McMaster University

McMaster University

Staying on Plan

We are using Microsoft Planner to capture our goals and associated objectives and using our priorities to manage our resources.

Our department uses Teams and Sharepoint to collaborate and store files. Each group is assigned to a different channel. Inside each channel, we have added a Planner tab to invoke the Planner App.

We are using the 'bucket' feature to capture our goals. We have three goals and therefore three buckets.

We are uing the 'task' feature to capture our projects, initiatives and objectives. These are sorted into one of the buckets.

We are using the 'tag' feature to assign our priorities, which are scored to enable prioritization.



We summarize each goal into one word. That word becomes the title of the bucket. Each task is sorted into one of the buckets, ensuring each task is on point with our plan. If a task does not fit one of the goals, the task is archived. We use one task to keep all the notes for tasks we are not using, as an idea-repository.


The task element in planner contains many fields into which to store information. We assign one task per one person, as our department is small.

The task allows for due dates, priority, labels, checklists, attachments, links, comments and notes.

In the notes section we outline the purpose of the task and describe what sucess looks like. This helps us stay focused on the end results.

In the priority section, we have given our priorities a score each. We assign a priority based on the points.

Scoring System
Prevention = 2 points
Emergency Response = 6 points
High Risk Hazard = 10 points

Prioritization by Points
Low = 0 points
Medium = 2 points
Important = 6-9 points
Urgent = 10+ points


We are using labels to categorize our tasks. If a task has elements of Prevention and Emergency Response, it is given both labels. The tasks are then scored and prioritized as above.

We also use labels to ensure we are accounting for work that we do, but which does not have a specific initiative running at present. An example would be "Manage JHSC". These types of tasks we add the label of 'invisible work'. This helps us keep these tasks in mind for areas of improvement.


We review our own planner tasks during our one on one meetings weekly.

We review new planner tasks during team meetings to introduce new topics or projects.

We bring our challenges and needs to team meetings for group discussion.

Everyone has access to all tasks and can check progress of a task themselves.


The charts feature in Planner allows for a summary of progress by status, bucket, priority and assignment. (Note each task shows a completion ratio of checklist items within that task)

Progress is categorized as complete (green), in progrss (blue), not started (grey) and overdue (red).

The status chart shows an overall rate of each completion status. Depending on your planner setup, you can determine what the idea progress chart should look like.

The bucket chart allows you to determine if each goal is supported adequately by work activites.

The priority chart ensures you are directing most of your resources to the most urgent topics and less resources to lesser topics.

The assigned to chart ensures you have a balanced workload among your team and spot any areas of capacity that can be utilized.

For Success

There are a number of things we have discovered using this tool to manage our strategic plan.

  • Each task description must be reviewed regularly to ensure it stays relevant.
  • Getting into the habit to assign due dates where there are no external due dates, keeps things moving forward.

To be continued....

Updated: 2022-04-28

html code for hit counter

html code for hit counter
Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Level Double-A conformance, W3C WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0