Both planner and Microsoft project are project planning tools but which one should you use and why?
Planner is one of the tools available in Office 365
- Free if you have already purchased O365. It is one of the apps automatically available with the software
- Simple to get to grips with once you have an understanding of using Buckets to divide the project up
- Can link to Outlook so tasks can be seen directly on your calendar
- Links to Teams so easy to share with others within the organisation.
- For more complicated projects isn’t as sophisticated as you might require
- No option to monitor progress related to what you originally planned so harder to see which tasks are behind schedule
- Cannot be used to work out costings
- Only 2 main levels of detail can be recorded which is not always enough for more complicated projects
Microsoft Project is purchased as a separate piece of software
- For large projects there are lots of additional features compared to planner
- Tasks can be linked so dependencies between tasks automatically update all those affected
- Can be used to work out costs for the project plan
- 9 levels of detail can be used which is normally more than enough for even complicated projects
- Progress can be monitored compared to an original baseline set which allows for any delays to be easily seen. There is even a view that enables this to be seen visually
- Customisable fields give options of storing a large variety of information that may be specific to the type of project you run
- Expensive to buy in comparison with planner
- Does not link to the Outlook calendar
- Added degree of complexity can make it hard to get to grips with initially
- Difficult to share data with others who don’t have Microsoft Project
- Collaboration is not easy
As you can see there are as many pros as cons for each of the products so the best solution will depend on the specific project, the level of detail required and the budget to purchase software.