Microsoft Launches Office 365 Planner, a New Organizer for Teams

Microsoft is planning to make the Planner available for all Office 365 users within several weeks.

Microsoft has announced the launch of new project-management tool for teams called Office 365 Planner. The company first unveiled its plans and preview of Planner in December 2015 and promised to make it available in 2016. The new tool promised to “make it easy for teams to create plans, organize and assign work, share files, chat about what everyone is working on and get updates on progress.”

Microsoft has been “working closely with a variety of Office 365 customers from around the world” to develop the Planner. The company gives serious consideration to the opinion of its users and asks to leave feedback on its UserVoice service. “We are committed to reading every piece of feedback we receive and turning that into action, so that we can continue to improve Planner,” the team promised.

Now, Microsoft promises to spread its Planner to Office 365 users worldwide within several weeks. Microsoft notifies that Office 365 admins don’t need to take any action as Planner will appear in Office 365 app launcher. The fact that Planner is integrated with other Microsoft products sounds excellent for organizations that have already invested in Microsoft’s Office suite and related services. For instance, the conversations in Planner will also be available in Outlook 2016, Outlook on the web, and the Outlook Groups Mobile Apps.

To put it short, Planner has all chances to become the irreplaceable tool for team work. It offers visual dashboards, email notifications, possibility to set due dates. Whenever a new plan appears in Planner, it automatically creates a new Office 365 group.

There are such aspects as Boards and Hubs in the Planner to keep work organized. Each Board contains individual Cards that keep information about personal dates, attachments, categories and conversations. Users can group Cards into Buckets which can be color-coded and prioritized. The overall progress, fulfillment of tasks and responsible employees can be observed in Hubs.

VentureBeat asked Microsoft what will be the difference between Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Project. “Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Project are very different solutions aimed at very different sets of end users,” a Microsoft spokesperson told VentureBeat.

“While Office 365 Planner is a Work Management solution that helps teams of Information workers better organize and manage teamwork visually, Microsoft Project is an industry leading PPM (Project Portfolio Management) offering that helps companies manage a complex portfolio of projects and programs. Microsoft Project has a lot of unique PPM capabilities such as Program and Portfolio Management, Resource Capacity Management, Financial Management, Timesheeting and Schedule Management.”

Microsoft unveiled also its plans to master the Planner. In the next few months it will add the ability to assign a task to multiple users, external user access, plan templates, and customizable boards, as well as Android, iOS, and Windows apps.

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