Microsoft Planner: When is a plan not a plan?

This posting came about from a customer query where they were not seeing all the plans in their mobile clients that they see on their Planner Hub on the web.  And the answer?  When it is a Group – that doesn’t yet have a Plan.  That is one answer anyway, and there could be some others which I will come to at the end.

Groups are getting to be ubiquitous across Microsoft products – Teams, Power BI, Planner, Outlook , Yammer - and I’m sure there are more – all using Groups and the additional features that Groups brings along.  One of these features is Planner – and when you create a Group you get a Plan, no matter where the Group is created from.  As an example let’s take Yammer.  Office 365 Connected Yammer groups are now a thing – and can be used once you set some specific security options in your Yammer Network Settings.  First enforcing Office 365 identity and then you will see that Office 365 Connected Yammer Groups are enabled.

Yammer Network Settings page showing configuration of Office 365 Connected Yammer Groups

When a new Yammer group is created (I’ve called my example “AYammerUnifiedGroup”) a Group gets created too:

New Yammer Group creation

On the Yammer page for AYammerUnifiedGroup you will see links to Office 365 resources of a SharePoint Document Library, SharePoint Site, OneNote and, of course, Planner!

The Yammer page for my new group

If we jump over to our Planner Hub now we can look under More Plans in the left hand navigation – and there we also see AYammerUnifiedGroup.

A view of Planner showing More plans

How about our mobile client?  Hmm – can’t see it here…

Planner on Android

So, why don’t I see it on my Android phone yet?  Lets take a look at the Group.  We can get the Group ID from various places – and I found it by copying the hyperlink for the Planner link on the Yammer page - – and my Group is fe103374-b2d4-4c57-a9ed-187008ea70b8  (I didn’t click on the link at this time – and you will see why shortly)  I can plug this in to Graph Explorer and see more details about the Group.

Graph Explorer

Then by adding /Planner/Plans I can see all the plans that are ‘owned’ by that Group – and I can see there are….. Zero.

Graph Explorer - Plans

What is happening here is that the ‘More Plans’ list is really More Groups – and they will not all have Plans, yet at least.  If I click on my AYammerUnifiedGroup under the More Plans list then it takes me into my Plan – and actually creates it at that moment.  Now I have a plan!

Planner and my AYammerUnifiedGroup plan

I can go back to Graph Explorer and make my query again – and now I see my Plan there too.

Graph Explorer

Refresh my Planner Hub view on my Android App and the Plan is there too.

Planner App on Android

I was thinking of calling this blog post Schrödinger's Plan – as you don’t know if you have a plan or not until you look – but then once you look you will have a plan.

Getting back to other reasons – the product group for Planner are always revisiting the API they use for populating lists of Groups/Plans as well as pulling the Plans themselves, to try and ensure that you are seeing the plans you need at the right time – so things may change here, and there could be other reasons you do not see what you expect.  A recent example – you can use the Azure Portal to manage Groups – and it is possible to add an Owner for a Group but not make them a member.  Planner tends to look for the members – so being just an owner might give you some problems.  I’m sure there could be other cases like this – but the main point of the blog was to help you understand the flow happening when Groups get created and when the actual plan exists – as well as showing how Graph Explorer is a useful tool for looking behind the scenes at Groups and Plans.  If I had clicked the Planner link from Yammer when getting the Group ID from the Url – then that action would have caused my plan to be created too.

No cat was harmed during the writing of this blog post.

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