Public Plans are Not Appearing in Organization Users' Planner Hub

Copper Contributor


My organization recently started using Planner and are getting a lot of value from the product.


We have created some public plans and want our organizational users to be able to browse to them. Note these users are not guests/external users; they are fellow employees in our Office 365 organization.


Links to the public plans can be sent to any user, and that user can use the link to navigate DIRECTLY to the public plan, but they cannot see the public plan via browsing for it via the 'All plans' link. However, after they use a direct link, to view a public plan, the plan will then appear in 'Recent plans', supposedly until "recent" is no longer "recent".


Question: How can I enable organization users, whom I have not added to any specific public plan as members, to be able to browse to public plans?


With thanks,

- Dan

7 Replies

Hey Dan! 


Great question. We chose to only show plans that are relevant to you in your 'All plans' section and defined this as plans you're a member of, or plans you've navigated to. If we were to add every (public) plan that's been created in your organization to your 'All plans' section, there could potentially be a very very large number of plans - especially for organizations with thousands of users. 


We are exploring adding 'Search' functionality to the Planner Hub, however. For my own understanding, if you were able to search for and find other public plans in your organization, would this resolve your pain point here?


Thanks for your detailed question and feedback!


-Joanna Parkhurst

Thank you for your quick response, Joanna.

Short answer: Searching would be a great start!


Long-winded answer (or "How I wasted a part of my life I'll never get back reading this guy's ramblings"): Your question is also an interesting one. Not to wax philosophic, but its answer lies in another question: What is the value of discovery versus the efficiency of direction?


Part of the joy of SharePoint is being able to plummet down rabbit holes, accidentally found, usually linked from some other SharePoint site within the organization. Something might be posted, referencing another page, and then someone might branch off down that long tunnel while waiting for the Keurig to crank out its next dose. Specifically, in the planner realm, since there is no "page" for this -- because the Planner Hub is only a hub of spokes once taken -- one can only revisit where one has been. It is a closed environment unless someone is passed a golden ticket...


Being provided a link, to a specific plan, does work. Whether sent via email or posted as a true link on another page, the portal is opened, the plan nugget unlocked.


Which brings us to the search question. Searching would be most welcome, for sure! The ability to find plans related to 'product launch', 'Windows 10 migration', 'VSTS training'... would be beneficial. There is no downside to searching, but searching only works if one knows for what one longs to find.


But I see your dilemma. ORGANIZING browsing is a challenge. The Mall of America works, as a browsing location, only if one has the time and stamina to gaze into the windows of hundreds of shops. "Browsing fatigue" might even prevent someone from exploring hit #243, whereas if they'd found it at #3 they would have been full of vigor to dive headlong into the fray. Certainly, the left Planner pane is not designed to shown more than 8-12 objects at a time, what with the section delimiters. Having even a few dozen would be overwhelming. The Mall of America has store guides posted at each hub entrance, yet even those are enormous, too bright, and the categories sometimes get lost within the store names.


I suppose if public plan-makers would categorize the plans -- Software Development, Marketing, Operations, etc. -- that could help formulate a SPOKE concept, for the HUB, but we all know how categorization has generally not taken off aside from a few index-oriented folks (myself included) who like adding keywords, categories, color tabs, etc... all of which are customizable, to each user -- since few like to "cave to the man" and use someone's IMPOSED categories -- which all leads back to no categorization at all.


So. Sure. Searching is a good start, especially since I cannot solve any way to successfully browse.

Thank you @Dan Reams! I promise I didn't forget about this! 


This is a really interesting response and I appreciate you taking the time to help explain your thinking behind this. It is a difficult problem to solve entirely, especially since how we approach a search and even 'browsing' experience would be based on our hypothesis of what Planner users would be looking for, or how they could benefit from this. 


From a perspective of Planner becoming a shared tool across your organization in which users can search for, browse, and share their own processes/plans, it makes a lot of sense to have a central repository of plans. Then of course the challenge would be around how to make that repository browse-able. Understanding how to make plans browse-able requires us to understand what users would be looking for. Would they be searching for a plan that's just interesting? One that's helpful to them? One that's related to what their work is? Each sub-scenario represents a different potential solution for how plans could be sorted and/or categorized among themselves. This approach as a whole is difficult because Planner isn't setup to be a social or shared platform for plans and processes across an entire organization - we've set it up to be a platform for you and the people you work with day-to-day. This isn't saying that we couldn't make improvements to change this, but I'm having a hard time grasping how it would be valuable for our users in the end if we invest in allowing Planner users to window-shop through other plans in their organization. 


On the other hand, a scenario that I believe is more tangible (or perhaps just easier for me to grasp), is one where a user is trying to find a particular plan, and either their 'All plans' section is difficult to sort through OR they're not a member of the plan so it's not included in that section. From this scenario, we can start to understand the ways in which a user might search for a plan. They might know the exact name or a few keywords from the plan name? Or perhaps a couple people who are members of the plan? Or a couple task names from the plan?


We do have an item on our backlog to introduce a simple search in the Planner hub. We're still in the planning/design phase of this, but feel free to reach out again for an update on it's progress, or for feedback once it's released.


Thanks again for your thoughts and interest in Planner!





Hi @Joanna Parkhurst


Do you have an update on this topic? 


Recently I've been looking at how to leverage Planner to create a template (looks like a public plan is the best way) to share with others in my organization to use. The content of this thread is really interesting because there's value to both browsing and searching. For my specific case, I'm looking at creating a generic onboarding plan for other teams to copy as they hire new employees. So either a search or browse function would work for my needs. 

 @Joanna Parkhurst


My organization has just started using Planner. My frustration is the understanding of the meaning of "Public" when it is assigned to a Plan. It states " Anyone in my organization can see plan contents". That is not true until I add that member to the plan which in turn adds them to the group that Plan is part of. With that, "Public" is the same as "Private" which is "Only members I add can see plan contents". If a plan is "Public" then anybody in my company or organization should be able to open that plan.


With respect to the search feature it should be as simple as searching for the plan title. You would then be able to open it and join it, if it is Public. If it is Private then you wouldn't be able to find it or join it.


@Pete_Vanfrachen great observation and I agree. I would assume that public would be visible to all users without the need to add them as a member. 


Hopefully there are some changes made!

This (public vs. private) is confusing for me too. Also I posted these questions ( before I was able to find this one.
Any update on this? Thx!