Microsoft Planner might be one of Microsoft 365’s most valuable apps for businesses. It’s designed to make collaboration a lot easier, and helps track progress on all projects, even when you’re working with a large team.
Of course, like all software, you need to learn how to use Microsoft Planner before you can use it to improve your team’s efficiency.
We’re always available if you want more detailed Microsoft Office 365 support, but here’s a quick primer on Microsoft Office Planner to help you get started.
What is Microsoft Planner?
Microsoft Office Planner is a bit more than the old paper planners you used to get in school. This planner program helps you set due dates and organize tasks, while also helping create a collaborative environment to help you keep your whole team on track.
Planner isn’t always included with Microsoft Office, but some of the expanded business plans do include Planner as part of the package.
That makes Microsoft Office Planner a great piece of software to use, especially if you’ve already got access to the program as part of your current office subscription.
Why Use Microsoft Office Planner
Learning how to use Planner may be a job for your Microsoft Office support team, but you might not want to learn unless you know why it’s such a good program to use. After all, Planner often seems like an extra addition to other more important programs.
The good news is that Microsoft Office Planner is every bit as useful as the other programs in the Microsoft office suite. Here are two of the best reasons to consider using Microsoft Office Planner over other planning and collaborative software.
Fully Integrated with Microsoft Office 365
One of the big advantages of using Planner is that the app is fully integrated with the other programs in the suite. It works with Teams, as well as Word and Excel, which makes it easier to track tasks natively, without having to work between different programs manually.
Most other collaborative and project tracking programs are a good bit more expensive than Planner. While Planner doesn’t come with every subscription plan to Office 365, it does come with a lot of the business plans. That makes Planner a fantastic option for businesses that need a collaborative environment and a tracking program, especially you’re already using other Microsoft products.
The first thing you need to do when you want to start using Microsoft Office Planner, you’ll need to create a plan. If you have any problems creating a plan, chances are your installation isn’t working properly. You can contact your Microsoft Office Business Support team to help correct the installation.
Creating a plan is the most basic level of Planner. There isn’t a lot of information on this screen, but don’t worry, you’ll be able to add plenty of detail later.
For now, you should just add the name of the plan, its due date, and a few other details to make it easier to tell what you're working on when you start adding the other details.
Tasks are the next part of creating a plan. These tasks are what needs to happen before you’ve completed the plan and they can be as detailed, or as brief, as you prefer. Remember that the most tasks you add the more you’ll have to tick off as finished before you’ll be able to say the project is finished.
Tasks have more space for detail than the plans themselves. That means you can explain exactly what each task is, which is important if you’re working in a teams environment.
Tasks can also be useful if you’re integrating with Microsoft Office 365 OneNote and other programs designed to collect a lot of information and help with planning a presentation.
Assigning a Group
Assigning a group to your plan is the next step. You can do this before you have tasks, but it can be helpful to put in all the tasks before you add a group so that they don’t get too many notifications, depending on their notification settings.
Create a group and then assign the plan to the group. You can add however many members you need to the group, as long as you have their contact information. If they are all using Microsoft Outlook, they’ll be able to see tasks and notifications in Outlook as well.
Once you’ve assigned a group to the plan, and added members, you can also assign tasks to specific members of the group.
From here it’s up to your group to complete tasks and finish your plan on time.
Once you’ve got a plan with plenty of tasks, and assigned a group, you’ll also have access to the Planner dashboard to be able to track progress. You’ll be able to see finished tasks, partially completed tasks, and anything that’s overdue will be marked out in red.
That way you’ll be able to contact members of the group to see how they’re doing if they start to fall behind, and can automatically adjust other goals based on late work or overdue tasks.
This makes it a lot easier to keep up to date on your most important projects, as well as catching when your team is consistently working ahead of schedule. It’s a great way to effectively manage teamwork.
In addition to the main Planner dashboard, you will also be able to set up your notification settings to get custom notifications as work is completed. Customising your notifications is important since getting flooded with too many notifications can slow you down and make it hard to work.
Choose the most important notifications, and how you would prefer to receive them, and you’re ready to get to work.
Microsoft Office Support for Business
Planner is just one of the Microsoft Office 365 programs recommended for most businesses. That’s why we’ve made a list of the best add-on apps for Microsoft Office to help you get the most from your subscription.
If Microsoft Office doesn’t have everything you need, here is a list of some of the best apps for businesses to help improve productivity.
In addition to the Microsoft Office Support in Australia, we also offer business IT support. Whether you need Microsoft Office Support in Melbourne, Brisbane, or Sydney, our offices can help.