How to achieve 25% more efficiency with Microsoft Planner

An average employee receives 124 emails per day (that’s about 620 emails per week) but only 40 of those are for business communication that need an urgent response. It means at least 2.5 hours is spent sorting through email – adding up to a 25% loss in productivity.

The goal of Microsoft Teams is to reduce e-mails and empower your employees to do work faster – and Microsoft Planner is a highly recommended add-on for Teams; and works as a standalone app in Microsoft 365.

Microsoft Planner is a simple yet powerful project management tool that features a Kanban-style, card-based interface. This is a centralized hub that can ‘take chaos out of teamwork and get more done’. Project management and team collaboration has never been this easy. Let’s take a closer look at how your organization can benefit from this handy, lightweight O365 application.

What MS Planner Can Do for You

  1. Project organization that can be categorized by campaign type, assigned department, priority level, etc.
  2. Customizable user interface with options such as progress report charts, drag and drop updates, picture view/calendar view, pinned favorites, etc.
  3. Availability of supplemental information such as meeting notes, images, links, attached files, comments, flags, etc.
  4. Guest access to projects and campaigns for users that belong to another department or outside the organization
  5. Cross-device integration and support with iOS and Android systems

How to Use MS Planner

  1. Log in your O365 account details through your device or directly on the browser and access Planner.
  2. The Planner Hub is blank by default. To start a plan, click ‘New Plan’ button on the left sidebar of the main menu. Give it a title and choose a privacy setting (public or private).
  3. When the new task panel pops up, enter the following details: task name, due date, users assigned. Click ‘Add Task’ button to create the task.
  4. Use options to add information about the task – priority level, project status, attachments, checklists, etc. which can be color-coded for easy labeling.
  5. The ‘Add Task’ window will remain active on your screen unless you close it. This makes it easy to add various tasks in quick succession. If you click “X” at the top-right corner, it will instantly disappear and automatically save all changes.

Buckets: An Organized To-Do List

Buckets allow you to sort tasks in an organized manner. This lets you create cards assigned to specific users that can be grabbed at will by any team member. Customize buckets to suit project or team requirements and arrange them in columns so it is easier to view them and manage tasks all at once.

Labels: Visual Cue for Task Cards

This color-coding system is a neat little trick to group each task depending on your preferred category system. There are six colored labels you can use to indicate priority level, project theme, assigned user, deadlines, etc.

A Checklist within a Checklist

For super-methodical folks, you’ll love the concept of the MS Planner Checklist where you can create a checklist inside a task. You and your team members can follow up on project milestones, check off/remove completed items, and even leave notes/ask questions/request clarification on task descriptions.

‘Boards’ View vs. ‘Schedule’ View vs. ‘Charts’ View

Board’ view refers to the main task tab.

Schedule’ view allows users to:

  1. Organize tasks on calendar
  2. Have better understanding of project status
  3. Use drag and drop button for scheduling upcoming weekly and monthly tasks

Charts’ view, on the other hand, provides a visual breakdown of existing tasks. Team leaders and project managers can stay on top of requirements and deadlines by using this ‘at a glance’ analytical representation of all project progress.

  1. It shows what projects are classified urgent, how each bucket is doing, which tasks are running late, or who’s overloaded
  2. Each color refers to a status – completed tasks are marked green, late tasks are marked red, tasks in progress are marked blue, and tasks not yet started are marked grey

Filter’ and ‘Group By’ Options

These two options – ‘filter’ and ‘group by’ enables you to sit tight on timelines and keep all team members accountable. Play around with these options if you want to manage task groupings, visualize upcoming projects, reallocate resources, and increase/decrease workload to assigned users.

Reduce e-mails and access management with MS Planner

With MS Planner, you can send an email to everyone on the group or just to specific team members. You can customize who has access to files, conversations, notebooks, and all things associated with the project.

This allows team members to work and collaborate on tasks, store/share files, and stay up to date on changes/developments without needing to open a separate tab in Outlook. This level of integration ensures that the entire team is instantly notified of anything and everything that is pertinent to the project – a simple way to minimize time spent on checking up on individual emails.

MS Teams Integration

  1. In your MS Teams Tab, click on + button and choose Planner tab.
  2. You will be taken to a new window where you can select between: 1) Create a New Plan; or, 2) Use an Existing Plan From This Team.
  3. MS Planner application is now available as an additional tab which can be displayed as Boards, Charts, or Schedule view.

Enterprise and Global Availability

MS Planner is rigorously designed to meet the requirements of any business enterprise around the world. It has compliance with ISO27001, HIPAA, FISMA, and EU Model while other impressive technical features include virtual instantaneous recovery and multiple redundant backup systems.

How can I start using Microsoft Planner?

What is Best about MS Planner is that it’s already part of your Microsoft 365 subscription.

If you don’t have Microsoft 365 yet, or if you need further help, training, and enablement for your employees, coworkers, or even just your team, schedule a free consultation with us and get started today:

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