What’s Good About Microsoft Planner So Far (and What’s Still Missing)

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Highlighted
Regular Contributor

After several months of using Microsoft Planner in Office 365 to manage tasks and collaborate on projects, I've put together my thoughts on what's good so far, and what's missing.

 

Click here to read my blog post

 

Things on the roadmap that I'm looking forward to:

  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android
  • Assigning tasks to multiple people
  • External guest access
  • Templates

Things I couldn't find on the roadmap yet, but I would like to see:

  • Better Outlook integration (there’s no connection between Planner tasks and Outlook tasks).
  • Wrapping of long bucket names.
  • Marking checklist items within a task should automatically mark the task as “In progress”.
  • New tasks in a bucket should be added to the bottom of the list
  • Sorting of My Tasks list by due date
  • Notifications for tasks about to expire/expired
  • Daily digest email of tasks due today/tomorrow/this week/this month
  • Favorite plans not added to Outlook favorites automatically
  • Multiple plans per Group
  • Charts for plans showing per-bucket progress of items
38 Replies
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Great writeup, agree with a lot of your points. In addition to plan templates it would be great to have card and bucket templates which would save a lot of time. Another thing we are desperately hoping for is customizable stages for plans. At least for us the basic "Not started, In Progress and Completed" stages don't cut it and we would love to have the ability to create custom ones and be able to group by them, especially in the "My tasks" view. And of course recurring tasks would be a welcome addition too.

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We are using Planner to manage our support tickets. Planner helped us a lot in simplifying ticket management a lot. So Planner's integration with Outlook calendar, setting reminders for task due dates are most important. 

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Great post. We have not embraced Planner yet because it is too basic. I hope it continues to mature.
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@Rob O'Keefe Can you let me know what features you are looking for in Planner in order to use it? 

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would also add better graphics and visual reports of states, as a burndown chart, tasks flows, workloads per user or member, or better yet, the ability to connect to PowerBI in my work area or the same group of planner plan. I would like to migrate all my projects to Planner but it is important to have more visibility of activities even if the other product costs me more money, additional licenses, etc

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@Armando Roman brought up a great point with burndown charts which also means that estimates should find their way into Planner. Because we are a Scrumban organization we would love to have analytics for lead and cycle time :)

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Fully agreed. But it is a good start for smaller teams where no full project management solution is required, or even for SMBs that cannot afford expensive PM solutions.

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@Santhosh Balakrishnan  Sure, maybe not an exhaustive list:

 

* List view of tasks (not everyone likes the Card motif)

* Multiple selection and update, or edit a list of tasks in place

* Flagging and possible alerting on overdue tasks

* Integration with Outlook Tasks would be a significiant nice to have

* email a task into a Plan (every Plan has an email address to receive tasks)

* Sorting and Filtering 

* I think when I add a task it sends an email to everyone, this may have been changed? I have no understaning of who gets emails or when, but feel like Planner generates excessive email notfications.

 

My favorite tool in this space is SmartSheet.  Very collaborative -- easy to send a reminder on a task, easy to start a discussion on a task.  Good ability to make template Plans.

 

EDIT: we work on smaller screen laptops, that is why Card view doesn't work as the only view for us. Lists get a lot more information on a small screen -- can get about 8-10 cards on the screen at one time, vs 20-30 rows of a spreadsheet.

 

EDIT2: Love that you can Edit posts here!!  Planner plans should be served up as Modern Lists: https://network.office.com/t5/Blogs/Modern-SharePoint-lists-are-here-Including-integration-with/ba-p...

 

 

Thanks,
Rob.

 

 

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@Rob O'Keefe Thanks for your reply. It was really useful in getting to know this. Please find my replies below

* Integration with Outlook Tasks would be a significiant nice to have
MSFT has plans to offer this feature.
https://planner.uservoice.com/forums/330525-microsoft-planner-feedback-forum/suggestions/11037114-in...

 

* I think when I add a task it sends an email to everyone, this may have been changed? I have no understaning of who gets emails or when, but feel like Planner generates excessive email notfications.
MSFT is working on this to provide controls for email notifications.
https://planner.uservoice.com/forums/330525-microsoft-planner-feedback-forum/suggestions/11444235-em...

 

* List view of tasks (not everyone likes the Card motif)
* Multiple selection and update, or edit a list of tasks in place
* Flagging and possible alerting on overdue tasks
* email a task into a Plan (every Plan has an email address to receive tasks)
* Sorting and Filtering
* Integration with Outlook Tasks
If you are using Outlook client, you can try Apps4.Pro Planner Outlook add-in which will work for the above listed requirements.

 

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@Santhosh Balakrishnan wrote:

@Rob O'Keefe Thanks for your reply. It was really useful in getting to know this. Please find my replies below

* Integration with Outlook Tasks would be a significiant nice to have
MSFT has plans to offer this feature.
https://planner.uservoice.com/forums/330525-microsoft-planner-feedback-forum/suggestions/11037114-in...

 

* I think when I add a task it sends an email to everyone, this may have been changed? I have no understaning of who gets emails or when, but feel like Planner generates excessive email notfications.
MSFT is working on this to provide controls for email notifications.
https://planner.uservoice.com/forums/330525-microsoft-planner-feedback-forum/suggestions/11444235-em...

 

* List view of tasks (not everyone likes the Card motif)
* Multiple selection and update, or edit a list of tasks in place
* Flagging and possible alerting on overdue tasks
* email a task into a Plan (every Plan has an email address to receive tasks)
* Sorting and Filtering
* Integration with Outlook Tasks
If you are using Outlook client, you can try Apps4.Pro Planner Outlook add-in which will work for the above listed requirements.

 


@Santhosh Balakrishnan thanks for replying and the updates.  Just to clarify, the list at the bottom should be features of Planner. I don't anticipate paying an extra $4-6/month/user for an add on, although I do appreciate the architecture and implementation supports an after market ecosystem.  The things I listed are basic features that should be inherent in the core product.

 

I went to the User Voice references, thanks for those too.

Rob.

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We used planner to replace Trello, it works but has been a little rough, some form of integration between the two seems like a good idea but not likely for obvious reasons.  That said, the main thing I would love to see is more DevOps related features and templates for DevOps, many may argue that point but Trello is very effective for managing DevOps, not for massive projects perhaps but very good for smaller ones.  

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@Rob O'Keefe, Thanks for your reply. I accept that the features you have mentioned are basic and Microsoft will provide those over the period of time. The main purpose of the add-in is Outlook sync and the rest are just missing parts in planner. BTW, the pricing $4 is for per YEAR / per user. 

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They've added a feature to stop sending out so many emails. It's on the edit plan tab

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@Santhosh Balakrishnan wrote:

@Rob O'Keefe, Thanks for your reply. I accept that the features you have mentioned are basic and Microsoft will provide those over the period of time. The main purpose of the add-in is Outlook sync and the rest are just missing parts in planner. BTW, the pricing $4 is for per YEAR / per user. 


Thanks... it looks like they changed their pricing, now it is a flat $20 one time fee which makes more sense to me. We look forward to continued progress on Planner (it comes up in our conversations all the time!!  Looking for a Sharepoint Tasks replacement).

 

Cheers,
Rob.

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@Santhosh Balakrishnan wrote:

@Rob O'Keefe Thanks for your reply. It was really useful in getting to know this. Please find my replies below

* Integration with Outlook Tasks would be a significiant nice to have
MSFT has plans to offer this feature.
https://planner.uservoice.com/forums/330525-microsoft-planner-feedback-forum/suggestions/11037114-in...

 

* I think when I add a task it sends an email to everyone, this may have been changed? I have no understaning of who gets emails or when, but feel like Planner generates excessive email notfications.
MSFT is working on this to provide controls for email notifications.
https://planner.uservoice.com/forums/330525-microsoft-planner-feedback-forum/suggestions/11444235-em...

 

* List view of tasks (not everyone likes the Card motif)
* Multiple selection and update, or edit a list of tasks in place
* Flagging and possible alerting on overdue tasks
* email a task into a Plan (every Plan has an email address to receive tasks)
* Sorting and Filtering
* Integration with Outlook Tasks
If you are using Outlook client, you can try Apps4.Pro Planner Outlook add-in which will work for the above listed requirements.

 


@Santhosh Balakrishnan -- Any updates on the progress of Planner features and capabilities? (there may have been information posted that I missed.)

 

Rob.

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@Rob O'Keefe There are no updates on the features you have listed. The possible features we can expect as of now are 

  • Assign tasks to multiple users
  • Guest access 
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Anyone frustrated with the lack of feature updates on the planner user voice website. So many things promised with months and no progress updates
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I'd like to see archiving of completed buckets too.
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I think Denis brings up THE key point.

 

Look, I'm a big Office365 proponent. Hell, I'm even a Dynamics365 fan boy. I use Windows Phone and have an Xbox sitting at home. I'm a Microsoft fan.

 

With that said, what the hell is up with Planner??? MS abandoned Sharepoint tasks and were going to build something new. We waited. Along (after a couple of years) came Planner.

 

I participated in Planner Yamjams, gave feedback on this board, wrote suggestions on uservoice. I started using it a little bit.

 

Then we rolled it out to a small team during the beta, but it was just not very good. Then we added Apps4.pro. A HUGE step forward. It plugs some wholes and makes the product usable. Still, as someone said, we expect their functionality in the standard product. Period. Or we will use something else. Todoist works just fine, someone else mentioned SmartSheet, we use that today as well.

 

So is today's product good? I am yet to hear about ONE company who thinks this is great product that does not lack a lot of functionality. Give me one evangelic customer who says Planner has  significantly impacted their business... one.

 

But it is not the lack of features that is the biggest problem. It is the lack of progress as Denis points out. Planner was introduced in a blog post 2016-09-22. More than a year ago. On user voice there are more than 1 000 suggestions. Microsoft has updated the status on 17 of them. They are thinking about 5, planned 2, started 8 and completed 2. Completed 2 in a year. Two. Additionally, the user voice site is just so lame and feels dead from MS side. A lot of user input but just poorly managed from MS side.

 

This is just not acceptable. I am sad to say that we, being a Microsoft super fan and having waited eagerly several years for planner, completely discard the idea of using it. I would like, almost expect, an excuse from someone on the Planner team for having such a bad track record.

 

So to me it feels like MS is winding this product down. If you're not going forwards you are going backwards. The roadmap is totally uninspiring. If I do not hear from any other member of the team, we will use the many other great Office365 services instead.