Microsoft Releases Office 365 Planner Preview
Office 365 customers can finally test Microsoft's vision of team and project management on the cloud.Administrators can now test Office 365 Planner, a new cloud-based team collaboration offering from Microsoft, the company announced this week. Microsoft began switching on the new feature for organizations enrolled in the Office 365 First Release early access program on Dec. 14. An email will alert administrators when Planner is enabled on their Office 365 accounts. The software is part of Office 365's ongoing evolution from a PC-based productivity software suite to a cloud-enabled collaboration platform. "Planner makes it easy for your team to create plans, organize and assign work, share files, chat about what everyone is working on and get updates on progress," said the Office 365 Planner team in a Dec. 14 announcement. Planner's interface organizes a project's content into boards and cards. "Every Card can have documents (or pictures) attached that automatically get rich image previews, so it is easy to understand what the Card is about at a glance," explained Howard Crow, principal group program manager on the Planner Engineering team, during the Sept. 22 debut of the new software. "In addition, Cards can be organized on the Board into customizable columns called Buckets, which can be prioritized and tagged with colored labels."
Sharing Office content (Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents) is done by attaching a file to a Card. Attached files are saved to a SharePoint Online document library for offline editing. On the project-management front, a smattering of visualizations allows managers to chart the progress of their teams' efforts.