Sharing iOS Items to Planner

Planner’s Aversion to Office 365 Notifications

As we all know, it’s hard to keep up to date with changes inside Office 365. The task is a little harder when some Microsoft development groups don’t announce changes in the Message Center in the Microsoft 365 admin center and force you to go looking in different places for information.

The Planner development group is one such example. Despite the availability of a good integration between Planner and the Message Center, news about functionality changes in the Planner app seldom show up as Office 365 notifications. Compared to the Teams development group, which at times seems to make daily announcements, the Planner people are mute. It’s almost like they don’t want Office 365 tenants to know when they’ve done something good.

Sharing to Planner from iOS

Ignoring Office 365 notifications might be a cunning plan to increase traffic for the Planner blog, because that’s where new features are often announced. A recent browse of the Planner blog unearthed several interesting pieces of information, including the news that the Planner iOS app supports the share action. This is a good example of a new feature that should have been highlighted in an Office 365 notification.

You can select web pages, tweets, or even Facebook posts and share them as new tasks created in any plan you can access. In Figure 1, I’ve selected a tweet and opted to share it to Planner. You can see the target plan and bucket chosen.

Sharing a tweet to Planner using the iOS client
Figure 1: Sharing a tweet to Planner using the iOS client

Because tweets generally don’t have a lot of context, the resulting task created in Planner is simple. The task name is present along with a web link attachment and icon (Figure 2). To make the task useful, you’ll have to add the missing pieces like a description, start and end date, labels, and so on, and then assign it to someone.

The Twitter item created as a Planner task
Figure 2: The Twitter item created as a Planner task

How We Use iOS Share to Planner

Even if the tasks created by iOS sharing are barebones, the feature is still very useful in terms of capturing items that might need some response by a team. In our case, we track change inside Office 365 and need to know when something new happens so that the relevant update is made to a book chapter. Lots of information about Office 365 applications and the Microsoft 365 ecosystem is shared in social media and being able to create tasks from iOS makes it easy to remember and follow up a topic.

Not-so-Important Updates

Some of the other topics covered in the Planner blog aren’t quite as useful. For instance, the news that completed tasks are now celebrated with “digital confetti” is unlikely to make Planner more useful. It’s in the same category as OWA joyful animations: interesting for about 15 seconds.

On the other hand, the news that Planner has solved the problem of uploading attachments to tasks when Planner is used through Teams is good.

Other recent changes that I’ve noticed include that when you open a plan, Planner now tells you if someone else has made changes to a plan since you last accessed it. Again, not too important for many, but some will enjoy it.

Despite our frustrations with the way Planner releases news of new features, we’ll keep on plugging away to make sure that the readers of the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook are updated with the latest and most relevant information. It’s what we do.

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