Both Asana and Microsoft Planner are fairly straightforward task management and project management tools. Asana is an online task and project management suite that 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.

Microsoft Planner, however, is an online application that’s part of the Microsoft Office 365 integrated ecosystem which enables users to track tasks and projects. Its features include task groups, swimlanes, deadlines, task assignments and notes.

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Recommended Alternative: Hive SPONSORED

Businesses in need of an all-in-one solution to centralize projects, tasks, and team communication might find Hive the better option. Hive boasts a similar suite of Kanban boards, Gantt charts, and other project views, but its focus on hybrid teams, robust collaboration features, and intuitive interface set it apart from the alternatives. See how it compares below, or visit Hive and try it for yourself.

Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Comparison

FeaturesAsanaMicrosoft PlannerHive
(Sponsored)
Team collaboration toolsYesYesYes
Project viewsKanban, Gantt, list, calendar, timelineKanban, calendar, table, timelineKanban, Gantt, table, calendar, team, summary, filters, portfolio
Time trackingOnly in higher tier plansNoYes
Mobile appYesYesYes
Free planYesNoYes
Starting price (billed monthly)$13.49 per user$8 per user (included in Office 365 subscriptions)$18 per user
VISIT ASANAVISIT MS PLANNERTRY HIVE TODAY

Asana and Microsoft Planner: Pricing

Asana has a free Basic plan and several paid premium plans. Compared to Planner, it is less expensive for individuals and teams who need the platform’s core features; the Basic plan is $0 and free forever, while the next pricing tier, Premium, is $10.99 per user per month billed annually. Asana has a Business pricing tier that costs $24.99 per user per month billed annually and an Enterprise plan that requires prospective users to contact Asana for a quote.

In comparison, Microsoft Planner is part of Office 365, which has various subscription plans. The cheapest Office 365 plan that includes Microsoft Planner is Microsoft 365 Business Basic which costs $6 per user per month. If your organization is already using Office 365, the cost of Microsoft Planner is equally negligible.

There are two more Microsoft Business plans, Standard and Premium which cost $12.50 and $22 per user per month billed annually. The final tier is Microsoft 365 Apps for business which is billed at $8.25 per user per month, also at an annual subscription. However, it may not be worth becoming a new Microsoft 365 user solely for access to Microsoft Planner. For more on Asana and Microsoft Planner, check out our full Asana review and full Microsoft Planner review.

Feature comparison: Asana vs. Microsoft Planner

Time tracking

Figure A

Time-tracking in Asana.
Time-tracking in Asana

Asana delivers a native time-tracking (Figure A) feature that enables its users to track the time they need to complete tasks and record the time they spend on tasks. This can be done both manually and automatically and time-tracking features can report on data in dashboards.

Microsoft Planner, however, doesn’t offer a native time-tracking feature, with third-party integrations being the best bet to enable time-tracking within Planner.

Workflow automation

Figure B

Creating rules in Asana.
Creating rules in Asana

Asana offers workflow automation features that allow you to automate routine actions and tasks, making project management more efficient. You can build custom workflows and automations without having to write a single line of code. Asana handles automation through multiple features, one of the most notable being Rules (Figure B), which sets up rules, instantly assigns tasks and automates across tools.

As for Microsoft Planner, there are no built-in workflow automation features. However, users can leverage Microsoft Power Automate to build automated workflows. With Power Automate, users can set up triggers and actions across multiple Microsoft 365 apps, including Planner. But it’s still not as integrated as Asana and may require additional setup.

Integrations

Asana integrates with many third-party solutions, such as Salesforce, Dropbox, Gmail and Power BI, while 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 own, Asana has a substantial edge. However, Asana has stricter security requirements for integrations, which can reduce the ease of integration with third-party applications.

Collaboration

Figure C

Planner board on iPadOs.
Planner board on iPadOs

Asana provides many avenues for team collaboration, including task comments, project conversations and team pages. This makes it easier for team members to communicate and collaborate within the platform. On the other hand, Planner’s collaboration (Figure D) features can be seen in its Planner boards, where teams can organize and track tasks. Additionally, Planner’s collaboration capabilities are reflected in its seamless integration with Microsoft Teams. While it may not have as many built-in collaboration features as Asana, its Teams integration makes it a great choice for team collaboration.

Ease of use

Figure D

Kanban board in Planner.
Kanban board in Planner

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. Both tools offer Kanban boards (Figure E) that are easy to use and easy to follow. Users who are familiar with Microsoft products should be able to begin using Microsoft Planner immediately and without any trouble. And while Asana is relatively easy to use, it is still a complex project management tool that may have an initial learning curve for teams that have never used a project management and planning tool before.

Asana pros and cons

Pros

  • Thorough automation and delegation capabilities.
  • Has a great variety of customization options.
  • More than 350 third-party integrations.

Cons

  • Has lots of features that can overwhelm new users.
  • Small teams may find the premium tiers to be expensive.
  • The free version is limited for teams.

Microsoft Planner pros and cons

Pros

  • Great team collaboration features.
  • Seamless integration with the Microsoft ecosystem.
  • Easy to set up and use.

Cons

  • Limited third-party integrations compared to Asana.
  • Needs an eligible Office 365 work or school subscription and doesn’t support Office 365 personal accounts.
  • Fewer customization options compared to other project management tools.

Methodology

We examined each product’s website to get a basic understanding of who each tool is for, what they offer and how they price their tools. This was followed by reading through user reviews to understand how real-world users respond to each project management software. Then we tested each tool to get first-hand experience with it. Our testing was on Windows and iPadOS to gauge the feel of each tool on more than one platform.

Should your organization use Asana or Microsoft Planner?

Asana and Microsoft Planner are different enough that the answer to which project management tool is right for you should immediately become apparent. Do you need third-party integrations? Are you looking for a simple task and project management system for your team? Asana is the better fit. Are you already using Microsoft products and looking for a task and project management system that will integrate well with your existing tech stack? Microsoft Planner is a great choice.

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 that’s already included and integrated into your current office suite.

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