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Microsoft launches Office 365 Planner project collaboration tool

If you’ve got an Office 365 subscription, and in the market for a project management tool, you’re in luck. Microsoft has launched its Office 365 tool, Planner. Aside from Project and SharePoint, Microsoft had been conspicuously absent from task management and collaboration tools. Borrowing features and functionality heavily from the likes of Trello, Asana, Basecamp and Wrike, Office 365 Planner is a tool for teams to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, chat about what you’re working on, and get updates on progress.

Charts in Microsoft Planner Trello style task board in Microsoft Planner

All your favourite tools

If you’re familiar with Basecamp, Trello and Asana, using Planner will be a breeze. Each plan, or project has its own board, where you can organize tasks into buckets. You can categorize tasks based on their status or on whom they’re assigned to. To update the status or change assignments, just drag and drop tasks between columns. Similarly to Trello you can view tasks within boards and get a high-level view of project progress using the charts view which shows you tasks that are not started, late, in progress and completed.

Integration is power

The great thing about Planner is how seamlessly it integrates with the rest of the Office 365 toolkit and things you’re likely to be already using. Unlike other project management tools where you need to manually connect users, profiles, calendars and storage, Microsoft Planner works with Office 365 out of the box. Groups, Members (users), Tasks and Calendar can be integrated right into Outlook, files integrate with OneDrive and Notebook integrates with OneNote.

Collaboration central

Planner lets you attach files to tasks, work together on those files, and have conversations around tasks without switching between apps. With Planner, all your team’s discussions and deliverables stay with the plan and don’t get locked away across disparate applications.

By Ben Aston

I’m Ben Aston, a digital project manager and founder of I've been in the industry for more than 15 years working in the UK at London’s top digital agencies including Dare, Wunderman, Lowe and DDB. I’ve delivered everything from film to CMS', games to advertising and eCRM to eCommerce sites. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across a wide range of great clients; automotive brands including Land Rover, Volkswagen and Honda; Utility brands including BT, British Gas and Exxon, FMCG brands such as Unilever, and consumer electronics brands including Sony.

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