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How Email notification works in Microsoft Planner? – Part I

Disclaimer: The contents mentioned in this article below describes the current functionality of Microsoft Office 365 Planner and may or may not change in the mere future.

Office 365 Planner.jpg

In this blogpost, let us see how E-mail notifications work with Microsoft Planner. Planner is a planning application available on the Microsoft Office 365 platform. Planner enables users and teams to create plans, assemble and assign tasks, share files, communicate and collaborate with other users, and receive progress updates via various means on the Office 365 platform. It makes it easy for your team to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, chat about what you’re working on, and get updates on progress.

With that being said, in this article I’ll be explaining how the email notification works in Microsoft Planner as this has been bit confusing to understand for beginners. Considering the length of the article, I will keep this in 2 blogposts. So, watch out for the second part on this series shortly.

Planner helps to stay on top of your work and you can also receive email notifications from Planner when the below conditions are met.

  1. When you create a Plan
  2. When you’re added as a plan member
  3. When a task is assigned to you by the owner
  4. When any plan member adds a comment to a task that you’ve commented on.
  5. When the owner of a plan has turned on task activity notifications in a plan that you’re a member
  6. When you have checked the Subscribe new members to notifications email option while creating a Plan

Although, these are the criteria’s for receiving email notifications, it’s confusing when you see these things in action. So, let me try to go through all the criteria’s here and help you understand how this works as a Plan owner and as a member of a Plan.

Let’s begin with seeing the different ways of creating a Plan in Office 365 Planner first …

  1. From the Office 365 App launcher:

a) Navigate to the Office 365 App launcher and you can access Planner from there to create a Plan.

Office365 App Launcher.pngb) Once you’re in the Planner hub you can create a Plan by using the New Plan button as shown in the image below

Office 365 Planner Hub.png

Note: Creating a Planner would create an Office 365 group on the backend as a Planner is officially backed up by an Office 365 group.

2: By creating a Team in Microsoft Teams:

When you create a Team in Microsoft Teams, it creates an Office 365 group on the backend and in addition to that it also creates a Plan in Microsoft Planner.

For instance, please check the image below where I’ve created a Team named as “Planner Test” in Microsoft teams and it has created an Office 365 group as well as a Plan in Microsoft Planner.

Microsoft Teams.png

 Corresponding Office 365 group:

Office 365 Groups.png

Corresponding Plan in Microsoft Planner:

MicrosoftPlanner.png

3. By accessing the below URL

When you access https://tasks.office.com/ it takes you to the below seen sign-in page and you can access Microsoft Planner from here.

microsoft planner login-2.png1. When you create a Plan:

As already mentioned above, creating a Planner will create an Office 365 group on the backend and you would get a welcome email to that Office 365 group as show in the email below.

Plan Creater.png

The intent of this Office 365 group from a Planner perspective is to receive email notifications for all the activities that happens in the Plan.

Note: You would receive this welcome email notification even if you’re the one who created the Plan and in addition to that all the members of Plan would receive this welcome email.

 2. When you’re added as a plan member:

When you add a member to this plan, even in such case the member would receive this welcome email from the Office 365 group which is tied to that Plan.

members.pngPlan Created.png

3. When a task is assigned to you by the owner:

Whenever a task is assigned to a member of a plan, an email notification will be sent to the Office 365 group conversation as shown in the image below.

Note: You would receive this notification on the Office 365 group conversation even if the task was not assigned to you and was assigned to a different member.

Plaanner- Task Assigned.png

However, this functionality of receiving email notification for task assignment is turned off by default in the Plan. You need to go click on the ellipsis above then go to Edit Plan à Check the “Send notifications about task assignment and task completion to the Plan's conversation feed” as shown in the image below to receive email notifications.  

Note: This won’t be checked by default.

Microsoft Planner Notification.png

Once this option is activated, notifications about task creation, assignment and completion will be sent to the Plans conversation (in the Office 365 group conversation) and not individually for each user. Currently planner does not send e-mail notification directly to the user’s inbox, rather it sends updates about the plan only to the Office 365 groups conversation.

If the user(s) want to receive notifications directly into their inbox, they need to be subscribed to the plan (Open the plan in Planner -> click on ellipses -> click on Follow plan inbox). This feature will allow users to receive email notifications right into their inbox, but keep in mind, that even if a task was assigned to another user, they will still be notified about this. Basically, every notification from the Group conversation will also be sent to the users that are subscribed to the plan. Please check the image below for reference.

Microsoft PLanner Follow Plan.png

Once you’ve clicked on “Follow plan in Inbox” as shown in the image above you will receive the notifications directly in your personal inbox as well as in the Office 365 group conversation as shown in the image below. The follow feature will send the notifications that are incoming to the Office 365 group mailbox, to the personal mailbox as well.

In my personal inbox:

microsoft planner inbox.png

In the Office 365 group conversations:

microsoft planner inbox-1.png

You can also verify whether you have followed the plan successfully by doing the same step once again as described and this time you will see “Stop following the plan“ instead of seeing “Follow the plan” which confirms that you have successfully subscribed to receive personal email notifications as shown in the image below.

MS Planner.png

Note: If you are the one that assigns the task to someone (even to yourself) you will not receive the notification in your personal email. It is considered unnecessary as you were the one who assigned it so Planner considers that you are already aware of this.

The email notification which you receive in your personal inbox may not be instant and you need wait for some time to receive it. However, that’s not the case for Office 365 group conversations where you would be receiving notifications from Planner instantly.

Okay, that’s all for now. Let us discuss the other 3 criteria in a follow-up blog on this. Stay tuned and voice your comments below.

Vignesh Ganesan

Written by Vignesh Ganesan

A Microsoft/ITIL Certified SharePoint & Office 365 Technical Specialist specializing in the implementation, management and support of SharePoint On-premises servers /SQL Server, Office 365 tenants, SharePoint migrations, Microsoft Intune & Azure. He shares his insights via his blog vigneshsharepointthoughts.com, and occasionally contributes to Hubfly too.