Download this app from Microsoft Store for Windows 10, Windows 10 Team (Surface Hub). See screenshots, read the latest customer reviews, and compare ratings for DesignMe: Life Planner, To do list &. Mar 06, 2021 Microsoft recently renamed the Planner app in Teams to 'Tasks' as part of putting both Planner and To Do front and center on the collaboration platform. They're looking to merge the two at some point.
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For many years, Microsoft has had isolated tasks in different systems: Outlook, OneNote, Project, SharePoint and Azure DevOps all had separate task lists with no single place to see everything you needed to do. Even when Microsoft introduced new task management tools -- Planner for team tasks and To Do (based on Wunderlist) for individual tasks -- that used the Exchange task format from Outlook rather than creating yet another task format, connecting the different task lists meant extra work: installing the To-Do app or Planner app in Teams, or creating Power Automate flows.© Provided by TechRepublic The new Tasks app in Microsoft Teams combines To-Do and Planner tasks. Image: Microsoft
The integration of Planner and To-Do into Teams as the Tasks app, announced last year at Ignite, is now finally starting to roll out, creating a single place to see tasks from multiple sources. It includes a new way for firstline workers and personal users to get tasks and some other Planner features, and marks significant progress in unifying tasks across different Microsoft tools and services.
SEE: Office 365: A guide for tech and business leaders (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
But the name for the new way to look at tasks in one place is going to change several times, in an attempt to help people who are familiar with the separate Planner and To Do tools get used to the new option. This approach should also reassure everyone that Planner and To Do aren't going away in favour of a new Tasks app, because while you can see tasks in the same place, they will continue to have different features depending on the app in which they were originally created.© Provided by TechRepublic The name of the desktop Tasks app will change several times. Image: Microsoft
Tasks surface in Teams
The Planner app is already available inside the Teams client, but previously it showed a board view of all your Planner tasks, plus new tasks assigned to you in the main Activity feed and the full Kanban board and calendar views if you added a Planner plan to a specific channel as a tab. The new Tasks app is really an update to the Planner app, with new features and (eventually) a new name. So if you already have it installed, you should get the new features by September, but you will still see the Planner name in the Teams desktop client.
'Rather than building a brand-new experience inside Teams, it's really about evolving Planner and To Do and bringing those existing experiences inside Teams,' Angela Byers, director of product marketing for Microsoft 365, told TechRepublic.
After a few weeks, the app will be called Tasks by Planner and To Do, which is one of Microsoft's typical 'does what it says on the tin' names that should make it less of a surprise that your tasks from To Do are showing up. Later in the year the name changes again to Tasks.© Provided by TechRepublic The mobile and desktop tasks app in Teams. Image: Microsoft
Tasks will come to the mobile Teams app later (after it's finished rolling out to Microsoft 365 and Office 365 tenants), so it doesn't have to go through the name changes and will just be called Tasks as soon as it shows up. You won't have to install it separately; if you have Tasks in the desktop client, you'll see it on your web and mobile clients too. Mobile is the only place that guest users will see Tasks as an app; on desktop and web, they will only see Tasks tabs.
Planner tabs in Teams channels will still have the board, chart and calendar views, but they also get a list view of tasks, where you can view, edit and create new tasks. Because it's a list you can filter it to show only a set of tasks, or select and edit multiple tasks at the same time (using Ctrl Shift) to change the due date or other options that all the selected tasks have in common. The tabs only show team tasks; the main Tasks app shows all your individual, team and channel tasks from both Planner and To Do, in a list view that's organised into smart lists as well as by different Planner plans that you're involved with. Unlike the existing Planner app, you can also see your tasks in the Boards, Charts and Schedule view here.
To Do tasks show up if you use the same account for Teams and To Do; if you use both a work and personal account for To Do, you won't see the other account in Teams. And the only way organisations can stop users seeing their To Do tasks in Teams is by removing their Exchange Online licence -- and their access to email
Common but not converged
Although both Planner and To Do tasks show up, they're not exactly the same in Tasks, because Planner and To Do have different features.
You can star tasks in To Do to prioritise them and check them off when they're complete, but in Planner you can mark tasks as Urgent, Important, Medium or Low and track progress as Not started, In progress and Completed. When you create a new task, you get all the Planner options if you're putting it in a plan (including assigning the task to a colleague) and some of the To Do options if you're putting it in a To Do list. You can name a To Do task, set the priority and due date and add a note or a checklist of secondary tasks, but you can't yet attach a file, assign a task to someone else, add a reminder or make it a recurring task.
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Tasks doesn't have a single view of all your tasks together. The Tasks list (which is labelled To Do) shows tasks from To Do and Outlook (but not flagged emails); Planner tasks are shown in their specific plans under Shared Tasks (which is tagged as being from Planner), as are your different To Do lists.
The To Do priority options are used to create smart lists: Important shows tasks in To Do that you've starred, Planned shows tasks that have a due date in To Do, and Assigned to me shows your Planner tasks but only if you sync them to To Do. If you create a new task in one of the smart lists, you pick the list or plan that it will live in from the Source column.
Notifications for Tasks inside Teams are also separate from notifications in Planner and To Do, so if you have a task with a deadline, you can choose what notifications you get from each app separately (and you might get both email and Planner notifications for tasks that get assigned to you).
There will be more ways to get tasks into Tasks over time. Word and Excel for web (and, soon, PowerPoint on the web) let you send tasks to colleagues by @ mentioning them in comments in documents; those tasks will start showing up in Planner and To Do at an unspecified point in the future. (Microsoft wouldn't confirm when @ mentions in desktop Office apps will work the same way, or when the My Day pane for creating and managing To Do tasks in Outlook on the web will appear in desktop Outlook).© Provided by TechRepublic These are the task options in the new To Do API. Image: Microsoft
Organisations (and developers) can use Graph API and Power Automate integrations for Planner and To Do to surface tasks created in other apps in Tasks in Teams; that will soon use the new To Do API that links a task back to the app it was created in to make it easier to bring together tasks from different sources without losing track of them in the original app.
More planning powered by Planner
The Tasks app in Teams also brings Planner to more people than had access to it before, because they don't need to have a Planner subscription to use the Planner features like boards and schedules: that includes firstline workers like retail staff, as well as personal Teams users who couldn't get Planner before.
They still don't get access to the full version of Planner. 'Planner as an app itself outside of Teams remains only for business users and it's included in almost all of the Office or Microsoft 365 subscriptions,' Byers said. 'At this point, Planner is not included in any Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscriptions for consumers, but we're bringing a similar task experience inside Teams for personal use.'
'That's currently in preview in mobile Teams. You will have one place inside Teams, when you're logged in with your personal account, to see the individual tasks that are powered by To Do, and shared tasks that you have with your family or friends in that same experience that is powered by Planner.'© Provided by TechRepublic With task publishing, managers can assign and publish tasks to firstline workers who do not otherwise have Planner access. Image: Microsoft
Firstline workers might create tasks for themselves, but Microsoft mainly sees Tasks as a way for managers and groups like head office or HR to create tasks for them, using task publishing, Byers explained.
'Task publishing is designed for companies with geographically dispersed teams, so that a central team at headquarters can create a list and publish it to hundreds or even thousands of firstline workers. The firstline worker team manager will get the list, along with critical information like to do dates and priorities and attachments and notes, so they assign tasks on the list to the individual firstline workers,' she said.
'The workers get a simple, clear list of to dos with priorities, and due dates and instructions, so they can efficiently knock them off the list and move on to the next. And as they complete their tasks their manager gets the status on the completion rate, and also the headquarters team can see how well those task lists are being completed across the different locations that they published a list to. It's really useful for a retailer that's trying to execute a promotional campaign and needs to make sure that all the locations are implementing the same steps and creating a consistent look to support the store campaign.'
That uses a hierarchy of which groups can assign to which staff (and creating that is currently a rather laborious process of building a schema manually). That seems like a core part of company organisation and task and project management, so we expect to see better tools for creating these hierarchies and more ways to use them in other business processes and workflows in future.
Although the individual features in Tasks are still fairly small, they're a clear step towards making sense of the messy mix of tasks across different Microsoft products.
'Tasks is super important because we think of it as the core component of work,' Byers noted. 'It is the key component to collaboration, to teams getting things done. So we'll continue to be thinking about how we realise that vision of having tasks be connected to one another, so that we can deliver more intelligence and insights, and that it will feel integrated.'
That integration is the kind of thing that Microsoft 365 is there to deliver. 'One of the key values of Microsoft 365 is its connectedness; when you use them together, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Tasks are just everywhere and it's hard to prioritise and keep track of all of them and when tasks, and other signals are stored in the Microsoft Graph, the graph can deliver relevant insights, starting with something as simple as alerts for tasks that are due.'
In fact, tasks are going to start popping up even when you don't look for them: just selecting search in Outlook mobile will show you your top three tasks before you start searching.
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In case you are not familiar or using Planner at the moment, I highly encourage you to get to learn and use the tool. As a project manager in my past career, I used MS Project extensively. But MS Project is a serious tool, built for project managers and large, lengthy projects. Planner, on the other hand, provides a light-weight alternative for regular team members. It is simple, fun to use, and very useful. With this post, I would like to give a bit more insight into the Planner and explain its main components.
What is Planner?
Planner is a light-weight task management tool that allows project managers and team members to build and maintain task plans for various projects. At one point, I provided a brief overview of the tool in this post.
How does Planner compare to MS Project?
It is like apples and oranges. Here are key attributes of Planner in comparison to MS Project.
- It is 100% web-based
- It is less formal – it does not have an ability to set dependencies, manage resources, etc. like MS Project
- It is social – unlike MS Project which is usually maintained by the project manager, Planner is built for the teams – any team member can create/edit tasks and comment on them
Planner is part of Office 365 Groups
What makes Planner unique, compared to other tools out there, is that being part of an Office 365 eco-system it is also part of an Office 365 Group. It is not just a task management list that floats in space. It is part of the Office 365 Group membership group, which means that it is members of the security group enjoy equal access to Planner, Outlook, SharePoint Site, and Teams.
How to create new plans in Planner
There are two ways to create a Plan in Planner, and I documented them all in this post.
What are Planner’s major features?
OK, so now that we got the intro out of the way, let’s review the major features that make this tool unique and powerful!
Well, this is self-explanatory, I hope. The task panel in Planner allows you to enter typical attributes of a task like a task name, due dates, assigned to, description, status, priority.
Microsoft To Do Planner 2020
As you create your tasks, you can organize them into buckets (board categories). A bucket could be anything – phase of the project, a sprint in a Scrum project, category, etc. – however you want to organize your tasks in a project.
The Planner Hub allows you to have a 10,000-foot view over your projects. It is very high-level, do not expect detailed reporting here, but still quite useful.
This is a feature I like most. The ability to provide comments on a task. With MS Project and even with a SharePoint Task List, this was somewhat hidden and not obvious. With Planner – it is front and center and allows users to see the comments and activity on a given task in chronological order. Powerful stuff!
Another cool feature. Sometimes a task, no matter how small it is, requires a few subtasks to be completed first. Instead of creating separate tasks in Plans, you can create subtasks (called Checklist) within a task panel. By the way, if you are looking for alternate ways to maintain checklists in Office 365, please reference this post.
My Tasks View
As you participate in various Office 365 Groups and have multiple plans with tasks, it is always useful to see all the tasks from all plans in a single view.
Integration with To Do
This is a feature of Microsoft To Do, that I blogged about previously. Planner now integrates with a personal Task Management tool and allows a user to see personal as well as team-related tasks all in one place!
A screenshot of To Do showing Planner Tasks
Integration with Outlook Calendar
Thanks to the recent improvement, we can now integrate Plan with Outlook.
Once you set it up using the steps above, team tasks will now appear in a calendar format in Outlook.
Integration with SharePoint
Microsoft Planner Vs To Do
You can also embed your plan or plan’s charts into your SharePoint page using the Planner web part
Microsoft Tasks App
Microsoft To Do Vs Planner Vs Lists
Lastly, there is a Mobile App available for you to access and complete tasks on the go!