How to use Microsoft 365: Planner

In this blog Dan May demonstrates how to use Microsoft 365 Planner.

Planner from Microsoft 365 makes it easy for a team to create new plans, organise and assign tasks, share files, chat about what they are working on, and get updates on progress.

Each plan has its own board, where you can organise tasks into buckets and categorise tasks based on status or who owns them. Giving each team member a quick view of all their tasks and the status of them. Planner works on all devices and users can opt to receive email notifications when they are assigned a task or included in a conversation.

With Planner you can attach files to tasks, work together on those files, and even have conversations around tasks without switching between apps. So, all your team’s discussions and deliverables stay with the plan and don’t get locked away across disparate applications.

Find out more about Microsoft 365

Planner Video Transcript

Hi this is Dan May from ramsac. Welcome to the latest in my series of blog posts about getting the most out of your Microsoft 365 subscription. Today I want to look at Microsoft Planner, which is a tool that is free to use in most Microsoft 365 subscription types. A web-based tool, that is designed to help people planning projects.
So, the first time you want to use this, then I suggest you go to your Microsoft 365 sign-in account, and if you search on your available applications, you will find Planner here and generally speaking what I’ve done is I’ve just saved the web address for my Planner account, which is what I am in now. So here is the Planner view This is me signed in to Microsoft 365 and I can see the plans that I’m a part of or that have been shared with me. But I’m just going to quickly create a new plan. Simply by pressing the plus button on the side. I’m going to give the plan a name. So ‘Example Office Move Plan’ and I’m going to decide whether this is a plan that is available to anybody within my organisation, or whether I just want to share this with particular people. And as soon as I’ve done that, I just click on ‘Create Plan’. It will just take a couple of moments.

We use planner across our organisation, we have some companywide plans, that we use on various customer projects. And then we have some department plans, so for example, I run our Commercial Department here at ramsac. And we have a team wide plan that is just broken down into various tasks, that we all want to achieve over the quarter or over the month. The layout looks a little bit confusing when you first start to use it, but it really is quite simple. It starts off with the glamorously titled, Buckets. So, buckets are essentially columns or groups of tasks that might be linked.

So, I can give this bucket a name, so this is an example for an office move So let’s just say this one’s around ‘Landlord and Estate Agent tasks’ I might create a bucket for, ‘First stage office fit out’ There, and I can create another task over here Sorry just expand my window there. Another bucket here, which might be, so ‘Internal fit’ You get the idea, this could be about literally anything you wanted to have in mind So I create my plan, with the relevant buckets So this case is an office move, equally this might be a marketing plan This could be a customer project, broken down into different stages. And then within each bucket, I create a series of master tasks So there’s a little plus sign here. So, first stage office fit out, I am going to create a task and let’s just say we are going to call this ‘Air Con’, and I might create another one, just click on Add Task Create another one here, which I might call ‘Cabling’. and so, on and so forth.

I can also, in this option here, decide which colleagues I want to be part of this particular plan, So I can start to invite Sally Cooper, who is our operations director. I could invite James Lyttle who is our operations manager. so on and so forth.

So, I can start to build up the team of people working on this plan So now if I’ve got my in my first stage office fit out bucket I’ve got two tasks that I’ve created One of those is Cabling, one of those is Air Con. So, let’s click on Cabling and I can say right Cabling is going to be the responsible of James (responsibility of James) Nothing’s started yet. This has to be finished by the, why not give him Christmas Day, The 25th of December. And then I can start to create some sub tasks within this, so I can say ‘Appoint main contractor’ I can say ‘Carry out site survey’. ‘Agree hardware requirements’. And ‘agree training timeline’. and I can, using this button here, I can show all these tasks on the main card, I will show you what that looks like in a moment I can add any attachments. I can make some comments, to James who is going to get this as a task. I can give him a description and I could colour code it with a label and there we go. So now when I go back to my project board I can see that within this ‘cabling’ it’s got its colour coded label it’s assigned to James He’s completed 0 of 4 tasks. He’s got until the 25th December to do so. And he’s got his list, so he can come in now and say well I’ve appointed the main contractor and that will just disappear, and I can now see he’s completed 1 of 4 of these sub tasks.

I can do the same over here, with the Air Con. I could say, well I am going to assign this one to Sally and I could say again ‘Site survey’. ‘Appoint contractor’. ‘Agree locations’. whatever it might be. Show them on the card. This might be a green task. You can add names to these labels if you use that kind of system. And I might say well she has until the 31st January to complete that. Then again, we have got all these tasks sat under air con. That’s it really, so I carry on going through I create as many buckets as I like, as many tasks as I like and as many sub tasks within those tasks I can see if I go onto the Charts that I’ve got 2 tasks outstanding Neither of them have been started yet, but there not late either I can see a bit of a breakdown as to where people are Whether I’ve got particular individuals who are over-tasked or really running behind.

As I’ve created those tasks now Sally and James will have both received an email in their inbox Telling them that they’ve got tasks due or tasks that have been created When we are coming close to their deadlines, they’ll get a reminder in Outlook to tell them, they have got tasks that are almost due. And if they are over-running they will get a reminder in Outlook to say that they have got late or overdue tasks as well.

So that’s it. It’s Microsoft Planner, it can be integrated with lots of other tools and features of Microsoft 365 Check out our blog post on Microsoft Teams to see how in particular, it works really well as part of a team structure We can use that as a very simple online planning tool available via your own Microsoft 365 app collection. I hope that was useful. There are other blogs around Microsoft 365 and general IT use for SMEs on our blog at If, you have any questions. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. Either via our website or by calling us on 01483 412 040. Thanks for your time today. Many thanks.