SharePoint Online Planner and what’s it good for or not

SharePoint planner has started getting rolled out to multiple tenants in Office 365 and what seem to have been a nice feature at a glance, so, I actually had a chance to use it … and I have some thoughts to share.

My use case: I’m working on a software project analysis and need to enter whole bunch of tasks and activities into a tracker because I like how the planner captures then and makes pretty graphs out of them

-I like how you can add tasks into buckets, but unfortunately you can’t tag buckets to later on represent them in a graph. You can just create a bucket and delete it




-Task details sometimes don’t get saved?!!
Seriously, this was the most annoying. I simply created a new task, then went into it again to add some comments and then went again to change the status and my comments were not there. Some time I got “Something went wrong ” message when exiting the task which told me that things didn’t go as planned but didn’t tell me what happened. This is something that Microsoft must fix urgently because loss of data is a sure way to get people mad. Like, I don’t mind seeing the error message but not seeing anything at all and trusting that your data is there when it’s not, is not a right way to go.

-I like the color coded categories but they don’t show up anywhere in charts.
Here is the thing – if you’re going to color code something, it better be better than just something no-one will ever notice, what’s the point of color coding then? Honestly, I expected the color coded tasks to show up in that way in my charts (which I’ll get back to next), but they’re basically not used anywhere except for a tiny square next to a task.

-Task charts are great but still too simple
The only thing you seem to be getting at this time is the break down of what’s been completed, in progress, not started … which is one of the metadata categories but what about those color codes? other metadata? My guess is that MS will be releasing more of that good stuff over the next little while but currently it’s pretty limiting.


-Clicking on files, will take you to a swanky new site collection for this particular “Plan” with one and only document library. But will it?
The URL of the document library certainly implies the site collection convention [company]/sites/[plan name] … but when you go and check site collections in SharePoint Online Admin Center – it’s actually not there. So basically it’s not a site collection or maybe it is and stored somewhere else. Who knows … I haven’t tried hacking it further but one thing I know you can’t go outside of the document library, you just get redirected back to the document library.

-And my final thought for today … you can’t have planner charts or any other dashboards in your SharePoint sites. I think it would be hugely beneficial to have you planner tasks show up on a home page or some other project page or something, currently it’s a customization … which is great, the API is there … bit that’s a topic for a separate discussion.

I certainly hope you’ll have a chance to try planner for yourself and see how it works for you.