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Have you clicked on them yet? Project Management with Office 365 Groups and Planner

Oct 19, 2016 by Emma Robinson

Register for our upcoming webinar: ‘Have you clicked them yet? End to end project management using the latest tools in Office 365: Part One’
When it comes to project management, do you reach for the same tools and services every time?
One of the main issues with using productivity tools for project management is that areas like communication, collaboration, file sharing, and time management are typically siloed in their respective applications, and it is often difficult to look across the entire project and get a unified view.
Microsoft’s solution to this is Office 365 Groups, which was released in 2014. Managed by Outlook, Groups ‘provides a single identity for teams in Office 365’, in order to create an interconnected space where all project work can sit. When you create a group, you are also creating:

  • A group inbox in Outlook
  • A group calendar in Outlook
  • A dedicated SharePoint site
  • A OneNote notebook
  • A group plan in Planner
  • New: Due to a recent integration, it is now possible for your group members to communicate via Yammer also.

This means that you’ll get something that looks a little like this. The Group hub is based out of Outlook, and you can navigate to any of the services using the top navigation (as shown below).
Five things you need to know about Groups:

  1. If Groups is enabled for your organisation, anyone is able to make a group and invite members.
  2. All members can see, and access everything that is contained within a group: all documents, all conversations, all meetings. It is very important for all members and group creators to be aware of this, particularly from a security and confidentiality perspective.
  3. You can add members, or leave groups at any point.
  4. It is not currently possible to recover or restore deleted Groups (it is on the Office 365 Roadmap).
  5. All email conversations are saved in the group’s inbox, but if you choose to subscribe to the group, you will also receive a copy in your personal inbox. You can unsubscribe from this option at any point (you will remain enrolled in the group – as long as you don’t choose to leave).

Many of the tools that Groups leverages are well established within Office 365, and need very little introduction, however one of the most useful tools (which has a tight integration with Office 365 Groups) is Planner, which was released in early June this year.
The two tools are completely interconnected. If you set up a new Group, you will receive a dedicated plan, and vice versa, a new plan in Planner will also automatically create an associated group.
We’ve talked about getting started with Planner in previous blog posts, when the service was in Preview. Since then, various developments have been made to the functionality, and there’s lots more planned – including the option to add external users (guest access) to plans, a capability which is newly available in Office 365 Groups.
By supplementing your essential, day-to-day tools with newcomers such as Office 365 Groups, Flow, Planner or Stream, you are immediately getting more value out of your subscription. Not to mention, as these tools can do some pretty clever and useful things, you are also getting more productivity and better integration from your platform.
In our upcoming webinar: ‘Have you clicked them yet? End to end project management using the latest tools in Office 365: Part One’, we will be taking a look at how you can kick-start a project using Office 365 Groups and Planner. The session will include specific use cases, and a detailed evaluation of both tools’ functionality.
The webinar will take place on 25th October at 1pm EDT. Can’t make it at that time, don’t worry! – register anyway and we’ll send you a copy of the recording.

Register now