Microsoft Project VS Microsoft Planner: Which is best for Your Business?



Are you searching for a project management tool that can simplify your work?

Microsoft Project and Microsoft Planner are both valuable choices-  but it can be hard to determine which one best fits your company's needs.

While both are popular project management tools under the Microsoft Suite, they have distinct features that set them apart. In this article, we'll explain the main difference between Microsoft Project and Microsoft Planner, including the common use cases for both software, and how the main features serve each scenario.

Hopefully this guide will help you in picking which software is best for you and your team.

What are the main differences between MS Planner and MS Project?

Microsoft Project and Microsoft Planner cater to different needs and project sizes and offer a set of unique features that apply to specific use cases. 

  • With Microsoft Project, you gain access to a robust set of tools that allow you to plan, execute, and track projects at a granular level, making it a favorite for large-scale and complex projects.
  • Microsoft Planner, on the other hand, is a simpler yet complete tool that emphasizes collaboration and task management. Its user-friendly interface and Kanban-style boards make it ideal for small teams and agile projects.

Both tools are included in the Microsoft Suite, however, Microsoft Planner can be used within the Microsoft 365 subscription plan. Microsoft Project, on the other hand, works on a per-user per-month subscription.

So, it all comes down to whether you need a comprehensive project management solution or a more lightweight tool for teamwork.

When to use Microsoft Project

Microsoft Project is the go-to choice for project managers who need a comprehensive project management solution. Here are some scenarios where Microsoft Project is the preferred tool:

  1. Large-scale projects: if you're managing complex projects with multiple tasks, dependencies, and resources, Microsoft Project provides the necessary features to plan, track, and manage them all effectively. It also includes Gantt charts and advanced analytics capabilities that make it a powerful tool for complex projects.
  2. Detailed planning and scheduling: Microsoft Project offers a wide range of tools to help you create and manage project plans. You can define project tasks, assign resources, set dependencies, and create a timeline using the above-mentioned Gantt charts.
  3. Resource management: in Microsoft Projects, you can assign resources to tasks, track their availability, and optimize resource utilization to ensure project success.
  4. Reporting and analytics: if you need to generate reports and analyze project data, Microsoft Project offers advanced analytics capabilities, to generate custom reports to keep stakeholders informed.

ms project recap (1)

When to use Microsoft Planner

Microsoft Planner is the perfect choice for small teams and agile projects that require a lightweight and user-friendly task management tool. For example, here at Timeneye, we have made extensive use of Microsoft Planner's capabilities in our Marketing team (before moving to our own Task management solution). We like the possibility of visually organizing tasks quickly while keeping the project plans simple and clean.

Here are some scenarios where Microsoft Planner is the preferred tool:

  1. Small team collaboration: 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;
  2. Agile project management: if you're following an agile project management methodology, Microsoft Planner's Kanban-style task board is well-suited for visualizing and managing tasks. You can easily create and prioritize tasks and move them across different stages of completion;
  3. Simple task management: if your projects involve simple task management without the need for complex project planning and scheduling, Microsoft Planner is as intuitive as it can get. You can quickly create tasks, set due dates, and assign them to team members.
  4. Ease of use: Microsoft Planner has a simple and intuitive interface that requires minimal training. It's not as intimidating as other software like MS Project, or even Jira, making it accessible to users with varying levels of technical expertise. 

ms planner recap

How to bring a new Project Management software to your team

Regardless of whether you choose Microsoft Planner or Microsoft Project as your project management tool, or even a different software altogether it's important to set up a trial run for you and your team to become familiar with the software.

Introducing new software to a team can be a complex and time-consuming process. It is essential to approach this process gradually and efficiently to minimize the risk of wasting time and resources, and potentially abandoning the software altogether.

When we help our users scale Timeneye to the rest of their teams, we usually recommend a few key principles that can translate well into bringing a project management tool as well:

  • Research the tools and evaluate them thoroughly. Do so by reading articles, and listicles of best software, and browsing software categories in review aggregator websites, like Capterra, G2, or SaaSworthy;
  • It may also help to search for tools that specifically integrate with software you're already using;
  • Make a comparison table for each of your options, including main features, pricing, limitations, your requirements, and nice-to-haves;
  • Once you've chosen the software to test, start with a small trial run with a limited group of people;
  • Take full advantage of free trial and free demos, if available;
  • Continue to evaluate the performance, and ask for feedback from your team;
  • Scale to a bigger group of users or the whole company when you're ready.

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Learn how to easily track time in Microsoft Planner


Conclusion: Choosing the right Project management tool for your business

In conclusion, when it comes to choosing between Microsoft Project and Microsoft Planner for your project management needs, it's important to consider the specific requirements of your projects and team size.

On the one hand ,Microsoft Project is the go-to choice for large-scale projects that require comprehensive planning, scheduling, and resource management. On the other hand, Microsoft Planner is perfect for small teams and agile projects that prioritize collaboration and task management.

By understanding the unique features and strengths of each tool, you can make an informed decision that best fits your company's needs.  

And if you want to enhance the efficiency of your project management and foster better teamwork, try Timeneye time tracking in combination with Microsoft Planner.


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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