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Never Miss Another Deadline. How to Automate Your Microsoft Flow Planner.

Never Miss Another Deadline. How to Automate Your Microsoft Flow Planner.

Never Miss Another Deadline. How to Automate Your Microsoft Flow Planner.

Project management can be a complicated juggling-act at the best of times. 

However, with many people continuing to work from home, project management may be proving even more challenging than usual. 

When it comes to project management, many businesses already rely on Microsoft Planner to help them coordinate important tasks – but are you getting the most out of your Planner? 

In this article, we’ll show you how to enhance Microsoft’s Planner with powerful, automated workflows. We’ll create Power Automate workflows that send push notifications to your employees’ smartphones, post upcoming deadlines to Microsoft Teams, and more. 

By the end of this article, you’ll have setup three Power Automate workflows that can take the stress out of project management – even during this era of uncertainty and remote working. 

Get a “New Task” notification to your smartphone or tablet 

Whenever you create a task in Microsoft Planner, you can assign one or more employees to that task. Ideally, your employees are monitoring their Planner carefully, and will notice as soon as they’re assigned a new task. But why take that risk? 

For busy employees, it’s easy to overlook an incoming Planner notification. A single missed notification can result in delays, stress and confusion amongst your employees, and potentially even missed deadlines. 

With Power Automate, you can ensure your employees never miss a Planner notification again. Whenever an employee gets assigned a new Planner task, Power Automate can send a push notification to their mobile device.

This workflow requires the Power Automate mobile application. If an employee doesn’t already have Power Automate, then they can download it for Android or iOS, and then sign in using their Microsoft 365 username and password. 

Once they have Power Automate installed on their mobile device, you’re ready to setup this powerful Planner workflow: 

● Log into your Microsoft 365 account

● Select the “Power Automate” app. 

● In the left-hand menu, select ‘Templates.”

● Search for the following template: “Get a push notification when you are assigned a new Planner task.” Select this template that appears. 

● Read the description, and if you’re happy to proceed then click “Continue.” Power Automate will now open this template for editing. 

This template works out-of-the-box, but I’m adding dynamic content to make the push notification more informative. To add this content, click to place your cursor inside the “Text” field; the “Dynamic content” dropdown should open automatically. 

You may want to add some, or all of the following attributes to your push notification: 

● Value created by user display name. This is the name of the user who created this task.

● Value created by user ID. This is the ID of the user who created this task.

● Vale assignments Assigned By User ID. This is the ID of the user who assigned this task. 

● Value Created Date Time. This is the date and time when this task was created.

● Value Due Date Time. This is the date and time when this task is due.

● Value ID. This is the task’s ID. 

By combining dynamic content and static content, you can create various push notifications. For example, I’m using the following:

This will generate the following push notification:

Once you’re happy with the changes you’ve made, click “Save. 

Now, your employees will receive a push notification every time they’re assigned a new Planner task. Let’s put this workflow to the test! 

● Log into your Microsoft 365 account. 

● Select the “Planner” application. 

● Either select an existing plan from the left-hand menu, or create a new plan by clicking “New Plan.” 

● Select “Add task.”

● Give this task a name. 

● Click “Set due date” and then select a date and time when this task is due. ● Click “Assign” and then enter the email address of the person you want to assign this task to. 

● When you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, click “Add Task.” 

This task will now be assigned to the nominated person, and they’ll receive a push notification on their mobile device. 

Post a “Task Completed” message to Microsoft Teams 

Throughout 2020, many businesses have embraced remote working as a way to remain operational throughout the COVID-19 crisis. While remote working has helped many businesses keep their employees safe and healthy, it can have a negative impact on co-worker communication.

To help keep these lines of communication open, many businesses have turned to Microsoft Teams. In April, over 200 million people participated in a Microsoft Teams meeting in a single day, and Teams now has over 75 million daily active users. 

If your business is already using Microsoft Teams and Planner, then why not use Power Automate to link these two applications? 

In this section, we’ll setup a Power Automate template that automatically posts a notification to Teams, every time an employee completes a task in the Planner. Using this template, you can provide team-wide transparency, and ensure that everyone knows exactly what their co-workers are working on, regardless of geographical location. 

Let’s setup this template: 

● Log into your Microsoft 365 account

● Select the “Power Automate” app. 

● In the left-hand menu, select ‘Templates.” 

● Search for the following template: “Post message in Teams when a Planner task is completed.” Select this template when it appears. 

● Read the description, and if you’re happy to proceed then click “Continue.” Power Automate will now open this template for editing.

To use this template, you’ll need to enter some information about your Planner and Teams applications. 

Retrieve the Plan and Group ID

 

First, click to expand the “When a task is completed” section. In this section, you’ll need to enter a Group ID and Plan ID. You can retrieve both of these values, from the Planner application. 

To retrieve the Group ID, log into Microsoft Planner. Your URL should look something like this: https://tasks.office.com/YOUR-GROUP-ID-HERE.onmicrosoft.com/en-US/Home/Planner 

You can now copy/paste the “YOUR-GROUP-ID-HERE” value into the Power Automate workflow. 

To retrieve the Plan ID, open the plan that you want to monitor. The URL should contain the following text: 

planId=YOUR-PLAN-ID 

You can copy/paste this value into your Power Automate workflow. 

Retrieve your Microsoft Teams’ IDs

 

Power Automate can post a notification to any Team or Channel within Microsoft Teams – you just need to share the Team ID and Channel ID. 

In the Power Automate template, click to expand the “Post a message (VS)” section. For “Team ID,” you can re-use your Planner Group ID. 

To retrieve your Channel ID: 

● Log into Microsoft Teams

● In the left-hand menu, select “Teams.” 

● Find the channel where you want to post your notifications, and use this channel’s exact name as the Channel ID. For example, if you wanted to post notifications to a channel called “General,” then you’d use “General” as the Channel ID.

Once you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, save your Power Automate workflow. 

Now, whenever an employee marks a task as complete in the Planner, a message will be posted to Teams automatically. 

Never miss another deadline: Post reminders to Microsoft Teams

 

Missed deadlines are always bad for business. 

Maybe remote working has left some of your employees feeling disconnected and out-of-the-loop. Perhaps your employees have a larger-than-normal workload and you’re worried they might overlook an important deadline. Or maybe you simply want to give employees a helpful heads-up whenever there’s a deadline looming. 

You can use Power Automate to notify your employees about any tasks that are due tomorrow. With this workflow in place, Power Automate will post a daily message to Microsoft Teams, listing all the tasks that are due tomorrow. 

To create this workflow:

● In Power Automate, search for the following template: “Post a daily message to Microsoft Teams with Planner tasks due tomorrow.” Select this template when it appears.

 

● Read the description, and if you’re happy to proceed then click “Continue.” Power Automate will now open this template for editing. 

● Click to expand the “Recurrence” section and specify how frequently Power Automate should generate these notifications, ranging from every second, to once per month. 

● Next, move to the “List tasks” section and click to expand.

● You’ll now need to enter the Planner ID. As we saw in the previous workflow, you can retrieve this information by launching the Planner application and copying the “planId=YOUR-PLAN-ID” value.

 

● Back in Power Automate, click to expand the “If yes / Post Message” section.

● In this section, you’ll need to enter your Team ID. To retrieve this information, log into your Microsoft Teams account. 

● In Teams’ left-hand menu, select the “Teams” tab.

● Find the Team where you want to post your notifications, and click its accompanying three-dotted icon. Select “Get link to team.”

● In the subsequent popup, copy the link that appears. This link should contain the following section, which is your Team ID value: 

groupId=THIS-IS-YOUR-GROUP-ID 

● Copy this value. 

● Switch back to your Power Automate flow. 

● Add your Teams ID value to the “Post Message: Team” field. 

● In “Channel,” type the name of the channel where you want to post your messages.

● When you’re happy with the information you’ve entered, click “Save.” 

Now, notifications will be posted to your nominated Microsoft Teams channel, at the intervals specified by you.

More to explore: Check out these 3 Power Automate templates

 

Ready to automate even more monotonous, everyday tasks? Check out some of our other Power Automate tutorials: 

● Automated work and location tracker. Avoid all the time-consuming admin typically associated with managing a remote team, by building an automated time and location tracker

Send a Working From Home email. Notify your manager that you plan to work from home, with the tap of a button on your smartphone or tablet. 

Create an automatic vacation request and approval platform. Take the pain out of submitting, reviewing and approving your staff’s’ annual leave.

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