Finding the right work management solution is not an easy task. There is a lot of options on the market as well as various reviews and insights from different industry professionals. When it comes to picking what you and your team is going to use all of this can become overwhelming. First you must identify your needs and criteria, and then dig through numerous options and analyze how they compare.
To help you in this quest, Teamhood blog will feature comparisons between popular work and task management solutions. All that is left for you to do is read through and decide which is better for you. Ready? Here we go.
Lets start with Microsoft Planner, a solution that stands somewhere in between MS To Do and MS Project. Thus aiming to bring together the best of both worlds. According to Microsoft, Planner is a visual, intuitive and collaborative task management tool that supports Kanban. Sounds just like Teamhood, right? Well let’s look beyond the surface and find out how the two platforms compare.
Both Teamhood and Microsoft Planner position themselves as visual and intuitive solutions. Aiming to provide the smoothest work management experience they offer a variety of features for the teams to use. The work is managed with the help of task cards and a task board where a team can view, create and track progress.
While teams can use Microsoft Planner as a standalone tool, the most companies start using Planner because they already subscribe to one of the Microsoft Office 365 plan. Planner is mostly advertised as an additional app in MS Teams to ease communication and collaboration. This is convenient for those already using the Microsoft suite and they often look no further when choosing a work management platform.
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 work processes, thus representing and clarifying your flow on a digital task board. With the ability to adopt Kanban and other Agile practices it is ready to grow and change alongside your company.
Here is a deeper look into the features of the two tools.
One of the most important aspects of a work management solution is the task board. It is on the task board that the progress gets tracked, work is assigned and deadlines are made. Thus the tool you choose should have a board that is easy to use and that can be adapted to represent your process.
The task board in Planner is a little different from most work management tools on the market. It is comprised out of columns only and offers users several views for differentiating tasks on specific criteria. Meaning the team does not use a singular board view. Instead they can choose to differentiate tasks into columns by projects, assignment, progress, due dates, labels and priority.
What Microsoft Planner aims to do here is make sure all the tasks on the board are defined by these criteria. As a new task is created, it falls into the new/not started bucket in each of the views. And then you can go through all of the different board configurations and assign different attributes.
The system works if you master switching and manipulating the board to represent your work process. At the same time it is confusing and takes time to learn in order to get the best results. It is also limited in process representation as only three progress steps are available – Not started, In progress and Done. If your process is more complicated and most of ours is, this will deliver a poor visualization and increase the risk of confusion among team members.
Teamhood offers a much different task board approach to its users – the most important thing here is a clearly visualized process. To achieve this, you can divide the board into columns and rows both. Where columns usually represent all the process steps and rows separate different teams, departments or work periods. This way Teamhood allows you to visualize the whole process and track each work item as it goes through the cycle step by step.
To help you get started, Teamhood is equipped with various templates and board examples that you can use as is or modify easily.
Teamhood task board quickly relays information – you see task names, assignments, due dates and other visual ques right there on the board. And due to a single task board view, there is no confusion among team members on what is important. All you need to do is glance at the board and you know what is happening with your team.
For those working with a lot of subtasks, Teamhood offers adding a second workflow to the board. Each task board column can have a separate section of columns for tracking 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.
Task detail window in Microsoft Planner is pretty straightforward. You have the name, assignment, notes, attachments and comments as well as several presets to choose from. You can choose which Bucket (project/goal) the task is assigned to, mark if it has been started or completed and set the priority. There is also a possibility to define the start and due date of each task. A task then appears in the schedule view. While subtasks are added in a form of a checklist. A rather basic set of features, that is just enough to provide additional information on a task.
The task information view in Teamhood is much more detailed. It has all of the features found in Microsoft Planner, plus additional information fields for the team to take advantage of. The biggest ones being time tracking, subtasks, color and templates.
Time tracking – allows you to estimate the time needed to finish a task and then use time tracking feature to see what the actual time spent was.
Subtasks – allow you to divide large work items into small achievable subtasks. They will be displayed on the task board under the parent task and can be tracked in a separate workflow for more clarity.
Color and templates – give your tasks specific colors to easily differentiate them on the task board. If your team works with a lot of repeating work items, create templates to add new tasks quicker.
There are 3 different metrics for Microsoft Planner users to observe in Charts – Status, Bucket and Priority. Status simply shows how many tasks are planned, started, late, and completed. Bucket shows how many planned and started tasks there are in each bucket (project/initiative). And priority shows the number of planned and started tasks with different priorities. The three charts create a quick overview of what is happening with the team.
To evaluate the workload, you will also find a list of team members and the number of planned and started tasks assigned to each of them. Being focused on the number of tasks only, Microsoft Planner gives some clarity to what is going on, but not the full picture.
The focus of Teamhood Dashboard is different. Time tracking functionality provides data on hours spent, therefore allows considerably more valuable reporting. Teamhood charts show the total number of tasks vs the completed tasks and the total amount of work hours estimated vs work hours spent. Thus focusing on the project status and the actual productivity of the team.
To give teams clarity and open the space up for discussions, report also highlights a list of due items. So you can quickly see which tasks are late, review their details and discuss possible solutions right there and then. Instead of being stuck with a task for months with no way of finishing it.
Lastly, to manage the workload of the team we focus not only on the task number, but also on work hours estimated for everyone. As tasks are usually not of the exact same size, this gives you the opportunity to better understand the workload and manage task assignments accordingly.
Microsoft Planner Schedule is a traditional calendar. Teams can pick between monthly and weekly views and see tasks arranged in the calendar according to their start and due dates. If you do not add the start date, the calendar will simply show the task on their due date. Thus giving you the idea of when everything has to be done.
You can plan your projects in the schedule view, by adding new tasks to certain dates.While the minimized version of the board on the right hand-side allows to manage priorities and other details.
Traditional calendar view looks common. Only if we need to have an overview of a month. If You need to work with timelines, move tasks, coordinate cross-team activities, “Timeline” view with swimlanes is necessary. In Teamhood “Timeline” view 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. While rows that have defined start and end dates, are greyed out outside of this window. If different teams or projects are represented by different rows, you can minimize or expand the rows to see just what is important to you.
Teamhood is also equipped with ability to draw dependencies between tasks. Meaning you can choose to make one task dependent on another and thus one task cannot be begun, before the previous one is finished. We call this a modern Gantt chart. These dependencies are invisible on the task board and only shown in “Timeline”. Used primarily as a planning solution for managers.
All of this allows for easier planning and work management when dates and dependencies are important.
The most valuable feature Microsoft Planner offers its users is integration with other Microsoft tools. One of the biggest advantages of this is being able to manage your task board and tasks right from MS Teams. If you are an active user of Teams, you can simply add one additional tab for Microsoft Planner and organize your work from there. Keep in mind though, this will not be a scalable work management solution.
You can similarly integrate Microsoft Planner into Sharepoint and export data to Excel when needed. Which is nice if you are using Microsoft 365 suite heavily and only need a very light planning solution.
Teamhood could easily bring a two-digit number of unique features to the table. A group of them are built to make Teamhood serve as an Agile platform. With modifiable boards and more detailed task descriptions this tool is a lot better equipped to visualize and manage various Agile processes. You can add estimates, priority columns and even additional workflows to build a hypervisual planning platform according to 2D Kanban concept.
Another valuable time-saving feature is “Files” view. To make project data easily accessible for the team members, there is a separate “Files” view where all attachments to the tasks are listed. Instead of trying to remember which task had certain information, you can look for the information itself. All of the files are linked to their tasks, so you can easily navigate from file to the task information as well.
Lastly, the knock-down feature for those in need to measure team performance, utilise scarce resources or to easily bill clients. With Teamhood time tracking feature it is easy to compare how much time was planned for a certain project and how much time the team actually spent on it.
Microsoft Planner offers a basic work management toolkit. Where a small team can track and manage an uncomplicated process. Planner is usually chosen as an extension of Teams to track small work items, but lacks as a work management system. Thus it can only help with lightweight planning needs.
Teamhood is created to increase work productivity and manage cross-team collaboration. It allows you to visualize and track the whole process, making sure every little detail is noted down and will not get lost. With various work management features like time tracking, Gantt chart and subtask management, Teamhood creates a space for any team to thrive and grow. It is a tool that will adapt to and visualize your process as well as a tool that will grow with your company.
Which to Choose?
Choose MS Planner if you only need to plan a few tasks while using Teams
Pros – Integration into the Office 365 suite, attachment visualization on the task board
Cons – Limited task board modification, few work management features (no time tracking, subtask monitoring, task templates, etc.) and lack of scalability
Choose Teamhood for small to large projects where you need to clearly visualize and track the process. It is a tool that is going to grown and change with your company and needs
Pros – Easy to scale, clear process visualization (ability to track subtask workflow), various project management features – time tracking, Gantt chart, task dependencies, file sharing, reporting and others
Cons – Teamhood is better suited for teams larger than 5 people