Microsoft Planner v Project Central for Project Management
Every team needs a great project management tool to help them finish their projects in time.
But not all tools are made equal.
If your company is already using Microsoft 365, Microsoft Planner might seem like the logical next step.
However, Planner may not be the right tool for your team.
In this guide, we’re going to discuss the main features your team may need and how Project Central stacks up against Planner:
Let’s take a look!
What Is Microsoft Planner?
Microsoft Planner is a lightweight tool for teams that need to stay on top of their daily tasks.
It’s typically used by project managers and team leads whose companies are already using other Microsoft 365 tools like Outlook and Excel to manage their day-to-day communications and organization.
4 Key Features of Microsoft Planner
1. Visual project management
It’s much easier to manage a project or a variety of tasks when you can clearly visualize them.
In Planner, every plan is based on Kanban-style boards. Organize tasks in buckets based on task status or assignments.
If you’re already using Sharepoint, you can add a Sharepoint Planner plan to your site.
For example, if you want to create a simple board with tasks that are completed, tasks that are currently in progress, and tasks that have yet to be started, Planner is perfect.
Similarly, you can filter tasks by different members they’re assigned to.
When you want to update the status of a task or change assignments, you just have to drag and drop them between different columns.
Easy task management with Project Central
Plan, track, and manage projects tasks with Project Central for Microsoft 365.
2. Microsoft Planner encourages collaboration
Collaboration is absolutely necessary for any team, but even more so for project teams.
Fortunately, Microsoft Planner’s collaboration features are enough for teams to stay on the same page:
- The dashboard offers comprehensive views of task statuses.
- Team members can attach files and leave feedback on tasks.
- Everyone knows who’s in charge of what.
3. Stay in the Loop
The entire point of project management tools (even if you’re not a trained project manager) is to offload as many manual tasks as possible.
You want your tool to alert you to any problems, giving you ample time to focus on what matters.
When it comes to Planner, it sends 3 types of notifications:
- Email notifications sent only to you as the project manager
- Group emails sent to all team members
- Push notifications.
Additionally, you want your project management solution to adapt to different devices.
If you need to check up on progress, you shouldn’t have to fetch your laptop.
4. Guest Access
Finally, tools like Planner aren’t here only to help you work with your team.
A good project management solution will help you share access with people outside of your organization when necessary.
You can give special permissions to guests, or just give them access to particular files and information.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a look how Project Central compares Planner.
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Microsoft Planner vs Project Central
Project Central is a simple project management tool for teams using Microsoft 365.
Your team can improve collaboration, create, track and manage projects with ease.
A visual interface means you can see what you need to in your projects at a glance, with a few other tricks up its sleeve that make it a great alternative to Microsoft Planner.
1. Seamless Microsoft 365 Integration
When you start using Project Central, you won’t have to train your team members or open new accounts.
Instead, you can simply use your Microsoft work account to access the plethora of features Project Central offers.
Project Central integrates with Microsoft Azure and Microsoft 365 apps like Teams, SharePoint Online, and Outlook.
2. Visual Task Management
There is a steep learning curve to the majority of project management tools.
It’ll take weeks and months to train your team members, even after you’ve somehow managed to secure stakeholder approval.
Project Central is intuitive and easy to use.
All the options are right where you and your team members expect them to be.
And since it’s a visual task management tool, Project Central is a great fit for teams that haven’t been trained in project management and project collaboration but still want to excel at projects.
Project Central allows you to:
- Add guest users with Azure Active Directory.
- Drag and drop to organize tasks.
- Assign single or multiple owners to tasks.
- Duplicate tasks.
- Set start and end dates for tasks.
- Filter between tasks to see open and closed tasks.
- Stay in the loop in the Activity Feed.
- Add comments and @mentions.
- Attach files to tasks.
- Break tasks into checklists.
- Copy and paste tasks from a text file.
- View all assigned tasks in place with ‘My Tasks’.
- Export your tasks to Outlook Calendar.
3. Access Your Microsoft 365 Files inside Project Central
As Project Central integrates with Microsoft 365, you’ll be able to use your SharePoint files inside this tool.
Simply connect a SharePoint Online document library or folder to your project site. From here, the team can work in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint Online without having to switch to another tool.
The files remain secure in your SharePoint environment.
4. Visualize your project’s timeline using Gantt Charts
Plan, schedule, and manage your team and tasks using simple and visual Gantt charts.
Gantt charts give you a full view of your project’s timeline, the tasks to be done, and when each is due for completion.
Use Gantt Charts to organize and prioritize your tasks and to gain a complete overview of your project from start to finish.
5. Get a Clear View across All Projects in Your Account
Finally, any good Planner alternative has to give you the ability to monitor multiple projects at once (without getting a headache).
Project Central offers a simple dashboard from which you can assess the health of all of your projects – no matter how many you’re managing.
As soon as you log in, you’ll see three key indicators of projects:
- On track
- At risk
- In danger.
If you don’t have time to dig into the progress of individual projects, you can simply gauge the most important information from your Project Central dashboard.
Then, you can review project status:
- Not started
- In progress
This can be a great indicator of your overall performance.
If you just want to see how many projects are completed as opposed to projects that haven’t been completed, it’s simple to tune your view in Project Central.
For additional visual project management, you can also review your project health through charts.
Finally, Project Central will help you track your performance by identifying:
- Projects overdue
- Upcoming deadlines
- Top project contributors
- Recent project status comments
- Health and progress updates
- Project cards summarizing the projects.
You can even track updates and project activity across multiple projects in the Activity Feed.
Project Central has a free 14-day trial where you can use all features and see for yourself. Get started for free now!
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