As you may know, we have been using Trello here at Awecomm for several years, and you may have read our article on using Trello to streamline EOS-style meetings. However, we recently decided to make the switch to Microsoft Planner, and we’ve compiled this list of pros and cons to help you decide which will work best for your company. Both are good platforms and both have some drawbacks, so let’s jump right in.
If you haven’t heard of Trello, I definitely suggest you check it out. It can be a great, low-cost solution to project management, team organization and interdepartmental communication. The reasons are many:
- Easy set up, you can create your account, add your boards and invite members within minutes.
- Easy to understand pricing tiers – The free version is quite extensive and offers basic integrations with other apps.
- Trello is reliable and information updates instantly; in the several years we’ve been using it, it’s only been down once or twice, for very short amounts of time.
- Assigning cards to team members is extremely easy — as easy as typing their name.
- Inviting non-team members is also extremely easy, you just need their email address to invite them.
- Card formatting is very flexible, you can write long text entries and create multiple checklists.
- Super user-friendly, Trello works on any size screen and has mobile apps for iPhone and Android.
- You can easily @tag users to have an email sent to them, to let them know something is due or that you added them to a task.
- No built-in time tracking, however, paid add-ons are available.
- No built-in calendar, again, a calendar requires paying for the business version plus integrating it with a calendar app.
- You are not able to create tags for tasks, there are labels for tasks but you are limited to 12 labels per board.
- It’s hard to move items from one card to another, you have to manually copy and paste.
- Moving from one board to another requires an extra click to open your master list of boards.
- Large file uploads require a paid subscription.
- No detailed reports such as Planner Hub.
Microsoft Planner Pros
Microsoft Planner is Microsoft’s answer to project management software, just like Trello and they are quite similar, in terms of look and feel, set up and creating boards and tasks. Planner is included with your Office 365 enterprise subscription, which is why we decided to take it for a test drive.
- Easy to understand and set up, the UI is very intuitive and it was easy for me to figure exactly what I was supposed to do to create plans (Trello calls these boards), buckets and tasks.
- Any updates/changes made to Plans automatically send emails to all Plan members, keeping everyone informed.
- Adding team members to tasks and boards is easy, all you need to do is start typing their name and Planner will bring them up to select.
- Each task item has space for a description, a checklist, labels and comments, very similar to Trello.
- You can easily set due dates on tasks with the built-in calendar feature.
- Planner offers a screen called Planner Hub, where your tasks and time can be broken down into detailed reports on tasks, progress and where time has been spent.
- You can view your team members assigned tasks across all boards, so you can see if any one person is overloaded.
- You can communicate with all members of a Plan via Outlook due to the native integration with Office 365; each plan is given an email address and its members all receive those emails.
- Because Planner is linked with Office 365, you don’t need to log in separately.
Microsoft Planner Cons
- Currently, Planner does not allow for adding non-team members to participate in Planner. If a user is not registered with your company via Office 365, they can’t participate in Planner.
- No @tagging, one of the handiest features of Trello is being able to @tag any member of the board to send them a message, Planner does not have this function.
- Only one checklist per task is allowed, 20 checkboxes max. Trello allows multiple checklists and does not limit the list length to 20.
- Comments on tasks in Planner have character limits much shorter than Trello; you will find yourself needing to attach long comments as separate documents, or stretch your content over multiple comments.
- There is no easy way to send content between tasks, buckets or plans, you have to copy/paste.
All in all, it’s extremely difficult to say which app is better — it will really depend on what you use it for, how you use it and which features are most important to you. Both work well for what we need, but we are still in the early stages of using Planner. Hopefully, Microsoft will add the features that are missing soon. Let me know which one you like best, and why, in the comments.