Microsoft launched Planner earlier this week, a team collaboration tool in direct competition with similar software such as Trello, Slack, and Asana. Planner was first introduced in September last year. However, it was only available to select customers. Now, all Office 365 users can make use of the new app.
This new addition to the Office suite follows the same principles as other popular project management tools, such as Asana or Trello. Microsoft’s Planner is useful for professionals working with multiple teams. It compartmentalizes the information of each group and each member. You get progress reports on the tasks, and this allows you to evaluate how the employees are doing on the designated tasks. Through color-coding, you get a clear picture if an assignment is completed, in progress, or late. This is a big plus for Planner in the face of competitors.
Planner’s layout is simple, giving you the possibility of quickly creating different boards for your teams. Just log in the app, assign, update, or change tasks. Users can also share documents and photos. A chat is also available for employees to communicate with each other. Boards can have different members, or different documents and photos.
Planner’s users stay connected with the team’s progress through its dashboard, as well as email notifications. The dashboard features tasks organized in columns like we see on Trello as well.
Microsoft claims that the app works on all device platforms, meaning that you won’t be dependent on the PC to keep track of your planned tasks.
For existing Office 365 users, there’s no need to do something to get the app. As soon as it becomes available for you, a tile will appear on Office’s launcher. Microsoft claims to have the app up and running in the next weeks.
If not already using Office 365, you can purchase it online. It is available for business, professionals, students, and home usage, at different price ranges. Microsoft launched Planner to come integrated into Office 365, so you don’t need to pay extra to use the team management tool.
Office 365 Business Essentials, for example, is highly accessible to small business owners, costing as little as $5/user/month annually. Planner’s competitors are a bit more expensive. This is where Microsoft’s app might have yet another leg up.
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