How we automatically create recurring tasks in Microsoft Planner

Task Management using Planner

The growth in clients utilising Microsoft Planner for task management in Office 365 has been incredible.  Team leaders are looking to have more visibility on tasks assigned.  Even individuals are loving being able to see all their tasks in the Planner app in Teams.  There has however been one major flaw, which has been highlighted often in the planner feedback forum.  We’ve not seen anything coming through on Microsofts blog posts to indicate this is going to come in the near future.
Working with our clients, we realise that most commonly team leaders were reopening tasks when they were completed so they reappear on the To Do list on the due date, however this broke any history or auditing of the tasks.  So we worked with those client and determined what is commonly required for creating recurring tasks in planner, we set out to build a solution.  We can setup this solution for you, or you can build it out yourself using this blog post.

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Recurring Planner Tasks with our Custom Solution

The concept of this solution is that you have a central list of “Task Templates” which everyday (currently 8am) runs a script to create any task in the assigned plan if the occurrence meets the criteria of today – for example, if today is Friday the 26th, the task will either be a Friday Task, or a 26th of the Month task.

You can then publish these to a mapped planner plan, it’s super simple and you don’t need to know how the backend works – just set and forget.

planner tasks

Using a central list to control the repeating tasks makes it simple to manage, from one location.  The list maps the task to multiple plans using the Planner ID.  Then using Power Automate, we have a daily flow running to find all tasks in the list and create a task in the mapped plan IF the conditions of the recurrence equals today.

 

Here’s how it works from a users perspective:

 

Create a new Recurring Planner Task

From the Recurring Planner Tasks List, you can add a new item in the central list. 

 

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Or to copy one, it is best to edit in Grid View.  Select the row, and copy into a new row, then make the changes before exiting Grid View.

 

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Mapping to a Planner Plan

To post a task to Planner we need to know the Planner ID and the Group ID.  These can be found in the URL of the plan itself.  From Team, navigate to the plan, then open in the browser:

 

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In the URL you’ll be able to copy out both the ID’s required.

 

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Assigning a person to the task

Assign the person who will get assigned to the task.  They will need to have access to the destination Plan, otherwise it’ll fail.

Adding Notes to the Task

Add a description, which will populate the Notes on the task.

Adding a Link to the Task

Add a link to the Task Link and a name to the Link Name, this will then populate on the task when it is created.  Good use case for this is to link to an excel spreadsheet if the task requires updating the excel.

Adding Checklist Items

Checklist Items need to be separated with a #, Don’t put a hash on the end, just between tasks.  Like the example below.

 

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Setting Start and End Dates.

These dates determine in which period the task will generate, for example, if you only want it to generate in during the year of 2021, you would set start to be 01/01/2021 and the end to be 31/12/2021.  In 2022 the tasks won’t be created, you’ll be able to delete the item from the recurring task list.

Setting Occurrence.
Occurrence is controlled by two fields.  Frequency and Occurrence.

First choose the Frequency, either Weekly or Monthly.  Then in the Occurrence column add the corresponding days.  If selecting Weekly, the occurrence needs to be 1-7, 1 is Monday and 7 is Sunday.  You can add Multiples separated with a comma “,”.

If choosing Monthly, the occurrence needs to be 1-31, bear in mind not all months have 31 days, so it might be best to use 28.  You can choose Multiples too, separated with a comma.

Below are some examples.

 

Resulting Task

The task that gets created will appear in the mapped planner, depending on what fields you populate will affect the outcome of the task, but for example, this task was triggered on a Friday, is linked to a Teams Channel, is due on the 26th March (which is the Friday), has 3 sub tasks and is assigned to the Business Refinery User:

 

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