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  • First Digital

Finding the perfect Task Management tool

Task management tools are widely employed for a multitude of reasons, each offering distinct advantages to individuals and teams. These tools are instrumental in fostering improved organisation, heightened productivity, refined time management, and enhanced collaboration. By centralising tasks, setting priorities, and facilitating efficient resource allocation, task management tools serve as indispensable aids in the pursuit of streamlined workflows and the achievement of goals.

We often get asked “Which Task Management tool could I use?”. Within the Microsoft landscape alone there are 8+ tools to tap into when it comes to task management. In this article we will shed some light into this rabbit-hole to empower you.

Project Online - Track projects, portfolios and timesheets

Project Online is a web-based application that can work for small, medium, and large organizations. Project Managers can create schedules and assign tasks to resources who can then see their individual tasks and report time. Portfolio managers can look across all projects to see what people are working on and overall project statuses. You can use three views for multiple planning options: Grid for data, Board for Kanban-style planning, and Timeline for a Gantt view to show which tasks depend on each other.

Reporting: Basic included + ability to create custom Licensing: Per User

Customisation: Limited

Technology: Cloud Only

Microsoft Project - Create a stand-alone Project Plan

Microsoft Project is a desktop application that can be great for creating schedules that you want to organise work into phases, have dependencies between tasks, either for oneself or for publishing to a team.

Reporting: Basic included + ability to create custom Licensing: Per User

Customisation: Very Limited

Technology: Local + online collaboration

Microsoft Planner - Quickly create plans, assigns tasks and facilitates collaboration

Planner is the lightweight, mobile and web-based application that comes with most O365 licenses. With Planner you and your team can create plans, assign tasks, chat about tasks, and see charts of your team’s progress. You can also use Planner from within Microsoft Teams and Microsoft SharePoint.

Reporting: Basic included, ability to create custom using Power BI Licensing: Included in Office 365 licenses

Customization: None

Technology: Cloud Only

Microsoft To-Do - Prioritise and complete the most important things every day

The To-Do app lets you list and track all your own tasks so you can focus on what is important. It features a ‘My Day’ list for your daily tasks and allows you to create additional lists to organize your work, projects and so on.

Reporting: Views (Group, Sort, Filter) Licensing: Included in Office 365 licenses

Customisation: None

Technology: Cloud Only

SharePoint Online Task Management - Customisation king

SharePoint Online is the perfect tool to plan, track and manage your Agile projects through out-of-the-box task lists and document management. Customize every component of your project lifecycle, how it looks and feels, templates for projects and tasks, the ability to embed directly into Microsoft Teams and many other automations leveraging Power Automate to extend the integration options. Unlike some of the other solutions listed here, this requires bespoke development, setup and implementation due to the high level of customisation and integration options.

Reporting: Views (Group, Sort, Filter, Conditional Formatting) and Power BI Licensing: Included in Office 365 licenses

Customisation: Extensive

Technology: Cloud and Local Server

Azure DevOps - DevOps tool for every phase of the application lifecycle

Use end-to-end solutions on Azure to implement DevOps practices throughout application planning, development, delivery, and operations. Apply the right combination of DevOps technologies, culture, and processes to enable continual software delivery and better value for customers.

Reporting: Comprehensive + ability to create custom using Power BI Licensing: Per user licensing model

Customization: Extensive

Technology: Cloud and Local Server

Tasks App in Teams - Manage individual and team tasks right in Teams

The Tasks app in Microsoft Teams brings together your individual tasks from To Do and Outlook with your team tasks from Planner so you can more efficiently cross them off your lists. Use the unique List view to change many tasks at once, and easily find and edit them. Use the Tasks app to work on To Do and Planner tasks alongside the Teams channels, chats, and apps you're used to.

Reporting: Views in Teams only Licensing: Included in Office 365 licenses

Customisation: None

Technology: Cloud Only

As you can see, there are many options available within the Microsoft stack, over and above the ability to design and develop bespoke Portals, Power Apps, Power Automate Workflows, Power BI Reports and Dashboards against pretty much any data source in the Microsoft landscape – SharePoint, Dataverse, Azure SQL, local SQL and many more.

Choosing the right tool for the job ultimately comes down to the number of people, level of collaboration required, volumes (portfolios, tasks, teams, sprints etc), audiences, and internal and external user participation. Some instances even warrant using some of these tools in conjunction with each other to address the overall requirement and potential distributed audiences and level of participation needed.

Chris Botha Business Unit Manager: Digital Workplace


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