Author: Alison Clancy

Movies That Were Great At Project Management

We had such a blast writing (and discussing) last week’s post – Movies That Could Have Used a Project Manager – that we decided to return to our DVD library for a slightly different assignment: find movies that got the whole “project management” thing down. Whether they encompass impeccable scheduling abilities and effective collaboration skills, or the star turns out to be one heckuva leader, these are the movies that we think have the stuff of project management legend:

1. Ocean’s Eleven – The project: Rob three casinos. Not only has it never been done before, but each location houses a security system that rivals “most nuclear missile silos.” So what do you do? You hire George Clooney as your project manager, give him a team of eleven professional thieves (including Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, aka Achilles and Will Hunting), and watch them go to work. It’s just a shame that they couldn’t find a more attractive project team, you know?

2. Back to the Future – Great scheduling here. I’m going to assume everyone knows this story by now, so I’ll skip the big plot explanation, but Marty McFly gets his parents to fall in love after time traveling backwards 30 years and accidentally winning the affections of his own mother (not creepy at all). And he does so just before his parents’ images fade away from his only photograph from the future, and just before lightning hits the clock tower and sends him back to good ol’ 1985. Any questions?

3. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – I think it’s safe to say that Ferris Bueller would be an incredible project manager. He prepares for every possible scenario, he’s brilliant at crisis management, technologically savvy (for the 80s), and he’s also really, really great at lip synching, a much over-looked project management skill.

4. Kill Bill (Vol 1 & 2) – Excellent use of a prioritized to-do list.

5. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring – Great team, greater resources. Aragon’s got a sword, Legolas is bringing his bow and Gimli the Dwarf could never leave behind that axe. Best to be prepared before you head off towards the sunny, exotic location of Mordor.

6. Labyrinth – I will never not use an opportunity to express my love for this film. However, all personal bias aside, Jennifer Connolly is downright impressive here. She navigates a labyrinth, avoids the Bog of Eternal Stench, faces off with DAVID “COOLEST PERSON TO EVER LIVE” BOWIE, and still saves her baby brother Toby from turning into a goblin (spoiler alert!). What have you done today?

7. 127 Hours – Project managers handle a lot of curveballs everyday and make some hard tradeoffs, but I can guarantee that deciding to cut your own arm off takes the cake.

8. Armageddon – With Bruce Willis as your project manager and Michael Bay as the director, of COURSE it’s possible to stop an asteroid hurtling towards earth by using massive explosives and a team of deep-core drillers! Hope NASA really studied this film closely (you know, just in case).

9. Chicken Run – Project: escape out of the chicken coop. Only problem is: you’re a chicken. And what are chickens really bad at? Flying. Figure that one out, because this pack of plucky poultry sure did.

10. Poltergeist – As a parent, you have to teach your kids many important life lessons: make sure to look both ways when you’re crossing the street, don’t talk to strangers, and don’t get sucked into televisions by creepy house-loving ghosts. Getting your kid back once that’s happened? Not so easy, but it can be done, at least in this movie.

Did we miss anything? Let us know your picks in the comments!

Movies That Could Have Used a Project Manager

Have you ever watched a movie and as the credits rolled, you thought to yourself, “Well, that could have gone a lot differently if a project manager had been around.” No? Just us? Anyway, we thought we’d take a look through our DVD collections and pick out the movies that really should have cast a project manager amongst the usual ragtag group of kooky characters, starlets and leading men.  

1. 300 – Really? You’re only going to bring 300 guys to battle 100,000 Persians in the mountain pass of Thermopylae? As a friend put it, the Spartans were “woefully unprepared.”  Classic case of poor resource allocation skills.

2. The Social Network – I think it’s safe to say that Mark Zuckerberg and Eduardo Saverin had some collaboration issues, especially when Sean Parker stepped on the scene. Also, a good project manager would never throw his team member under the bus:

 

3. Alien – No situation needs “crisis management” like one where an alien baby pops out of your co-worker’s stomach.

4. Jaws – “You’re going to need a bigger boat.” Should have thought of that before you went out in the middle of the ocean on your toy tugboat to chase a monstrosity of a killer shark, Roy Scheider. This project plan would get an F- from me.

 

5. The Wizard of Oz – We love multi-project scheduling at LiquidPlanner, but there were way too many tasks being worked on at one time in this film. Finding a brain, a heart, courage AND a way home? If they had only prioritized a bit, the yellow brick road wouldn’t have seemed so long. I have to give it to Dorothy and crew though: I would never have seen a soporific poppy field as a potential project road block. When in Oz!  

6. Titanic – Call me crazy, but I think a project manager would have considered icebergs to be a bit of a problem while zooming an “unsinkable” ship around the Atlantic Ocean at night. But hey, what do I know?  

7. Toy Story – When Buzz becomes the favorite action figure in the toy box, Woody, the former cowboy in charge, gets upset and chaos ensues. If Andy, the little boy in the story, had read our blog post about change management and put some of those points into action, this conflict could have been completely avoided.  

 

8. Reservoir Dogs – Serious question: who was really in charge here? And would YOU listen to someone who referred to himself as Mr. Pink?

9. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – In this installment of the ‘Arry Pot-tah movies, Hermione uses a Time-Turner to attend more classes than time would usually allow. It’s meant for shorter periods of time travel, naturally. In project management, we unfortunately don’t have Time-Turners (being a Muggle is such a bummer sometimes), but we do have Timers in LiquidPlanner. Project managers, who can be masters when it comes to sticking to schedule, use them to help track (down to the minute) how long things REALLY take. Maybe Hermione should have been studying for her PMP Certification instead of for her Defense for the Dark Arts exam, am I right?

10. Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle – This was the popular pick amongst our Twitter followers when we asked for input for this post. The title of the film explains the basics: two guys named Harold and Kumar try to go to White Castle, and it doesn’t go very well (at one point, Neil Patrick Harris, aka Doogie Howser, M.D., steals their car). As one tweep put it, “Those guys had ONE task to get done and just look what happened!”

We’ve been getting great responses to this post – what movie would you like to see added to the list? Let us know in the comments!

3 Pieces of Project Info to Share with Your Clients (and 3 to Keep to Yourself)

Sharing With ClientsWhether you’re a marketing specialist, a graphic designer or a tattoo artist who refers to your garage as the “shop,” you probably have to deal with clients on a daily basis. These are your customers and your main source of revenue, which means that your relationship with them is key to running a successful business. That’s why we created Project Portals in LiquidPlanner, which allow you to collaborate with external stakeholders (including clients) in a secure way. This means that you can keep them in the loop on projects without spending hours creating status reports. Everybody wins, right?

But here’s an important question: how much information should you share with your clients, and what should you keep to yourself? Here’s our take:

Share:

  • Documents, comments and notes.  In LiquidPlanner, each shared project and task comes with a Details page that holds all the collaboration materials related to a project, such as attached documents, notes, links, and comments made between you and your team members. The fact that your client can sign in anytime he or she pleases and view all of the materials and information surrounding a project (without sending you an email request for it) is invaluable. Bonus? This kind of transparency will increase their confidence in your team, too.
  • Tasks. The “Tasks” page in the Project Portal is a list of project tasks that have been shared with the client by the project manager. Your clients can see who is responsible for each task, when the task is due, and how much work is remaining. You can also assign tasks TO your client, so if they need to review something for you, they’ll know it right away.
  • Real-time status updates. If you share your project’s real-time status with your client, they’ll always know how the project is progressing. The colored bar at the top of your portal shows the amount of completed work (green) relative to the work still remaining (blue). It also shows how far the expected completion date is from today’s date as well as the promise date. We’re living in a real-time world now; this feature will make sure your client is never left in the dark.

Don’t Share:

  • Private chit-chat. It’s great to comment back and forth with your clients about the work you’re doing for them right in LiquidPlanner – that way it’s captured in the project archive for reference. But what about your internal team’s conversation about how difficult the client is to please, or how to win their next project? Best not to share those on the Project Portal.
  • Unfiltered documents and collaboration materials. This might seem like a no-brainer to most of you, but I’m still going to say it for good measure: only share “external-facing” materials on your Project Portal. Your client probably doesn’t need to see “how the sausage is made.” If you wouldn’t present it in person, don’t post it to your Project Portal.
  • Your entry about them on Clients From Hell. They won’t think it’s funny. Trust me.

Do you have a horror story about over (or under) sharing? Post it in the comments!

Employee Q&A: Evan Hill, Account Coordinator

Evan QAMeet the new guy in the office: Mr. Evan Hill. Evan was recently hired to help out with Sales and Support, two of our most important departments at LiquidPlanner. With his past background in sales, his curiosity and enthusiasm, and his geniuine desire to help customers, Evan has been a great addition to the LiquidPlanner staff. Also: when it comes to making a mean nacho plate, he’s the guy you want to see.

Who are you and what do you do at LiquidPlanner?

I’m Evan Hill and I wear sales, account management, and support hats for different amounts of time every day.

You just started at LiquidPlanner a few months ago. Do you still feel like the new kid on the block?

To a degree I do, but this is an incredibly approachable team.  The folks here really set the bar for making the transition stress free.  No need for me to be “hanging tough.”

What are the most popular questions you’ve gotten from customers?

There’s a big push for certain types of reports and shared tasks.  There are also a lot of questions that really illustrate how diverse our user base is internationally; currency questions, alternate days to start the work week etc.

Gotten any crazy questions?

I don’t know if I’d call it crazy, but it definitely catches me off guard when a prospective client offers to fly me halfway across the globe to do a demo. I wish I could say yes every time!

Remember that time you made nachos during our company potluck lunch? Those were awesome.

I know! Thank you! I either overestimated the rest of the gang’s appetites or underestimated how much food everyone else would bring because there were some pretty massive leftovers (and I really wouldn’t recommend next-day nachos).

What makes you passionate about sales?

Making the sale itself. I wish I had a more original or interesting answer than that, but seeing a close is always big fun. I’m thinking about installing a full-size gong that I can bash to let everyone know when one comes in – it’d be great for productivity.

What’s your favorite feature in LiquidPlanner?

Import!  I know spreadsheets aren’t known for piquing interest in most people, but the way LiquidPlanner handles CSV imports blew me away the first time I tried it.  I’d just come to expect any import to an online service to either have high bug potential or require a ton of massaging, but this one is easy and gives the results you expect.

What’s the best thing about working at LiquidPlanner?

I love the robust interaction between the development and business sides of our team.  In my experience, these groups are typically walled off from each other, and I get a kick out of being able to access these guys regularly and share ideas with them – and our devs are geniuses.  I think this dialogue goes a long way, ensuring that our product is intuitively designed and well-targeted for what our existing clients want and what the market at large is looking for.

Saved the most important question for last: Favorite pizza topping?

A slightly smaller pizza.

4 Things A Young Project Manager Can Teach An Old(er) One

Young PM Social NetworkBack in December, Charles wrote a really interesting post called “Four Things An Old Project Manager Can Teach A Young One.” His argument was that project managers succeed when they have the prior experience to back up their decisions, and not just oodles of certificates and class time. As an expert in project management, he had some really great tips for the younger set:

  1. You’ll go farther if you focus on managing risk instead of projects.
  2. Never forget that The Talent is the talent.
  3. The best time to face hard news is early.
  4. Kiss process goodbye.

But what does the younger PM set have to offer to their elder colleagues? Sure, they may not have the experience of their peers, but they do have a unique perspective on project management processes, how a team should communicate, and how technology can help get things done without going over budget or over schedule.

1. Get social.

Younger project managers have grown up in the social media generation, and it’s second nature for them to collaborate with their peers in 140 characters. Though it may take the rest of the team a little longer to get used to, this fast-paced communications style can get more information across in an efficient way, plus it can connect the project team and maybe even make the office environment more fun.

2. Using online project management tools is the way to go.

Maybe we’re biased (ok, we’re definitely biased), but using a SaaS project management tool has a number of benefits. It’s inexpensive (there are no additional hardware costs with SaaS tools) and it’s also easier in general for your project team to find everything they need (documents, videos, and notes) in one place, from anywhere in the world. For more on this topic, check out our blog post: What Are The Benefits of SaaS Project Management Tools?

3. Iterate the process, not the project.

Younger project managers embody a new way of thinking when it comes to getting things done. They’re always looking for the latest technology to help them complete a project in the fastest and most thorough way possible. Having an open mind to trying new methods is key. Younger project managers also tend to tackle project work in small batches (drawing from the Agile method), focusing on top priorities first instead of trying to plan and schedule everything that needs to be done from day one.

4. Autonomy must be maximized.

I remember something Charles said to me during one of my first days at LiquidPlanner: “It’s not about the hours in the seat, it’s the work you get done.” Sitting in a little cubicle from 9 to 5, five days a week, isn’t considered a “normal” work week anymore. Punching the clock doesn’t motivate younger employees. They feel comfortable working from home, working at the coffee shop down the street, at all hours of the day. Most prefer a flexible schedule, and they want to be trusted by their team and their managers to get the work done. For more on this idea, read our post: “The 5 Laws of Social Project Management.”

Are you a younger project manager? What advice would you give to your more senior colleagues based on your own unique perspective?

How To Set Up An Inbox in LiquidPlanner

When I hear the word “inbox,” I feel the slow, cold feeling of dread start to creep over me. Whether it’s my personal or work email, I always expect to open it and find a gazillion emails waiting for me, ranging from my mother writing to tell me that the Red Sox lost, or a thread discussing the new company logo dimensions. Throw in bills, emails from my boss, documents, event information, and it’s a big hot mess.

But your inbox doesn’t have to be an agent of chaos. Imagine being able to actually reduce the clutter in your email in just seconds! You can do just that with LiquidPlanner, simply by forwarding items from your everyday email to an inbox in your workspace. That way you can keep everything related to the project work you have to do in one place. Here’s how you do it:

1. Create a new package to use as your inbox. In LiquidPlanner, you can have both projects and packages. Packages are used to help prioritize tasks from across multiple projects. If you’ve ever worked on several projects at the same time, then you’ll understand how vital this can be.

The cool thing is that packages can also be used as a temporary place to collect tasks before you move them to a more permanent location (a project, a different package, or both). You can even give your new package a super-obvious name so that your teammates aren’t left scratching their heads (like “New Task Inbox,” for instance.)

2. Next, find and save the unique address of your inbox package. Visit the detail page for that package, click the “Get Email Address” link, and copy the email address you see.

Get Task Email Address

3. Start emailing tasks into LiquidPlanner!

It’s easy. Just paste your Inbox email address into the “To” field (maybe even save it as a contact for later), and fill in the subject line. You can name, assign, and even estimate the task right there. Any attached documents and all of the content in the email will be saved in LiquidPlanner. Easy!

Email In Task

4. Figure out the best way to use your inbox. Once you’ve got this all set up, you’ll want to think about the best way to incorporate the new inbox into your business processes. Will it be one individual’s responsibility to process it? Will you review the inbox in a team meeting? Here are a few suggestions based on how we do things at LP HQ and ideas from our customers:

  • Issue, Feature Request, and Idea Collector: At LiquidPlanner, we send items that need to be assigned, estimated, and prioritized to a package called “Untriaged.” Twice a week, we meet to review the list as a team. Some tasks are taken immediately (like important bugs), and others are put into our backlog.
  • New Project List:  If you’re a team that serves clients, whether they’re internal or external, you can provide them with your inbox address and instructions on how to use it to request new projects. The client or account managers on your team can then process the requests on a regular basis and make sure the new work is put into the proper place in the team’s “flow.”
  • Landing Zone for Integrated Systems: If you’re using multiple tools to manage your business, you might want to create an Inbox that can collect new items created from those other systems. For instance, if you’re using an online help desk like Zendesk, certain tickets might trigger new tasks that should be managed in LiquidPlanner. That can be handled easily using email integration.

Setting up an inbox in LiquidPlanner creates a place where everyone on your team can not only see everything in one place, but they can access these tasks and collaborate on them as well. Can your regular email client do that?

The Best Locations For Using Your New LiquidPlanner iPad App

Me Reading iPad FireplaceNow that LiquidPlanner has become even more accessible with the release of our new iPad app, we thought it might be fun to come up with a list of places you could potentially be while you’re updating taskscollaborating with team members, and scheduling projects. Sitting at a desk and using your online project management tool is just so 2010.

  1. The grocery store. Might as well be productive while waiting in line, and hey, that bag of Cheetos isn’t going to buy itself.
  2. While on the phone with your mom (as demonstrated in this picture by yours truly). Because come on, you’re obviously not paying attention (this obviously doesn’t apply to my own mother – Hi Sue!).
  3. On an airplane. Flying to a conference? Going to see the in-laws? More and more airlines are offering Wi-Fi, and odds are that you’ve got some time to kill, making this the perfect place to get some work done.
  4. Sitting in traffic. WARNING: This is probably definitely not safe, but if you find yourself sitting on the exit ramp for 20 minutes without moving an inch, you could technically break out the iPad. Plus, I’m pretty sure this isn’t as bad as the guy I saw the other day opening and spreading out his newspaper on the dashboard while we sat bumper-to-bumper.
  5. While putting the kids to sleep. Put on some cozy music, sit back in your rocking chair, and estimate how long your projects are going to take while your offspring gradually falls asleep. These are the memories they’ll cherish forever when they’re adults, I promise.
  6. On the subway. Just hold onto your iPad with an iron grip and broadcast the fact that you know karate, and you should be fine!
  7. On the loo. (We have a British employee at LiquidPlanner, so I can say things like that). A stunning percentage of people have publicly admitted to bringing their beloved device into the restroom with them, so don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.
  8. In line at Starbucks. Get caffeinated while you get your projects prioritized.
  9. At the dentist. You’re seated, you can’t go anywhere, you can’t talk (even if the dentist keeps insisting on asking you questions), and you need to be distracted from the things going on in your mouth. Why not open up the LiquidPlanner app so you can submit your timesheets for the week?
  10. In your weekly meeting with your boss. For the same reason as #2. Kidding! With the LiquidPlanner iPad app, forget bringing your big clunky laptop to the big meeting. Now you can assign new tasks, make notes, and change schedules for your team members with just the touch of your hand.

Did I cover all the usual (and not so usual) places? Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments!

The new LiquidPlanner iPad app is now available for free in the iTunes App Store. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for real-time updates and information.

The LiquidPlanner iPad App is Here!

A few weeks ago, you may have heard some celebrating happening over in our corner of the Internet:

Matt Fielding iPad Tweet

It’s true: LiquidPlanner 3.0 is now available for iPad (and iPhone), and we hope you’ll like what you see.

If you’ve used our mobile app in the past, get ready for a vastly different experience this time around. When we started developing LP 3.0, we knew we had a great opportunity to overhaul our mobile app at the same time (truth be told, LP 3.0 wasn’t actually compatible with the old mobile app, so we had to overhaul it).  The new version of the web app gave us the opportunity to ask the question: what do our customers really need from a mobile app?

The way we work today is vastly different from how we worked even a few years ago. Project managers are bringing their iPads to meetings instead of their laptops. Executives want to stand in line at the coffee shop and update their customers on project progress. Employees work on their presentations while commuting on the subway.

iPad Correct ScreenshotWith these needs in mind, we set out to give project managers and team members the ability to perform the most important project management functions from their mobile device. In our old iPhone app, users could primarily view their personal tasklists and the workspace’s comment stream. In the new version, you can browse your entire portfolio, view your schedules, edit and update tasks,view attached files and detailed notes, and more – no matter how many items you have in your plan.

We designed the app completely in house, and now we’re hard at work on an HTML5 version so we can extend the experience to other mobile platforms. We also have a big fat file of enhancements we’d like to make to the app. Your feedback and comments will help us prioritize that list, so please let us know what you think!

Last but not least, we’d like to send a big thank you to our customers, who were patient and supportive during the development and approval process. We hope it was worth the wait.

Don’t have the LiquidPlanner app yet? Download it for free from the Apple Store on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates and information.

The Pros and Cons of Working From Home

Working From HomeI am writing this blog post from my “home office” (which is really just a desk and a leather chair shoved into the corner of my room, but hey, it works). The hum of the laundry machine rumbles in the background, a petulant-looking cat sits idly on my windowsill, and I may or may not still be wearing my pajamas. And yet, by lunchtime, I’ve accomplished just as much work (if not more) than I would have had I gone into the office today. Needless to say, I love working from home, but it has its pros and cons. Are you considering a full or part-time work from home position? Here are some things to think about:

Pros:

  • Work/Life Balance – Balancing your personal life with your work life is challenging, but working from home allows you to take care of tasks from both worlds. For example, that laundry I mentioned before? I did that in between work projects, which I wouldn’t have been able to do had I been in the office. Do I have to make a quick personal call to my doctor, or to a family member? Its fine, because I don’t share my “home office” with anyone but myself. If I do have to take a generous amount of time out of my day to handle personal things, I’ll make up the time by working for an hour or two after dinner. Having the flexibility to take care of both work and life issues is a wonderful thing that will make you feel both accomplished and less stressed.
  • Cost – When I lived in Boston, my commute was an hour and a half long…one way. Can you imagine the amount of money/sanity I could have saved if I worked from home a few days a week? Occasionally skipping your commute not only saves you money but also helps to save the planet. And what about saving money for your employer? In the office, you’re provided with snacks, bandwith, electricity, etc. You don’t often think about these things, but they cost money, so staying home is a win-win situation for both you and your boss when it comes to being cost effective.
  • Higher Productivity – It’s important to remember that this specific pro is different for different people, but for me, I tend to get more work done at home. The phone isn’t ringing off the hook, people aren’t stopping by my desk to chat every few minutes, and meetings are held over the phone and are generally run much faster and more efficiently. Like I said, different strokes for different folks, but working from home can help block out the usual buzz of the office and help you focus on getting things done.

Cons:

  • Work/Life Balance – Look familiar? It’s because this is both a draw and a drawback to working from home. Sometimes it’s hard for people to put up a boundary between their professional lives and their personal lives, especially when you’re home with the kids or with a few rambunctious pets. To achieve work/life balance, I make separate To-Do lists: one for personal items (like calling to make a dentist appointment, etc) and one for professional tasks, like the personalized To-Do lists that are automatically generated for me in LiquidPlanner. This way, I can see what needs to be done in my two separate worlds without having them collide. You can also physically put up a boundary as well. For example: if you’re having friends over for dinner, make a rule that your laptop and phone have to be turned off and put away. No one likes to hang out with someone if they’re checking their email constantly and only paying half attention.
  • Time Management – Working from home requires some pretty advanced time management skills. Instead of letting time slip away from you, make sure to use the timers available in LiquidPlanner to track exactly how much time you’re spending on each task so you get a better idea of how to plan the rest of the day. It may shock you to see that one of those so-called “easy” tasks you had on your plate took a full hour to finish.
  • Isolation – It’s easy to feel separated from the rest of the team when you’re only in the office every once and a while. It’s nice to be able to run into that guy from Accounting in the hallway and talk sports for a few minutes. To keep yourself from feeling disconnected, make sure to keep the lines of communication open and use them frequently so your presence in the office is always felt, if only in a virtual way. In LiquidPlanner, make real time updates in the Comment Streams. Jump into discussions, attach files and pictures to better inform your colleagues, and be a part of the conversation. And make sure you’ve set your avatar picture so no one forgets your face!

Now we want to hear from you: do you prefer to work from home, or do you like going to the office during the week?

5 Steps to Better Change Management

Changes Ahead Sign“Change” is a powerful word, and I’m not talking about the coins rolling around in your pocket. “Change” as in to transform. To convert. The process of becoming different. There are usually two kinds of people in the world: those who embrace change, and those who fear it more than anything. No matter what category you fall into, one thing is sure: change is not easy.

The idea of “change” has been on my mind lately. Earlier last week, I wrote a blog post called The Best Way to Spend Your Free 30-Day Trial With LiquidPlanner, which was about how to introduce LiquidPlanner to your project team. Then I noticed an influx of questions around the web concerning the best way to implement change in the office. This got me thinking about Change Management (dictionary definition: the systematic process of transitioning individuals, teams, and organizations from a current state to a desired future state). In layman’s terms, getting people to accept and embrace changes at work.

Then I started thinking even more (a dangerous pastime). In our post, did we address the points made in the 10 Principles of Change Management? And with any change, whether it’s introducing a new PM tool or moving your entire staff to a new office location, which one of the principles should you keep in mind when trying a new way of doing things at work? Here are a few to think about:

Change starts at the top. When the you-know-what hits the fan, all eyes turn to the higher-ups at your company or organization. That’s why it’s important for leaders to learn about and be comfortable with change first before the rest of the team becomes involved. We usually advise teams who are new to LiquidPlanner to choose a small group of managers to learn the tool first. Once they become comfortable with LiquidPlanner, it’s more likely that the rest of the team will be willing jump on board.

Make a formal case or presentation. Not everyone will be psyched about change, especially when things have been done the same way for a long time. You should be prepared to make a formal case for the need for change (as explained in the 10 Principles article):

  • Be able to convince the rest of your team that you NEED change.  Implementing a new tool like LiquidPlanner? Point out the problems you have with your current tool or with the fact that you don’t have a tool at all.
  • Show how confident you are in the initiative and its leaders.
  • Present a clear map showing how you will get from Point A to Point B.

This presentation will be different for different organizations, but it’s essential that you convince your team that this change will benefit them and will make their lives easier in the long run.

Communicate, communicate, communicate. A successful foray into change management ultimately rests upon the communication skills of those involved. Communicate frequently and relevantly. You should never assume that team members inherently know and understand what you need them to know and understand. You should also strive to make communication a two-way street. If you’re trialing LiquidPlanner, encourage employees to post inquiries and feedback in the Comment Stream so the entire team can learn from each other.

Speak to team members individually. When communicating with your team, encourage each individual member to respond and ask questions and give feedback. The 10 Principles article makes a good point: “It is all too tempting… to dwell on the plans and processes, which don’t talk back and don’t respond emotionally, rather than face up to the more difficult and more critical human issues.” You won’t know how well things are going until you speak to the individuals involved and assist them in mastering the change, no matter what personal obstacles they may be facing. Remember that different people learn differently. If you’re introducing a new tool, make sure everyone has access to trainingsvideos, and other resources. Take time to personally touch base with people who are affected by the change and get their take on the situation.

Expect the unexpected. Nothing’s perfect, and your change management process won’t be either. Maybe training will take longer than expected. Someone might become angry or overwhelmed by the amount of change being thrown at them. The key to treading these murky waters is to continually reassess the state of things and adapt to whatever comes your way. As long as you’re confident that it will all be worth it in the end, you’re assuredness will carry you through.