There are always many opinions when it comes to picking the best of anything. A car, smartphone or restaurant is subjective to what each person values and wants. When it comes to work management tools, the situation is no different. However, here there are two clear things to consider – functionality and value. The tool you pick in the end has to have both as there would be no use of a variety of features if they bring no end value to your work.
Comparing the value of two tools you haven’t tried before, might be a tough ask. And teams often go simple way – pick what is available at hand. COVID-19 has pushed many teams around the world to find a solution quickly: “where do we move all the planning and performance boards from our meeting rooms, so we can efficiently continue online?”. Many teams have considered Microsoft Planner as a simple solution available at hand. Does it cover the needs for managing professional teams and delivering projects on time? It depends on teams and goals of course. We can only compare tools and look into how they are built to serve teams on delivering value. Following is a value comparison between Microsoft Planner and Teamhood. That is aimed at helping you understand and distinguish the main aspects each of these tools are bringing to the table.
Read on and make your decision based features and what you want to achieve in the end.
Both Teamhood and Microsoft Planner are defined as team collaboration and work management tools. Aiming to assist teams striving for higher productivity they offer various features. While the basis for both tools is a structured task board to track and review progress.
Microsoft Planner can be used as a separate tool, but the big idea here is the integration with the Microsoft 365 suite. Planner is mostly advertised as an additional tab in MS Teams to add some level of work management. This is convenient if you have the Microsoft suite, but lacks as a work management solution and only works for small teams tracking simple daily tasks.
Teamhood on the other hand is a standalone solution created specifically for work management purposes. This means it offers a variety of features to choose from, making work management easy and flexible. Teamhood is great at visualizing, representing and clarifying all the steps in your workflow as well as handling various levels of tasks and subtasks.
With the ability to adopt Kanban and other Agile practices it is ready to match, grow and change alongside your company.
Here is a deeper look into the features of the two tools.
Microsoft Planner is a tool built for a basic and simple task tracking and thus lacks in features when it comes to work management needs. The task board may look nice at a first glance, but quickly becomes confusing when you start using it as a Kanban board. Typically, the process in Kanban is visualized horizontally, and teams move the cards from left (backlog) to right (done) according to agreed process. Topics are represented by horizontal swimlanes. Microsoft Planner by default suggests a “bucket” view and using “progress” field selecting progress status within an item card. To get closer to Kanban concept users can switch to “Progress” view. But the view does not reflect buckets a.k.a. swimlanes. . So instead of having a clear singular task board view, team members are always switching and choosing what they see. This delivers poor visualization and makes it difficult for teams to collaborate.
Moreover, it is not up to the team to choose the “progress” attributes. E.g. if a team has to deliver each task for “Review”, they cannot create such step in the process. Sure, you can go around the system and manipulate the tool to be better, but is it worth the extra time and trouble? That is for you to decide.
Like most work management solutions on the market, Microsoft Planner uses task cards to define and track tasks through the process. They are defined by a name, due date, assignee and can be supplemented with additional information such as description, files and comments. Tasks can also have subtasks, however there is no way of adding additional information to them. They are simply a list of items that can be marked as done.
Schedule and Charts
To help plan and monitor work, Microsoft Planner is also equipped with a Schedule and Charts. Schedule provides a calendar like view where tasks are visualized based on their start and due dates. However, no subtasks or task dependencies are visible in this calendar.
Lastly, Charts show the number of planned started and finished tasks in few graphs. As well as provides the number of planned and started tasks assigned to each of the team members.
Teamhood offers quite a different and arguably a more enjoyable experience to its users. With the key focus being on a clearly visualized process, the task board is comprised out of columns, sub-columns and rows. Where columns identify process steps, rows represent different teams, departments or work periods and sub-columns are used to track subtask progress. This allows teams to create a board that fully represents all processes and accurately tracks tasks as they move from one step to another.
Teamhood has a variety of templates for the users to choose from and gives the ability to create a utilize custom templates of your own.
Teamhood task board is built to relay information quickly. It only has enough information to relay the progress, but to not overwhelm the team. There are task names, assignments, due dates as well as the possibility to filter the task view only seeing what is important to you. You know what is happening with your team just by glancing at the board.
If you need to add more information, simply open the task details. Here you can define a description, assign dates and team members, estimate duration and even track time. If you work with large items, you can split them into specific subtasks. The great thing is subtasks share all the features that tasks have. Which means they can have descriptions, due dates, be assigned and more. If you need to split the work even further – you can add subtasks to your subtasks, creating a third or even a fourth layer to your work items.
Managing smaller tasks
To help you accurately track all those Subtasks, the task board is equipped with sub-columns. Which means each column can be modified to have a separate workflow represented by a set of additional columns dedicated to track the subtask process. This secondary workflow can be as simple as Doing and Done, or as elaborate as your team needs it to be. This is a great option for those needing to track the status of each subtask or working in a process with several review cycles. Thus, making sure progress tracking is accurate and visualized even on the smallest level.
Each task and subtask in Teamhood is equipped with a time tracking feature. Meaning you can do both – estimate how much time each task will take and measure how long it took to be completed. This feature delivers clear business value by enabling planning capacity, managing resources and billing clients according to the spent resources.
Time tracking is also used to better adjust workload amongst team members. Dashboard has a list of employees and the number of tasks and work hours assigned and finished by them. As work items are rarely of the same size, having the time estimations is a great tool to truly understand the load for everyone on the team. Making sure no one is overworked.
Timeline and task dependencies
Traditional calendar is quite common for quick overview, but limited, when you need to manage a project – work with timelines, move tasks, coordinate cross-team activities. Therefore, Teamhood suggests “Timeline”. Here columns represent the days of the month and rows are the same as in your task board.
To help you plan, tasks keep their assigned colors and display subtasks. Rows are greyed out outside of their start and end dates to help you plan. And you can expand of minimize each row separately to give you a more focused view.
“Timeline” also enables dependencies between tasks. Similarly to a Gantt chart users can draw dependencies making planning and estimating the project outcome much easier. Dependencies are only visible in “Timeline”, but active in both “Timeline” and task board views. Thus a dependent task cannot be marked completed before the previous one is done.
Lastly, it is important to note that Teamhood supports various Agile applications. While it was inspired by a Kanban board, it can be easily modified to fit Scrum, Scrumban and other frameworks. The flexibility and multiple layers of the task board configuration in Teamhood allows for a great experience no matter your practice of choice.
Which Should You Choose?
As we investigate how both tools can be used, there are clear differences in the management approach and where each of them will work best.
Micorosoft Planner is often used by companies, already subscribed for Office 365 business plans. Planner then is a good enough tool for very light work management, sharing tasks within a small team. Some companies even used Planner to create online Kanban boards, when COVID-19 crisis forced leaving offices for remote work. However, they soon met limitations described in this article.
Whilst Teamhood is a fully featured work management solution that will allow you to track the whole work process and improve your operations for better results.
Choose MS Planner to:
– Use basic visualization
– Plan simple tasks in a small team
– Supplement MS Teams
Choose Teamhood to:
– Clearly visualize process on a task board
– Manage full scope and detailed tasks on the same board
– Track time, review progress and manage team workload
– Have a tool that grows with your team
– Easily manage timelines across teams
– Apply Agile practices
– Share files
– Measure results in live reports
You can find a full feature comparison here.