The Microsoft Planner 2024 Upgrade: What’s New?

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Executive Summary

  • The new Microsoft Planner is designed to be a one-stop shop for task and project management across the entire Microsoft 365 suite.
  • The new version of Planner will merge existing features from Planner, Microsoft To Do, and Microsoft Project into a single platform. It will be rolling out to Teams in spring 2024 with a dedicated web version following later in the year.
  • Planner will offer two licences: Basic and Premium, with new features like the AI-powered Copilot and all Microsoft Project functionality available only with Premium plans.

Introduction

Back in 2020, we took a look at one of the lesser-known productivity tools available within Microsoft 365: Microsoft Planner.

In the years since, Microsoft has expanded its line-up of project and task management apps with Microsoft To Do, Microsoft Project, and – of course – Planner itself.

But don’t all these apps effectively do the same thing? Well, sort of. They allow you to manage, assign, and visualise your tasks across multiple projects and teams, but they’re all built on the concept of tasks and projects.

The team at Microsoft must have had this same thought, because they’re merging all three of these apps into one for 2024: the ‘new’ Microsoft Planner.

Here’s what you need to know.

What is the new Microsoft Planner?

As explained in the blog post announcing the new facelift, Microsoft is redesigning Planner in order to provide “a single, intelligent app to track all their work and projects.”

Taking a step closer to full-fledged project management tools like Monday and Asana, the new Planner brings together core functionality from Planner, To Do, and Project, then throws in the power of AI in the form of Microsoft Copilot. The idea is that the new Planner will be able to scale from tiny start-ups which might only need basic task management to full enterprise-level deployments with all the bells and whistles.

If you’ve used Microsoft To Do before, you’ll recognise the “My Day” view, which will list all of your tasks due that day. Just as in the previous version of Planner, you’ll be able to visualise upcoming tasks with either the Grid or Kanban Board views. And, to unlock the power of Microsoft Project features like goal setting, Gannt charts, and agile sprint planning, you can upgrade (or trial) a Premium template anytime.

Basic templates vs. Premium templates

The new Planner is built in such a way that its basic templates are available to all Microsoft 365 for Business plans – but there’s also the option to enable more powerful Premium plans.

  • Basic templates include a totally blank Simple Plan, which allows you to add tasks and projects from scratch and set things up in a way that works best for you. Other Basic templates include Project Management and Software Development.

  • Premium templates are designed to solve more complex use cases. For example, Sprint Planning and Sprint Retrospective templates – both of which have previously been available in the Microsoft Project app – fall into this bracket and will require an add-on license to use. You can enable free trials for Premium templates to try before you buy.

Another key benefit of the Premium license is the inclusion of Microsoft Copilot, an AI tool which you can ask to generate tasks, or even entire projects, for you in a matter of seconds.

Will the new Microsoft Planner replace Microsoft To Do and Microsoft Project?

It stands to reason that the new version of Planner would take the place of the previous To Do and Project apps, but according to Microsoft’s FAQ, this isn’t the case.

Regarding Microsoft To Do, the team states: “This announcement does not impact any existing user scenarios or functionality of Microsoft To Do apps. Many Microsoft To Do capabilities that you use and love today, such as My Day, My Tasks, Flagged Emails, and more, will be available to you in the new Microsoft Planner in Teams.”

And, on the topic of Microsoft Project: “Microsoft Project is not being retired. Project for the web capabilities are becoming part of the new Microsoft Planner. Project desktop, Project Online, and Project Server will continue to be available and supported for both existing and new customers.”

When will the new Microsoft Planner be available?

As mentioned above, the new Microsoft Planner is actually coming to Teams first, then getting a dedicated web app later on in 2024.

In spring 2024, Microsoft will merge the Tasks by Planner and To Do apps within Microsoft Teams, and they will become Microsoft Planner. The existing version of the Planner web app will then be updated later in the year.

If you’re interested in the premium features of the new Planner, these will be available automatically to any existing Microsoft Project add-on license subscribers. Likewise, the pricing for upgrading to the Premium tier of Planner will mirror the existing pricing for Microsoft Project.  

Want to find out more about Microsoft Planner? Ask your Get Support account manager today or call the team on 01865 594 000.

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