Microsoft Planner was released back in 2015. Before then, Trello was my tool of choice when it came to managing unstructured tasks. Since before its release, I often heard of Planner as being a serious contender to Trello. So, I thought I would put together a little head-to-head comparison of the two solutions and let you decide whether Planner is living up to its abilities as a task management tool.
The goal of this article is not to convince you to switch or stay with either of the tools but rather to provide an unbiased opinion to help you decide what is best for your needs.
Before diving in, it’s essential to explain the foundation of the two tools. We will do so by reviewing the following for Planner and Trello:
Are you ready for a definitive answer to if you should be using Microsoft Planner or Trello?
As a part of the Office 365 Suite, Microsoft Planner allows you to organize your team’s work collaboratively, intuitively, and visually via task management.
Microsoft 365 Planner as a project management tool has a Board where you can create cards. Your team can create tasks efficiently and effectively, regardless of the level of their experience.
These are content-rich with:
This tool uses different terminology from other software, such as you create plans, not projects. The Board has columns dubbed buckets.
Charts are color-coded to help quickly identify the progress for each task status. These are shown as a bar or pie chart.
Microsoft 365 Planner connects to all the applications in Office 365 – another convenient way to simplify managing tasks for teams.
Trello as management software, a well-known tool, has a reputation for being a user-friendly product. Trello does it right in that it focused on one thing instead of trying to be everything to everyone. It perfected the Board and multiple boards.
There is no calendar or list view, but “power-ups” are available if needed. Unfortunately, simple reporting features are not available, but you do get an activity feed in real-time.
Microsoft Planner’s primary selling point is that it is part of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem of applications. You can get more from Microsoft 365 Planner simply because it is a part of the ecosystem. For example, automating Planner is possible with the help of Microsoft Power Automate.
Trello’s package is not a part of a suite, and it may still be costly for what you are getting from the tool. At least that has been some user feedback.
Task management is an excellent way to organize your team. You can manage unstructured tasks without requiring project management that is sequence related. When you first compare the tools, they look similar. Both let you name a task and assign it to a team member. They also allow you to provide more information like a description, checklist, attachment, and due dates. Also, in both, you can see the history of conversations related to the tasks.
Task management shines though when it integrates in the other potential places you work. Microsoft has a stronger position here through integration with Project Online, Outlook, ToDo and the many places most enterprise users already work.
Microsoft 365 Planner and Trello are Kanban boards, which are good for sharing tasks with your colleagues. Usually, participants of the tool are in the same group. However, things are a little different when you need to provide access to a third party outside of your organization.
Trello has a simple way of allowing users outside of your organization to link to a Board but Microsoft 365 Planner is a closed ecosystem. You cannot share it outside of the Office 365 network. That said the integration of Planner in SharePoint, Teams and other places people work may counteract this negative depending on what technologies you are leveraging.
When you assign an individual, that person will receive a notification and can see all their tasks in a single view. Also, it will notify the person of their task with an email.
Ultimately, if you are looking for a Kanban-style task management application, you can’t go wrong with either of these two.
If you are looking for an enterprise-ready solution that is synergistic with the rest of the Microsoft 365 stack, Planner should be great for you! However, if you are collaborating with third parties, and don’t want to create an account for them, Planner won’t be able to help much.
If you are not looking for seamless connectivity with Microsoft 365 or have a smaller organization where the free option is sufficient, Trello might be the right choice.
I hope you have been able to find out which of these two solutions is the right fit for you or your organization. As you can see from this comparison, each tool offers some advantages over the other. What is important to remember is that these tools continue to evolve, particularly as new competitive products come to the market.
At 2toLead, we are happy to help your organization discover, learn, and discuss the best tools on the market that will best suit your needs.
If you are curious about the connected ecosystem we mentioned in the blog, we are certain that many of the questions you have about Microsoft 365 are answered in one of our many whitepapers and eBooks.