Saving Time by Copying Plans
Yesterday, Microsoft announced that the option to copy a plan is now available in Planner. Copying an existing plan solves the problem where many similar projects exist in an organization, all of which have the same basic structure and need. The idea is that you can save some time by creating a template of a plan for these projects and then copy the plan as each new project spins up.
Copying a Plan
The Copy plan option is available in the ellipsis menu when a plan is open or when viewed through the Planner hub. In either case, when you copy a plan, Planner:
- Creates a new Office 365 group to host the new plan. By default, the display name of the new group is “Copy of” and the display name of the source plan. You can override this and compose a different display name before you copy the plan (or afterwards). The group description and photo are not copied.
- Copies the bucket structure, label assignments, and the tasks (including descriptions and checklists) to the new plan.
- Sets the person who copies the plan as the plan owner
- Sets the group privacy and classification settings to those selected in the copy dialog
What’s Not Copied to the New Plan
Copying a plan creates a new plan based on the source plan’s structure. Apart from task names, the copy does not include any metadata. The following information is not copied from the source plan:
- Task assignments, due dates, and progress (all tasks are marked “Not started”).
- Attachments and links.
- Comments (stored as conversations in the group inbox).
Copying even a very complex plan (like the one used to organize the writing of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook) is very fast. Once Planner finishes, some work is necessary to clean-up the copied plan by updating the group description, adding a photo, and removing unwanted buckets and tasks. You can then get to the heart of the plan by updating task descriptions, setting due dates, and assigning tasks to people.
Restrictions on Who Can Copy a Plan
You can only copy a new plan to a new group and cannot copy a plan within the same group. Microsoft says that this feature is coming along with the ability to copy a plan within Teams.
Although the choice to copy a plan is revealed to all users, only those allowed to create new Office 365 groups can create new plans (and groups) in this manner. If you have a groups creation policy in place, anyone who isn’t allowed by that policy will see an error message if they try to copy a plan.
Planner is covered in Chapter 15 of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook. We’ve just updated our content to reflect the new copy option. It’s just what we do to keep abreast of the changes that happen daily inside Office 365.