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Teams vs. Slack – Integration with Project Management tools

Nov 25, 2016 by Emma Robinson

One of the great things about team collaboration work spaces like Microsoft Teams and Slack is being able to coordinate entire projects through one interface. All of your team is notified on updates, they can review progress, identify their responsibilities and deadlines, and work together more effectively. One of the ways both work spaces aim to achieve this is by offering a number of integrations for popular productivity applications.
This blog takes a closer look at how the two applications integrate with project management tools.
One of the many project management integrations that Slack offers is Trello, an application which uses cards and boards to track progress. Once you connect the app to Slack, you should see something like this:
Once you’re set up, you can use Trello from within Slack, creating new cards, and sharing items and progress with your team. The Trellobot will also help you get the new integration set up correctly, and attempt to answer any questions you have.
Microsoft Teams
Teams also offers a Trello integration as part of the range of third party applications available during Preview.
To integrate Trello, click on the ‘…’ button at the top of the Team page and select ‘Add a connector’.
Select Trello from the list and click ‘Add’, then fill out your account credentials, preferences, and choose the boards that you would like to sync.
Once you’re all connected up, you should see details of the board in the message area, and your members will receive notifications for various actions, including when cards are moved, created or commented on.
As we’ve mentioned, in addition to external service integrations Teams also enables you to include all areas of Office 365 as tabs (something we looked at in our previous blog on Teams), this functionality also includes Microsoft Planner.
The relationship between Office 365 Groups, Planner, and now Teams is an interesting one. They all rely on the same Office 365 group object, and are controlled using the same Azure AD policy settings, you can create a team from an Office 365 Group by enabling team access in the settings. This interdependence means that most actions made to one service, affects the others too – for example, if you add a user to a group, they will also be added to the corresponding team. It’s important to understand how these dependencies work so that your groups are well-maintained (you can find a bit more information on this here).
To integrate Planner into your team: 
Click the ‘+’ in the top navigation, and select ‘Planner’.
Enter the name of your plan. (Note: The Team that we have created here was from a corresponding Office 365 Group, which also has a plan. After multiple attempts it doesn’t seem possible to link the existing plan with the new Team using the application, I was also unable to find this capability in the Admin settings. It seems that it’s only possible to create a new plan for the existing group, which is a limitation to the functionality, as it means replicating existing plans, creating duplicates which sit in different areas of Office 365.)
This is the embedded view of Planner within Microsoft Teams, as you can see, the board is fully functional – you can add tasks and assign users, as well as moving items across the board. As with the standalone version of Planner, it is only possible to assign one user to a task. This is another clear limitation, particularly as Microsoft Teams is a space for coordinating project collaboration and communication – in all likelihood a number of tasks will need to be assigned to two or more members, and this is not currently possible.
As we have mentioned in past blogs, each Office 365 Group automatically gets a plan in Planner with the same name. Each group is allocated one plan, and it is not possible to have multiple plans assigned to a singular group. Microsoft Teams does not have this restriction, each team is able to have multiple plans within one channel, you are able to move seamlessly between plans.
The only thing to be aware of is that there are no notifications from Planner available through Microsoft Teams. Typically, Planner’s notification system is email-based and as the primary communication method for Teams is chat, there are no in-app notifications available. This means that your members need to ensure that they check the boards regularly, so that they don’t miss anything important.
If you use Trello or Planner to create and manage team projects, why not see if any integration can improve your team collaboration?
If you are an Office 365 business or enterprise user, you can sign up to preview Microsoft Teams for free here.
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