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.
SEE: Checklist: Project management (TechRepublic Premium)
Asana and Microsoft Planner are two of the best project management tools on the market, so it can be challenging to select the platform that works best for your specific business needs. Let’s compare the two project management tools to determine which is best for you and your organization.
- What is Asana?
- What is Microsoft Planner?
- Asana vs. Microsoft Planner at a glance
- The best features of Asana
- The best features of Microsoft Planner
- How is Asana different from Microsoft Planner?
- Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Head-to-head feature comparison
- Should your organization use Asana or Microsoft Planner?
- Top project management software recommendations
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.
What is Microsoft Planner?
Microsoft Planner is an online application that’s 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.
Asana vs. Microsoft Planner at a glance
|Price||Free or $10.99 per month||$6/month|
|Integrations||Google Drive, Jira Cloud, Slack, Power BI, Tableau, Salesforce, Dropbox and more||Microsoft 365 and other Microsoft products|
|Support||Email, training, tickets||Tickets|
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 the following:
- Subtask creation: Larger tasks can be broken into smaller, more manageable steps, which can then be combined 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: Tasks can be organized by calendar, kanban, list or timeline view, 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)
The best features of Microsoft Planner
Microsoft Planner’s integration with the Microsoft ecosystem is its biggest strength. Some of Microsoft Planner’s other best features include the following:
- Task groups: Users can organize tasks into groups, which can be useful for categorizing tasks or keeping track of different project phases.
- Advanced grouping features: 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 top features, such as the ability to create subtasks or easily integrate with third-party solutions.
SEE: Asana Software Review (TechRepublic)
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.
By comparison, Microsoft Planner is solely a team-based task management application. Because they serve different purposes, Microsoft Planner can be used side-by-side with Microsoft Teams as either web-based or iPhone or Android applications.
SEE: Feature comparison: Time tracking software and systems (TechRepublic Premium)
How is Asana different from Microsoft Planner?
The biggest difference between Asana and Planner is the ecosystems they are part of. Asana is not part of the Microsoft ecosystem and does not integrate with Microsoft products. In contrast, 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, while Microsoft Planner almost exclusively integrates with other Microsoft products.
Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Head-to-head feature comparison
Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Audience
Asana is typically used by businesses that do not use Office 365. It is a favorite of widespread remote teams and others searching for a simple and affordable task management suite. Microsoft Planner is mainly used by businesses that are already using Office 365 products.
Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: 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.
Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Support
Asana offers a few support options, including a knowledge base, community forum and email support. Microsoft Planner, on the other hand, primarily provides support through the Office 365 support website. Asana’s support is more comprehensive than Microsoft Planner’s support program, but both platforms offer solid support and have active user communities for troubleshooting.
Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Pricing
Asana has a free Basic plan and several paid premium plans. Most teams will only need the Basic plan’s features and functions. In comparison, Microsoft Planner is part of Office 365, which has various subscription plans. The cheapest Office 365 plan that includes Microsoft Planner is $6 per user per month.
Asana 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. If your organization is already using Office 365, the cost of Microsoft Planner is equally negligible. However, it may not be worth becoming a new Microsoft 365 user solely for access to Microsoft Planner.
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. 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 vs. Microsoft Planner: Time tracking
Microsoft Planner offers a time tracking feature while Asana does not. If a project requires users to bill based on team member hours spent, Asana users will need to integrate Asana with a third-party application that offers a time tracking feature. This is often an added hassle and expense.
Should your organization use Asana or Microsoft Planner?
Asana and Microsoft Planner are different enough that the answer for which project management tool is right for you should immediately become apparent. When choosing between Asana vs. Microsoft Planner, consider the following:
- If you need third-party integrations or are looking for a simple task and project management system for your team, Asana is likely a better fit.
- If you are already using Microsoft products and are 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.
Read next: The 10 best project management software and tools (TechRepublic)