Microsoft releases task tracking Planner app for Office 365

Watch your back, Trello.

Microsoft has irregularly introduced new features for its subscription-only Office 365 suite, like Sunrise integration with Calendar and smart car interoperability, but its latest gets back to the office suite's roots. Last week, Microsoft released its team productivity app Planner for free to eligible Office 365 subscribers, which it first teased back in September.

Planner follows the standard Trello and Asana model of task management for teams: Set up custom columns for different work stages, create cards for certain tasks and drag them around to track progress. There's also a tab to evaluate how a group is doing on tasks, with cute color-coding to denote which are assigned, late, in progress or completed. That visualization might give Planner a leg up over competitors, making it easier to see the bottlenecks slowing down the whole project.

Subscribers with eligible plans (including Enterprise E1–E5, Business Essentials, Premium and Education) should see Planner popping up automatically in their Office 365 app list in the next few weeks, according to an Office 365 blog post.