Microsoft working on a lightweight project Planner for Office 365

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Microsoft working on a lightweight project Planner for Office 365

Just yesterday, Microsoft announced their acquisition of the popular consumer To-Do list tool Wunderlist (and the company, 6Wunderkinder), and it appears that project planning services, especially lightweight consumer or small business ones, are increasingly on Microsoft’s roadmap.

Along with the rudimentary but simple to-do list features built in to OneNote (which Wunderlist should complement and expand), Microsoft also has more robust project planning tools, including Project, and Tasks in SharePoint and Outlook. For consumer or small business uses, however, SharePoint can be a daunting service to manage, and according to Mary Jo Foley, Microsoft is about to unveil a new lightweight project planning tool for Office 365 called Planner.

The new service, which Foley compares to the popular free planning tool Trello, will offer something more than a simple to-do list but less than a full on plan in Project.  The service is thought to be built on Microsoft’s Office Graph, and will build on and connect with other O365 services through the Office Graph, according to Foley:

Users will be able to link their documents to specific tasks, projects and/or Yammer conversations. There will be options for a variety of views, such as project status or calendar view (similar to what users can do with tasks in SharePoint)

 Microsoft seems to be not only building out services through the use of Office Graph, but also rolling out increasingly lightweight, but somewhat full featured alternatives to what used to be only available in enterprise-scale offerings. This can only help small and very small business users, who don’t have an IT department to set up and maintain SharePoint, but need more from their software than just to-do lists and disconnected services.

We’ll be anxiously awaiting more news on Planner, stay tuned!