Choosing the Best Project Management Tool: Microsoft Planner vs Trello


Project management tools have proven time and time again their value to companies. They not only aid in organizing everyday tasks, but they also save money by preventing delays and mistakes, ensuring timely deliveries.

However, the investment in these tools can be pointless, if not chosen wisely.

To help you make the right decision, here is a guide to determine which Kanban-style tool suits your needs best. We'll help you choose between two heavyweights of the PM tools scene: Microsoft Planner or Trello.

The importance of choosing the right Project Management tool

A smart, well-integrated project management tool can be a real game changer for a business. It can streamline processes, improve communication among team members, and ultimately lead to more efficient and successful projects. However, with so many options available on the market, selecting the right tool for your specific needs can be difficult!

If you've stumbled upon this article, chances are you've been meticulously scouring websites to narrow down your options.

To make sure that you are choosing the correct project management tool, it's important to assess your requirements, consider the features and functionalities that are most important to you, and evaluate how well the tool aligns with your business goals.

Taking the time to research and compare different tools, such as Microsoft Planner and Trello, can help you make an informed decision.

So, without further ado, take a look at this summary of the main features, pros, and cons of both Microsoft Planner and Trello. Choose wisely!

Features and functionalities of Microsoft Planner

Microsoft Planner is part of the Microsoft Suite. It's a project management tool that's designed to be simple and user-friendly, all while being able to handle projects to a somewhat decent level of complexity. With its sleek and minimalist interface, Microsoft Planner provides a lightweight yet comprehensive software solution for managing projects from start to finish.

It features a Kanban-style dashboard where cards (=tasks) are organized in Buckets. Tasks can be easily assigned to team members, as well as deadlines and priorities.

In the menu on top, you can also switch to a "Grid" view, and also a "Schedule" view to visualize all the tasks in a Calendar.

timeneye tracking in planner 1

Microsoft Planner allows team members to communicate within tasks, share files, and track progress together through comments and statuses, making it easier to keep the work in one place.

timeneye planner task panel

Another feature that should not be overlooked is Microsoft Planner's labels. Labels allow for effective task categorization and organization using colorful tags, helping to quickly identify different task types.

Microsoft Planner main features:

  • kanban style interface (but other views are available as well);
  • visualization of tasks, with priorities and deadlines;
  • changing and monitoring a task's completion status;
  • colorful and versatile labels;
  • attachments and comments features in tasks;
  • integration with other software (especially the Microsoft Suite)

Pros and cons of using Microsoft Planner

👍 PROS: Seamlessly integrated with anything Microsoft, included in the MS Suite, easy to use, allows for clear task assignment and visualization

👎 CONS: Requires Office 365. UI is a bit too simple and not really customizable. In forums and reviews, users report that it's quite difficult to get timely support from Microsoft in case of issues

Features and functionalities of Trello

Nothing says "Kanban boards" like Trello, the tool that started it all. Trello (now part of the Atlassian suite) was one of the first to popularize the Kanban-style way of visualizing tasks, for agile developers and project managers in particular.

Trello's price is calculated per user per month, and offers a pretty generous free plan, and the paying plans start at a reasonable price, making it a preferred choice for small teams, growing teams, and startups

trello board

Trello offers many templates to choose from, making it easy to build your boards to suit your specific project needs. Whether you're managing a marketing campaign, organizing a product launch, onboarding new team members, or planning a team retreat, there's a template to help you get started quickly and efficiently.

Over the years, Trello has built a passionate community of users who are always willing to share their tips, tricks, templates, and best practices for using the tool effectively.

Instead of developing endless features, Trello has pushed its Power-Ups: these add-ons allow users to integrate with other apps and services that are essential to your workflow, from time tracking and project management tools to communication platforms and file storage services. All you need to do is install the Power-up from their marketplace.

trello power up

Trello main features

  • Kanban, but also many other types of views available if needed (Timeline, Table, Calendar, Dashboard, Map and Workspace);
  • Dashboard view that recaps all the open projects;
  • Assigning tasks, comments, attachments, labels, reactions;
  • Colorful, iconic interface;
  • Power-ups;
  • Built-in Butler automation: no-code automation tool that can be added to any board.

Pros and cons of using Trello

👍 PROS: versatile and user-friendly, colorful and fun, with lots of power-ups and add-ons to expand its functionalities. Very accessible for small teams with a limited budget

👎 CONS: too simple to use for complex projects, not good with showcasing task dependencies

Factors to consider when choosing between Microsoft Planner and Trello

While both tools come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages and offer similar functionalities, their practical applications vary.

You can make an informed decision by assessing your team's and company's specific needs. For example:

  • Do you use the Microsoft suite?
  • Do you use Atlassian?
  • How many projects do you have to manage?
  • How complex are the projects?
  • How much customization do you need?
  • Who will be using the tool?
  • What budget do you have?
  • Can you scale the tool as your team (or project complexity grows?

Case study: Real-life examples of using Microsoft Planner or Trello (Timeneye)

Because Trello can be used for a variety of purposes, for a period of time, here at Timeneye we utilized Trello as a feedback, suggestion, and roadmap board. We used its visual interface and easy-to-use functionalities to collaborate effectively within our team and with our clients.

However, we eventually made the switch to Microsoft Planner due to its versatility and because our company shifted entirely to the Microsoft Suite. We found that Microsoft Planner worked well for our project management processes. And then when we built the native Microsoft Planner- Timeneye integration, we added time tracking in one cohesive workflow. This integration allowed us to track time spent on specific Planner tasks more efficiently and accurately, helping our project planning and execution.

📹 Video tutorial

See how we developed an integration to track time for Microsoft Planner tasks.


Conclusion: Making the right choice for your project management needs

When it comes to choosing a project management tool, both Microsoft Planner and Trello offer unique features and functionalities that can benefit different types of projects and teams.

By assessing your specific requirements, project complexity, budget, and team needs, you can decide which tool will best suit your needs.

Whether you prefer the seamless integration of Microsoft Planner with the Microsoft Suite or the versatile and user-friendly Trello, the ultimate goal is to make your project management more efficient. So, take the time to explore these tools, test them out, and see which one aligns best with your business goals.

Happy project managing!


New to Timeneye? Here's what you should do now

Here are two options to kickstart your journey toward enhanced productivity:

1) Try Timeneye for free. If you’d like to see Timeneye in action and possibly test it with your team, you can start your free trial today. 

2) Schedule a demo session with us, where we can show you around, answer your questions, and help you see if Timeneye is the right tool for your company.



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