Organise Your Teamwork More Effectively with Microsoft Planner

Organize Your Teamwork More Effectively with Microsoft Planner

On any given day in an office, staff are juggling multiple projects, contacts, meetings, tasks, and deadlines. Trying to keep all that organised so you can stay on top of your operations can be challenging.

What often happens is miscommunication about timelines, missed deadlines, and inefficient workflows. Those missteps can mean budget overruns and projects that don’t perform as expected.

On average, projects go over budget by 27 percent.

Studies show that companies using project management software significantly reduce the change of budget overruns and improve the chance of success. 77 percent of high-performing projects use project management software, and companies that invest in project management tools waste 28x less money than those that don’t, due to improved efficiency.

So how do you keep your team organised and on task in a way that integrates with the other cloud solutions you use?

We’ve found that one of the best project management applications to use is Microsoft Planner, which is integrated into Office 365.

What is Microsoft Planner and How Does itWork?

Microsoft Planner is a team project management application that comes with Office 365 Premium, Business, and Educational plans. It offers you a way to easily assign tasks, get updates, and move projects through each stage until completion.

It’s basically a way to organise the chaos that comes with multiple the moving parts in a business and create an online workspace where everyone can check in with their tasks, share files, chat, and get progress updates.

There are three key components in Microsoft Planner:

  • Boards (projects)
  • Cards (project tasks)
  • Columns (steps in your project)

You create a “board” for each project, then within that project board make cards that represent each task to be completed. These cards are moved between the columns, which represent the steps to take from project start to completion.

For example, if you have a project to complete a new sales presentation, your setup might look something like this:

Board: New Sales Presentation

Tasks: Locate graphics; Meet with sales team for input; Draft presentation; Send presentation for approval; Finalize edits; Publish to website.

Columns: Task assigned; In-Progress; Needs approval; Competed

On each task card you can note the task deadline, assign the person responsible, and add more details, such as:

  • Task description
  • Notes
  • File attachments
  • Comments

The drag and drop interface is very intuitive and Microsoft Planner can be launched from right inside Office 365.

Microsoft Planner Benefits for Efficiency

Being able to see the status of all the projects your team is working on in a glance, means you can make better decisions, keep an eye out to avoid dropped balls, and streamline your project management processes.

Using Microsoft Planner to organise your workflow has several advantages.

Visibility and Transparency

You don’t have to worry about task assignments getting lost in someone’s inbox or wonder, “Did Joe get that spreadsheet finished and sent to the HR department yesterday?”

Planner gives everyone a central place to see everything that’s going on and you can view tasks by person assigned or by progress in a click. So, at any given moment, you don’t have to wonder if a task was completed yet, you can simply view task board online to find out.

Improves Communication

It’s not uncommon for there to be miscommunication about a project deadline, such as the person that assigned the task said “Tuesday,” but the assignee thought it was “Thursday.’ There are no crossed signals in Microsoft Planner because everything is laid out with task deadlines, and the responsible person is assigned to the task.

Everyone can also get alerts when a task is due, completed, or moved to another progress column. Better communication means less chance of project failure or budget overruns.

Collaborate from Anywhere

Studies show that employees who are encouraged to collaborate with their colleagues stay on task longer and are more motivated. Microsoft Planner allows you to collaborate in real-time with others, sharing files, having a discussion, and even moving to MS Word or Teams to continue your collaboration.

Planner is fully Office 365 integrated and that means with Microsoft Teams, Groups, and SharePoint as well as the Office programs. It’s also fully accessible from any device since it’s cloud-based, so you can check up on projects from your smartphone no matter where you are.

Reduce Inefficient Emails

Trying to keep up with project progress via email can be messy and time consuming. You often have to search through multiple emails trails to find a specific comment or attachment related to a project.

Microsoft Planner keeps all project and task communication and attachments within the project board and task cards, so you can easily find what you’re looking for. It’s also better for oversight and business continuity because you’ll have all the notes and communications stored securely in Planner, rather than spread out over multiple staff devices.

Get Expert Guidance from a Microsoft Silver Cloud Partner

GKM2 is proud to have earned a spot in the top 5% of the Microsoft Partner ecosystem, and it’s our mission to help our clients thrive by getting the most from the Office 365 suite of products.

Contact us today for a Microsoft Planner demonstration to see how it can help your office become more efficient. Call +61 2 9161 7171 or reach us online.