Microsoft Planner is a tool that lets you manage group projects by building a list of tasks, assigning those tasks to different team members, setting deadlines, and monitoring the progress. As an overview, see some existing tasks in plan. Then, add a new task, assign it to a team member, and set a deadline. Take a quick look at monitoring your team as they complete their tasks.
- [Instructor] Microsoft Planner is a tool that lets you manage group projects by building a lists of tasks, assigning those tasks to different team members, setting deadlines, and monitoring the progress. The best way to introduce Planner is to dive in and see it at work. So here on the Office 365 website, I'll click on the tile for Planner to go to the Planner interface. Taking a quick look around, over on the sidebar on the left, I can see that I have several plans already listed. A plan represents a collection of tasks that will be organized and assigned among a specific group of people.
Now, where have we talked about specific groups of people before? And why do the names of these plans look so familiar? Well, as you might expect, a plan in Planner is actually an Office 365 group. If you create a plan in Planner, you're creating a group. If you create a group in SharePoint or Outlook on the web, you will see that group appear as a plan in Planner. If you watch the movie on Microsoft Teams, you know that, when you create a team in Microsoft Teams, you are creating an Office 365 group.
And that group, in turn, shows up here in Planner. So, if you want the same group of people to appear in Teams and in Planner, you should create that in Microsoft Teams first, and then it will show up here in Planner. Now, let's go to one of these plans and see what we have. I'm going to select the Graphic Designers plan, and what I see here it's just a bunch of specific tasks that this group of people needs to get done. This is a graphic design group, so they have tasks like building logos, choosing fonts, designing website graphics, and I can see that each task is assigned to a person.
I can see the name of the person that has been assigned to each task, and I can also see a deadline on each task. If the deadline is overdue, it will be highlighted in red. Also, I want you to see that these tasks are organized into buckets. I have a Print bucket and a Web bucket. And if I scroll over here, I also have a generic To do bucket. That's there by default when you create a plan, but the other buckets are buckets that I've created. So let's quickly create a new task.
I usually do that under the To do bucket. I'll hit this little plus button to create a new task. I'll put in a name or a short description for this task. I'm going to give it a due date by clicking on this little calendar button. I want to set this to be due on April 12th, and then I'll click Add assignment to assign a person who will be responsible for this task. So what I see here is a list of the members of this plan, or the members of this Office 365 group. This is not a list of everybody in your organization.
This is just the people who are already members of this plan. So I'm going to assign this to Lea, then I'll hit Add task, and it automatically jumps me into a field to create another new task, but I'm going to hit the X button to dismiss that. So I can see I now have a new task. Now that I have this new task, it can be tracked with all of the other tasks. It's not required, but it's probably a good idea to sort this into one of my buckets, just to stay organized. So I'm going to drag this over to the Web bucket, and now it's just a little bit more organized.
So now I can start addressing the tasks that have been assigned to me specifically. You see, each person in this plan, or this group, whatever you want to call it, each person can sign into Office 365, go into Planner, and see this list. They will see all of the plans or groups that they are members of over here on the left side. And, if they select one of those plans, they'll see the tasks in that plan. But there's also an item on the sidebar labeled My tasks. This is where I can go to focus specifically on the tasks that have been assigned to me.
So I'm going to click on that, and I see here that I have four tasks. And these tasks could be from any plan that I'm a member of. So I can see that three of them are from my Graphic Designers plan, this one, this one, and this one, but this fourth one is from the Web Designers plan. I can see that two of my tasks have not been started. I can tell that because they're in this Not started category. I can see that two are in progress, and none of them have been completed. I can also see that one of them is overdue.
So let's update some of this information. I've done some work, so now it's time to change some of this. I'm going to click on this task to get more information, and I'm just going to switch the progress from In progress to Completed. And then I'll click outside of this box, and now I can see that task has moved over to the Completed column. And I can go to one of my other tasks here. Let's go to one in the Not started column. I'm going to set that one as In progress, click outside of that, and it moves over to the In progress column.
So now, my teammates can stay up-to-date with the work that I've done. Now let's go back to the Graphic Designers plan, so I'm going to click on that in the sidebar. So far, we've been looking at the Board view. That's selected up here near the top. But there's also an option to switch over to the Charts view, so let's click on that. This is where I can get some statistics on how my team is proceeding with their tasks. You'll probably have a lot more tasks on your list, so these charts will look different. If I scroll over a bit, I can see this chart, so I can see that I have two tasks assigned to me, and Lea has two tasks, and so does Stewart.
I can see that Stewart is behind. He has one task that is overdue. I can also go to this chart over on the left and see an outline of the entire plan. I can see how many tasks have been started, how many are late, and so on. And, on the right side, I can see a full list of all of the tasks that are already in progress. So I can see that Stewart is falling behind. He has one overdue task. At this point, I might consider moving this task that Stewart is late on over to another person. So I could click on this task to get more information.
I could scroll through here, and I could look at any comments that have been added to this task. And I could even change the person it's been assigned to. If I hit this plus button, I could add a second person, I could just add a second person and then remove Stewart if I want to change it. Or, I could go down here to the bottom and type in a new comment, so that I could start investigating and figure out why this is late. But, for that, I would probably refer to some of my other tools. I could go over to Outlook and send an email to Stewart.
I could send an email message to this entire Office 365 group to start a conversation. Or, if I'm using Microsoft Teams, I could switch over there and start a conversation thread on this topic. Or I could keep it under the radar and send a private chat message to Stewart over in Teams, or an instant message in Skype for Business, instead of introducing it as a topic of conversation for the rest of the team. So Planner is all about task assignment, task management, and monitoring of progress. There are other tools in Office 365 to handle the communication.
If Planner looks like something that you want to use to manage tasks among your team members, be sure to check out my course Planner: First Look. That course is designed to get you up and running quickly with Microsoft Planner.
- Office 365 accounts and tools
- Office 365 Groups and SharePoint
- Choosing the right tools for your collaboration needs
- Working with shared calendars in Outlook
- Making video and audio calls with Skype for Business
- Managing collaborative conversations with Teams
- Editing and co-authoring files stored on OneDrive or SharePoint
- Choosing a location to store files
- Sharing files from OneDrive or SharePoint
- Sharing files in Teams