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Microsoft launches MS-Project rival

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I’ve just started using Microsoft Planner. It’s a new online planning tool launched last month as part of Office365. It’s interesting that Microsoft have created such a tool given its investment in the bloated MS-Project. But is it something we should all be using instead?

Microsoft keep expanding the reach of Office365. There’s a move from their core office apps to additional online productivity tools. Planner is the latest of these. Pitched against the likes of start-up tools such as Trello, Smartsheet and Taskword it’s a good example of one of the largest corporates pitching some disruptive innovation against their own toolset!

 

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My experience is that it’s actually very good. A very simple interface. Easy to add and manage tasks. A Kanban-style board to visualise team progress. Task checklists. Doughnut charts to summarise progress. You can even use an image to represent your task, which is a nice touch. It certainly makes plans more appealing than the old Gantt chart!
   

 

It does try to integrate with the rest of the Office365 toolset, but this is currently rather clunky. Jumping to a new tab if you try and access discussions or the related Notebook. But if Microsoft continue with regular updates based on user feedback as they promise, I’m sure these bumps will be ironed out pretty quickly.

 

Ok, so it doesn’t have resourcing or dependency management, so for hard-core planning it’s not going to compete with the likes of MS-Project. However, 90% of people don’t need many of the features MS-Project provides. Planner is also much more collaborative. So it is more likely your whole team will use it and keep it up to date. After all, a plan is there to help the team deliver rather than a 500 line Gantt chart produced by the project manager that rarely gets updated.
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So why not give it a try on your next project? You’ll need an Office365 business or education subscription, then Planner is included for free.

 

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Peter Weare

Industry leader in digital transformation. Passionate about delivering a frictionless consumer  experience. Regular commenter on getting delivery right.

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