Do you have a 'co-working mindset' and 'ephemerally involve others' in work?

This is what Microsoft Office now makes possible with 'GigJam' and 'Planner'

In the olden days, when Reg hacks rode dinosaurs to work and used chisels and stone to write stories, Microsoft Office offered four applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access.

These days Office is a sprawling affair with new bits that Microsoft's pitching at those “with a co-working mindset” and keen to be empowered to “spontaneously and ephemerally involve others in your work.”

One of the new bits is “Planner”, a collaboration tool that allows teams to share to-do lists and work together on tasks. There's some project management smarts, too, and everything has Microsoft's new “don't call it flat” design, with lots of tiles and coloured squares. Planner's been in beta for a while but was made generally available on Monday.

The ShinyHappy spiel for Planner says you'll like it because “all your team’s discussions and deliverables stay with the plan and don’t get locked away across disparate applications.” Does that sound a bit like SharePoint, evolved. Which would be no bad thing!

Subscribers to Office 365 Enterprise E1–E5, Business Essentials, Premium and Education subscription plans will get it as part of their current plans.

A second new Office member, GigJam, will arrive later this year. The ShinyHappy on this one is the co-working mindset” stuff we quoted above. The translation is that the tool lets you make selections from documents so you don't have to ask collaborators to consider the whole thing, As Microsoft's spiel explains, “Need to discuss a draft contract with a customer? Just send over the right paragraphs to their phone, no need to send the entire file. In a huddle? Show a draft brochure to your designer, but only the text to your copywriter.”

Of course you can send these snippets to any device capable of executing Office 365.

The intent here looks to be making documents “snackable”, rather than monoliths that have to be considered in their entirety. In your correspondent's experience this may not be a bad thing as people love to offer opinions in fields beyond their expertise. As of today, GigJam's in a preview (signups here) and full release is expected by year's end.

Office 365 is clearly not your father's office. But then we're guessing your father would never “spontaneously and ephemerally involve others” in anything. ®

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