Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Planner–what to expect


*** Update 11/17/2017 - this post has been out a while, but is still largely relevant.  The Planner folks are looking at improving this experience with the better capability for multiple plans per group that Teams introduced, and a new feature was added to Plans allowing an existing Plan to be chosen within a Team Planner channel - usually this would be the 'default' Plan that was already created for the Group/Team - so don't get this confused with any similar looking plan that may have been created outside of that Team/Group ***

With the release of Microsoft Teams there is a new experience with Microsoft Planner – plans are one of the items that can be added within a team – and you can add multiple plans!  There are a few differences between the way these ‘Team Plans’ behave – but they are real ‘Planner Plans’ and are stored in exactly the same service.  First a little background that will help understand why they behave as they do…

With Planner currently there is a one to one relationship between Plans and Groups.  Create a Plan and it creates a Group – Create a Group and it creates a Plan.  Same with Teams – create a Team and it creates a Group – which creates a Plan.  So how do the plans created within Teams fit in to all this?  I’ll walk you through a scenario…

I create a Team in my Office 365 tenant (after switching on Teams in Admin, Settings, Services and add-ins – then selecting Teams and enabling…) called BSPJO_Team:

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Once I have done this I also see this as a Group in Outlook in Office 365:

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And in Planner – this Plan is also available:

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Now if I add a new Plan via my BSPJO_Team called My PJO Blog Team:

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The first thing you will notice is that this doesn’t prompt for an e-mail address to associate with the team.  As this is within a Team it does not get its own e-mail and associated SharePoint site (so conversations and attachments are also not available directly in the plan – but of course at the Team level you have these capabilities anyway).

Once I create this plan I’m going to add a task called My Blog Team Task and assign myself:

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If I now go to Planner I do not see this new plan in my Planner hub:

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But I do see the assigned task in My tasks:

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I can work on this task in either environment – and after setting a category in Planner:

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I can see the same category set in Teams:

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This is all expected behaviour, and the piece that is a little confusing is that the My PJO Blog Team plan does not show in the Planner hub.  This is actually filtered out as the plan does not have the usual one to one relationship to Groups – but could be one of many under the BSPJO_Team Group.  This will change at some point as we move towards having a many to one relationship to Groups outside of the Microsoft Teams scenario.

One other condition I will make you aware of – the synchronization of differences between plans, tasks etc. happens regularly to ensure changes other people make are visible to you – but there is a limit per user of 4 ‘diff sync’ processes – and the addition of Planner to Teams means that this is another ‘client’ that may be syncing.  So once we also release other clients (iOS, Android and Windows) then you may reach this limit if you also have a laptop browser or two open.  One of these will get an error (not sure of the exact text) which indicates you cannot be serviced at this time.

I hope this helps to understand the current behaviour of plans within teams.


Comments (82)

  1. Gavin Ashton says:

    Kudos for being up front about the potential usability issue.

    Just started using Planner within my team and noticed one thing in particular; Any chance the UI will display associated group icons at some point? I have a few where because the group names are constrained in length and the share the first so many characters, the icon initials are the same, and you basically have to know which order they appear in the list or randomly click around trying to get the right one. The group icons we assigned in AzAD make it clear which is which.

    1. Hi Gavin, I’ll try and find an answer for you. It would certainly make sense to keep consistency with AzAD.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

      1. saikul shaikh says:

        Hi sir,
        Being Skype is the Microsoft product now, so I have posted my thoughts here.
        We can develop Skype video call more entertaining way. Instead of only smiles to share people’s feeling we can create more fun for people while they are on video call. Sir, I want to share my idea how.

      2. Dave M says:

        Hi Brian, any update on the group icons? I am going to have a similar problem differentiating them.

  2. Marc Soester says:

    Great post. Quite a nifty way using multiple plans for the same team. I wonder when we see some kind of integration between Groups / Team and Project Online. Certainly a very compelling case scenario;)
    Thanks mate

    1. Enno Olbrich says:

      Hi Marc, you are right. The integration of Planner/Groups and Project is quite a compelling scenario. Therefore we developed our SOLVIN Planner Bridge, which takes care of this specific connection:
      http://www.solvin.com/solvin-planner-bridge.html

  3. Zapp says:

    Sharing this awareness is very helpful Brian. In addition to the future integration, is there any possibility (maybe I am missing it) that a planner project can be saved as a template and reused – either within Planner or MS Teams?

    1. Templates are certainly on the teams backlog Zapp – not sure exactly when they might appear. I don’t know if Teams are also looking at templates.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

      1. Hi,
        A template would be perfect!

        My teams do repetitive tasks for different customers, so I’m trying to be consistent when creating the plans. With a template, that would be way more productive!

        I’m very impressed with the power of Planner. Also, I was thinking to go for #Slack. I’m not a MS fan (sorry) but this MS product rocks.

        All the best.

        Ps. Were you at Great Sand Dunes in CO? 🙂

        1. Yes Gustavo – I’m looking forward to the template too. No apology necessary for not being a Microsoft fan, and very pleased we might win you over with Planner if we get the features right.
          And yes, I had a long road trip in May – Salt Lake City to Albuquerque and Great Sand Dunes was one of the highlights. Amazing place. More pictures at https://www.flickr.com/photos/bsmi067/albums/72157669369164685 if you are interested :).
          Best regards,
          Brian.

          1. Gustavo Barizon says:

            Super Cool!

        2. Amanda says:

          Templates are the only reason I was excited for Planner. I was thrilled to have all my to-do items in one place, visually, electronically, and able to share tasks with others. But I don’t want to spend hours adding to-do items when our team doesn’t the same tasks over and over again. I cannot believe they have not yet come out with a way to save a template of to-do items. I’m shocked they didn’t realize this when they created the platform. I hope this template option comes out soon! Someone please notify me as soon as this happens! 🙂

          1. We hear you Amanda and it is certainly coming – but a few other features ahead of it currently. I’ll be sure to do a blog post when it arrives. I’m thinking of putting out a code sample that might allow you to ‘clone’ an existing plan – hopefully have that out in a few weeks.
            Best regards,
            Brian.

  4. john smith says:

    Are Teams the same as Office group? With a group i get a shared mailbox and a shared doc library. They appear in Outlook under the groups section.

    1. They are not the same John – but related. When you create a Team you get a Group – so it is really the Group that is giving you the shared mailbox and library. Planner and Power BI also use Groups in a similar way.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

  5. Jan Kladivko says:

    Hi Brian,

    Is there any way to display the plans in Planner, which were created in Microsoft Teams atm? It’s really unfortunate that I cannot see the graphic overview which allows us Planner on the plans from MS Teams..

    Thanks in advance,
    Jan

    1. Not currently Jan – but it is coming hopefully soon!
      Best regards,
      Brian.

  6. Jan Florian says:

    Can I ask why is the fact, that Plan created from the connector within Teams not visible in actual Planner? I just cannot figure out why is that a good think. Also I just don’t really get why the plan created with the creation of group asociated with my team not assignable (or automatically assigned), when I am creating new plan from teams. From my point of view, it would be really very helpful, if I could have everything in one place, because I don’t want to go everytime to Planner, if I have the connector in Teams – that should actually be the points of having connector, so I don’t have to open browser and search for Planner, when I can only works on desktop Teams client.
    Thx for answer

    1. The current behaviour is not ideal Jan and we are working to address the concerns you raise. My blog was an attempt to explain what you will see today and some of this is driven by technical considerations between the relationship of Planner to Groups (1 to 1) and the tabs inside Teams which can be many to one. Once we have addressed this issue I will update the blog.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

      1. Jan Florian says:

        Hi Brian,
        thank You for the prompt reply. I am really looking forward to the solution You’ll come up.
        Best regards
        Jan

        1. thibaut says:

          Hello
          I’m waiting also for a quick solution in order to use Microsoft Team with Planner.
          Without this solution it s not possible for my team to use it.
          Thanks

          1. Victor O'Rear says:

            Until you better integrate Teams and Planner, it would be nice if you added information to the help and T-Bot explaining the current integration.

  7. Agustín says:

    Hi Brian,
    I’ve created a Team with “TEAMS”. Then I added one plan. I can see it in the planner hub but when I open it, It’s empty.
    Is this expected? Am I having sync issues?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Agustin – does this plan have the same name as the team? We do have a current limitation that the team are working on where plans created within the Team are not exposed in the Planner web UI. You will see the Pan that relates to the Team/Group name though. The team are working on more complete support of these plans within teams. I’ll post a blog as they progress with these changes.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

  8. Simone says:

    How do I subscribe to a Plan created from Teams? I would like my team to be able to receive emails when a task is assigned to them or updated. It is hard to keep my team updated without this feature…

    1. Hi Simone – currently the plans within a team do not directly relate to a mailbox – so no conversation support. The overall plan relating to the team that can be seen outside of the team and bears the same name does support conversations – but I appreciate this is not what you are looking for. I will blog as the product group makes progress towards supporting conversations in these plans.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

  9. Darlene says:

    Is there a way to add an existing plan to a team or channel?

    1. Not yet Darlene – but that is one of the items the Planner product group are working on.
      Best regards,
      Brian

      1. Darlene Yule says:

        Thanks Brian, one more question: Is there a way to move bucket items (tasks) to another planner without redoing the entire task? Can there be a dropdown on each task that allows you to move it to another plan within the channel?

        1. Nothing out of the box Darlene – but worth posting to UserVoice. Also the code I recently posted at https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/brismith/2017/02/17/microsoft-planner-how-to-clone-a-plan-with-graph/ could be adapted to take a bucket full of tasks and add it elsewhere.
          Best regards,
          Brian.

      2. Marco van Baardwijk says:

        When will it be possible to add an existing Plan tot a team?

        1. It is somewhat possible already Marco – but there are limits due to the relationship of Teams, Groups and Plans. For example I can add team functionality to an existing Group – and if that Group already has a Plan associated with it I can choose to add that plan from the + options in Teams. I’m not aware of any current plan to allow adding plans that might exist in a totally separate Group – if you feel this is a scenario you need then please add this to UserVoice for Planner – at https://planner.uservoice.com/forums/330525-microsoft-planner-feedback-forum
          Best regards,
          Brian.

  10. Mike Erps says:

    Hi Brian,

    Great post! One of the challenges I am having (along with my colleagues) is that when we create a Plan within Teams, we are not getting any type of notifications that a task was assigned to a person. So for example, if i create a plan and assign a coworker a task, that coworker has no idea that they have a task assigned to him/her (of course unless you log in and look at the Team site, or into Planner directly as you described above).

    The other issue is there is no notification that a task is due soon, or overdue, etc. This issue might be resolved once the above is resolved, but also wanted to point that out.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  11. Ozge says:

    Hi Brian,
    I have 2 things;
    1- I’ve created a team in Teams and added a planner into it. The tasks I created there does not appear on Hub-Planner or on my Planner list. I only see them under “My Tasks”. Are they not linked?
    2- Will it be possible in time to add assignment to the checklist items under one task?
    Thanks a lot, Ozge

    1. Hi Ozge, for number 1 that is exactly what I explain in the blog post. In the future it will work as you expect and the tasks and plans are linked – but the ‘Team’ plans are currently filtered from the Planner Hub.
      Not aware of any plans to add assignments to checklist items – probably a good suggestion for the Planner UserVoice forum https://planner.uservoice.com/forums/330525-microsoft-planner-feedback-forum.
      Best regards,
      Brian

  12. Ben Reynolds says:

    Thanks for the helpful post, Brian.

    Our Planner workflow leans heavily on being able to attach creative assets and also requires a comment trail. Both of these pieces of functionality seem to be missing from the Planner functionality within Teams. Am I missing something, or is this accurate? If accurate, any plans to add this functionality?

    Thanks again,
    Ben.

    1. Yes, Ben, the plan is to get parity – I don’t have a timeframe right now though.
      Best regards,
      Brian

  13. Hi Brian,

    The tasks that I have created in Teams are not making it to o365 Planner at all. Is there something else that needs to been enabled to have that level of integration?

    1. If they are tasks assigned to you Lenny they should show up in Planner under Tasks – but currently the Plans will not show under Planner Hub. Let me know if this isn’t happening.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

      1. This is not happening. The tasks assigned to me are not making it to o365 planner. Thanks for your reply!

      2. I do see the tasks that are assigned to me in “My Tasks”. It sounds like this is the current behavior.

  14. chris shaida says:

    Brian, this is very helpful. Thanks for posting! Any hints you can provide yet about HOW architecturally Planner will be changed to accommodate the many-to-one scenario? (ie, ADDing a layer inside a planner above buckets to align with a channel a la the way a ‘Section’=Channel works inside a Notebook? or adding a grouping mechanism above a planner that ties to a Team/Group? or?)

    1. I don’t know exactly yet Chris =- I’ll see what I can find out.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

  15. Tomasz Klimek says:

    Any chances to add more than one assignee to the task?

    1. It is on the roadmap Tomasz – I’ll see if I can get a good timeline for when this will appear.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

  16. bolster111 says:

    Any timeline on when you will be able to see team plans in the planner hub. Or the possibility of switching to the chart view in the planner tab on the team sites?

    1. The team are working on it and I’ll try and get an ETA bolster111.

  17. Laurel P says:

    Great article that summarizes these features!
    Does this mean we will keep Planner in our tenant? We are an Education client and we’re receiving notices that Planner was going away.

    1. I’m guessing they saw the Planner Preview messages as we moved from Preview to General Availabilty – it isn’t going away Laurel (although we do have a service issue right now as you might see in your Service Health Dashboard).

  18. Amber Hollenbeck says:

    Any update on when templates might be available?

    1. I’ll see if I can get an ETA for you Amber.

  19. Mark Chevis says:

    Can planner retrieve tasks from Project Online Proffesional? I understood that the two would be interconnected allowing tasks to be allocated and managed in planner feeding from Project? Guidance appreciated, M

    1. This is on the roadmap Mark – and there are already some 3rd party options to do this from our partners.

  20. Tim Banting says:

    This seems really complex. I hope that Microsoft add Planner within teams so the functionality maps across apps or just gets assimilated into Teams. Too many choices, too complex, too easy for organizations to go back to email 🙁

    1. This will get easier Tim – the engineering work is happening to make Planner work more seamlessly in or outside Teams.

  21. Jose Rioja says:

    My co-workers and i can`t see our tasks because when pressing “my tasks” button it get stuck on loading…please help

    1. We had a problem today that is just being resolved Jose – it is also mentioned in your Service Health Dashboard so your admin should be able to see the details. We expect all should be ok in the next couple of hours as the fix rolls out.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

  22. Arthur says:

    It seems to me that a lot of work is being done to fix a needlessly complex and bad initial design. Did this prevent absolutely basic and must have features like multiple people assigned to one task and tasks syncing to Outlook tasks from being included? I can’t understand how any team can use Planner in it’s current state when there are apps like Trello out there for free. Given how long it has been on the user voice forum and the lack of response there I assume you’ll pull the plug on this app pretty soon.

    1. Don’t expect Planner to go away Arthur. As Teams didn’t exist when Planner started its life – and there was never a desire to sync to Outlook tasks (at least from us within Microsoft…) the initial design was fine. Multiple assignments is one area that we soon heard was a requirement and it is coming. I hear you on the User Voice responses and that is something we should be addressing too.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

      1. Arthur says:

        Thanks for your reply Brian. What is the rationale behind not syncing tasks to tasks if I may ask? It seems like a no brainer to me (and a lot of people on the user voice forum) that you don’t want to check your work tasks – both assigned to you and self created – in two separate apps. Also, that Planner tasks don’t show up in your calendar is a recipe for making needless mistakes. Also given that 3rd party plug ins were created to do this within weeks of launching planner I am very surprised to hear you say it was never your intent to include this.

        1. Hi Arthur, I can’t comment on the thinking behind the decision – mainly as I don’t know it – but that said I know it can be challenging keeping anything synchronized. There are certainly discussions going on around the whole “all my tasks in one place” story – but nothing that can be shared yet. The 3rd party apps can certainly fill some of these gaps in the mean time.
          Best regards,
          Brian.

  23. Cheryl Reynolds says:

    Is there a limit to the # of characters a Task can hold in the “Description” field? I typed 10-12 different bulleted items inside the “Description” box. I then checked on the “Show On Card”. When I came back to edit one of the items in the description, all of the items I typed were gone with the exception of the first line. However, when I close the Task, I can see more than one line in the description displayed on the card itself. How can I get the entire list back??

    1. Did you open a support incident on this Cheryl? I’ll do a bit of digging – but opening an case is a good way to get answers when the behavior definitely looks like a bug.
      Best regards,
      Brian

      1. Cheryl Reynolds says:

        Being new to Power BI, what is the proper procedure for opening a ticket?

    2. Teemu says:

      I see this as a bug also. If description has multiple rows then only the first row is visible on the card view but in the bucket view multiple rows are visible. This happens with IE11.

  24. Art says:

    It is easy to integrate teams with the planner in all cases. If you start the planner in Planner and make it a favorite, and then create a team with the same name, you will get the option to choose the planner in teams that is part of your favorites.

    1. Art, I’m so glad I read all the comments as this makes Teams/Planner work as expected!

      1) In Planner, New Plan
      2) In Teams, Add team
      3) Skip to the bottom and look for “Add Microsoft Teams to an existing Office 365 group?” and click the “Yes, add Microsoft Teams functionality” that doesn’t look like a link.
      4) Choose the group for the plan you just created, Choose team
      5) Click + to add Planner tab
      6) Select Use an existing plan and select the one you created in step 1

      Works perfectly for me. Functional syncing of buckets/tasks, visibility in Planner Hub and full Planner functionality!

      1. Mike says:

        Hi, Does this only work with new Planners? I tried to do what you suggested with an already-created planner with cards etc. and it seems that when adding the Planner app as a tab it just hangs

  25. Thank you for the overview of expected behavior. We have been using both Planner and Teams since they first rolled out. I was actually hesitant to leave general planner for Teams as I would lose the notifications and conversations around specific tasks. The balance of all the other functionality in Teams justified managing my plans on it’s platform. You previously noted that you would try to get ETA’s on Surfacing conversations on tasks and notifications around tasks from teams and Tasks sync to outlook., will it ever be on the roadmap? As our Operations and Business Development lead I use Outlook, Teams (Planner) and CRM (oops Dynamics 365). CRM Tasks sync to outlook and we need Planner tasks to sync there as well to keep all tasks in the same place.

  26. Bryan Marks says:

    Hi Brian,
    Is this functionality going to remain like this. I ask because there is some mass confusion about how Teams and PLanner both create Teams…we like the idea of creating plans within Teams, but there’s also some confusion. You lose the ability to get an over all analytics view of that plan within teams, you also lose the ability to make comments on the task when the task is created in Teams…

  27. Nathan Wells says:

    Will Microsoft Teams give a notification when a team-member completes an item on the sub “checklist” in a “plan”? Could be great to help others know how the plan is progressing, as well as an opportunity for praise/kudos.

  28. Good article to be transparent about Planner, Groups and Teams!

    I evaluated Planner and Teams but here is something strange and weird integration i came across
    Teams – It has a conversation tab wherein you can converse with people like a chat UI and many other awesome features, Ok Got It!
    Planner – It also has a conversation tab wherein it takes you to O365 groups to converse like an email

    Ideally both the conversation tab should point to one and not many – moreover the integration should be in such a manner that If i click planner conversation it should take me directly to team conversations and not group conversations. We want unification and not multiple places to start a discussion.

    1. Richard K says:

      Hi Hasnain,

      I agree with you – in fact I just don’t get the way that user communication works within planner or between planner and teams.

      I have a scenario where we have e.g. two projects ongoing: lets say website development and server migration.

      I have two teams of (maybe overlapping) staff working on these projects.

      I set up two Plans in planner and add tasks for the different users.

      Now I want to discuss one of these tasks with one or more (specific) staff.

      I can’t do this! I can import the Plans into Teams and can talk about them there, but there’s no way to tie a conversation to a specific task or project even. I can post comments to the tasks in Planner, but those messages just go into the shared Outlook groups.

      Can see any useful way to use either product, except as a basic task tracker.

      If anyone has suggestions I”d love some feedback!

  29. Andrei Zene says:

    I like this. Are there any plans to add the Group by functionality (which is available in the planner web app) into the teams planner tab? Right now tasks are always grouped by buckets.

  30. Derek says:

    Setting up a set of common tasks for group members in Planner generates a progress chart showing each member by name However the bars do not show individual progress but just the overall progress of the group. I did not expect this behavior. It means that if one person out of say five has not completed the common task everybody’s task bar in the group is shown as incomplete. Surely it makes sense to show each group member’s progress?

  31. Joshua Tretakoff says:

    Really helpful explanation. A couple of questions/points of clarification:
    – If I create a Planner tab in a specific Channel of a Team, how do I get the Planner data from there to show in https://tasks.office.com? I know I can see the tasks, of course, but to see the boards, I need to just name them the same? I’m unclear.
    – I don’t seem to be able to see the tasks from Planner in Teams in Planner on Android. Any thoughts?

  32. MGL says:

    Have any of the features requested in this thread been implemented? It’s been more than half a year. Personal gripe: Planner in Teams has reduced functionality vs. the version in the browser-accessible version. And of course all the other complaints — the lack of templates necessitating the re-entry of identical tasks, etc. — are valid and, as far as I can detect, still unresolved. Thanks.

    1. To MGL and others – we expect to get a new roadmap out shortly – and yes there are plans to address the valid points you raise.
      Best regards,
      Brian.

  33. Steven says:

    The blog post and all the comments are very helpful. Until any of the changes are made, does anyone have a point of view on whether it’s better to start and manage plans from Teams versus starting and managing plans from Planner? What are the pros/cons? I know some are listed in the comments but would love to hear any other thoughts.

    1. Raja Akbar Hassan says:

      In my humble opinion:
      – If you are not using either of the two tools and no existing agile collaboration competitor tool then you can start with MS Teams for teams collaboration (not a bad option). Do not use Planner till the time Microsoft has resolved all of the critical issues mentioned in this thread. If you are already using an agile collaboration tool then wait for MS Teams to get a bit more mature and integrated with Planner.
      – For groups, teams and tasks planning, MS Planner is a fine tool but my recommendation would be to keep using whatever you are currently using till the time it starts working via MS Teams like a charm :-). This is not the case at this moment.
      – If your teams work in an Agile model e.g. Scrum, you can surely survive without Planner but you need something like MS Teams (or an alternative) and when Planner starts to work via Teams the way it should, it would be a huge plus however if your teams are working more in a structured waterfall like methodology then you definitely need something like Planner (or an equivalent). Stick with your current tooling for a while till the time Microsoft addresses critical productivity requests (e.g. issues and features mentioned in this thread) or start using Planner if you do not use anything at this moment. If you already switched to MS Planner then do not regret, be patient and push Microsoft being a customer to address your needs.

      Above feedback is based on the fact that we are an IT company with several teams / projects (agile and non-agile) and departments / teams across multiple countries / client locations. We purchased Office 365 to use Skype for Business and online word, excel, … etc. (usual Microsoft stuff) and what we really hope from Microsoft is to make MS Teams a tool that enables us to stop using Slack, HipChat, Skype and TeamViewer across multiple teams in the company and similarly stop using tools like Asana, Trello, Project Plans and custom solutions in the favour of MS Planner via MS Teams.

      1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here Raja. The aim of my blog post was to assist with understanding – which should then mean there is no need to wait before using Planner with Teams as the scenarios will be understood (nothing is broken and no data is lost due to the current limitations). Rest assured that the team are working to deliver a seamless experience.
        Best regards,
        Brian.

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