Author: Alison Clancy

Top 5 LiquidPlanner Blog Posts of 2012

2012 liquidplanner top blog postsEveryone’s talking about the new year, but we wanted to take one last look back at our Top 5 Blog Posts of 2012.  It was a big year for LP; we added a few team members, created new product features and launched LP4!

1. LiquidPlanner Project Management for Android – New Mobile App! by Liz Pearce

iPhone, schmiPhone. Android fans came out in droves when we announced last spring that LiquidPlanner would be fully functional on their smartphone of choice. It was a long time coming, but as a fiercely dedicated bunch, we knew we had to make our mobile apps compatible across all devices. You can download the app now on Google Play (it’s free for LP subscribers!).

2. LiquidPlanner + Box – Seamless Online Project Management and Documentation by Liz Pearce

Last summer, we announced a new integration with Box, a pioneer in online content management for enterprise. Needless to say, people were pretty excited. Over 82% of Fortune 500 companies use Box to securely collaborate on content with their team members, and you know we’re all about collaboration in the workplace. Box and LiquidPlanner – a match made in heaven.

3. 15 Reasons Why You and Your Team Should Be Tracking Time by Liz Rosen

One of our fearless Support leaders, Liz Rosen, wrote this incredibly helpful blog post in July that gave not one, not two, but 15 reasons why you should be tracking time. She demonstrates that even though time tracking can feel painful, the benefits extend much further than the accounting department.

4. Project Management Challenge: Say This, Not That by Andy Makar

“Just spit it out already!” Ever feel like yelling that at the guy in the cubicle next to you that won’t stop going on and on about “paradigm shifts” and “SPIs”? Our friend Andy Makar knows how you feel, which is why he penned this guide on avoiding overused terms so you can start saving time (and headaches). Will you take the Project Management Challenge?

5. LiquidPlanner Analytics: One-Click Project Intelligence by Liz Pearce

The big release announcements kept coming in 2012, with one of the biggest involving the unveiling of LiquidPlanner Analytics. Answer the following questions and more with our Custom Report Builder:

–        How is my team spending their time? (Activity Report)

–        Which client drove the most billable hours last month? (Client Report)

–        How much available time does my team have next month? (Team or Person Report)

Yes, it was a pretty good year, and it looks like 2013 will be even better! What would you like to see us write about next?

(image via)

December Release: Meet the NEW LiquidPlanner!

LiquidPlanner was born out of the need for a better approach to project management. Over the years, we’ve talked to hundreds of customers, running all kinds of projects across all kinds of teams. The common thread among them, almost without exception, is a desire for simplicity, for ease of use, and for speed in the tools they use every day to get work done.

When our founders first got together to dream up a concept for an online project management tool, they wanted to build something that every person on the project team could use — not just the project manager. According to a recent study, over 75% of our customers are now using LP every single day to manage, track and collaborate on the important projects they’re working on. It’s often those “every day” interactions that can make – or break – your experience with any product. That’s why, in this release, we focused on making LP effortlessly straightforward.

It all started a few months ago with LiquidPlanner 4.1, which included:

And this weekend, we rolled out more than 50 additional enhancements, all designed to make your experience even better than before.  See key features below or check out all release notes for LP4.2.

Projects Tab Redesign

We’re giving you back some prime screen real estate with this release. The header has been streamlined to save you space and to simplify views and menus. “Favorites” allows you to configure and save your optimal views.

Single Page Editing

Say adios to the old detail pane. Now you can interact with your project and task information in full-screen mode. Quick links (with item counts) at the top jump you down to comments, documents, notes, analysis and more without going through the hassle of switching views. Inline editing and instant saves will cut down the clicks and wait time for your most regular updates.

Usability Enhancements

We’ve introduced a number of small but important changes throughout this release that we don’t want you to miss:

  • Use the “Share” (globe menu) or right click on the plan item to get it’s email address
  • Filter buttons are now consolidated under the new Filter icon, where you can create and edit cumulative filters
  • New “Personal Status Report” on the My Work tab
  • Owners, co-owners and managers can download the members table into a .csv file
  • And more!

We hope to continue to make your life easier with each new release and we look forward to hearing your feedback at support@liquidplanner.com.

Times Are A Changin’: Get A Preview of What’s Next for LiquidPlanner

You might hear us talking a lot about things like collaboration, teams and scheduling, but you might not have heard too much from us about usability. What good is a tool if it’s not easy to use? As a company, we have always worked extremely hard at making LiquidPlanner one of the most radically simple online project management tools, and with this latest release, we can guarantee that any user from any background or experience level will be able to start organizing their projects with us in no time.

I don’t want to give too much away here, but I did want to give you an exclusive sneak peek at what you can expect next from LiquidPlanner. Check out our LiquidPlanner 4 Preview Video to get a great visual of the upcoming changes, as well as a personal product tour by our Chief Product Officer Charles Seybold and Support Manager Mary Ellen:

Here’s what some of our customers had to say:

“The Analytics gallery relating to specific item highlighted is excellent…Full screen mode with edit option should prove very useful.”

“I admire the way you improve your product every time. I love the way you are focusing on interaction, usability and interface.”

“I LOVE the cumulative filters and the ease of taking choices off the filter. Way way cool.”

What do YOU think? Post your reactions in the comments – we’d love to hear from you! Don’t forget to come back next week after the launch for more details, instruction, and information.

Meet the LiquidPlanner Ambassador of Greenland: Kristian Sørensen, IT Management Nuuk

We’ve known Kristian Sørensen for a few years now, and as the Official LiquidPlanner Ambassador for Greenland (at least that’s what we call him) and an overall swell guy, we thought it would be fun to shine a light on how he manages his unique projects. Here are 7 fun facts about Kristian:

1. Before his current position, Kristian held an internal government position as the head of IT for healthcare. At first he was managing 300 separate issues, then the number quickly grew to 500 and became overwhelming. He tried to manage them in a spreadsheet, but that became unwieldy. Version control was a huge problem, with many different people accessing and updating the spreadsheet and then sending different versions around via email. He needed a tool that would easily show growth against the budget, allowing him to report back to his senior managers on progress.

2. Greenland is faced with a unique set of IT challenges. The country is vast and sparsely populated — only 55,000 inhabitants in a country that’s roughly the size of Europe. IT systems must be designed to serve these remote populations without a lot of staff to manage problems that arise.

3. He didn’t like LiquidPlanner at first. It’s true: Kristian wasn’t our #1 fan in the beginning. He felt like LP was more than he needed. However, he wanted more insight into prioritization than was provided by Microsoft Project, so once he looked closer, he found that he really liked LiquidPlanner’s ability to automatically change the timeline for a project when a certain dependency was altered.

4. He fell in love with LiquidPlanner while he was falling out of love with his job.  Kristian ultimately decided to start his own business, and decided to use LP  from Day One at his own consultancy:  IT Management, Nuuk. He started his IT consultancy firm in January 2011, and now has five consultants working with him to serve both the private and public sector. He has quickly grown from five to ten clients and now often manages more than thirteen projects at one time.

5. The projects that Kristian manages vary hugely in scope and type. One project might be a 40 hour job, while another  might take more than 1,000 hours to complete. In addition, one might be fixing a complex technical problem, while another is providing a fully detailed proposal and budget.

6. He has come to depend on LiquidPlanner to provide him with a deep level of insight into each of his projects. LiquidPlanner shows him the full scope of work and how much time is estimated for each consultant. He knows exactly where they are spending their time and can ensure each is fully utilized, but not over-extended. “It’s so great for me, as a manager, to know what’s in the pipeline and to feel confident we have the right resources available to deliver a stellar end result for each one of our customers,” says Kristian.

7. Kristian’s team benefits greatly from the collaboration functionality in LiquidPlanner. Because his team members spend a lot of their time at client sites, they’re rarely in the office at the same time. They use comments to inform one another about progress and status, allowing them to make important decisions in less time. The consultants can get all the relevant information in one central place, reducing the need for meetings and email.

By centralizing collaboration, Kristian’s team ensures that projects are moving forward effectively. Before LiquidPlanner, all the information pertaining to a project  lived in a consultant’s inbox or hard drive. So, when a person was out of the office, sick for the day, or on vacation, progress on the project would grind to a halt because the information could not be accessed. Now with LiquidPlanner, Kristian’s team can work seamlessly and each consultant can pick up where the other left off, reading comments/notes related to the projects and moving the ball forward toward completion.

We want to congratulate Kristian for all of his success over the years, and we’re honored to be part of his team. Do you consider yourself an LP Ambassador in your country? Leave your story in the comments below!

Introducing: Michelle Flandreau, VP of Marketing at LiquidPlanner

There’s a new sheriff in town in the Marketing Department at LiquidPlanner, and her name is Michelle Flandreau. With a resume that includes both Nordstrom and Expedia, we could not be more excited to have Michelle on the team. She’s only been here for a grand total of two weeks, but what better way is there to get to know someone than by giving them a short and sweet Employee Q&A?

Q) Welcome to LiquidPlanner! You’ve only been with us for a short time. Do you have advice for other people who are starting new jobs?

My advice to anyone starting a new position is to talk to as many people in the company as possible and listen to what they have to say about what the company does well, where there are opportunities, etc.  I don’t always follow this advice, as I get so excited to jump in and get started. This is a good reminder for me however to sit back and listen!

Q) What makes you passionate about marketing?

I like to understand the customer and how they engage with a product.  It’s rewarding to create customer loyalty and see how that impacts the bottom line.  I could really nerd out on marketing, if you want me to go on.

Q) What do you think you bring to the LiquidPlanner team?

I joined the LiquidPlanner team because they are a truly nice group of people with a passion for their industry and for customer service.  I am also a passionate person and like to set goals and work as a team to accomplish those goals.  I feel lucky to be here.

Q) What do you like to do outside the office?

I like to EAT!  I am a big fan of dinner parties or brunch with family and friends.

Q) What’s your favorite feature in LiquidPlanner?

My favorite feature within LiquidPlanner is assigning tasks – is that wrong?  It’s great to collaborate and stay on task with what needs to get done.  Tasks are assigned to me and I can assign tasks to others.  This collaboration helps clearly define who is responsible for what, which is a very efficient way to work.

Q) If you could work in any other profession, what would you choose?

No questions, I would be a wedding planner.  I like having a plan and executing on the plan, and also happen to be a bit obsessed with weddings.  I’m a sucker for love.

Q) Go-to karaoke song?

Nope, I don’t go there and you wouldn’t want me to.

Q) Where’s your favorite place in the world?

My favorite place in the world is where ever my family is, but that’s a bit cheesy.  My favorite vacation spot is Italy – any city in Italy.  I’m a big fan of the food, culture and overall pace of life.

(second picture via)

Employee Q&A: Josh Gross, Software Developer at LiquidPlanner

Josh is the newest addition to the LiquidPlanner dev team, so of course we had to officially induct him by forcing (I mean, respectfully asking him) to take the LiquidPlanner Employee Q&A. Find out what he loves about his job, as well as what meal he would eat every day if he could. You might even learn a new word or two (invented by Josh, of course).

Q) What do you do at LiquidPlanner?

I write software.

Q) Such a…concise answer. What makes you passionate about your job?

I am constantly learning. It feels like I touch a new language every day, and with new technologies comes new ways of thinking. Adjusting and expanding my mindframe (that’s a word now, by the way) is challenging but richly rewarding.

Q) What do you think you bring to the LP team?

I’m the junior member of the dev team, and I think I bring an open mind and a positive attitude.

Q) What are your other hobbies, other than coding like a boss?

I’m an amateur body-builder.

Q) What’s your favorite feature in LiquidPlanner?

The collaborative features are my favorite. Being able to exchange comments, reassign tasks, attach documents and share screenshots all in one place is so convenient. It minimizes the friction of collaborating so much that it just feels completely natural.

Q) If you could work in any other profession, what would you choose?

I’d love to write emotional novels, or quirky indie movies no one really understands. There’s something so fascinating and romantic about the life of a writer. Either that, or the GM of the Seahawks.

Q) You have to bring the same lunch to work for seven days straight. What do you pick?

Firecracker sandwich from Tub’s Subs in Lake City and a bottle of unsweetened iced tea. I actually might do this even if I don’t have to.

Q) What’s your favorite saying?

“For many years I was self-appointed inspector of snowstorms and rainstorms, and did my duty faithfully, though I never received one cent for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

Oh, Canada! PMI Global Congress 2012 Recap

As I write this blog post, I’m sitting in my sweatpants, surrounded by Emergen-C laced water, peppermint tea, a roll of toilet paper masquerading as a box of tissues, and ice cream. Yes, I’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is a 12 hour long nap (just kidding, boss!).

But you know what? Getting slightly derailed today by a wayward virus was totally worth it. Exhibiting last weekend at PMI Global Congress 2012 in beautiful, if unpleasantly cold, Vancouver was one of those experiences that you don’t have too often. Not only did the LiquidPlanner team and I have a great time showing off our brand new booth and newly designed product while meeting like-minded colleagues from every background and country, but we also took the city by storm in the form of an eating marathon I like to refer to as LP’s Food Tour: Vancouver Style.

So without further ado (plus I’m running out of toilet paper/tissues and will need to restock if there’s any hope of breathing out of my nose in the near future), here are my Top Three Moments from PMI Global Congress 2012, paired with our Top Three Meals.

1. Seeing our new booth put together on a conference floor for the first time. 

No, I’m not a certified project manager, but I am someone who takes on projects and is responsible for seeing them from start to finish. So please forgive me if I take special pride in seeing my baby walk for the first time at PMI Global Congress. After months of planning, meetings, designer consultations, and one big ol’ deadline that came and went like a thief in the night, the booth came out exactly how we wanted. It’s simplistically modern. It tells you just enough to make you want to come to the booth to find out more about what we do. It’s a shade of blue that rivals the waters of Greece (I’ve never been there but I’m just going to assume). And it made it all the way to Canada in one piece, a day before the conference started. I think it’s only right to take pride in a job well done, don’t you think?

Vancouver Meal Pairing: Poutine

2. Dale Driver mentioning us in his talk on Monday.

If I had a gold coin for every time we wrote on this blog about how much we loved our customers, I would be swimming in a bath tub full of money while wearing a finely tailored vest and top hat, a la Scrooge McDuck. Let’s add one more coin to that pile, shall we?

Unbeknownst to us, Dale Driver, manager of the IT PMO at the University of West Georgia, was scheduled to give a talk at the conference on Monday morning called, “Using Project Management Governance to Clear the Logjam.” And in that talk, he devoted not one, but TWO slides to LiquidPlanner and went into detail about why he thinks we’re worth our salt as a PM tool. There’s nothing better than seeing someone take your message and spreading it to the masses because they believe in you so strongly.

So let’s all give a major hat tip to Dale, and also to all the people he sent our way during the conference. If I really was Scrooge McDuck, I would give my money-filled bath tub to him in a heartbeat.

Vancouver Meal Pairing: Samosas at Vij’s

3. Meeting a whole gaggle of new friends and colleagues. 

Perhaps shaking so many hands at the conference is in fact the reason why I’m at home drinking chicken soup broth like there’s a worldwide shortage, but what a great group of people to contract germs from!

Jen, Jason and I must have given hundreds of demos to people who had never heard of us, who were diehard fans, and people who were just confused as to why our pens were so large. I had nonstop conversations with project management professionals who were not only smart and kind, but who had their own unique perspective on what we (and the industry) were up to. Sometimes when you’re working with a product every day you can get wrapped up in it, and you might miss something obvious that’s right in front of your face. That’s why it’s so important to get out there and talk to those who are seeing your work for the first time. This is when the real epiphanies and A-HA! moments happen.

So whether you came to our booth for the conversation or if you just wanted to marvel at the fact that Jen and I were both wearing 3-inch heels for six hours straight every day, know this: we really appreciate it.

Vancouver Meal Pairing: Sushi (But More Importantly, Poutine Sushi)

In summary, here are the main things I’ve taken away from PMI Global Congress 2012:

  1. Working on a booth for months at a time will be worth it.
  2. Our customers are great.
  3. Our new friends and potential customers are equally great.
  4. Use more hand sanitizer.
  5. When in doubt, keep eating.

[Video] Got 5 Minutes? Take the LiquidPlanner Crash Course

You’re probably aware that we’ve been making some big changes around here, thanks to LiquidPlanner 4.1. And with any new release comes new design, new featuresnew webinars, and you guessed it: new videos! That’s why I’m proud to present our latest video, LiquidPlanner 4.1: Crash Course. This video was designed for even the busiest project manager who wants to learn about LiquidPlanner and our recent updates, including Status ReportsMy Work, and more. We’ll bet you a whole shiny penny that you’ll learn something new!

Behind the Scenes

Fun fact: We made the video above completely in-house. Why did we decide to do that, and more importantly, how? Listen in as Charles and Evan discuss what hardware and software they used in the making of Crash Course, and find out how the recording process really went.

UPDATE: A more recent version of LiquidPlanner has been released since we wrote this post. Check out our new training videos here.

4 Things You’re Going to Love About Our Next Release

Love. The word packs a big punch for only four little letters. Love is all you need! Love is a many splendored thing! Or so I hear.

Though the word should be used carefully, I think you are going to love the changes that are about to hit LiquidPlanner in our upcoming series of LP4 updates.  We will begin rolling these changes out in our next release on Saturday, September 29th.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Changes? Changes are scary! But trust me – these changes are good. In fact, let me give you a sneak peek at four of the major new features, which we’ll be discussing in more detail during our LiquidPlanner: Next Steps webinar. (UPDATE: recorded version available.)

1. Brand New UI

We’re redesigning the UI, with a sleeker look, efficient navigation, and easier editing capabilities.

New UI LP4

2. Inbox

Inbox LP4

The Inbox is a new plan container created to facilitate process flow. You’ll find it right at the top of your plan. Tasks in the Inbox do not get scheduled, so this is a great place to add new work that needs to be reviewed before being placed into your schedule.

3. My Work

The My Work tab is where you’ll now find your timesheet.  It’s also where you’ll find the new Active Tasks page, which is a completely redesigned version of the old My Tasks page.  We’re especially excited about the rich new edit pane on this page.  It allows you to make all sorts of edits to tasks without opening and closing a pane or navigating away to a different section of the application.

My Work LP4

4. Status Report

The new Status Report replaces the old Upcoming Report and Progress Report.  This one report will show you hours logged and hours remaining, including specific tasks and totals by person.

Status Report LP4

To get more details on these features and (much) more, make sure you watch the recorded preview webinar.

Update: Read the official release notes on the Support site