Today I Learned: Microsoft Office 365 Application Series – Planner Part I

Today continues a series of posts about Microsoft Office 365 applications that have recently become available to FIS customers.  The purpose here is to help you use these applications in a more efficient manner and make their first-time use much less imposing.   We are going to move on from Teams (Part I, II, III and IV) and start to discuss Microsoft Planner.  Part I is going to focus on what it is, how to access it, and how to create buckets and assign tasks.

What is Planner

Planner provides a hub for team members to create plans, organize and assign tasks to different users, and to check updates on progress through dashboards.  In other words, Planner is a task manager and is a great way to organize teamwork. It is a great solution for those without an extensive background in Project Management, and it has tight integration with Office 365 for ease of access.   Listed below are many of the features of Planner:

  • Create new plans, assign tasks, and share files with others
  • Organize teamwork and collaborate on projects in a simple, visual way
  • Chat with others to make sure you’re on the same page
  • Keep track of your team’s progress and stay on top of your project
  • Works within Microsoft Teams
  • Access the application from anywhere on any device

We will be getting into more detail of Planner features, but that list gives you a pretty basic idea of all its capabilities.  As a result of all those functions, it can be overwhelming when viewing and using it for the first time.  Let’s start with possibly the most important and easiest part.  How to access it.

How to Access Planner

Planner can be accessed by going to portal.office.com, logging in with your Pitt Credentials, clicking “Explore all your apps”, and selecting the Planner icon.  There is currently no locally installed application.  It can also be opened within Microsoft Teams.  To open it within Teams, click on your team channel, select the plus symbol at the top of the page, and choose Planner.  You will be prompted to enter a tab name.  Once it is accessed, the next step towards effectively using it is creating buckets and assigning tasks to individuals.

How to Create Buckets and Assign Tasks

We are going to focus on using Planner within Teams as the ease of access is one of the program’s greatest benefits.  Buckets should be thought of as the event or project.  To create a bucket, simply click “Add New Bucket” and enter a name.  Within each bucket, you can assign tasks to individuals.  To create a task, click the plus symbol, enter a task name, set a due date, and assign the task to an individual.  More details can be included by clicking on the task you created.   You can include a description of the task as well as add checklists, comments, and attachments.  You can also include a start date and adjust the due date.  From the assignee’s perspective, they will receive an email and can open their assigned task from the message’s contents.

Thus concludes the first part on Microsoft Planner.  Please check in next week to find out more about this exciting and useful application.  For more information, please submit a ticket through the FIS portal.

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