Improvements to Planner integration with Microsoft Teams

One of the bugbears for users of Microsoft Teams is the challenges of Planner integration – or lack thereof.

In the early days of Teams, the Planner integration was very limited – it had no ability to see existing Plans that had been created, only those that it created.

As of present Teams production builds the frustration is that users need to keep navigating across to tabs within channels within teams in order to see their tasks – as any Plan created inside a channel would not show up under My Tasks inside of Planner and similarly users could not access My Tasks from within Teams.

There are two key improvements in this area, though not 100% feature complete.

Accessing My Tasks in Teams

To see My Tasks inside of Microsoft Teams you will need to switch to the developer preview mode. This can be done by clicking on your picture in the bottom left corner, navigating to About, and then selecting Developer preview.

You will then see the following warning:

Continuing will restart the Teams application and get you to sign in again. Not much will appear different except that the navigation on the left will now show three dots underneath the Files button.

Clicking this will now show the Planner app button.

And clicking this will now bring up the My Tasks from Planner inside the Teams interface, allowing you to group by progress or by plan.

Accessing Planner tasks from Teams in Planner

It seems like a no-brainer, but it is currently in progress.

At the moment the functionality is limited where I can see tasks from a Plan in a Teams channel, but not the Plan itself.

Notice in the screenshot below the names of the three Plans: Paradigm Solutions, Teams eBook, and Teams-Planner test. Now take a look under the My Tasks heading and you’ll see that there are tasks from a Plan called “Plan”, but then looking back at the Plans listing it’s not there.

Over at the Office 365 Roadmap you can see that some of these bits are in development and should be released to production early in 2018.

Hopefully the Planner team can keep up with the pace set by the Teams team for integration and development!

First experiences with Microsoft To-Do

Microsoft this morning announced their new “Microsoft To-Do” app available for public preview on all mobile platforms and the web.

This app will eventually supersede the Wunderlist app that Microsoft purchased almost two years ago. I use the Wunderlist app for my personal life, sharing lists with my wife for things such as groceries. Microsoft even refers to Wunderlist as the go-to app for personal task management.

While Wunderlist works will in the personal context, it doesn’t integrate with any work services such as Office 365. This is where one of the challenges with Planner comes in as people want to use the Kanban-style interface to visualise and manage their personal task list (more on that in a post soon).

So with Microsoft To-Do to replace Wunderlist I went out and installed it, and straight away noticed a few issues I wouldn’t have expected to be there when compared to other previews Microsoft has released.

The first one is that when signing in with a Microsoft Account for personal use – there is simply no sharing option. So while I can import lists from Wunderlist, I can’t continue to share them with my wife. This is a deal breaker because while I want to manage my personal tasks using the new app, I don’t want to have to continue using Wunderlist for my shared lists and then To-Do for my individual lists.

Secondly the app experience is inconsistent. On my Android it is called “Microsoft To-Do”, but in the Windows Store it is still called “Project Cheshire”.

Although after installing it the app is called “Microsoft To-Do”.

I was able to log in to the app on my Android, but not on the Surface. In fact, I was given a message that was just wrong, given that I was logging in with a Microsoft account:

Thirdly the app apparently supports signing in with an Office 365 account. The app FAQ even says that you need to have the correctly licensed service, and the blog post says the service is built on Office 365. But when attempting to sign in with my Office 365 account I get denied at every turn, on the web:

On the Windows app:

On my phone:

Looking around my Office 365 tenant I don’t see any reference to To-Do. I’m set to First Release, I’ve looked in Services & add-ins and no joy.

As a preview this product is unfortunately a complete bust for me – both on a personal and work level. I’m hoping that perhaps the Office 365 sign-in issue is simply that it hasn’t been made available globally yet, but if that is the case I’m surprised that the announcement would have gone out without it being fully available globally.

The To-Do team do however have a UserVoice and Twitter account going, so hopefully they learn from other Microsoft app teams and iterate quickly!