook is a OneNote Online notebook that is associated with this plan.

Edit Plan: Edits plan information, as well as visibility and notifications via email. Plans come with notifications disabled by default. You must change this option after creating the plan if you want to send notifications about changes to the tasks for the members of a plan. When you enable plan notifications, users will receive updates for plans in their Outlook groups. For each plan created a new Office 365 / Outlook group is created.

Leave the plan: Abandon the plan.

Add to favorites: Add the plan to your favorites plans, which are highlighted in the Planner homepage.

Subscribe to email updates: enables the receiving of e-mail updates for this plan if the plan is not configured to send notifications.

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