Craig Yellick, VP Business Solutions
Both Outlook and SharePoint have had task list features for a very long time, and consequently, it’s easy to miss that Office 365 has some new and frankly better options: Planner and To-Do.
Planner is a terrific tool for managing projects and other tasks that are grouped around a common theme and involve multiple people over time. You create “buckets” to organize tasks into groups and assign priority, progress status, start/due dates, and one or more responsible people. Optional labels can be attached to help organize large task lists. Tasks can be simple text descriptions and notes or can be formatted as checklists. Documents can be attached. People assigned to tasks will get notifications when due dates are missed.
Planner boards are a great addition to Microsoft Teams channels. Add one as a new tab and the planning and project management process becomes fully integrated into the team messaging and collaboration. Team members can quickly and easily monitor and update task progress. Planner boards are a great way to organize meetings – the meeting organizer shares their screen and attendees can watch as tasks are updated and assigned, live as the project is reviewed and discussed.
To-Do is your personal task list. Tasks are organized into one or more lists. A task can be as simple as short sentence which gets checked off as completed at some point, or more sophisticated with multiple separately completed steps, a due date, and a category. You can attach files and mark a task as repeating on a schedule. You can set a reminder for today, tomorrow, next week or a specified date.
Any task can be flagged as important, and/or tagged to show up in a special “My Day” view of your tasks across all your lists. This is particularly useful for people with a lot of tasks, where it’s difficult to get a handle on what is important to get done today.
Importantly, Planner tasks assigned to you will show up in your personal To-Do list. In the event you’re involved in multiple Planner boards, you have a single place to go to stay up to date on all your tasks. If you are using Outlook tasks, those show up in your To-Do list as well. For anyone with more than a couple of tasks to do, it’s hard to justify not using To-Do!
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