HomeMethodologiesAgileHow to Add a Kanban Planner Board to Microsoft Teams

How to Add a Kanban Planner Board to Microsoft Teams

Looking to create kanban boards in the Microsoft world for more productivity but don’t know where to start? You came to the right place. The tools you get when you subscribe to Microsoft Office 365 are great, and you get a lot of useful apps in one central place. Sometimes the number of apps can be confusing to joiners because they might seem redundant at first. Of course not everything might be part of a free plan but chances are good that your company is already using Office 365 anyway, even though they might not use it for tasks yet.

Teamwork, especially involving remote teams, is more important than ever. If you work in a collaborative team with team members all over the place (or if you’re a highly organized lone warrior), you might find task management with Microsoft apps within Office 365 useful. You can either use Microsoft Planner kanban boards on their own or embed them into your Microsoft Teams spaces for a more streamlined process.

What are kanban boards used for?

Now, you might have heard about kanban boards if you worked in Lean, Agile, DevOps, or Scrum operations before, and with this article, I quickly want to show you how you could transform your Microsoft Planner board to follow kanban practices.

The literal translation of the Japanese word kanban is “message board” or “billboard.” Still, nowadays, it’s heavily leveraged as a virtual space for task management, so teams can assign tasks and track the task status of the same in a sticky-note fashion.

planner 1

Coming back to Microsoft Planner – when you create a new “plan,” you have to enter the name of the space and set up its privacy options. When you’re happy with the settings, you just need to confirm it all, and your new board is in front of you now.

Using management software to keep track of a specific task or group of tasks that are part of a bigger project can be a huge benefit for the continuous improvement of your project delivery quality and speed.

To-do lists are nice but having robust management software and a powerful tool that you can also use for tracking and reporting is simply the professional way of managing projects. Even if you want to try it out on just a specific project you can easily do that without the need to learn everything in detail. Here’s how you can start right away.

Creating an efficient layout for task management in Microsoft Planner

The default view for task management in new boards is just one lane (called “bucket” in Microsoft Planner), but you can add more by clicking on “Add new bucket.” Of course, you can set up your board the way you need it to look like, but I usually go with a layout of four lanes.

I like to add images to make them content rich task cards but of course you can also just use text, labels, and colors. If you just need to drop tasks you can simply delete or archive them without pushing them through the project board. Here’s an example for a board layout.

Backlog

Task management usually starts in the backlog. This is the space where you keep track of ideas and everything that should be done sometime in the future without a clear priority and no due date for delivery. If someone happened to have nothing to do, they could proactively pick a task from this lane and not idle around until a manager assigns them with a task.

To-Do

This lane is for clearly defined deliverables with a due date and more information on how the product of the activity should look like. When people come in to work, they usually grab an item from the top of this lane and pull it to the “Doing” lane.

Doing

This lane is used to have a better overview of what is currently being worked on and by whom. Usage varies from team to team, but I’d say that a single person should not have more than two items in the “Doing” lane at the same time. If they need to re-prioritize their work, team members can push “neglected” individual tasks back to the “To-Do” lane and update the metadata to reflect their progress on this task.

Done

After people have completed a task, they don’t need to call or send emails around. They just drag their item to the “Done” lane and check it to be completed. If a document had to be produced, they can easily attach it to the item and then set the item’s state to be “completed.” If it makes sense for workflow, you could also add another “In Review” between “Doing” and “Done,” but I wanted to keep it simple in the overview here.

Adding tasks to the board

Of course task management and project management is a very agile kind of work and throughout the lifetime of a project there can always be new tasks coming up. Using the “+” button, you can create new tasks and quickly name them. Suppose you want to go further into detail.

In that case, you can also open a larger view of the task and edit various metadata such as start date, end date, status, notes, detailed description, attachments, comments, and assign the task to a team member. Ready to collaborate for more productivity?

In the standard view of the board, you can just drag and drop the items from one lane to another as you see fit to keep a good overview. Using the “Charts” tab, you can also get a little bit of reporting and insight on what currently happens, in case you run highly complex projects with a lot of people involved.

planner 3

Adding a kanban Planner board to Microsoft Teams

Because Microsoft has no feature in Office 365 and Teams to quickly add a kanban style collaboration and project management board, you will need to embed the kanban board that you just created in Microsoft Planner into Microsoft Teams.

It will not replace anything either. It will simply add a new view into a separate tab of the app so your team can work with it. Here’s how you do that in just a few steps.

  1. Open Microsoft Teams.
  2. Navigate to the “Teams” area on the left navigation bar.
  3. Open the team space where you want to add the newly created kanban board.
  4. In the top menu, click on the “+” (plus) icon to add new content.
  5. A wizard called “add a tab” opens.
  6. Look for the icon named “Tasks by Planner and To Do” and select it.
  7. Read the instructions and select “use an existing plan from this team.”
  8. Confirm with the “save” button at the bottom.
  9. Just wait for a moment, and you’ll be redirected to the newly created tab with your kanban board now available in Microsoft Teams.

It takes only these few steps, but it can be a challenge if you don’t know whether it’s possible at all or where to look for the features. Now you and all of your team can use the new kanban board in Microsoft Teams or Planner, and it will be fully in sync. If users prefer Planner on their web browser, they can use it there. If others of your project team prefer to work in the Teams app, then this is fine as well.

Questions we got from you

This article was originally published a long time before Microsoft Teams became popular as a solution for keeping remote teams and on-site teams collaborating during the pandemic.

Since then we received a lot of questions from readers and here’s a quick overview in the Q&A section below about Microsoft Teams Kanban Planner options.

Does Microsoft Teams have a kanban board?

No, there is no Kanban board that you get as part of Microsoft Teams, but you can use Microsoft Planner to build a board and embed it.

Is teams Planner a Kanban board?

It can be, but it’s rather generic. If you want to use kanban, you will need to design your Microsoft Planner board in a kanban layout.

Does Microsoft have a kanban?

Microsoft offers no direct kanban solution, but you can use Microsoft Planner to create a kanban board.

Does Microsoft Teams have a Planner?

You can embed content from Planner into Teams.

Does Office 365 have a kanban board?

Office 365 offers no direct kanban solution, but you can use Microsoft Planner, which is part of Office 365, to create a kanban board.

How do I create a kanban board in Office 365?

To understand how this is done, you can consult the detailed step-by-step tutorial above the Q&A section.

Can you do kanban in Microsoft Teams?

No, there is no kanban board that you get as part of Microsoft Teams, but you can use Microsoft Planner to build a board and embed it.

Does Microsoft Planner have a kanban board?

There is a board view that allows you to manage tasks in a kanban way, but you need to design the kanban board yourself. Please see the guide above for some directions on how to do that.

How do I use Microsoft Planner as a kanban board?

You can use Planner as a kanban board if you use the board view for your tasks and prepare lanes to match your project workflow and processes. If you are looking for some inspiration on how to do that, please read the paragraphs above.

Does Microsoft have a kanban tool?

No, but you can use Microsoft Planner to build your own kanban boards.

Does Microsoft Office have a kanban board?

No, but you can use Microsoft Planner to build your own kanban boards.

Does Microsoft have a kanban board?

No, but you can use Microsoft Planner to build your own kanban boards.

Does Microsoft use Scrum or kanban?

If you mean whether or not you could use Scrum or kanban within the Microsoft toolset, then yes, but you need to design the boards and workflows yourself in Microsoft Planner.

Does Microsoft planner have a kanban board?

No, not as a template, but you can create your own.

How do I use my Microsoft Planner as a kanban board?

If you follow the steps above, you can easily create a kanban board for your project management or other purposes within Microsoft Planner.

Does MS teams have a kanban board?

No, there is no kanban board that you get as part of MS Teams, but you can use Microsoft Planner to build a board and embed it.

Is there a Microsoft kanban board?

No, but you can use Microsoft Planner to build your own kanban boards.

Does Outlook have a kanban board?

No, but you can use Microsoft Planner to build your own kanban boards.

How do I create a kanban board in Microsoft Teams?

This tutorial will help you with that. In short, you first need to create a board in Microsoft Planner and then embed it to Microsoft Teams.

Can I connect Microsoft Project with Office 365?

Microsoft Project is already a part of Office 365 and there are also some ways to leverage SharePoint or other collaborative aspects for project management.

Thanks a lot to all businesses and experts who reached out to us with their questions. Hopefully this list is able to help more readers now. Of course you can always ask in case you’d like to know anything else.

No integration into Microsoft To-Do

Microsoft is not always consistent with its toolsets and this also accounts for task management in Office 365. Unfortunately, the tasks from Microsoft Planner are not also mirrored to Microsoft To-Do.

Still, if a user is part of more than one project (plans), they could keep an overview of assigned tasks by navigating to the button “My Tasks” on the left sidebar of Planner. Here, it will show all assigned tasks from all projects (plans) they are part of.

It almost goes without saying, but there are many kanban and collaboration solutions out there, and you can use whichever you like most. If your business has already invested in Microsoft it makes sense to leverage this investment of course, but if your business is still looking, then make sure you review all kinds of collaboration and project management apps before you commit to one.

The advantage of making use of Microsoft Planner is just that it’s already in your Microsoft eco-system of data and apps and easily integrates with other apps in there.

There is also a mobile app for Microsoft Planner to keep track of the business, no matter where you are. You can download it on iOS or Android.

If you haven’t used this tool at all before and want to understand it a little better, you can check out the video below.


YouTube: Microsoft Planner – Review of mobile apps, deeper Office 365 integration + task automation

Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Nadja Schnetzler. The screenshots were taken by the author for TechAcute.
Editorial notice: The article has been updated on the 27th of December 2021 to add more details on how this method can also be used with current Microsoft apps.

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Christopher Isakhttps://techacute.com
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)

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