Many of us perform dozens of tasks every workday. To avoid getting lost in the chaos, we plan, organize, and structure our daily work.  The simplest version of the latter is the compilation of to-do lists in order to create a holistic planning picture.  The days of post-it notes on the monitor and paper notebook are long gone.  Today, there’s a lot of convenient software that allows you to improve productivity and not to forget about important things, meetings, and tasks. In this article, we’ll talk about the Planner and its ideal collaboration with Microsoft Teams – tools that allow you to work in a collaborative world. 

The importance of planning 

Making a to-do list is a basic tool for managing your own time.  At the same time, setting goals is a simple matter.  Everyone knows how to set tasks, but are you sure that it helps you to improve your productivity? Some are completed, some remain beyond reality, regardless of the circumstances.  Remember that in order to always achieve the best results, you should set SMART goals.  It is not enough to write down a task – you need to set the timing, KPIs, and make sure that the task is achievable and real.  So how do you arrive at the perfect solution that considers every detail? 

SMART_goals

Indeed, today it is very important to find the ideal space in which you can create tasks, track their status, and manage your activity.  This is especially true due to changes in our way of working.  We are increasingly working on a project in a team, where it is very important to understand which of your colleagues is responsible for a certain part of the work.  An open division of responsibilities not only improves communication among colleagues but also simplifies management and increases team productivity.  That’s why Microsoft has the Planner app, a solution that helps you and your team stay focused on planning and time management together. 

Microsoft Planner – everything needed in one place  

Planner

A planner is an App part of Office 365. It is a space where you can set tasks, track their progress, manage time, delve into the details of the required actions, and track your performance.  In short, the perfect virtual day planner that works for you.

The main advantage of Planner is deep integration into your Office 365 environment. This means that you can use it in integration with other applications such as Outlook, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and others.  Plus, the integration works across your entire organization. Through a Planner, you can easily interact with colleagues, share tasks with them, and work together on projects in a very productive way.  Before talking about different scenarios, that you can perform with Planner,  let’s explore step by step the Planner interface. 

Planner offers you a simple and visual way to organize teamwork. One the one hand you have individual work. And you have tools that you can use to manage your task list. So how the Planner experience looks like? 

Plans 

After connecting in your Office 365 you can see the board with your plans. You can easily create a new plan, give the name and choose, if it will be private or public. With the last one, anyone in your organization can see the plan content. 

Microsoft_Planner

Tasks  

After the plan has been created, you will see the Board view. You can create a set of tasks by clicking on +add new bucket. After you can add the list of tasks related to each board.  

For each task, you can go more in detail. To start you can add the start date and due date. Next, you can assign this task to somebody in your organization. You can even attach the documents and links. What is really useful is a checklist. It is a kind of subtasks to go more in details and don’t forget anything.  You can also collaborate with other colleagues through Comments. 

Planner_Tasks

Now you can see your tasks on the Board Tab or the Chart Tab. With the Board tab, you can see the tabs stages, such as not started, in progress, or completed. If a task is overdue than the date is highlighted in red.  

The Chart view gives a high-level overview of the tasks within the Plan. It breaks it down into the status of the tasks; not started, late, in progress, and completed and shows where the tasks are assigned. It’s a great way of quickly seeing the status of a project and especially if anything is overdue.

Microsoft_Planner

Groups  

Okay, with a personal task this software works ideally. And what about the huge projects across your organization? Yes, using a Planner, you can handle this too. With any of your plan, you can add group members from your own contacts. Thus, in one place you will see the environment where everyone is collaborating. You can see the whole experience with the details about who’s working on what. And what tasks they are on and what type of documents they’re working on etc.   

Planner in ideal collaboration with Office 365 products.  

Now the other thing is that the Planner is built on top of Office 365 groups. It integrates out of the box with other capabilities you have with Office 365. That’s how you get the best of whole 365 that comes with Planner.   

Planner with Outlook 

With the help of the Planner, you can not only manage tasks and time but also communicate effectively and quickly with project participants.  For example, by clicking on communication, you will be taken to your Outlook Group, where you can quickly see all the comments that other participants leave in a specific task. 

Planner_Outlook

So, very conveniently, you can leave your comment or remind the participant about some details without leaving your Outlook.  Be sure, the comment will appear in the task in the Planner as well.  And the one who is responsible for this task will immediately receive a notification to his email.  Likewise, with the help of Outlook notifications, you will not miss the tasks that have been assigned to you. 

Planner and SharePoint integration 

Remember that you can upload files directly to the task in the Planner?  This is how the integration with SharePoint works.  When you click on the Files tab, you get to SharePoint – the space where your entire organization stores and exchanges files.  Here you have access to all documents that are in your group.  Easy search, easy download, and online collaboration – all benefits in one workspace 

Planner_SharePoint

Planner and Forms 

With Power Automate you can use a pre-built template to automate the processes between different apps. This how the Power Automate works. Using Forms and Planner, you can create a task in Planner from Microsoft Forms. Try it

You can also create a Planner task when Microsoft Forms is submitted. It can be a useful function for customer service, when some of your customers submit a form with a request, it will be automatically added as a new task to your Planner. Learn more

Planner with Microsoft Teams for your effective daily activities  

Microsoft Teams and Planner are the perfect Apps that help you to improve your productivity.  You manage your tasks, work with team members on a project without leaving Teams. 

You just need to add Planner from the Microsoft store and you will see all your tasks right in Microsoft Teams. In addition, you can also add a Planner to one of the Tabs for a specific channel to stay organized without leaving your environment. After you’ve created a plan in a Microsoft Teams channel, you can access that plan both from Planner for web and from Teams. In fact, you can do everything without leaving Teams: create a plan, add tasks, create buckets, comment on tasks, and track your tasks on charts or schedule view. 

Microsoft_Teams_with_Planner

In addition, you can easily manage notifications. Your Planner assignment notifications in Teams will appear in the Teams Activity feed and in a chat with the Planner app. It will contain the task title, who assigned you the task, the plan the task belongs to, and a link to open the task details in Teams. 

Planner_with_Microsoft_Teams

Let’s look at specific cases of how Planner and Microsoft Teams can help you solve your daily tasks.  Let’s say you are a member of the marketing department.  You need to launch a new marketing campaign to announce a new product. 

In order not to miss a single step, add Planner to the tab in the planning channel and create several boards, for example:

  • Targeting audience 
  • Blog article
  • Social media 
  • Video content 
  • Measurement 
Planner_with_Microsoft_Teams

Next, add tasks, if necessary, go deeper into the details by creating checklists. Assign people in charge and be sure they will receive a notification right in Teams. Team members can easily share files, comment on news, and follow the progress of the campaign. 

Planner with Microsoft Teams Template 

We can assume that there are many repetitive processes in your organization.  These are codes of practice, schemes, and steps that are the same when starting a new project, product, or a new client. 

Indeed, it is convenient to systematize processes and act according to an already studied and understandable algorithm.  On the other hand, from time to time you create the same environment with the same Boards and tasks.  What if we tell you that you can use the Planner at the Microsoft Teams template level? 

Just imagine – you are creating a Teams template with channels, tabs, files, members, and settings already included inside.  All that needs to be done after is to create a new team from a pre-built template in case of repetitive processes.  Sounds interesting?  SalesTim technology allows you to create the templates, including channels, files, and tabs with any Microsoft or 3rd party applications 

Let’s look at real cases of how this technology can help with common processes. 

Project management 

Teams is an ideal tool for effective project management because it allows the team members to communicate in one space without wasting time. 

So, let’s say you are creating a template for a new project.  Of course, in your organization, each project has its own characteristics and requires the involvement of different specialists.  However, the project launch structure is the same for each of them. 

In order not to waste time manually creating a team for each project that arises, you create a Microsoft Teams Template.  You add channels like:

Teams_Project_Management_Template
  • Budget 
  • Legal 
  • Business Case 
  • Planning 
  • Contractors

At the next stage, you can upload the necessary documents, such as guidelines, code of practice, and other standard documents that your team may need in case of difficulties and tricky questions. 

Next, you create Tabs for the required channels.  You can add your site or tools that your organization normally uses.  For the planning channel, you decide to add a Planner, in which you create standard steps that no projected launch in your organization can do without.  This will allow the participants who will be added to the group to quickly move to the launch of the project without wasting time and with a clear distribution of responsibilities to start the work.

Planner_for_Teams_Project_Management

When everything is ready, after the Governance settings, you add the template to the catalog.  Next time, when a new project appears, the project manager will select your template from the catalog, add the necessary participants, and in a few seconds will receive a full provisioned team with copied channels, files, and Tabs, including Planner.  Easy! 

Learn more about Planner with Microsoft Teams Templates 👍

Onboarding process 

Let’s look at another example where Planner at the template level can save you time.  Let’s say you work in the HR department.  Each time you need to help a new employee fit into your work schedule.  Of course, depending on the position the employee is in, the learning process will be different.  However, there are steps that every employee must go through before starting their experience with your company.  These may include familiarity with the internal structure, basic documentation, product features, and codes of practice in the company. 

The perfect solution – a template for the onboarding process. 

Onboarding_Process_Teams

 After creating all the channels, you can add a planner with tasks: 

  • Product introduction 
  • Internal documentation 
  • Familiarity with the structure 
  • Learning internal tools 

It will be helpful to add documentation directly to the cards.  Thus, the employee does not have to waste time looking for new documents.  You can also set dates to make sure the process is going according to plan. 

Microsoft_Teams_with_Planner

Next time, when the HR manager needs to introduce a new employee, he will create a new team from your template in a few minutes 

Learn more about Planner with Microsoft Teams Templates 👍

New product launch 

During a new product launch, planning is an important step.  In order to organize and make more effective the release of your new product or improvement, you can create a template.  Add channels, for example:

Teams_Template
  • Website Design
  • Launch Strategy
  • Pricing
  • Testing
  • Product Description
  • Promotion
  • Competitors

In one of the Tabs you can add a Planner with steps: 

  • Testing 
  • Sub-contracts
  • Production 
  • Announcement 
Teams_Planner

Add tasks so you don’t miss the tasks and don’t forget to set deadlines. Besides the Planner, you can always add other apps you are using.  Perhaps you are collecting product reviews through Forms or you do not close Outlook by constantly communicating with subcontractors.  Everything should be in one space for your convenience and efficiency 

Learn more about Planner with Microsoft Teams Templates 👍

Going beyond with advanced Microsoft Teams Templates  

We already told you how does the SalesTim Template Technology work. Very easily you can build the Templates with included Channels, Tabs, Settings, Files, and Members. Thus, you will be able to create your own template catalog for each of your business cases.

Teams_Template_Catalog

We would like to pay your attention, that with Salestim you can perform ideal collaboration at the template level not only with Planner. Read about the use cases, how to improve your communication across the whole organization and particular teams with Yammer.   

What else? With SalesTim you can improve both of your business and IT processes. During the new Template creation you can set up: 

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