M365 Changelog: Lightweight Plans in Planner

MC279089 – With the upcoming “Meetings” solution: New hybrid work innovations in Microsoft Teams Rooms, Fluid, and Microsoft Viva, meeting participants can quickly capture tasks and expect them to automatically sync into the Microsoft 365 Task Ecosystem (Planner, To do/Outlook, and Teams Task app). To enable this, meetings create a plan in Planner for the captured tasks.

To support this more ad-hoc form of task tracking, Planner now supports plans that don’t require an M365 Group, which Microsoft is calling “Lightweight plans”. Instead of using Groups, access to these plans is determined by a simple list of members stored in Planner that can contain any user with a valid AAD ID in that tenant (more details below).

The basic functionality of Lightweight plans is:

  • Lightweight plans can be created by meetings as described above, and through Microsoft’s Graph APIs. There is no current way to create them in Planner UI
  • Once created, Lightweight plans appear in Planner alongside existing Microsoft 365 Group plans, and can be interacted with via UI the same way
  • All members have equivalent permissions: Any existing member can add / remove other members, and create / edit / delete tasks and the plan itself
  • Plan features tied to M365 groups are disabled in these plans, incl. links to OneNote / SP Site, comments on tasks, and uploaded attachments
  • The Lightweight plan will be deleted when the last member is removed
  • There are no other changes to plan functionality for Lightweight Plans compared to existing Microsoft 365 Group plans

Additional notes:

  • There are no changes to Planner licensing or storage for Lightweight Plans compared to existing Microsoft 365 Group plans
  • “Lightweight plans” do not result in the creation of any objects in AAD

When this will happen

The APIs for Roster containers (which is how Lightweight plans are enabled, see below) will be enabled on Graph for all tenants starting in mid-September and expect to complete by mid-October.

How this will affect your organization

When this feature is released, plans can be created outside of Microsoft 365 groups. Lightweight plans are not subject to existing Microsoft 365 group controls.

What you need to do to prepare:

If you would like your tenant to be able to utilize “Lightweight plans” (i.e., plans that aren’t contained by a Microsoft 365 Group), you will need to make sure Roster containers are enabled (since this is how Microsoft enables Lightweight plans, as described below).

Alternatively, there are tenant admin settings that can disable the creation of Roster containers (and thus Lightweight plans) in a tenant: Disable the creation of Roster containers in your organization’s Planner tenant – Microsoft Planner | Microsoft Docs.

Note that disabling the creation of Roster containers means that your tenant will not be able to take advantage of the Meeting Notes integration with Task Ecosystem, such that tasks captured in a Meeting will not sync to M365 Task Apps.

In addition, see updated data export documentation that covers new Roster-related info.

How Roster containers relate to Lightweight plans

To enable Lightweight plans, Microsoft is introducing a new type of container in the Planner service, which they are calling “Roster containers”. Lightweight plans are simply the plans attached to Planner Roster containers.

Note that Roster containers are a Planner-only concept, and do NOT create objects in AAD. They are NOT an equivalent to M365 groups. A single “Roster container” can only contain a single Lightweight plan.