Microsoft starts rolling out Office 365 Planner

Office 365 logo

Microsoft has announced First Release customers can start using Office 365 Planner, allowing them to create plans, organise and assign work, share files, chat about projects and get progress updates for teams.

The collaboration platform, which goes head-to-head with other cloud-based services such as Slack, will enable admins to oversee everything happening in their organisation right from the Office 365 app launcher.

The platform is available for First Release customers using Office 365 Enterprise E1, Office 365 Enterprise E3, Office 365 Enterprise E4, Office 365 Enterprise E5, Office 365 Education, Office 365 Education E3, Office 365 Education E4, Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium and it will become generally available for all Office 365 commercial and education customers next year.

Planner was announced in September and means managers can create dashboards for teams to share what they're doing and when. Everything can be managed from a single dashboard including assigning projects, tracking progress and rearranging responsibilities, so those in charge of a team can have complete transparency at all times and can see exactly what is happening from one place.

When any changes are made - such as a task is reassigned or completed - everyone is notified. Thanks to the integration with Office 365, documents and other files can be shared, including calendar entries and contacts.

The platform uses a card-based, visual interface, so tasks can be dragged and dropped to different columns, which in turn, will assign it to a different member of the team. Charts and Buckets are also present, giving more visual information about the status or progress of a task or responsibility.

Admins will be invited to add Office 365 Planner to their installation by Microsoft, providing they have applied to become a First Release customer. To do this, they need to head to their Office 365 admin centre and then choose to change their Service Settings. Rather than choosing 'standard' release settings, they can choose 'First Release', meaning they will be in the first group to receive new product releases and updates.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.