Asana vs Planner: Project management software comparison – TechRepublic

Asana and Microsoft Planner are both popular project management solutions. Compare the features to see which one will help you complete your work on time.

Asana versus planner task manager tools lead image.
Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Shinyfamily

Both Asana and Microsoft Planner are fairly straightforward task management and project management tools. For those within the Microsoft ecosystem, Microsoft Planner provides many advantages in terms of integration. On the other hand, Asana is easy to use, popular and has an exceptional array of features and utilities. Asana and Microsoft Planner are two of the best project management tools on the market. Let’s compare the two project management tools to determine which is best for you and your organization.

What is Asana?

Asana is an online task and project management suite. It includes most of the features users expect from their task management tools, enabling them to create subtasks, set deadlines and assign tasks to other people. Users can create multiple workspaces for their projects and even connect to multiple Asana deployments.

Screenshot of Asana’s homepage.
Image: Asana

What is Microsoft Planner?

Microsoft Planner is an online application and part of the Microsoft Office 365 integrated ecosystem. Through Microsoft Planner, users can track tasks and projects. Features include task groups, swimlanes, deadlines, task assignments and notes.

Screenshot of the Microsoft Planner website.
Image: Microsoft

The best features of Asana

Asana makes task management simple — and, as far as project management software goes, it’s fairly robust. Some of Asana’s best features include:

  • Subtask creation: Break down large tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. Combine these steps into larger blocks or milestones.
  • Task delegation: Tasks can be assigned to other people from within the task, making it easier to move tasks down the pipeline.
  • Comprehensive notes: Each task includes comprehensive notes written through a WYSIWYG editor.
  • Multiple view styles: Organize tasks by calendar view, kanban board, list or timeline, depending on what’s easiest to follow.

Asana does not have some of the more advanced features that Microsoft Planner has, such as task groups and swimlanes, but the Microsoft Planner suite also lacks some important features, such as subtasks.

SEE: How to build a successful project manager career (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How is Asana different from Microsoft Planner?

The biggest difference between Asana and Planner is the ecosystem that they are a part of. Asana is not part of the Microsoft ecosystem and does not integrate with other Microsoft products. But Planner is part of Office 365 and integrates with other Microsoft products, such as Outlook and OneDrive.

That being said, Asana does integrate with many third-party solutions, such as Salesforce, Dropbox, Gmail and Power BI.

The best features of Microsoft Planner

Microsoft Planner’s integration with the Microsoft ecosystem is its biggest strength. Some of the best features of Microsoft Planner include:

  • Task groups: Users can organize tasks into groups, which can be useful for categorizing tasks or keeping track of different project phases.
  • Users can further organize tasks by person, due date or other filter criteria. Swimlanes aid in visualizing the progress and the flow of a project.
  • Microsoft 365 integration: Microsoft Planner can directly integrate with other Office 365 solutions, such as Microsoft Teams. It may be the best project management software for those on Office 365.

Microsoft Planner lacks some of Asana’s features, such as the ability to create subtasks or easily integrate with third-party solutions.

What is the difference between Microsoft Planner and Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a platform built for both communication and collaboration. It includes chat, video conferencing, file sharing and task management features. Microsoft Planner is solely a task management application. It can be used side-by-side with Microsoft Teams.

SEE: Feature comparison: Time tracking software and systems (TechRepublic Premium)

Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Audience

Asana is typically used by offices that do not use Office 365, offices that operate remotely or offices just searching for a simple and affordable task management suite. Microsoft Planner is mainly used by businesses that are already using Office 365.

Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Integrations

Asana integrates with many third-party solutions, such as Salesforce, Dropbox, Gmail and Power BI. Microsoft Planner integrates with other Microsoft products, such as Outlook and OneDrive. For organizations that need to integrate with third-party solutions that Microsoft does not produce, Asana has a substantial edge.

Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Support

Asana offers a few support options, including a knowledge base, community forum and email support. Microsoft Planner provides support through the Office 365 support website. Asana’s support is more comprehensive than Microsoft Planner’s, but both platforms offer solid support and have active communities.

Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Pricing

Asana has a free basic plan and several paid premium plans. Most employees will only need the basic plan. Microsoft Planner is part of Office 365, which has various subscription plans. The cheapest Office 365 plan that includes Microsoft Planner is $5 per user per month.

Asana is less expensive for individuals and teams who do not need the full suite of Microsoft products. For organizations using Office 365, the cost of Microsoft Planner is negligible.

Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Ease of use

Asana and Microsoft Planner are both simple project management tools, although Microsoft Planner may be less intuitive for users who are not familiar with the Microsoft ecosystem. Those familiar with Microsoft products should be able to begin using Microsoft Planner immediately.

Asana vs Microsoft Planner at a-glance

  Asana Microsoft Planner
Price Free or $9.99/month $5/month
Integrations Google Drive, Jira Cloud, Slack, Power BI, Tableau, Salesforce, Dropbox, etc. Microsoft 365 and other Microsoft products
Support Email, training, tickets Tickets
Subtasks Yes No
Recurring tasks Yes No
Kanban support Yes Yes
Milestone tracking Yes No
Task dependencies Yes No
Swimlanes No Yes

Should your organization use Asana or Microsoft Planner?

Asana and Microsoft Planner are different enough that an answer should immediately become apparent. When choosing the best project management software, consider:

  • If you need third-party integrations or are looking for a simple task and project management system for your team, use Asana.
  • If you are already using Microsoft products and are looking for a task and project management system that will integrate well with your Microsoft ecosystem, use Microsoft Planner.

The benefits of Microsoft Planner somewhat wane if you aren’t already using Office 365. And if you are already using Office 365, it only makes sense to use a product already included and integrated.

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