Office 365 Planner How To Guide

Once again Microsoft have been busy adding new features into Office 365 with the Office Planner. We’ve been waiting for some nice project / task list  type functionality for a while so lets take a look and see if it will be a useful tool.

Open up the App menu and click on the new planner tile. If you don’t see it then you will have to upgrade your subscription.

Office 365 Planner 1

The planner page will load into the Planner hub which is the main page. Interestingly you will see existing Office 365 groups appear as plans. It turns out that creating a new plan actually creates a new Office 365 group and vice versa.

Within the planner hub we can see ‘My tasks’ from the left hand menu which are tasks assigned to the account which is logged in.

Office 365 Planner 2

Lets start by creating a New plan.

Office 365 Planner 3

Lets setup a plan for a client’s Office 365 migration, fill in the basic details. Make this plan public is set to Yes so that anyone in our tenant can see the plan. If you don’t want to let everyone see it then set this to No. Doing this will mean only members of the plan will see it.

Office 365 Planner 4

Now that we have a plan we can see the default bucket called ‘To do’. Buckets are just a collection of tasks so you could have buckets called ‘Phase 1’ and ‘Phase 2’ etc.

Office 365 Planner 5

Here I’m going to create three buckets ‘Pre-Migration tasks’, Live Migration Tasks’ and ‘Post Migration Tasks’. This is how I would generally break down such a project but you can do it how ever you like.

Office 365 Planner 6

Now we have our buckets setup lets start adding tasks. Click the plus symbol, give the task a name, set its due date and assign it to a user then press ‘Add task’.

Office 365 Planner 7

In the screen shot below I’ve created several tasks which are assigned to different users, have different due dates and are listed under each of the buckets. Remember this is just an example, a real migration task list will contain many, many tasks if you do it properly.

Office 365 Planner 8

Now we have our bucket lists and assigned tasks. As a project manager you can see an over view of the project, the number of tasks created and the load for each member of the project. Great information to get a quick update on a projects status.

Office 365 Planner 9

By clicking on the three dots as shown in the image below we also get a Calendar, File storage and a notebook which we can use to store information and share with the project members.

Office 365 Planner 10

If you click on Members you will be taken into Outlook and look at what’s there. Our plan has actually been created as an Office 365 group. They are in fact the same thing, the planner app is used to expose the task lists side of this feature.

Each member can access the Conversations, calendar, files and notebook from within outlook with ease.

Office 365 Planner 11

Lets login as one of the members, in this case Andy. When Andy clicks on the Planner app he only sees the plans he is assigned too and has a ‘My tasks’ list. All tasks assigned to him are listed here along with their status and due by date.

Office 365 Planner 12

Andy can now click on a task to see more information about it. Below shows how to set the status and we can see that each task can have multiple checklists. This is another great feature since most tasks will breakdown into many subtasks.

Office 365 Planner 13


Microsoft have made a great start with the Office 365 planner, we now have the ability to setup projects and task lists and keep everything in one place. It will be interesting to see where they take this next, will they include some features from the Microsoft Project software such as Gantt charts? Add the ability to create template plans? copy plans? who knows but yet another useful feature to help our teams work together on projects in an easy manageable way.



Author: Ian@SlashAdmin

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  1. Good summary of what Planner can do.

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  2. Can you provide some insight on how to use the calendar that seems to be part of Planner?

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  3. We have started using Planner and like it. Recently a users plan “disappeared”. When I contacted MS tech support to restore the plan I was told there is no backup in Planner? Anyone have insight to this?

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    • Hi John,

      I’ve not experienced plans going missing but when they have it was down to user error.

      Its a good point to remind people about though. Office 365 has not built in backup functionality so you still need a backup system!

      There are a number of providers offering Office365 backup services that are well worth a look at. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be one that covers all of the features available.

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  4. does planner has an option to send reminder mails when task reaches due date or is over due.

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  5. There isn’t much information around official release dates but we suspect it won’t be too long before we see Office 365 Planner generally available.

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