Making Loop Tasks Work Across Teams, Outlook, and Planner

Synchronizing Loop Tasks with Planner

In a May 10 post in the Microsoft Technical Community, Microsoft discussed some new task management capabilities available through Loop Task List components that now surface in Planner. You can create the task list component in clients like OWA, Outlook desktop, and Teams chats or meeting agendas. Figure 1 shows a typical example with a task list component in the body of an OWA message.

A Loop task list component in an OWA message
Figure 1: A Loop task list component in an OWA message

The big change here is the option to “Open in Planner” available from the […] menu at the top of the task list. In the past, Microsoft talked about roster containers (plans without Microsoft 365 groups) and a potential integration between lightweight plans and fluid (now Loop) components. It looks like being able to open the tasks created in a Loop task component in Planner is the outcome of that work.

Graph Planner Containers

The Microsoft Graph defines a planner container resource and notes that two types of planner containers are currently supported: plans contained in a Microsoft 365 group and plans contained in a planner roster.

In this context, the planner roster container holds the set of Loop tasks, the roster (of users authorized to work with the plan) are those who share the Loop component, and the tasks in the container are those created in the Loop component.

Working with Roster Containers in Planner

Figure 2 shows the plan after opening it in Planner. The tasks listed in the Loop task list are present and assigned to the right people. Clicking the Loop icon to the right opens the Loop component using the same browser interface as used if you open a Loop component from OneDrive for Business.

Loop tasks in the Planner app
Figure 2: Loop tasks in the Planner app

Most Planner plans are associated with a Microsoft 365 group. When working with tasks from a roster container, some features like comments and adding document attachments aren’t available. However, you can add checklist items, labels, update the task description, change the dates, status, and task priority, and add a URL to a web page (Figure 3). You can also add new members to the roster by assigning a task to someone that’s not already in the roster.

Updating a Loop task through Planner
Figure 3: Updating a Loop task through Planner

Not all the changes made in Planner synchronize back to the Loop component. The Microsoft support article says that tasks in task list “stay in sync with a plan in Planner.” From this we understand that the roster container is independent of the Loop component. This makes sense because the Loop task object is simpler and doesn’t support the same properties as Planner does. The Planner-specific properties are accessible through the items stored in the roster container, and changes made to the task name, due date, and roster synchronize with Loop and appear in the component. If you add someone to a roster container, you’ll be prompted by Loop to grant access to that person to allow them to interact with the Loop component.

Tasks Everywhere

Because Loop can expose its tasks in Planner, the tasks become accessible elsewhere within the Microsoft 365 ecosystem. Figure 4 shows one of the tasks from the Loop task list opened through the To Do for iOS app (left) where it’s listed in the Assigned to me list. On the right, the Loop for iOS app opens the same task.

Loop task in To Do and Loop for iOS
Figure 4: Loop task in To Do and Loop for iOS

Microsoft refers to the ability to access tasks through different apps as “moving components around different surfaces,” which I guess means that the task objects are available to users via their app of choice.

Embedding Loop More Deeply

After waiting so long to see what Planner meant by roster containers, it’s nice to see an actual implementation. I’m not sure quite how many people will hop from one app to another after starting with a Loop task list, but it’s certainly possible if you want to do it.

Insight like this doesn’t come easily. You’ve got to know the technology and understand how to look behind the scenes. Benefit from the knowledge and experience of the Office 365 for IT Pros team by subscribing to the best eBook covering Office 365 and the wider Microsoft 365 ecosystem.

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