If you’re reading this there is a high likelihood that you’re doing so in an unfamiliar environment. Our comfortable workplaces have been upended by global events and your organization may be experiencing chaos, uncertainty and disconnectedness. While Office 365 offers an array of apps to help us bridge some of the gaps we’re now confronted with, there’s one in particular that we think deserves your attention – Microsoft Planner. This article will help set the wheels in motion and help you leverage the oft overlooked application that many organizations may not even realize has been included in their Office 365 subscription.
Microsoft Planner is a collaborative, card-based planning tool for assigning and tracking tasks. Planner is a great option that can supplant the well-worn, email-based collaboration process. You know the one – your team meets, tasks are assigned, and a flurry of emails are issued. Deadlines are created, documents are attached and repeatedly duplicated, and everyone goes on their way with a vague sense of the objective. It’s a process that is inelegant and ineffective but also one we’re comfortable with. Now, with many of us having been jolted into a remote working situation, it may be a good time to start building some Planner momentum to help your team and your organization work more efficiently and more collaboratively.
Why You Should Build Planner Momentum
Planner is ideal for managing projects that engage multiple team members, consist of several tasks or deliverables and require that the team meet specific deadlines…so, in other words, just about any modern-day project. Planner integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Teams, it works across devices and it offers visibility, transparency and accountability. Planner is also intuitive and easy to use.
No one knows what lasting impacts of 2020 will have on how organizations conduct business, but we can all be certain there will be long-term impacts and profound changes to how we approach work. Planner is a practical and simple task management tool that can help your organization retain agility and flexibility even as events add uncertainty to our day-to-day lives.
How You Should Build Planner Momentum
As consultants in the public sector technology space, if there’s one thing all the projects we’ve delivered have in common it’s that successful implementations are as much about organizational (and individual) culture as they are about software and hardware. Changing to better technology can be great, but if the culture doesn’t change as well, the benefits rapidly diminish.
Planner requires buy-in to be successful. Some individuals will cling pretty tightly to old practices. And it can be hard to blame them for putting up resistance. People like what they know. To build Planner momentum and generate buy-in, start with something our team does in many of our engagements – a proof of concept (POC).
A Proof of Concept
As a decision-maker, identify a small, team-based project of moderate importance for your POC. Don’t choose a project that can be easily ignored but also don’t choose a project on which your organization might hinge. Aim for something modest. Make sure every team member on the project has assigned tasks and deadlines, that key milestones and events are identified and that the project manager (probably you) is actively facilitating communication and collaboration within Planner.
Resist the temptation to circumvent Planner by, say, occasionally firing off individual emails or making calls that leave other team members out of the loop. See the project through from start to finish in Planner. If you do, you’ll have a POC you can share with organizational stakeholders who, especially at present, may be particularly receptive to the business process improvements Planner offers. You’ll also have, we believe, newfound confidence in Planner and in your team’s ability to stay sharp and stay connected during changing and challenging times.
Kiefer Consulting has embraced the value of Microsoft Planner and many of our Consultants have expressed that they simply can’t live without it. They rely on the “My Tasks” view to see all of their assigned work across several projects. Planner is being used to complement Microsoft Teams which has been invaluable in helping our consultants collaborate and communicate.
If you are interested in learning more about Microsoft Planner, Microsoft Teams or any other applications in Office 365, call us. We are a Microsoft Gold Partner and our Modern Workplace Practice Group can help you in leveraging the investment in Office 365.