On January 8, Microsoft announced that Planner, the task management app built on top of Office 365 Groups, is now available in the U.S. Government cloud (GCC). GCC is a special version of Office 365 where the software running in dedicated datacenters is tailored to meet the needs and standards demanded by U.S. federal and state government agencies. Planner is immediately available to GCC and GCC High tenants and will be available to DoD (Department of Defense) tenants “soon.”
Progress Since 2015
Planner first appeared as an Office 365 app in September 2015. Its progress since has been slower than anticipated (at least by end users). Some useful changes happened in the last year, including web part support for SharePoint pages, support for guest user access, some new charts, and the ability to synchronize Planner tasks with an Outlook calendar. a Planner mobile app is also available.
Not Yet Equivalent to Commercial
Although Planner is available in GCC now, the version of the software is different to that running in Office 365 commercial regions. This is because Planner integrates with other Office 365 components and each integration must be certified before it can be used. The three integrations called out by Microsoft are:
- Teams (add Planner as a tab and personal app)
- Exchange (email notifications of task assignments and progress).
- SharePoint (include a plan in a page through a web part and as a full-page app).
According to Microsoft, the missing features will be available later in 2019. There’s no word whether the Planner mobile app will work inside GCC until the app is fully updated.
For more information on Planner, read Chapter 15 of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook (Chapter 13 on Teams has some material on the integration between Teams and Planner too).