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Insights from Ignite: The New Microsoft Planner

By Steve Gehle

As part of this year’s Microsoft Ignite, an annual conference for developers and IT professionals, a comprehensive vision for the new Planner was unveiled. This vision integrates tasks, plans, and projects into a single unified solution that aims to revolutionise work management.

The new Microsoft Planner, set to roll out in early 2024, promises to bridge these gaps by merging Tasks, To Dos, Plans, and Projects into a unified solution integrated into the workflow. This updated Planner is designed to be powerful, collaborative, scalable, and AI-assisted using Copilot. It aims to cater to the needs of today’s workforce while being adaptable for future scalability.

The discussion in the linked presentation delves into the challenges people face with current work management tools, emphasizing the need for integration, collaboration, and seamless workflow.

The session begins with an exploration of collaborative work management trends, highlighting the disconnect between existing tools and the way teams work today. Research data referenced in the presentation indicates that employees spend a significant portion of their time communicating rather than focusing on productive tasks. The call for integration and seamless collaboration is clear, with a substantial percentage of employees desiring more integrated collaboration and work management solutions.

Within the video, Anav Silverman demonstrates the new Planner’s capabilities within Teams, showcasing its simplicity, flexibility, scalability, and intelligent features. The app aggregates plans, projects, and tasks from Microsoft 365 in one hub, offering collaboration tools and premium project management capabilities. Notably, the new Planner leverages AI through Copilot to streamline project planning, task assignment, scheduling, and tracking.

The conversation further explores how the new Planner will support both collaborative and enterprise work management. It clarifies that Project for the Web will be renamed to Planner, integrating its premium capabilities into the new Planner without extra licensing costs for existing subscribers. The emphasis on upcoming enterprise features to be available in the new Planner, such as portfolios, baselines, and custom fields, ensures support for professional project managers’ needs.

The integration of Planner across various Microsoft 365 apps, such as Loop, Teams meeting notes, and Viva Goals, demonstrates the aim to offer a holistic task and project management experience within the familiar Microsoft ecosystem. The new Planner aims to cater to the needs of frontline workers as well, with features for task publishing and execution monitoring.

 Scott Van Vliet, the product leader for work management at Microsoft, highlights Copilot’s potential to reshape work management, aiding users in various project management tasks and decision-making. The conversation also focuses on the seamless integration of Planner into a user’s everyday workflow, ensuring users have a unified space to manage tasks and projects efficiently. 

In addition to the linked presentation, Mojo Soup understands that the engineering team at Microsoft, working on the new Planner, are actively using the new Planner themselves! The Project Accelerator will continue to function as it does today, with the view to move features from Project for the Web and Project Online into the new Planner. Microsoft communicated that customers are voting with their usage – this means that capabilities and scenarios that are useful/used will be addressed, but not necessarily replicated but be aligned to the future of work management, based on data.

In conclusion, the session emphasises the new Planner’s ability to streamline work management, enhance productivity, and offer a single platform for task and project management across Microsoft 365. The goal is to empower users, from individual task lists to large-scale project initiatives, to achieve their objectives effectively and efficiently. We encourages you to explore the new capabilities through demos and stay connected for updates on the launch of the new Microsoft Planner. 

Learn more about the new Microsoft Planner:
• Read the announcement: https://aka.ms/thenewplanner
• Sign up to be one of the first to know when the new Planner is available: https://aka.ms/plannerupdates
• Learn more about task publishing: https://aka.ms/taskpublishing

VIDEO LINK 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hy4C5jSQYzg
VIDEO LINK 2: https://ignite.microsoft.com/en-US/sessions/25c3b1f7-02c7-431f-ad76-681eb6aaef70
ROADMAP: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/roadmap?filters=Microsoft%20Project%2CPlanner&searchterms=186

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