Planner Has Poor Record of Notifying Office 365 Tenants About New Features
Updated February 24, 2021
As has become the norm with Planner, another change has crept into the application without anything being notified to Microsoft 365 tenants. The new change increases the number of Planner labels available in a plan from 6 to 25. But the lack of notification is a continuation of a sequence including:
- Highlighting when changes are made to the app and tasks in a plan.
- Support in the Planner browser client for (limited) offline mode (also available in Planner for iOS).
- Sharing iOS items to Planner.
Some of these are small changes which probably don’t deserve much highlighting because they are small evolutionary steps, but it’s a pity that Planner doesn’t do more to let people know what they’re up to.
Take a change that showed up in my tenant this week. Planner has always had the ability to add up to six colored labels to a task to mark the task in a way chosen by plan members. Some use the labels to give different levels of urgency to a task, others to mark the task as being in a certain category. It’s up to you. Figure 1 shows the old-style Planner labels, which pop-out of the right-hand side of a task.
The new method of accessing and applying labels is better. The old approach was often hidden to users, who can now simply use the Add label option when editing a task to view the set of labels available in the plan and choose the labels they wish to apply to a task (Figure 2).
Like in the past, any member of a plan can edit the text name given to a label. There’s no way for the plan owner to lock the names assigned to labels. This is a curious omission because it’s entirely possible that a member can edit a label to give it a completely different meaning to its previous use.
In any case, labels are now more accessible and easier to use, so it’s a good change.
Changes Coming to Planner
According to Microsoft, more changes are coming to Planner. According to the Get more done with Microsoft Planner session in the Microsoft Technical Community video hub, Effective February 24, Planner supports up to 25 labels instead of the previous six. (see Figure 2).
Planner will also has customized backgrounds (delivered in January 2021) and is due to get a more intelligent way of selecting files to attach to tasks. The Teams integration with Planner will allow users to create new tasks from any chat or channel conversation through the Create task option in the […] menu. I totally overlooked the advent of “confetti” in Planner, used to sign when a final item in a checklist is achieved or when a task is complete, as well as a checklist completion bar to show progress as you work through a set of tasks.
Details of the arrival of 25 labels for Planner are in MC241349 published on February 24. I can’t recall seeing details of the confetti and progress bar being published in a message center notification. Such is life. You need to keep a wary eye out in many places to learn what’s happening in Planner. It’s part of the ongoing work required from tenant administrators to keep track of what’s happening across the Microsoft 365 ecosystem.
Details, details, details… So much changes in so many ways across all the Office 365 apps on an ongoing basis. Stay current by subscribing to the Office 365 for IT Pros eBook!