Office 365 gets a powerful new tool for planning your projects

Microsoft Planner

Redmond has announced that it's pushing out Microsoft Planner to Office 365 users across the globe, with the rollout happening over the next few weeks.

Those with qualifying subscription plans (including Office 365 Business Essentials, Premium and Education customers, plus Enterprise E1-E5 plans) will soon see a new Planner tile pop up in the suite's app launcher.

As you might expect, Microsoft Planner allows you to, well, plan things, breaking a project down into tasks, and keeping track of progress across those tasks, staying in touch and collaborating with those involved, as well as being able to easily see who's been assigned to what (and indeed if there are any jobs which have fallen between the cracks).

The interface looks slick and simple, so assigning a task to someone is as easy as dragging and dropping. Naturally, it's also easy to link relevant files such as Word documents or spreadsheets which may pertain to any given task.

Charts galore

As well as the core organisational stuff, there are plenty of charts included to show the overall status of the project and to highlight any deadlines which have been missed.

Some Office 365 customers have already been using the preview version of Planner, and in a blog post, Microsoft highlights the experience of Camara Municipal de Cascais, which governs the town of Cascais in Portugal, and has over 1000 employees who adopted the system.

Miguel Pinto Luz, deputy mayor, observed: "With Planner, we improved collaboration by about 20%. We're completing group initiatives approximately 7% faster, and everyone stays aligned easily due to the added level of transparency."

So, you should be able to get a taste of Planner very soon, and Microsoft is encouraging users to give them feedback on the app, because even though it's coming out of preview, as ever the company still intends to hone the software based on what customers think.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).