A conversation about Planner

Episode 59 of the Microsoft 365 Voice is all about Planner. Mike, Antonio, and I provide suggestions on how to position Planner for organizational & project use and give examples of how we’ve seen it used successfully.

Where we love it

Planner works best as a lightweight planning and project management tool. You can use Planner individually to manage personal tasks related to a given project, but it’s ideal for groups of 4-8 people working together on a small project or as part of a working group.

We love the Kanban-style view of tasks in Planner. Organizing tasks in buckets works well, particularly if you have 10 or fewer buckets and 100 or fewer open tasks.

We’ve also used Planner to facilitate daily or weekly stand-up’s for projects and small workgroups. You can use the Kanban-style board to see and review upcoming tasks for the day or week.

The functional limits

If you’re managing a large project or doing extensive resource tracking, Planner can quickly become unwieldy. Several of our projects have pushed Planner beyond its limits (having more than 250 unassigned tasks or more than 1,500 tasks in a given plan). If you’re using Planner for a large project (e.g. DevOps, major client implementation, large upgrade, etc.) or to manage development stories, you’ll quickly hit the functional limits of the app.

What we’d love to see

We’d like to see a better integration between Planner and Outlook. The default emails Planner sends for assigned or overdue tasks aren’t rich enough. You also can’t delineate key tasks versus routine ones (e.g. flagging key tasks for follow-up email notifications while leaving routine or less-important tasks out of the messaging queue).

As someone who still uses Outlook tasks extensively to manage my work, I’d love to have a way to flag Planner tasks so they appear inline alongside my Outlook calendar. Today I have to manually replicate vital Planner tasks in my Outlook tasks so I can see them alongside my other work.

I love the new color-coded labels we have in Planner, but would like to cascade or extend labels from one Planner plan to another. Driving label consistency across projects is entirely manual today, leaving a big opportunity for label standardization and re-use.

And much more…

Listen in to Episode 59 for additional thoughts and questions about Planner. We hope you enjoy the episode!

Have a Microsoft 365 question? Submit it online! Your question may be featured in a future podcast episode.

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