Announcing Planner integration with the Microsoft 365 Message center

Published Sep 22 2020 08:04 AM 14.4K Views
Frequent Contributor

This feature is near to my heart.  It grew out of a sample I created in the early days of Planner—it has been more than four years since Planner launched!—to get my head around the Graph API. It was also an attempt to fill a desperate need for our customers who were missing news of all the new features and changes we were making in Microsoft 365.

 

An example of this came from one of our enterprise customers who was very concerned about changes related to modern SharePoint sites that we introduced "without telling them."  It turned out there had been a sequence of posts about these changes in the Microsoft 365 Message center—but none of them had filtered down to the people who really needed to know! 

 

Fast-forward to 2019, when I showed the Message center team what I'd been working on. The sample solution was built on Azure by reading the Office 365 Service Communications API and then writing to Planner with the Graph API. This resonated well with both the Message center team and the customers they showed it to. Obviously, building something for Microsoft 365 for all of our customers needs some scalability compared to my solution!

 

Now, after a great partnership between the Microsoft 365 and the Planner engineering teams, we are seeing the fruits of our labors: we are releasing Planner in Microsoft 365 Message center, which can create new Planner tasks for releases communicated through the Message center. This feature is now generally available worldwide.

 

Planner in Message center relies on Power Automate to automatically sync new messages you are interested in to Planner on a daily basis (or less frequently if you prefer). In the example below, Message center syncs with Planner once per day at 3 p.m.

 

The Message Center pane showing the Planner integration settingsThe Message Center pane showing the Planner integration settings

 

 

That screenshot gives you an idea of the configuration options available with this feature. You can change the Planner plan or bucket where the messages are synced and decide what kinds of messages get pulled over.

 

Once you have the messages in your plan, I'm thinking customers may have their own ideas on how they further manage those tasks—Planner offers the ability to have other buckets in that landing plan that tasks could be moved to and assigned for action—as well as a feature to move tasks to other plans in the same Microsoft 365 Group. For example, I might have another plan for all my Microsoft Teams messages and move them over for assignment and execution...

 

The dialog to choose a plan and bucket when moving tasksThe dialog to choose a plan and bucket when moving tasks

 

 

...and assign them to be managed in another plan.

 

A additional plan just for managing Teams messagesA additional plan just for managing Teams messages

 

I can imagine our customers using Power Automate to further control the tasks and maybe even pushing them out to other applications, such as Azure DevOps or Microsoft Project, as there are other tools that different parts of the organizations may be using. 

 

I'd love to hear stories of how you move this forward in your organization! Share those stories in a comment below. I also encourage you to continue leaving feedback about this and other features on UserVoice. And keep coming back to Tech Community for all the latest Planner news. 

 

(PS, our first-ever all-digital Microsoft Ignite starts today. Head over to the Virtual Hub to check out our skilling session videos for Planner and Tasks in Microsoft 365. But first, read through this guide from my colleague, Shin-Yi, for a quick overview of all our sessions.)

7 Comments
Occasional Visitor

We are experiencing issues where the linked files in a task are not available in the activity feed task notification.  Any news on this?

Frequent Contributor

Hi @SWojcikTCEQ - can you describe the issue a little deeper?  Are you talking about the links directly in the tasks created from the Message Center to Planner integration?  Or is this a more general question?  Not all activity from different Teams applications does show in the activity feed - and there is a UserVoice item you might want to support if you feel there would be a benefit in these showing https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public/suggestions/32874073-activity-feed-for-all...

Best regards,

Brian

Occasional Visitor

Provided this comment by email:

Good Afternoon,

 

When you receive a notification in the activity feed in Teams for a planner assignment, the notification automatically opens a ‘view’ of the planner task. It shows the planner in question in the background and opens the task, but the task links are not active. Here is a screenshot.

 

SWojcikTCEQ_0-1602095147915.png

 

 

Thanks, Shar

 

Frequent Contributor

Thanks for the further details Shar - I'll take a look

Senior Member

Hello @Brian Smith . We are a heavy Planner users. My strategy as an IT manager is to first involve and train management, and their teams will start to use the tools later too, just naturally.

As for the task management, it is imo one of the biggest topics in the entire MS ecosystem universe :) In the past, there were task structures in SP, Exchange, there were flagged emails, which were not tasks as per se. Later on, Planner came. We've tried to utilise Project, but MS added Project online and later on Project for the Web and Roadmaps, which I still can find underpowered. Then MS bought Wunderlist and nowadays we can see a To-do, which, to my heart, is visually quite unpleasing experience.

Now back to tasks - what I prefer, is the simplicity, but also a consistency. Ppl in our company like Planner, as you are notified on your smartphone, can add comments, etc. But - nothing is ideal, is it? Here's my wishlist or just gripes with currest status quo of MS task management, in no respective order:

- Planner timeline is quite a weak tool. Noone uses it in our organisation.

- Please add List view to the Planner on the web

- When will Planner allow mentions? I know, it most probably relates to access rights, if you mention a person out of the group.

- I like MS visual design, but sometimes the simplicity is run over the board. You can't easily distinguish Task name from the rest of the card. Needs some visual accent imo.

- Why on earth are things like displaying the check-list, Task description and File preview being a mutually exclusive? Card view tends to be boring and making it more lively by displaying some image should not remove the option to display a checklist.

- Why checking the checklist item removes it from the container card view? It looks like the team does nothing. I want those checked-thru items to be still visible, please!

- After all those years, it still feels so unnature to confirm the change by pressing a cross button - why there is not OK button?

- We miss Sponsor field so much. Our CEO itself does not set the task, it is being done by assistants. But he wants to keep track of things. We don't want him to assign as an assignee, as he's not the one who is supposed to finish the task ;) Either a Sponsor, or "Notify also" field would be really useful.

- Why Teams To-do section does not show flagged emails, while To-do itself does?

- Why To-do section in Teams does not show a Container name?
- Why can't we filter by columns, or at least by a search field?

- Please don't eventually remove the Planner mobile app - it is the only one to show a Board / Kanban view, you can swipe by Containers left or right. Why on earth Teams task app on mobile does not contain that?

- Allow the Roadmap to work with Planner, please! Project is natural there, but why the Azure boards got a precedence instead of a Planner integration?

 

Well, my boss thinks, I should work for Microsoft, as I have succesfully "sold" O365 to our management. Maybe it would be enough to find someone in MS, who listens and can consider the above list of topics, as some of them, while cosmetic, might mean a nice user experience enhancement :)

 

Best regards,

/Petr

Occasional Contributor

@Brian Smith 

Hello

 

I make use of this really helpful sync possibility. For several weeks, I manually trigger the sync (once a week) and the Planner is updated.  I can furthermore attribute tasks to specific persons.

However, we recently have problems with notifications. 

Microsoft has changed the way  (MC229082) how they update mesage center posts.

For each updated message center post, each and every member of the group receives now a flood of email messages.

Q: How can we disable these notifications?  We would like Microsoft investigates this issue and takes action so no new notifications are made.
(No settings on Planner have been changed at our environment in the meantime)

E-mail details: 

Subject: Comments on Task ..........

Body: 

Microsoft reopened this task for you because the message was updated. 

or

Microsoft updated the message for this task.

 

Thanks for looking into this issue

Regards

Hilde

Occasional Contributor

@Brian Smith 
Just an update and a follow-up of my question. I had sent a similar message to Microsoft Customer feedback

I received following answer (so there should be no problem anymore.) 
Regards, Hilde

 

Thank you for sending us more information. We have now made changes to our feature, and your group should no longer receive notifications each time a message is updated. Please let us know again if the issue persists, and thank you for sending us the feedback. 

Thank you,
The Microsoft Team

 

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Last update:
‎Sep 30 2020 08:28 AM
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