Task Management in Office 365

 

Good task management is a vital part of success within any business. Many people use many different ways of managing their tasks but today we’re going to have a look at some of the options within Office 365 that we have to manage our tasks.

 To Do – The Personal Productivity Wizard

Microsoft To Do is the app that has replaced Wunderlist. The goal of this application is to give the end user the ability to productively manage their personal tasks. You can create tasks, set them as important, set reminders for those tasks, any due dates, categorise your tasks and attach files or notes. The default views can give you a list of all of the planned tasks you have for that day, any of the important tasks to be completed as well as a new view that will show any tasks that have been assigned to you within planner (more on that later). You can also create separate lists from your default task list If you have a group of tasks related to a specific project.

To Do is the ideal task management app in Microsoft 365 for an end user that wants to focus on their productivity. While it is possible to integrate across with Planner, To Do really shines when managing your own tasks. It lacks the customization capability available in some of the other applications we are going to look at but for someone who wants to get started managing their tasks right away it’s the perfect place to start.

Planner – Out of the Box Team Manager

Planner is an agile task management app ideal for teams to organize and collaborate with one another. You can create Kanban boards on the fly and add checklists, files and labels for attachment within each task. It has useful visual charts to gain insight into how tasks are being handled within your team.

Planner is great for low level project management and for small or medium size teams managing their work in an agile manner. It’s extremely quick, clean and easy to use and offers a grace start to managing projects and tasks for a team. Platter sits a level below enterprise project management applications like Project for the Web and Project Online, which we will look at in an upcoming blog.

Microsoft Lists – The Powerhouse

Microsoft lists is an expansion of SharePoint lists now branded as a new separate application. SharePoint lists have been used to manage tasks on projects and within organisations for years and the new change has made them more powerful and more customizable. Lists provides much greater control of the fields within elements and the views of how elements can displayed as compared to Planner or To Do.

The main benefit of Microsoft Lists is the ability to customize. You could get an experience very similar to Planner using Microsoft lists however the development in creating that is only worth the time if you want to heavily customize the experience to a specific need.  Lists really shines when managing a combination of tasks and other elements such as invoice or orders.

Tasks in Teams – The Personal Hub

Tasks in Teams is a tab within Microsoft Teams that syncs directly with To Do and Planner. It allows users who frequently use both applications to manage personal and team tasks to get a singular view within Teams.

Tasks in Teams is more a way of viewing tasks than storing them. It’s an ideal choice for someone who is already using Teams extensively and gives a great big picture view of tasks that you may need to manage given that it integrates with Planner and To Do. Given the views that are used within it, it can give an excellent view of tasks that need to be completed related to a specific project or deliverable.

Conclusion

While there are many choices to look at when choosing a task management app, my general rule of thumb is:

  • To Do for managing personal, everyday tasks
  • Planner for a quick and easy way to start managing tasks and agile projects for small teams
  • Lists if you want to manage more than just tasks and customize the experience
  • Tasks in Teams to give a big picture of your overall tasks within planner and To Do

 

Come back in 2 weeks when we take a look at the world beyond task management and look at what Microsoft 365 apps can offer for project and portfolio management.

Author: Ian Jones, Software Developer, Aspira.

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