How do you use Planner?

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With the recent changes to Planner, my small team has leaned in and made it our project management tool of choice.  There are so many choices for task management tools and methodologies out there (Trello, Wrike, Todoist, easynote.io, Kanban, bullet journaling, and good-old Outlook tasks to name a few), and we've tried a lot of them to varying degress of success.  Planner though, with its integration into Teams, has become sticky in a way others haven't.  

 

Initially, here at AvePoint, my team had some process hurdles to jump--it was a big change to go from our home-brew system to something as frictionless and adaptable as Planner is--so I reflected on this change and wrote out how I personally use Planner here. 

 

https://www.avepoint.com/blog/strategy-blog/how-to-use-microsoft-planner-avepoint-technical-writers/

 

I'd love to hear how the community here uses Planner for their day-to-day project management. I feel like this is one area I could always get better at, so I'm curious--

 

  • How do you use Planner to stay on top of all your work?
  • Do you have system or process for creating tasks?  
  • Do you use the Groups conversations for something specific, like I do?
  • What value do you get out of Planner charts?
10 Replies
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We have approached Planner strictly as a Group tool, rather than Groups as a by product of a Plan. (We arent considering Teams at this point).

It is much easier for our users to digest Groups as a collaboration-in-a-box product, with multiple workloads (including a Plan), than provisioning them a plan and them asking why the heck did I get all the rest of this stuff, I just wanted a Plan.

We primarily have things organized (1) Workgroups, (2) Project Groups, (3) Organizational Groups. Each of these traditionally would try to do action items in SharePoint lists, and they are diving into Planner with lots of excitement because it is way better than SharePoint lists.

Some (lets call them old school) users it has taken a little bit of getting used to, especially if they have never used a tool like Trello or Wunderlist before, but the learning curve is pretty small IMO. The views and charts make analyzing what they are actually doing (or not doing) way easier than it ever was in SharePoint task lists.

We are struggling in some ways for more complex use cases, because some users have also discovered Trello around the same time, and the biggest feature now missing from Planner is the ability to email in to auto-create a task. So we are trying to head that off at the pass, but Planner has got to catch up in some basic functionality areas to achieve parity with their 3rd party competitors, and as others have mentioned in these forums, progress has been slow going.
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Hi Brett,

i simply answer direct to your questions...


•How do you use Planner to stay on top of all your work?

We are a team of 20 people in a 5k emploies company.

We started using planner 3 month from now.

We have to manage projects about 200 projects. Every project has its 20 workpackages which are basicly the same for each project.
Checklists are a good indicator if a task is done. All files are organzied in folders in the sharepoint behind the planner.


•Do you have system or process for creating tasks? 
For creating a new project we use Planner Mananager from Apps4pro.
Its the only one Software for create new tasks from exceltemplates.
Our Exceltemplate calculates the duedates for the tasks, and Planner Manager does the rest.

If you never heard about this tool, you have to give it a try:

https://sway.com/i8jlI9bGhTMY6vuk

 

It gives also the option to set reminders in outlook and much more.

Without this tool, to be hounest, it would not be possible to use planner.

 


Its still beta, but almost final i think/feel :)

•Do you use the Groups conversations for something specific, like I do?
Our IT block us from using groups. we just have planner.
Groups will be the next step.

•What value do you get out of Planner charts?
The chart function is good to have an overview, which tasks has to be done next.
who should be notified because its task is red, or not red anymore.

For doing a fast analasys, we use also planner manager.
For Example: We use one tasks, we call it "MASTERDATA" for collect infomation about the project like contact or contactpersons for functions.
In Planner manager i can search for this names and get an overview who is in the project in which funtion.

 

Greetings,

Michael

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Hi, Brent! I can't agree with you more. Planner does need to catch up to some 3rd party app functionality. Trello's integration with slack is incredible, and I'd love to see that level between Teams and Planner. 

 

You also said, 


@Brent Ellis wrote:

We primarily have things organized (1) Workgroups, (2) Project Groups, (3) Organizational Groups. Each of these traditionally would try to do action items in SharePoint lists, and they are diving into Planner with lots of excitement because it is way better than SharePoint lists.


I think this is key. I'm on a small team, here at AvePoint, which is a sub-unit of a larger department. While, I've ended up in several Groups and several Teams, I feel like it is easier for me to get information if it is divided up in the same heirarchy as my company is. I would hate to go dig for some project-based, ad hoc team. 

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We are starting to use  Planner more and more. Assigning to multiple people was one feature we were waiting for, so glad to see that there now.

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Yeah, but it has no mobile app. I tried using planner inside teams mobile but it open one browser. 

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Agree that's important.  The good news is that shows as under development on the roadmap. So hopefully soon.

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Hi Brett it is great to hear that you you have taken the Planner as a tool of choice. Did you look at the iPlanner Business Collection? Three Add-ins for the Planner, Outlook, SharePoint and Excel, that will make it even easier to use the Planner as a tool on a daily basis. Besides that, we have asked some of our customers how they are using the Planner. We created a number of SWAYS to inspire others. We are still working on more SWAYS. http://iglobe.dk/bliv-inspireret/
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Do you know of anyone using Planner for OKRs? 

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How are we using Planner? Not correctly and this bugs me :)

 

We have first tried planner a year ago, but it didn't stick. A few months ago we started testing Teams internally in our IT group and Planner tab has been added and from now on it is being used. But i think Planner is more a project management tool (plan = project). But our head of department just decided to use it to track various tasks. So our "project" is a never ending bloat of hundreds of various tasks, some are completed, new appear all the time. So the chart has no value. I have voiced my opinion a few times, but it just goes into void. I guess, this is still better than using some Excel sheet and it is centralized and integrates with Teams. You can access it on the web and in mobile app. So it has its benefits. But one had to use it correctly to get most value from it.

 

We also don't have a strict rules for task creating. It also annoys me when one task is assigned to 2-3 people and then it bugs you that its due date is here, but nobody knows who should close it. We started to use checklists with names attached to bullets inside such tasks to see who has to do what for the task to be completed. But this internal checklists are cumbersome. They are short, they show only a few words in a long sentence.

 

Maybe at some point it will evolve into something more useful. So far it's a messy pile here :)

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Thanks your comment was helpful. 
We are using it now. We recently created a bucket called "Weekly Commitments' this gives us a snapshot of the week. I think it is an improvement. I am looking for an affordable OKR system.