Office 365 gets a free project manager

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Office 365 gets a free project manager

Microsoft is adding a new application to Office 365: Planner.

Not to be confused with Microsoft Project – a high-end tool for managing complex projects – Microsoft Planner is an everyday app that's designed to foster teamwork by making it easy to plan smaller projects, assign tasks and report on status. 

The latest addition to Office 365, Planner is included in business subscription plans including Business Essentials and Business Premium – although the usual progressive rollout means it may be a few weeks before it appears in the Office 365 app launcher for every qualifying user.

The app's design is quite simple. Each project is represented by a 'board', and each work item or task is represented by a 'card' appearing on the relevant board.

Cards have various attributes including due dates, attachments, categories and conversations.

Planner also has a charts view, which reveals the progress of projects, and how many tasks each team member has been assigned and whether they are on track or behind schedule.

Planner is integrated with other parts of Office 365. To give just three examples, files stored in OneDrive can be attached to tasks, each board has a OneNote Online notebook, and comments entered in Planner are visible in Outlook and Outlook Groups.

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