Microsoft has announced a new task centric work management tool for Office 365 called Planner. The app works similar to Trello -- which is based on the kanban-style, ‘board’ architectural model -- where users can move tasks between different user-defined boards, assign tasks to users and track progress.
If you’ve used Trello before you’ll know it can be quite useful for personal organization, but it’s especially so for distributed teams that collaborate online. It makes structuring work easier by giving you a visual overview of task responsibilities, progress, and upcoming deadlines. At TechSpot we've been using it to organize our editorial calendar, for example.
While Microsoft may be catching up to established services like Trello and Asana, the company’s ubiquity in the workplace make Planner an instant contender in this space. The app integrates with other Microsoft products like OneNote, OneDrive and Outlook, so it’ll be an obvious choice for those already committed to the Office 365 suite.
Planner is still in its early days, however. Unlike its rivals, it doesn’t have native mobile apps, and it also lacks things such as activity streams and @mentions.
Some of that should be coming down the road with Microsoft already working on apps for Android, iOS and Windows, as well as features like reusable plan templates, external user access to boards and the ability to assign a task to multiple users.