So, now you probably want to use Kanban board. But maybe there are some obstacles to getting there. If your team isn’t all in the same place you can’t really use a wall. So, now you need a digital solution to the Kanban board. And in fact, Microsoft Project 2016 and 2019 have this. But, here’s the catch – to use the Microsoft Project Kanban board (a.k.a., Task Board) – you also need to populate Project with all the data that it requires for the traditional Gantt chart view. In Project, the Task Board is just a Kanban-style view of your project. So all the challenges you had with Microsoft Project to begin with are still present. So what to do?
Microsoft Planner has entered the game!
Microsoft has clearly recognized the frustrations that many people have with Project, especially when all they want is a Kanban board. So they made a smart move – they’ve developed a light, online Kanban tool called Planner. I’ve been using Planner now for my latest project, and it gives me everything that I want in a digital Kanban board, without all the fuss and complexity of Project. What’s more – it’s accessible online through Office 365, so I can share it with my team, my clients and stakeholders – and give everyone a single view of the project status, in an easily consumable format.
It’s great for the team – They know where to go to see what’s in the project plan. They can see who is working on what. And if they’ve got some time in the day, they can hop on to Planner, grab a task from the Backlog, and get working!
It’s great for the client – they get visibility into exactly where we’re at for any given task. No need to wait for my weekly status report, or ask “Where’s this deliverable??” Just check the Kanban board – you can see it’s assigned to Jeff, it’s 75% complete, and it’s due this Friday, and we’re on track. Planner also has some canned graphs and charts which show you summary information on how your tasks are progressing.
It’s great for me - When I check in, I can see who is doing what, where their tasks are at, when they’re due – and I’m confident that no one is duplicating any effort. The canned reports are helpful for me too, by showing how many tasks each team member has on the go. And the best part – it’s super easy to maintain! No more spending hours trying to define dependencies, enter resources, align start and end dates, eventually pulling my hair out undoing all the “helpful” things that Project automatically does to all other tasks in my project if I do something crazy like change the end date of a single task. It’s also super flexible – missing a particular task status or column? Just add it. Does the client have some unique verbiage they like to use to otherwise say “Delivered”? Just change the name of the column. Easy.
So, if you want an easy way to implement and maintain a digital Kanban board, and improve efficiency and delivery of your projects – jump onto Office 365 and start using Planner. You’ll be glad you did!