Author: Team Liquidplanner

Stopping the Takeover: How to Manage Scope Creep

It lurks as though it’s coming from the shadows.

Its insidious presence looms, threatening to take charge of everything we do.

It. Is. Scope creep.

Scope creep is the tendency for software projects to grow beyond their original bounds. It arises naturally. For instance, a client will want more functionality for the same price, and a project manager will want to hold the line on costs and time delays. This often happens when clients don’t know how to define their requirements further beyond “I’ll know it when I see it.”

Avoiding scope creep increases the chance of delivering the project on time and on budget. Because smaller projects usually have a greater chance of success, PMs often split massive assignments into smaller pieces as a way to avoid scope creep.

Here are eight more suggestions on how to prevent scope creep from taking over your project.

8 Ways to Manage Scope Creep

  1. Be vigilant from day one. Say yes or no to new requests as soon as they come in. If you start the habit at the beginning of a project and stick with it until completion, you’ll handle scope creep effectively.
  2. Understand your client’s vision. Before you get the project requirements, make sure both you and the client have a firm understanding of the project’s goals. What does the client hope to achieve? Why is it important?
  3. Understand the project requirements. Clarify all goals and objectives in the initial planning stage. Know the exact deliverables and their functionality. Wholly understand the project’s complexity and truly weigh it against the target deadline and resource availability. Separate deliverables into specific, manageable tasks, and list their estimated completion times as major and minor milestones within the project.
  4. Include a process for changing scope. Review milestones and update timelines every time a scope change is requested. Empower a limited number of people to request scope changes and an even more limited number to grant them. Determine a payment process for scope changes.
  5. Avoid gold plating. Make sure your development team doesn’t overdeliver and add unrequested features. Stick to the project scope.
  6. Use your online project management software. Your PM software is one of the most important tools in managing scope creep. Make sure it gives visibility to your software team and your clients. Log all scope changes into your PM tool so those changes are sure to update the work plan, the project schedule, and your team’s assigned tasks.
  7. Know when to say “no.” Not all scope changes are created equal, so you must be firm in stopping unreasonable requests. All scope changes must be carefully considered, but changes to the critical path that will hold up other work must be made sparingly.
  8. Know the alternatives to “no.” If something must go into the scope, make sure something comes out. Keep a backlog for denied requests and turn it into a follow-up project of additional features. Charge for changes and enforce those charges.

When managed correctly, scope creep can sometimes be a good thing. With a properly written contract, added features can create new revenue. By letting a client know their scope changes will result in additional work hours being billed, your scope creep can become their cost creep.

The Key to Successful Projects: Resource Leveling in LiquidPlanner

There are lots of project management tools that make it easy for managers to overbook their teams, in addition to taking on project work that they don’t realistically have the resources to handle. Not only will teams burn out, but they probably won’t make their finish dates, either. As long as everyone on your team has entered their correct availability in LiquidPlanner, you won’t ever have to worry about overextending anyone (finish date included)!

How resource leveling works in LiquidPlanner

1. Set availability.

In LiquidPlanner, all team members should have their daily availability set, using their best-case average. For example, if you work from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and take an hour lunch, you might set your availability for eight hours per day. If you work a couple of half days, and/or have meeting-intensive days, scale your availability back accordingly. Perhaps something like this:

To set availability, click the User Menu (profile picture) > My Profile > Availability.

2. Build out the project and estimate all tasks.

Build out your projects entirely. Then input ranged estimates based on best case/worst case scenarios around how much effort you think it will take to complete every task.

3. Assign work.

Be sure to assign every task to the people who are actually doing the work. If you have items that are unassigned, or if everything is assigned to the PM, you’re not getting the full view of how you’re allocating the actual resources on the team.

4. Prioritize.

Put all tasks in their intended order of completion.

Once everything above is complete, LiquidPlanner considers each team member’s availability and the work assigned to them before giving you an expected start and finish date for each task. In other words, the work is automatically scheduled and LiquidPlanner tells you when your team members are expected to deliver a project. How great is that?!

Here’s what resource leveling looks like in LiquidPlanner

Let’s say that Penny has a project set up in her workspace to upgrade some hardware. She’s not going to start it until October 2 and wants everything to be done by November 16. And she has eight hours of availability per day.

After estimating and prioritizing her tasks, Penny can immediately see that it’s unlikely to be done before the Friday deadline.

Penny can use the workload report to see who’s free.

And then she can re-assign work to members with availability. When she refreshes the schedule, she’ll immediately know whether they’re able to help her finish the project on time. Check out the updated, resource-leveled schedule:

Resource leveling is critical, but it doesn’t have to be hard. A LiquidPlanner schedule is always resource-leveled based on each person’s availability and task assignments. Project managers still have to make important decisions like determining priorities, knowing who is best suited to do which tasks and identify dependencies. But that’s just good planning!

If you’d like to learn more about Resouce Leveling, download our eBook, “5 Best Practices to Manage Resources Effectively.”

LPresources-ebook-five-rest-practices-to-manage-project-resources-effectively

LiquidPlanner vs. Task Management Software: An Evaluation Guide

Our LiquidPlanner product experts dedicate a lot of time to speaking with people considering new, more productive Project Management (PM) tools. A question we are often asked is: How does LiquidPlanner compare to task management tools like Trello or Asana?

Here are the key differences:

Project Vs. Task Management

To begin the comparison, it is important to define the difference between project and task management. You can think of project management tools as offering functionality that’s a superset of what’s available in task management tools. Task management tools don’t usually have the capacity to manage more complex projects, like for technology and manufacturing teams who make estimations in order to see how every plan change affects the entire project or portfolio of projects overall.

In a nutshell:
LiquidPlanner can do everything that a task management software can do—and much more. In the task management department, we help teams organize their work and collaborate more effectively. But LiquidPlanner is also a full-service PM tool for more complex project needs. Our automated scheduling engine provides realistic project plans and finish dates that reflect a constantly-changing project environment.

Prioritizing Work

Everyone working on a project is juggling priorities and often come to the ever-challenging question: What’s my top priority and am I working on it? More often than not, you randomly select a project to start because you know there’s a lot of work to get done and there isn’t time to waste!

How task management prioritizes work

Prioritizing tasks within a task management tool is sometimes closer to a to-do list than a project schedule. In most task management tools, tasks and dates drive the schedule. This means you can organize tasks in priority order, but when priorities shift, these changes are not automatically reflected in the schedule. You can reprioritize plans as you see fit, but the changes don’t take into account the availability of people working on the tasks. There’s no way of easily seeing if the re-prioritization is realistic based on available resources.

Also, while some task management tools offer a “drag and drop”, many only let you keep your tasks in priority order within checklists. This makes it impossible to prioritize tasks across projects and see the impact of one change across a portfolio of work—which is important for people working on multiple projects at once.

How LiquidPlanner prioritizes work

LiquidPlanner is driven by a priority-driven scheduling engine. This means that the priority of work items and the availability of resources assigned to each of these work items drives the schedule. So, every time a priority shifts, the schedule updates automatically to show how the entire plan is affected by that change, including how the reprioritization affects available resources.

In LiquidPlanner, you can change your priorities with a simple drag and drop within the project or across projects, and the scheduling engine will automatically update across all projects in your workspace—generating new start and finish dates based on those portfolio-wide resource commitments and the priorities you assign to your workflow items.

priority_lp vs task management

Resource Management

One of the biggest deciders of project success comes down to how effectively you manage your resources. Misallocate your people, overshoot your budget, and you’re in big trouble. Do it right, and you’re a hero.

How task management tools manage resources

In general, task management tools allow you to assign tasks to resources (people), but they don’t take into account resource workload (how much work is already on people’s plates). This makes it impossible to rely on meeting your set finish date. For example, in Trello each board has a member list on the right side of the board that allows you to simply add resources to tasks. Trello assumes the members on a task will be working together in order to reach a deadline. This way of managing resources assumes that people have infinite time, or that they will stand up and push back if they don’t have the bandwidth to take on a task, which can cause a lot of problems among teams, customers—and meeting deadlines.

How LiquidPlanner manages resources

LiquidPlanner is the only resource-driven scheduling tool out there. Once in the LiquidPlanner app, each user has a personal profile where they set their available hours for project work each week. The scheduling engine takes this into account as tasks are created and assigned, providing start and finish dates based on team members’ current workload and availability.

LiquidPlanner’s resource management capabilities make it impossible to overschedule resources. If an issue arises, you can pull a workload report for a deeper look into an individual’s commitments, and see who might be available to take on more work.

Resource WOrkload report

Risk Management

Managing risks is one of the hardest things to get right—especially when you’re managing long-term projects with a lot of moving parts. LiquidPlanner was created to take project uncertainty into account, and let teams know well ahead of time of incoming risks.  Most task management tools don’t offer risk management other than a notification that the deadline is a day or two away.

How task Management tools manage risk

The only true way to account for risk in a traditional task management tool is to set your due date for a task a day, a week or even longer before the actual deadline. Some of these tools will automatically notify you when you are one day away from a task being due, but at that point it’s usually too late to make any proactive changes or give stakeholders and customers due warning.

How LiquidPlanner manages risk

LiquidPlanner has a constantly running algorithm that accounts for the uncertainty inherent in all projects. Your plan will always alert you to risks well ahead of missing deadlines or running over budget. This way teams can make any necessary adjustments to priorities, resources, or have the conversations with stakeholders well in advance of disaster striking. If a project is slipping, you’re alerted within the LiquidPlanner app and via email notification.

Here’s an example of a LiquidPlanner Dashboard, customized to surface project risks well ahead of finish dates:

Schedule-risk-dashboard_LP vs task management

Scaling Up: From the Basics to Advanced

You don’t have to do everything at once. With LiquidPlanner, you can start with our task management features to organize work, share documents and collaborate more efficiently with a team member through commenting, for example. From here, you can move on to using our more robust PM features: estimation, scheduling, analytics, and resource management (see how InDinero did this).

With a task management tool, you pretty much top out early in the game. What you see is what you get and that’s it. That might be okay to start but if your company or team grows, you need a system that can grow with you (see how Redapt grew their business with LiquidPlanner).

The good news with a Dynamic Project Management tool like LiquidPlanner is that teams can customize their workspace and processes to get the best work done in a manner that fits their philosophies, processes and business needs.

If you’re looking for a better option, something that can manage projects, resources and is reliable—a PM tool rather than a task management tool, start a trial.

Track Your Projects with these 5 LiquidPlanner Reports

LiquidPlanner is a treasure trove of project data. Take advantage of this data, track your projects, and create quick reports with these five reporting features from LiquidPlanner.

Project Workload

Project Workload is your resourcing crystal ball. It instantly shows you who’s working on a project, how much work they have left, and when they’ll be working on it. One of the best things about this report is that you can run it for client work, a specific initiative, or even multiple projects and get workload visibility across all of them.

Project-workload

The report puts the person who is expected to finish last at the top, so you know whose work is driving the end date of the project. It also highlights who’s putting the project at risk and gives you actionable information that helps you shift work around and load balance to keep the project on track.

For more details about the Project Workload report, read this Help article.

Project Status

The Project Status report summarizes some of the most important data about your project. You can see the overall progress, milestone dates, how much work has been done and by who.

This report is useful when you need a quick overview that you can share with the project team.

Project-status

For more details about the Project Status report, read this Help article.

Remaining Trend

If you want to show off the project team’s progress to your stakeholders, run the Remaining Trend report. Think of this report as a dynamic burndown chart. It shows how the estimated remaining work for a project has changed over time and shows you the probable landing zone. Ideally, the plotted lines should slope downwards, which would mean that the remaining work for the project is decreasing as time goes on — just what every stakeholder wants to see!

Remaining-trend

If the lines jump upwards, that’s a sign of either added scope or consistent underestimation of tasks. If they jump downwards, that might mean that scope was cut to meet the deadline or that your team is logging a bunch of hours all at once, instead of as they go.

For more details about the Remaining Trend report, read this Help article.

Total Trend

The Total Trend report is the best way to understand changes in overall scope. The report plots the total amount of work, the range of uncertainty for a project, and the amount of work that’s been completed over time.

The goal is to keep the scope as close to the agreed upon plan as possible, so in a healthy project, you’ll see the plotted lines in the report to stay flat and narrow continuously. You also want the green shaded area to grow steadily and eventually meet the total trend lines, which means that your team is making consistent progress and getting work done. If this is what you see in your report, do a victory dance — it’s difficult to achieve!

Total-Trend

For most projects, you’ll see the plotted lines move upwards and downwards as the project progresses. A little variation is okay, but drastic spikes are a sign of adding or cutting scope. Dig in to find out what happened and make sure that you can still finish on time without compromising the quality or deliverables of the project.

For more details about the Total Trend report, read this Help article.

Date Drift

Date Drift, also known as the slip report, gives you a simple visual for how the calculated finish date of a project has changed over its lifetime.

You want the black Expected line to stay flat, which would mean that your finish date has stayed the same. The report below shows a more common scenario — the project’s expected finish date blew past its deadline in red. Then, the deadline was renegotiated and pushed back by a few days. Now, it looks like the project will finish under the new deadline despite it slipping by a couple of weeks from its initial projections.

Date-Drift

For more details about the Date Drift report, read this Help article.

And that’s a wrap!

Complex projects can take some pretty wild turns and cause unpleasant surprises if you’re not using the right tools. Make sure to stay ahead of the game with these five reports, all easily accessible from the Projects tab. Click on the Reports menu in your workspace and take ‘em for a spin!

Resource management is a many-headed beast, and getting the people part of it mastered could be what sets you apart in your career. To learn more tricks and skills, download our eBook, “5 Best Practices to Manage Project Resources Effectively.”

resource management ebook

 

7 Reasons Why Product Teams Can’t Prioritize Their Work

If you’re a project manager or lead, you’ve struggled to keep your team working on the highest priority task at some point in time. And you probably also need to keep work prioritized across multiple projects.

Prioritizing work can be the bane of every project lead’s existence, but it doesn’t have to be the status quo.

Does this sound familiar?

Your team is diligently working to reach their deadlines by the end of the week when out of nowhere you’re given a new project that needs to be completed in two days. And all other projects need to be pushed back! You need to let your team know ASAP. So you start sending emails, perhaps making some calls—but only half of your project teams confirms that they’ve seen the message and are shifting priorities.

This isn’t your fault; this isn’t your team’s fault—this is simply one of the most common problems that plagues project management teams everywhere.

Related: Your Guide to Accurately Estimating Projects

While some project managers accept that their jobs come with the constant battle of dealing with missed deadlines, overworked resources, uncommunicated priorities and a lack of communication with the team—you do not have to accept this! You can be the project manager that provides 100 percent accurate project plans with a productive team that is always working on the highest priority task and communicating progress!

Teams often feel this way because every project is considered a number one priority; and without visibility into a project plan, people become overwhelmed. But your team does not have to fall victim to these statistics.

Here, I’m going to share seven reasons why technology teams struggle to prioritize their work. Consider this a list of what to avoid (and what you can do about it):

1. Using email to communicate project status.

We all know this. So why do so many of us still use email to manage project communication? The email thread that is constantly eating up your inbox is full of updates, documents, conversations and project plans. That’s a lot of very important data to be sending through a medium that is so notoriously unreliable.

Even if you’re constantly checking the thread and reading every email—emails fall through the cracks. Worse, when you have project statuses scattered throughout your inbox, how do you manage the arc of your project schedule and story? The black hole of your inbox should not be where project plans and priorities are communicated.

Instead, consider using a collaborative project management tool, with one location where everyone can participate and update their status, attach documents and make comments in context to the work. This way everyone knows what the top priority is—for each individual and the team as a whole.

2. No direct line of communication.

Project managers and leaders can have multiple people reporting to them. Or at least they can have a number of people to keep track of. It’s challenging to remember who has been updated on recent changes and what everyone is working on.

You can call and email your team every day, but sometimes things change between conversations; and suddenly, your team is focusing on something that is no longer the top priority.

One centralized space of communication needs to exist for the team to communicate and reference project plans. There are too many forms of communication, and it is easy for a message to get lost!

3. Scheduling out all resources across various projects.

When project teams are sharing resources and scheduling multiple projects, it isn’t a surprise that the team members are all working on different projects. And the main problem with this is, sometimes no one notices how thinly everyone’s spread out until it’s too late and deadlines are running late.

Related: How to Manage Resources for Your Team

If you’re using traditional project management software (or spreadsheets), then the only way to balance out resources and stay current on priorities is for the PMs to coordinate a meeting time, and redo all of their project plans every time as priorities shift.

This means countless hours and days are spent in meetings, discussing priorities and project plans and how to avoid missing deadlines—taking time away from working on projects, making important decisions and creating strategies. Go with a PM tool that includes resources—availability, hours worked—in the schedule.

4. Sheer Confusion

With constantly changing projects, trying to keep up with email, manage resources, update plans and stay organized while worrying if everything is can lead to project disaster! Chaos may be the number one reason your team can’t prioritize their work. This is why it’s important for PMs to teach their team how to prioritize their work and stay organized.

Related: How to Manage Chaos: Advice on Project Management and Workplace Conundrums

The best way to teach this is to implement a project management system that keeps everyone organized at all times by providing transparency into projects, plans and the portfolio. Even better—a tool that lets you drag and drop priorities around, so everyone knows at a glance what they should be working on right now.

5. Too many projects, too few resources.

Sometimes it is hard to balance resource workload when you, as a PM, are deciding when your resources are available and how long each project will take them. You’re being forced to make project estimates based on someone else’s expertise and time, which can also lead to too many high priority projects being assigned to one person. Without visibility into how resources are being allocated, it’s impossible for a PM to be certain about what their resources are capable of.

Related: How to Prioritize When Everything’s Number One

If you use a PM tool that lets everyone set their hours of availability per day per week, there’s no way to overbook team member beyond what their availability. And knowing what your team can really work on is a great way to prioritize work as well.

6. Saying “Yes” to everything.

Don’t be that person who says Yes to every work item that comes your way. That Yes can trickle down to your team as well. And the result is that priorities get hazy as the project team becomes overloaded. Eventually, important tasks slip through the cracks.

Another thing: Keep your eye out for the team member who doesn’t know how to say No, and is an easy target for other PMs who slip in last-minute tasks and projects. This kind of over-volunteering can be managed when you have a schedule that is resource driven. In other words, your resources are accounted for in the schedule and no one’s overbooked passed their availability. So it makes it easy to say No for anyone who’s prone to saying Yes when they shouldn’t.

7. Spreadsheets.

Using spreadsheets is a terrible way to manage projects. Almost everyone I’ve talked to who uses spreadsheets as a PM tool agrees. And yet . . . organizations continue to use them.

Related: 5 Reasons Why Using Spreadsheets is a Horrible Way to Manage Projects

Constantly sending out spreadsheets with the project plan does give team members their most current priority tasks beyond the first hour of its creation. Since they can’t be updated in real time, and project work moves so fast these days, spreadsheets are often left to languish. In no time, they’re outdated—something all project teams soon come to learn.

How do you align project priorities?

Teams work best when there’s a centralized source of truth for everyone. I’m talking about a tool where executives, stakeholders, customers, PMs, contributors and contractors can all access; one that updates automatically every time an addition or change is made. One that accounts for resource availability and makes it easy to update priorities as they change. With the right set up, everyone involved on your project can always be doing the right work at the right time.

License Management

Reallocating a Seat

When you disconnect a member from the workspace, that license can be reallocated to a new user. Simply send an invitation to the new person. When the new person accepts their invite, the unused license will automatically be reallocated to the new person.

Note: if there are inactive members in the workspace – i.e. someone who was in your workspace during the trial period but did not continue as a paid seat – the freed up license will be automatically transferred to the inactive member. It is a best practice to disconnect all inactive members so that they do not automatically gain access from an unused license.

Reducing Seats

If you don’t intend to fill an unused seat with a new member, be sure to reduce your seat count before the next billing cycle! Go to your User Menu > Settings > Billing and Purchasing > Billing Summary and click the Reduce Seats button to make changes.

Purchase a New Seat

If you do not have any unused licenses and need to invite someone new to the workspace, you need to purchase a new license.

Related Articles

Disconnecting Workspace Members
Billing Summary and Product Upgrades

 

Filtering by Dependency Status

 

When you enter a dependency between two tasks, LiquidPlanner’s dynamic scheduling methodology will automatically calculate the Expected Start and Finish date for you, but you may find yourself with some questions about your schedule, such as:

  • One of my resources has some availability. How do I know what is ready to be worked on and what is dependent on other tasks?
  • How do I know what outstanding tasks are delaying later tasks so I know where to focus my resources?
  • Are any of my dependencies broken?

This is where filters come in. Whether or not a plan item has a dependency is part of its status. To filter by an item’s dependency status, click on the Filter Menu > Filter by Status. From here you can select one of the pre-built status filters, or create a new custom status filter.

Use a Pre-Built Status Filter

Under the Filter by Status > Apply Status Filter window > select either “Has Dependencies” or “Ready to Work.”

  • “Has Dependencies” returns active plan items that either have a dependency or a dependent.
  • “Ready to Work” returns active items that are not dependent on another plan item. This filter excludes items on hold. An item is included in the filter if it has no dependencies, or all dependencies are marked done.

Create a Custom Status Filter

Under Filter by Status > Create New. There are three true/false rules you can add to your Custom Status Filter:

  • All dependencies satisfied
  • Has broken dependencies
  • Has dependents

All dependencies satisfied
True will return plan items:

  • that never had a dependency
  • all items the task was dependent on have been marked done
  • the task never had any dependencies, but one of the containers it was in had a dependency, which has been satisfied

False will return items that:

  • have a dependency on an item on-hold
  • are dependent on an item that has not been marked done
  • items with multiple dependencies where at least one dependency isn’t satisfied.

Has broken dependencies
True displays items that:

  • have a broken dependency alert due to one of the items being on hold, a circular dependency, or no owner assigned
  • do not have a native broken dependency, but have a broken dependency on a container

False displays items with good dependencies (no blue alerts).

Has dependents
True returns items that have dependents. The filtered items need to be marked done before their dependents can start.

False returns items without dependents.

Dependency Filtering in Action

Use Case: One of my resources has some sudden availability. How do I determine what work is ready to start so I can reassign it to my available resource?
Recommended Filter: You can use the pre-built Status Filter “Ready to Work” to find tasks that are not on hold and do not have any unsatisfied dependencies.

Use Case: Some of my tasks aren’t ready to start because they are dependent on other tasks. How can I identify what tasks are pushing out the dependent tasks so I can focus my resources on those tasks?
Recommended Filter: Create a Custom Status Filter with the rule “Has Unsatisfied Dependencies is true.”

Use Case: I have a lot of dependencies in my workspace. How do I ensure that they are all set up correctly and I don’t have any errors?
Recommended Filters: Create a Custom Status Filter with the rule “Has Broken Dependencies is true.” Only tasks with the Broken Dependency alert will show up. You can click on the alert icon to open the Edit Panel and see the cause of the broken dependency, so it can be resolved.

Related Articles

Dependencies
Delay Until
Modeling Wait Time Scenarios
Multiple Owners on a Task
Custom Status Filters

7 Signs Your Project Management Tool is Working for You

Imagine this. You walk into your Monday morning stand-up meeting. Everyone’s there, coffee in-hand, smiling. Why are they smiling, on a Monday no less? Because last week’s project was completed early and under budget.

Smiles on a Monday morning is just one sign that your PM solution is working. Here are seven more:

Your project schedule is up-to-date and reliable.
When each team member is responsible for updating project progress and communicating changes, your project management solution becomes integrated into your daily work. Your project manager is facilitating the project and working with the team, instead of chasing them for updates.

Priorities are clear.
When projects and tasks are organized by priority, you never doubt what you should be working on. A solution that notifies you when priorities change gives you access to the most up-to-date project plan.

You know what your team is working on.
At any moment you can see what your team is working on, what they have done this week, and what is coming up. You have complete visibility. You never worry about a project slipping due to a communication error because all project information is in one location.

Your project deadlines are realistic.
Your project deadlines are based on ranged estimates that account for uncertainty. At-risk items are flagged so you can react fast. Deadlines are reachable, and you have the data to back that up.

New work doesn’t destroy the plan.
With an agile, flexible project management tool, you can easily see if you have the bandwidth to take on more work and who has the flexibility to work on this project. Or, you can use data to explain why a new project needs to be pushed off.

Resources are not overbooked.
You know how to reallocate team members when deadlines change. You have the ability to look at each person’s workload and decide who has time to take on more work or if you need to recruit more help.

Your relationship with clients and stakeholders is strong.
If you have a reliable project plan, you can give your clients and stakeholders real information. You can show them why a project will not reach a deadline or what will happen if they make a change to the plan. Rather than guessing or giving false information, you are giving them answers based on data.

So, did you find yourself nodding along? Or does your project management tool leave something to be desired?

Take our project management heath check to find out if your project management tool is working for you or against you!

How Cognex Uses LiquidPlanner to Manage Projects

manage projects

Curious to see how other teams use LiquidPlanner? Our friends at Cognex showed us how LiquidPlanner helps them innovate and stay ahead of the curve.

Cognex is in the business of industrial machine vision. They are the world’s leading provider of vision systems, vision software, vision sensors, and industrial ID readers used in manufacturing automation. Cognex has been around for over thirty years and they continue to find ways to improve and expand into new markets.

One of Cognex’s slogans is ‘move fast,’ which is a reminder to be flexible and understand that change happens. With that mantra in mind, they searched for a tool that allowed them to properly capture and represent the frequency of change in the world. LiquidPlanner immediately stood out to the team because they could use ranged estimates to represent and quantify uncertainty—this was the missing piece that finally allowed them to create a reliable project plan.

In the video below, you’ll see how the team at Cognex uses LiquidPlanner to understand project status, adapt to change, and make data driven decisions.

 


Interested to learn more about the methodology that helps Cognex be fast and flexible? Download our eBook, “
Introduction to Dynamic Project Management.”

An Introduction to Dynamic Project Management

How Market Research Firm PortMA Stays Organized with LiquidPlanner

organized

At LiquidPlanner, we love hearing how teams are benefiting from our project management solution. Recently, we came across an article written by Chris Clegg, President of PortMA, about how his team of remote workers stays organized when there are a ton of complex projects running at the same time.

PortMA, or Portland Marketing Analytics, is a market research firm that specializes in the measurement and analysis of event marketing return-on-investment and advertising communication. In this work, they service a number of marketing and advertising agencies in the U.S. with design, data collection, analysis, and reporting services, doing anywhere from 50 to 70 projects per year in a wide range of industries.

After reading Chris’ article, we reached out to find out more! We asked Chris how he found LiquidPlanner and how LiquidPlanner has helped his team.

What prompted your search for a new project management solution?

“We outgrew Basecamp. As that platform advanced, it moved away from what we needed. At the core, we needed templates, task dependencies, resource planning, and risk management tools. LiquidPlanner fit the bill on all fronts and has shown us a number of additional features we didn’t know we needed. We’re a better, stronger business because of what LiquidPlanner allows us to do.”

 How does LiquidPlanner help your team?

“We work entirely from within LiquidPlanner. All of our internal and external project work is spec’d out in detail with time estimates, assignments, and work orders within the LiquidPlanner system. And then our daily time tracking is submitted against LiquidPlanner tasks to help us monitor our progress against contract deliverable items in real-time. Research Managers and supporting staff are updating their projects and related tasks on a daily basis to keep things moving smoothly. At any given time, we might have 15 to 25 contracts running simultaneously, each with dozens of weekly task items. Without LiquidPlanner we’d be so lost in the weeds, we’d never get anything done. The flat resource planning model and how it defines deadline risks allows us to deal with reality and not bury staff under unreasonable deadlines.

Finally, I’d mention that the template function really serves as our playbook. We’ve built out detailed project templates with descriptions on what each task is, how it’s done, and why. We’ve then added extensive checklist items to define the specifics of what is expected on a given task. This services as our documented corporate processes that allows for work to be quickly handed off from one person to another seamlessly without cutting corners.”

Take a look at the original article “How To Organize A Team Of Remote Knowledge Workers” written by Chris Clegg, President of PortMA.

How do you know when it’s time to consider a new tool or process for your business? In the case of project management, here’s a way to find out!  Take our Project Management Health Check, a 9-question multiple-choice assessment of your project management process.  

Take the assessment!