Deep integration with Microsoft Planner
Imagine this: you create a task in MSProject that requires action from a task owner. You click the Link to Planner button and go through the linking process (https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/brismith/2017/08/29/microsoft-planner-linking-plans-to-a-project-task/#comment-48795). But instead of just being a link to the Planner plan, you actually see the task as a card on the plan, with Task Name, Start Date, Finish Date, and Resources all being pulled from MSProject to Planner. And you can add more tasks from MSProject to Planner, each as its own card. You then add this plan to a tab on Teams, and people can go from the plan to the document they're tasked to work on and back to the plan to mark their task complete, which then pushes back to MSProject as a completed task.
Wouldn't that be awesome?!
Josh Childs commented
We have a similar challenge where some of the resource groups have work packages of their own that they need to track, and which we need visibility to from within Project Online (our resource planning tool). The data driven interface of project online is not useful to them, the cards driven interface is much easier to comprehend. However, ultimately they will have to double enter information if a strong link is not established between the two, or a card style interface is not developed for project online specifically, to ensure the resource usage and completion status are correct in both places.
John Houser commented
@Admin: I am surprised to hear your research is showing only to link a project task to a high level planner plan. In my last 4 jobs, I cannot think of how that would be useful.
I see the big gain here is with a 1:1 Planner Card to Project Task mapping. The current version could have been done with an ECF and a Macro. It is the tighter integration we really need your help with.
Otherwise we will not get the resource planning required for organizations.
I am looking at this to make MS Planner the main conduit or UI for our team members into their tasks. Planner represents a team member's work very well. If we add the 1:1 linkage and a few critical fields added into Planner (actual work (and date), remaining hours, estimated end date, notes) then team members could use Planner exclusively for their task management and timesheet reporting.
All of this would then roll up for project managers and executive reporting into the same reporting available today.
If this 1:1 link between Project and Planner was available, usage of Planner would increase within months. All MS Project installations could now offer a Small & Large project solution to project teams. They no longer need a project manager to manage ms Project schedule and hours and time (painful and time consuming).
All their team work could be managed in Planner (or Project for large). All work would be captured and reportable and manageable with the resources and reporting in MS Project/Power BI/other.
Now that we're piloting this... I'm finding that I'd really like to be able to point to buckets of a plan from tasks in project... not just a task to a plan, but a task to a bucket. There would be incredible number of plans needed to fulfill even a few concurrent projects... a number such that a team member trying to navigate which plan they should be looking at would be nuts. But if a bucket were roughly equivalent to a deliverable or package of work, that about fits the breakdown I'm finding appropriate.
It would be awesome. Getting project tasks into the day to day tasks of colleagues that already have BAU is one of my biggest challenges.
Understanding a bit more of how you intended the model, I do like that - especially that I could link to different plans for different tasks. I think I'd like to see a more holistic thing, though, like a Team per-project, and of course then the team could have more than one plan where appropriate linking to whatever would be the "summary" task in the project.
Roll-up of information like % complete & assignees from the plan would be nice... but that would mean that would have to exist first in planner (beyond not started, in progress, and complete).
Where I was going on the combo of data was more along the lines of avoiding the organization considering skipping using a project when "just a plan" could do. If we have some projects in project online, and some in planner, where's the single source of truth for what's our portfolio and how they relate to each other (dependency, strategy, etc). Sounds like the way to handle that would be to have a project with a single task that points to a plan... but that gets to really needing a better mechanism to cause a team into being because a project exists.
In my experience, MSProject is a Project Manager's tool for mapping out complex project plans, and Planner is simpler interface for team members to find their action items (they have a hard time navigating a Gantt chart to find what they need to do next). In addition, Planner has better integration with Word and PowerPoint files stored on SharePoint for collaborative authoring, which is the bulk of the projects for my team. Would be nice to use MSProject for creating and tracking a plan, and Planner for executing the plan with team members.
Hi Ian (and others!)
This is interesting feedback - we view the model between Project and Planner a bit differently - which is why we link a task to an entire Planner plan. We haven't seen a ton of scenarios for 1:1 tasks in Planner and Project, since we see that a large task may encompass an entire Planner plan.
We'd love to hear your feedback on how the current model can be improved on with more integration. Currently, we have a link, but what else would make this feature more valuable to you?
+1 on John's comment - that. Exactly that. (Except I really don't want to have to use powerbi to do the combination of data... I'd like it integrated with project online so I can choose to use powerbi if I want, but moreover I want the integration to be about the common resource pool, capacity, assignments, availability, etc, along with the integrated reports of "what we've accomplished"
John Houser commented
I like the idea of integration between Planner and Project, so that we can use the MS Planner for Small projects, however we benefit from the MS Project reporting (or PowerBI) to show our entire Portfolio of BIG and SMALL projects together. Both BIG and SMALL projects often use the same resources, so would want to see the all work and demands on people.
It might be better if we had a choice within Teams for using Planner for small projects and Project for large projects (with project templates, forms (pdps), workflow conditions and a gantt). Project has a boatload of issues; workflow is limited, forms customization is abysmal, performance is meh, no proper people-picker, so the last thing I need is to tie it to Planner. It should, however, be tied to Teams for shared content, persistent chat, etc...