A Support Specialist Explains: Packages

Liz Rosen | September 12, 2012

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LiquidPlanner packages

At LiquidPlanner, I talk to a lot of customers, both new and old, and I get a lot of questions about Packages. For example: “How do I use them? Do I need to use them? How do I decide which way to use them?”

Let me tell you a little secret: there’s no single or even best way to use packages. It’s all about YOU and YOUR workflow. However, there are a few ground rules you should keep in mind.

Packages do two very helpful things for your project plan:

  1. Prioritize your work
  2. Organize your work

You don’t even have to choose between these two types of Packages.  You can use them both ways.  You can even use them together, at the same time.  No configuration necessary. Ready to go, right out of the box (no pun intended)!

Let me break it down for you with some examples:

Using Packages to Prioritize

A workspace with prioritization packages might look like this:

Chop Shop Packages

In the above scenario, the one guy working in this workspace has a bunch of projects, and they are all running concurrently.  As a sole proprietor, it’s critical to stay on top of what needs to be done each day, so packages are being used for cross-project prioritization.  This structure shows the user which of his tasks from various projects need to be done right away (ASAP), and which can be done next week or next month.

Here’s how it looks once the tasks from a few of the projects have been “packaged up”, creating priority-overrides:

 Chop Shop Packages Expanded

Using Packages to Organize

A workspace with organizational packages might look like this:

Worldwide Bigbiz Packages

A large company may start off by organizing their workspace into basic divisions.  These divisional packages are intended to make it easy to know which of the many projects are running in which part of the world, or perhaps being worked on by different teams of people.  For example, if a member only needs to work on projects in the USA package, they can simply filter to it, and the noise of the rest of the workspace can easily be ignored.  It’s almost like creating a workspace within a workspace.

OK, so now that we’ve got that clear, let’s layer.

Worldwide Big Biz doesn’t only need to organize geographically for their different project divisions – they also need some prioritization within each division.  No problem.  Just like Matryoshka dolls, you can nest packages inside of packages.  Here’s how that might look:

Worldwide Bigbiz Packages Expanded

What you see above is this: inside of each of the organizational packages are some prioritization packages.  The two “ASAP” packages exist to create priority overrides for two different teams within each division. Then I even took it a step further.  Here you can also see a “Pending Projects” package at the bottom of each division which is intended to hold projects that aren’t yet ready to be scheduled.  Once the projects are ready to go, they’ll get moved (or dragged) out of the “Pending” package.

Your workspace structure can be simple or complex.  Either way, you have the ability to match your workspace with the way you think about organizing and prioritizing your projects. The moral of the story is:  there’s no single package structure that is best for every team.  We definitely recommend that you huddle up with your colleagues and create a structure that most naturally represents the way you manage your work over time.