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What is the Difference Between To Do, Planner and Projects in Microsoft 365?

Task and project management can make work much easier (and more successful) for businesses. When teams can coordinate themselves and achieve goals efficiently, great things can happen. We spoke with TechQuarters, who are a provider of outsourced IT support London-based companies rely on, and a trusted Microsoft Solutions Partner. They spoke with us about the task and project management capabilities of Microsoft 365. According to them, there are several different products available in M365 that are useful for different scenarios, and utilizing all of them in the right way can work wonders for organisations.

Task & Project Management in Microsoft 365

Project management and task management are significantly different – project naturally implies that the work is collaborative; but even task management can be divided into individual work and team-based work. According to TechQuarters, in Microsoft 365, all the bases are covered thanks to three different products: To Do, Planner, and Project.

These three products are designed to cover all the different types of task management that individuals and teams need to implement. So, what are the differences, and when should each of them be used?

Microsoft To Do

First, let’s look at Microsoft To Do. As has already been mentioned, businesses need to ensure that they have solutions to help with the management of both group-based work and individual work. Microsoft To Do is aimed at helping with individual work responsibilities. It is a digital to-do list app which enables users to manage their personal workload by itemising all of their responsibilities and actionable tasks in a list.

Microsoft To Do allows users to create their own custom lists, as well as use a range of template lists, such as My Day (which curates any tasks whose deadline matches the date on any given day).

Microsoft Planner

Moving onto the group-based work side of things, there are actually multiple solutions available in Microsoft 365, but the first one to look at is Microsoft Planner. It is a lightweight mobile and web application included in the majority of Microsoft 365 for Business plans. It is a Kanban solution – this means that it utilizes the Kanban interface that visualises work items, making it easier to group them based on different criteria. For this reason, Microsoft Planner is an excellent task management solution for teams and project groups, because it enables groups of employees to organise and assign tasks to different members of the team. Planner is ideal for simpler, short-term projects.

Microsoft Planner is its own app, but it is also integrated into Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft SharePoint, meaning you can access Planner tasks from within either of those platforms.

Microsoft Project

For longer term projects, which are more complex and have higher stakes, it is recommended that teams user Microsoft Project. It is a heavyweight project management solution that is available with select Microsoft 365 for Business plans, and also as a standalone subscription. Project allows users to track costs and dependencies, make in-depth schedules and timeframes, and assign tasks and resources to project participants. There are actually three different versions of Project: Project for Web, Project Desktop, and Project Online. Certain sectors like the Legal or Law sector would benefit from tools like this, companies or firms using IT Support Law Firms Solutions or something similar would attest to this.

With Project for the Web, users can create cloud-based projects. Project Desktop is ideal for creating standalone project plans that can be published and shared with stakeholders. Project Olone is ideal for tracking projects and timelines.

Other Ways of Managing Tasks in Microsoft 365

One of the things that some people may not know about Microsoft 365 is that it is built on Microsoft’s API, which is known as Microsoft Graph. What this means is that there is a very high level of integration between all the different apps and services, and data can very easily be exchanged between apps. Because of this, Microsoft 365 also has integrated task management, which essentially means that apps like Microsoft Word, or Microsoft Teams, can pull information from other sources (such as from emails) and present them as actions for users to turn into tasks.

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