Streamline cross-team work with the newly integrated Project Online Desktop Client and Microsoft Planner

We have a Guest Post today for the Project Support Blog – over to Yuval Stern to introduce the Project/Planner integration!

We are pleased to announce the release of the integration between the Project Online Desktop Client and Microsoft Planner. Starting September 2017, Project users will be able to connect Project tasks to Planner plans. The feature will be available in the September update for Project Online Professional and Premium customers.

This feature release is in response to our customers, who have asked for a way to connect tasks in Project to plans in Planner. We have found that, as project management processes extend across all parts of an organization, there is an opportunity to link the work done by disparate teams and drive greater cross-team alignment. This integration allows teams that manage their work in Project Online to better streamline work with teams that use Planner.

With the integration, task owners can track granular task details in a lightweight tool. Project Managers retain control over the project's work breakdown structure and can easily view the detailed work being done against a task.

This capability may also be used to reduce complexity of project plans in Project keeping it simple for the project manager to control a smaller number of tasks while task owners can further breakdown the tasks in Planner.

How does it work?

Step 1: Create a Planner plan.

Step 2: Create a project plan in Project Online and publish the plan with the task that needs to be connected to the Planner plan.

Step 3: Open the project plan with Project Online Desktop Client and focus on the task that needs to be connected, then press the new ‘Link to Planner’ button.



Step 4: Find the Planner plan you would like to connect the task with and create the link, by following the instruction on the left pane. Note that in this case the chosen Group is a Microsoft Team and has two plans added as channels from which to choose.



Step 5: The task in Project Online and the Planner plan are now connected. Click the Planner icon in the ‘Indicators’ field in Project Online Desktop Client to open the Planner plan. Note that users assigned to the task prior to the linking are added to the Planner plan.




Is this feature available in the on-premises versions of Project, namely Project Professional and Project Standard?

The new integration capability is built for project collaboration scenarios and therefore is a natural extension for Project Online our solution in the cloud for collaborative Project and Portfolio Management (PPM). Therefore, the new Planner integration is only available as part of our Project Online offerings and adds another great subscription value.

How would I get this new capability?

To use this new capability, you would need to subscribe to either Project Online Professional or Project Online Premium. In addition, you would need to subscribe to Office 365 Business Essentials, Business Premium, E1-E5, and Education plans, which Microsoft Planner is a part of.

Can I use this feature in standalone (.mpp files) use of Project Online Desktop Client?

No, to use this feature a project manager using the Project Online Desktop Client, must be connected to a Project Online service to be able to publish the project plan.

Comments (20)

  1. Andrew Snodgrass says:

    Cool feature. But how about the person who is assigned to the task that’s now in Planner? Do they need a Project Online Professional or Premium subscription as well? Or perhaps a Project Online Essential subscription? Or just an Office 365 subscription?

    1. Great question – and they don’t need a Project license Andrew – assuming they are just living in Planner/O365.
      Best regards,

  2. Gerd Walter says:

    Hi Brian, great to have this base functionality in the client. For all of those looking for a more powerful integration (like “Degree of completion synchronized in the project plan at the push of a button”, “Creation of a plan directly out of Project”, “Easy allocation of tasks into buckets” should to take a look on the SOLVIN Planner Bridge:
    SOLVIN information management GmbH

    1. Thanks for sharing Gerd – and we expect to be adding more functionality later but good to see yourselves and other partners offering alternatives.
      Best regards,

  3. ira solter says:

    Hello. I tried working with this new feature and saw few problems:
    1. clicked on the link and saw nothing in the plan in planner. the linked task from project wasn’t there.
    2. only one task from project can be linked to each plan? is this a limit?
    3. I created a new plan and searched it in the ‘group names window in project – it wasn’t there. only old plans. does it takes time to appear?

    1. Hi Ira, for 1 and 2 that is expected behavior. It is up to you to populate the plan for the work needed to complete that project task – which may well be many Planner tasks – and perhaps some checklists. For similar reasons you can’t link several tasks to the same Plan – it wouldn’t make sense – how you you track what was actually being performed in the plan for each task?

      For the 3rd item I have heard reports that it can take a while to see the plans available but I haven’t experienced this. How long before you see the new plan?

      Best regards,


  4. Bryan says:

    I cannot get the Planner button in MS Project. Perhaps I don’t have the right tools? I have o365 subscription E3, Project Web App I think is the version that comes with and Desktop Project. I did the setup between the two but I fear that there are some weird little licensing issues and too many versions of MS Project!

    1. You will only get the Planner button with the subscription version Bryan. What version do you see for Project when you go to File, Account? It should say something like Subscription Product, Microsoft Project Online Desktop Client and the version will be like Version 1710 (Build 8625.2090 Click-to-run). A version that start 16.0.45xx or similar will be a Microsoft Project Professional 2016 version and does not have this new feature.
      Best regards,

      1. Hello Brian,

        I got the same issue as Bryan. My Subscription is Microsoft Project Online Desktop Client. Version 1708 (Build 8431.2107 C2R). And I am using a E5 subscription with planner in my Office 365 tenant. And I don’t see the Link to Planner button when I select a task. Do I have the wrong build version of Project?

        1. Hi Expiscornovus, it looks like you are on an earlier build – so likely on one of our deferred channels. It is the right product and you will get it. To get it sooner you could go to a ‘first release’ or targeted channel – depends on your company how they control the channels – but speak with your Office 365 admin (if that isn’t you).
          Best regards,

          1. Hi Brian,

            Thanks for your clear answer and quick reply. I will activate first release for the user I am testing with in my demo tenant.

  5. Stephanie Reeves says:

    Is Microsoft Planner included in O365 Government plans yet?

    1. Hi Stephanie, the team are working on it and the last I heard was that it should be getting to the Government plans in the first half of next year (2018).
      Best regards,

  6. Ted bozarth says:

    I am a tad confused about connecting a task to a plan. Would you not be connecting an MSP task to a planner task? I do not understand the benefit / use case of linking a task to a plan. What I was hoping to see is the ability to push an entire WBS out to Planner in a way where all tasks were replicated in Planner and then allowing users to further decompose and delegate tasks from there. In a practical sense, what do I gain with this functionality?

    1. Hi Ted, the connection is from a task in Project to a Plan in Planner. So usually the task in Project in this scenario would be high level, and the break down and assignment would happen in Planner. The idea would not to completely duplicate and end up with having two sources of truth or a need to sync at a very granular level. I do like your idea though – potentially pushing out multiple task to the Plan which are further decomposed. Feel free to add your suggestion over on the Planner UserVoice.
      Best regards,

  7. Adam says:

    Hi Brian. I am a little confused on step 2 above and how to publish my project plan. Would you mind detailing the connection to a Project Online service, so that I may utilize this feature? Thanks!

    1. You would need to have Project Online Professional or Premium subscription Adam – I suspect from the wording of your question that you do not already use Project Online? See the Getting Started Article for more information – As I assume you have Planner the Project Online subscription can be added to an existing Enterprise Office 365 tenant.
      I hope this helps, but if you have any other questions feel free to ask.
      Best regards,

  8. Gary says:

    Would you consider allowing integration with MS Project users without needing to have Project Online? Considering this allows Team Managers to build their plans outside MSP, it would have been a very helpful feature and drive people to use MS Planner where they aren’t using it. Quite disapointed that it isn’t…

  9. Yaron S says:

    Hi Brian,

    Really cool feature,
    We using in our company in MS Project online and we have the Planner feature,
    I did the steps according write above, but the tasks not integrate to Planner system (automatically).
    I opened ticket to Microsoft, and representative tell me in the conversation that the feature did’nt release yet (have only the infrastructure)
    If I wrong or didnt understand, please correct me.

    1. I’m not sure what you were expecting Yaron – but the feature just creates a link – it does not do any integration of tasks into Planner. If you see the Planner icon then you have the feature – and that is all it does. There may be some new functionality at some point – but nothing in the pipeline yet. Is there something in my blog post that made you expect there would be some kind of task integration beyond the link being created? If so I may need to edit the post to clarify things.
      Best regards,

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