Date Tracking Options in Office 365

This is a few days overdue and not what I was planning on typing up last weekend, but this presented itself as such a weird issue for me the other day that I needed to say something on the matter and bump it to the top of my list of topics. Folks were not using the right site for a proposal they were working on, so they told me where all of their content was for me to move into it. I set them up and realized they only had documents from a lot of different libraries but still just documents, so I followed up with an email suggesting that they create a plan in Planner connected to their O365 group or just put the dates into calendar that came with the site so they could stay on top of when things needed to be submitted. The response I got from one of the users:

 
 

I don’t have time to recreate the calendar in SharePoint…. We created the calendar in Word since we did not have time to wait for our access to SharePoint. We do not now have time to port it over to SharePoint. The calendar is in Proposal Management/Schedule.

 
 

I’m thinking to myself, “How on Earth are you managing this?” There were only 11 dates in the Word document, so I know it wasn’t really about having time to recreate this. She just was not comfortable using anything else. Then again, it isn’t the first time I’ve seen people track projects and things from Word. Maybe it is a generational thing. Maybe this is the only thing she is involved in, but I’m thinking it would be very difficult to open this document on your phone and zooming in to find what you need on page 12 one day and page 13 the next. Don’t you want all of your important things visible when you look to your calendar?

 
 

So, we have a few options for the business users out there.

 
 

Hit up the Events list on the site, fill it out, and connect it to Outlook.


Go to To Do, fill out all of the related tasks, and share (top right of the screen) the list with those involved. This is not my preference if you need to share with many other people, but it can be useful to keep track of a lot of tasks before you have dates for when they need to be done.


 
 

My personal favorite is Planner. I’ve spoken about it a few times at different user groups now. I just like the visuals and the potential that it has to become something wonderful, especially for Agile work and small team efforts. For this too, you don’t need to have dates locked in before you put in the tasks. Plus, I just learned that they just released an update allowing you to copy a plan like a template. If you work on a lot of proposals and have a lot of similar tasks to get through each time, this can save a lot of headache. You just need to click on the ellipsis…


 
 

Click on Copy plan…


 
 

And it will make the plan. The important note to take from this is that it is create a brand new site collection for each of these plans and brand new Office 365 groups. That isn’t my preference most of the time only because my preference is to always start a new plan from Teams so that I can have multiple plans without creating new Office 365 groups. Granted, if your proposal efforts usually use different people because you have different groups using it, it is very viable to do it this way instead of from Teams. I just work for a small company, and it is always the same folks who do that work.