Asana versus Planner | Comparison of project management software


Asana and Microsoft Planner are two popular project management solutions. Compare features to see which one will help you finish your job on time.

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto/Shinyfamily

Both Asana and Microsoft Planner are pretty straightforward task management and project management tools. For those who are part of the Microsoft ecosystem, Microsoft Planner offers 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 out there. Let’s compare the two project management tools to determine which is better 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, allowing 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 the Asana home page.
Image: Asana

What is Microsoft Planner?

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

Screenshot of the Microsoft Planner website.
Picture: Microsoft

The best features of Asana

Asana simplifies task management – and, as far as project management software goes, it’s pretty robust. Some of Asana’s best features include:

  • Creation of subtasks: Break down big tasks into smaller, more manageable steps. Combine these steps into larger blocks or milestones.
  • Delegation of tasks: Tasks can be assigned to other people from within the task, making it easy to move tasks through the pipeline.
  • Full ratings: Each task includes detailed notes written via a WYSIWYG editor.
  • Several display styles: Organize tasks by calendar view, kanban board, list, or timeline, whichever is easiest to follow.

Asana lacks some of the more advanced Microsoft Planner features, such as task groups and swimlanes, but the Microsoft Planner suite also lacks some important features, such as subtasks.

TO 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 they are 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 integrates 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 greatest strength. Some of Microsoft Planner’s best features include:

  • Task groups: Users can organize tasks into groups, which can be useful for categorizing tasks or tracking different phases of the project.
  • Users can further organize tasks by person, due date, or other filter criteria. Swimlanes help visualize the progress and flow of a project.
  • Microsoft 365 integration: Microsoft Planner can integrate directly with other Office 365 solutions, such as Microsoft Teams. It is perhaps the best project management software for those who use 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 designed for both communication and collaboration. It includes chat, video conferencing, file sharing, and task management features. Microsoft Planner is only a task management application. It can be used side by side with Microsoft Teams.

TO SEE: Feature Comparison: Time Tracking Software and Systems (TechRepublic Premium)

Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Public

Asana is typically used by offices that don’t use Office 365, offices that operate remotely, or offices that are simply looking for a simple and affordable task management suite. Microsoft Planner is mainly used by companies that already use 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 doesn’t produce, Asana has a substantial advantage.

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 strong support and have active communities.

Asana vs. Microsoft Planner: Pricing

Asana offers 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 offers different subscription plans. The cheapest Office 365 plan that includes Microsoft Planner is $5 per user per month.

Asana is cheaper for individuals and teams that don’t 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

Both Asana and Microsoft Planner are simple project management tools, although Microsoft Planner may be less intuitive for users unfamiliar with the Microsoft ecosystem. People familiar with Microsoft products should be able to start using Microsoft Planner right away.

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
Corridors No Yes

Should your organization use Asana or Microsoft Planner?

Asana and Microsoft Planner are different enough that an answer becomes immediately obvious. 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 already use 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 diminish somewhat if you’re not already using Office 365. And if you’re already using Office 365, it makes sense to use a product that’s already included and integrated.


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