Category Archives: News

July Product Update: Seamlessly Allocate and Schedule Resources with Project Limits

Dedicating all of your work hours to a single project is becoming a rarity in today’s multi-tasking work world.

For many teams, working on multiple projects at the same time has become the norm, which makes effective management of resources and timelines even more important. Without it, project managers may spend hours seeking out status updates; team members don’t always know what work is the highest priority; and managers are left wondering how their team is allocated. This balancing act is time-consuming for everyone involved. (Been there, done that. We’re speaking from experience here.)

That’s why we’re excited to introduce Daily Limits on Projects. This new feature offers managers the ability to set a max number of hours per day for team members to work on a project.

For organizations that run multiple complex projects at one time, Daily Limits makes scheduling people and projects much easier. By setting Daily Limits, project managers can instantly see how their team’s limits impact delivery dates across the entire project portfolio.

Daily Limits offers managers the ability to set a max number of hours per day for team members to work on a project.

 

Daily Limits can be set on both projects and tasks. The applied Daily Limit will cap the amount of time that a team member is scheduled on a specific project or task for the day, which frees up their remaining availability for their next highest priority work.

In a world of competing projects and tight deadlines, Daily Limits helps teams understand these constraints and work more efficiently to get the job done.

Learn More About Daily Limits

Daily Limits is now available to all Professional and Enterprise LiquidPlanner customers. Not a LiquidPlanner customer? You can try out Daily Limits by starting a free trial.

To learn how to setup and manage Daily Limits, check out the video below, as well as this help article.

Sparking Girls’ Interest in Tech Careers with Entrepreneur Day

“This girl came to play,” Marchant Couick said as she motioned toward 14-year-old Zanaasha, who was furiously taking notes at the front of the LiquidPlanner lunch room. Zanaasha smiled. She continued to write as Couick explained her work as a renewal specialist to the roomful of eighth-graders.

The five other panelists went down the line, telling the students from Seattle Girls’ School about their jobs. Then LiquidPlanner CEO Liz Pearce asked if anyone has questions.

A hand went up. “What framework do you use?”

“Ruby on Rails,” said Ellen Musick, a software engineer at LiquidPlanner.

Another hand. “This question is for you,” she said, pointing at Zareen Maurer, senior marketing manager. “How do you know what message to send?”

Maurer gave an overview of inbound marketing and the tools LiquidPlanner uses to deliver the right messages at the right time.

After the panel discussion, the students were quizzed on their knowledge of software, marketing, and sales terminology. Three students got perfect scores, earning them LiquidPlanner swag.

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The girls’ visit to LiquidPlanner on April 21 was just one stop on their “Entrepreneur Day,” which included stops at startups around Seattle. This is the third year that LiquidPlanner has hosted students from SGS. Pearce came up with the annual field trip idea with a group of female CEOs who visited Seattle Girls’ School.

“The goal is to show the girls what kinds of STEM jobs are out there,” said Pearce. “We want them to see that careers in technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship are all within the realms of possibility.”

During lunch, I sat down with Kyleigh, Grace, Zanaasha, and Belle, all 14, who have ambitious dreams for their careers.

“A lot of people make fun of me for this,” Belle said. “But, I want to be a museum librarian. I want to organize things, so people can enjoy them.”

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Zanaasha knows she wants to work in politics. Grace isn’t quite sure. “I really love nature, but I also really love dance,” she said.

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Kyleigh wants to be a fashion designer or an author. “She writes the best fan fiction,” Zanaasha told me. “I don’t know anything about Star Wars, but her stories made me like it.”

While none of the girls I spoke with expressed an outright interest in STEM careers before the talk began, they all listened intently, asked questions, and seemed to come away with a better understanding of career options in the technology field.

And that’s really the goal of events like Entrepreneur Day. Grace’s love of nature may lead to a career in biology. Kyleigh could use engineering skills to build better running shoes. Zanaasha may someday help bridge the gap between science and politics. Belle may design new ways to enhance museum-goers’ experience.

But first, they need that spark.

SGS Students’ Key Takeaways from Entrepreneur Day:

They have all the snacks that you could eat.  That would be awesome.

All the people had really different ideas of what they were going to be when they were younger.  No one really knew what they’d be when they grew up.

Free cookies at a job would be awesome.

More than 50% of the people that work there are women.  That’s pretty cool.

There are so many different jobs within a single company!

Sometimes you have to fail to succeed.

There is always a new idea to be discovered.

Feature photo credit: Erika Bailey, Seattle Girls’ School

CEO Liz Pearce Shares Insights on SIAA TechChats [Video]

LiquidPlanner CEO Liz Pearce was recently featured on TechChats, a web series by the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). The series offers a look into some of the most successful executives in the industry and what they’re doing to grow and innovate within their companies.
In the interview, Pearce chats with Rhianna Collier, VP for the software division at SIIA, about top project management challenges, the benefits of a data-driven approach to project management, and how an Agile approach can benefit software teams.

Watch the full interview below or at the SIIA website to hear Pearce’s take on project management and the software industry.

Friday Roundup: Self-Driving Cars, Robots, and the Most Innovative Companies

Driverless Car

There’s no doubt we’re entering a fascinating time for industry and in history. Self-driving cars are being built and tested as we speak; robots and automated processes are replacing mundane human effort—and making way for us to do more innovative work with our brains. There are so many new ways to imagine ourselves at work and in the future. Here’s a look at what’s making the news and what we’re inventing for ourselves to stay up with it all!

Why Big Firms Are More Likely to Innovate – Harvard Business Review

Large organizations get knocked for being complacent in their success, and failing to be innovative. But it’s not necessarily true—nor does it have to be. The authors make some interesting points based on research. For example, there are two important components that inspire innovation: when a company’s technology has fallen behind; and when the company is still in a position of strength. Furthermore, to stay innovative, the best thing a firm can do is to go against the saying, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.” Fix, fix, and look for new ways to fix. Because by the time it is broken, it could be too late.

What You Need to Know About Robot Software Developers Small Business Trends

The robots are coming! Well, let’s think this through. This article looks at how and why software teams are leveraging a process called continuous delivery. When it comes to fixing bugs and testing programs, using an automated process is a much better use of humans’ time than having individuals do this work manually. It’s a system that lets people do more of the work that moves businesses forward. Read more to find out what this means for business leaders, especially in the Internet of Things industry.

10 Top Bots for The Office Worker  VentureBeat

As the average work week increases—up to 47 hours according to one survey—people are looking for ways to streamline their efforts. From improving communication skills to an automated executive assistant, here are 10 bots that are winning popular approval for their time-saving abilities. Use and prosper!

Tesla Hastens Self-Driving Future as New Models Add Hardware Industry Week

You can’t expect Elon Musk to have his eyes on Mars and NOT want to have one of the first self-driving cars on the road. This week he announced plans for Tesla to do a drive from Los Angeles to New York without the need of a single touch between human and car.

The Most Innovative Companies of 2016 Fast Company

What does an innovative company look like? What challenges do they face? If you’re curious to know which companies are successfully pushing the edges of convention, Fast Company has a list for you. Each company’s profile includes their chief innovating factor; their challenge and their competitive advantage.

October Product Update: Focus on the Work That Really Matters

october release

Did you know that your ability to focus at work directly impacts personal and business success? Various studies have proven that focus is tied to job engagement, which is tied to increased productivity and business growth.

Still, the struggle to focus on work that needs to be done right now is universal. Distractions are everywhere. Projects grow in scope and priorities change; co-workers stop by to chat (fun), and ask for last-minute help (not so fun). There are demands from stakeholders, requests from customers, resources to be allocated. Could your attention get any more splintered?

And yet, we all want it: To get in that zone where we do impactful work and make a mark in our industry.

Focus on relevant project information

At LiquidPlanner, we know the importance of focusing on the right work to deliver excellence. Our October update supports teams in this mission—with new filter options that let team members remove distractions and focus on their most important work, no matter what’s going on around them.  

Here’s a rundown of these new focus filters:

From the Filter Menu you now have three choices around how you see and interact with your workspace:

All Projects: This is the full-meal deal, everything in your workspace. This allows you to see everything that’s going on if you want a big picture view.

My Projects: You’ll only see the packages and projects that you’re part of. This way you can focus on the work with, literally, your name on it—and have the benefit of seeing how it fits with everything else that’s going on with your projects.

My Tasks: You’ll only see the tasks you’re assigned to. For the days you want to zero in on getting things done, this one gets your straight to your top priority tasks.

Now you can see your work in context and focus on the project information that’s relevant to getting your job done. Do more of the right work, starting today!

Also Newly Redesigned, the People Tab

You’ll notice another nifty update—the look and feel of the People tab. There are now consolidated people-centric functions, such as profile, notifications, access controls, and the member invite process.

To learn more about our October update, read the release notes.

If you’re not a LiquidPlanner customer but looking for ways to increase focus and productivity at work, try us out!

Take a Trial

How the Times Are Changing–Ready for the Revolution?

Time are changing

What a week! My team has been enchanted by visions of the future. Here’s why: A fourth revolution is incoming. There are new education models on the horizon, ones that teach us how to be generous. What? A musician wins the Nobel Prize in Literature—really? It’s all too mind-blowing and cool to be true. Here are three articles that cast a spell this week.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: What It Means, How to Respond – World Economic Forum

Are you ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution? This visionary piece, written by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, shows us how Industry 4.0  “will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another.” This new age is one where time evolves exponentially rather than linearly and digital disruptions are everywhere—and this is just the tippy-tip of the iceberg. Read up, see what’s coming, and how to prepare.

Stanford’s Most Popular Class Isn’t Computer Science–It’s Something Much More Important – Fast Company

Finally, a college class with practical application! Stanford Juniors and Seniors have been flocking to “Designing Your Life” since 2010, a course that has a new-world agenda with great appeal: gratitude; generosity; self-awareness; adaptability. Could this be the start of a new type of learning? (Although Socrates might argue with the “new” bit.)

Bob Dylan, Master of Change – New York Times

“I’m a poet, I know it, hope I don’t blow it.” These lyrics, sung by Bob Dylan over 50 years ago seem almost prophetic, as the songwriter is the first musician to ever win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Never one to stand still, Dylan has stayed relevant for over half a decade while transforming and transmuting. From hippie folkster to electric rabble-rouser; born-again prophet to country songster, Dylan’s ability to metamorphosize and be a cultural icon is mind boggling.

Liz Pearce Tells Her LiquidPlanner Story on Nathan Latka’s Podcast

Liz Pearce and Nathan Latka

Photo credit: GeekWire

Recently LiquidPlanner CEO Liz Pearce sat down for a quick chat with entrepreneur-turned-podcast star, Nathan Latka. It’s a fascinating, rapid-fire conversation about how LiquidPlanner started, along with an overview of some of the critical business data points that Liz monitors on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.

Latka, a successful entrepreneur in his own right, launched and sold Heyo, a social marketing agency earlier this year. Interested in all things business, he’s gone on to build a business podcast, The Top Entrepreneurs in Money, Marketing, Business and Life, into an informative medium that helps listeners learn from a wide range of executives about their approach to growing a business.

Whether you’re interested in entrepreneurship, or would like to learn more about the value of unit economics and what it takes to build a successful and growing online SaaS business, this is a fun and compelling story.

Press play to listen to the podcast, below.

If you want to know more about the company Liz has been steering to success through the years, download our eBook, “Introduction to Dynamic Project Management.

Intro to Dynamic PM

 

 

 

What We’re Reading: Work Smarter, Not Harder

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Are you busy? Or do you think you’re busy because you spend a lot of time working?

If you answered yes to this last question, then stop what you’re doing and read this Inc. article, “Why Working Hard Isn’t the Same as Working Smart ,” from entrepreneur and startup author Steve Blank.

Blank’s thesis is simple yet important. If you’re the type of person who feels like hard work is based on the amount of time spent working, you’re doing it wrong.

To me, this idea is hard to digest yet totally on point. I was taught long ago that the only way to make something good was to spend lots of time working on it. But as I’ve progressed in my career it’s clear that output measured in hours is not the right metric to benchmark success. Instead, we should measure work in terms of the quality of the end product. Who cares if it takes 30 minutes or two hours to produce something great?

We strive to create great, valuable, and simple things. Be it a blog post, a business service or consumer product, quality over quantity is what matters.

And this is exactly Blank’s point: too many leaders, entrepreneurs and company employees apply antiquated measurement practices based on hours worked to digital business. This leads to an always-on mentality in which success is viewed through the lens of time spent working. As Blank puts it, “long hours don’t necessary mean success.”

Hours spent working—a vestige of a bygone era?

There’s lots of research on this subject to back up this point. The Harvard Business Review post, “The Research Is Clear: Long Hours Backfire for People and for Companies” is about how long hours hurt people and companies. Author Sarah Green Charmichael notes that overwork is harmful to the companies that we work for. Citing a study by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, overwork can lead to health issues, depressed employees, missed work, rising health insurance costs and turnover.

So, instead of measuring your productivity in hours and jeopardizing your health, work smart, aim for quality output and spend the energy you save doing high-value activities like playing with you kids, traveling, reading or taking that online learning course you always wanted to. Stop overworking your brain; you’ll be more productive as a result.

Our reading list this week:

Bonus Story! The most read blog post of the week:

Like what you read? Have suggestions? Drop me a note @mmerwin.

 

What We’re Reading: Christoph Waltz and the State of American Productivity

Americans. Like it or not, we’re obsessed with productivity. So much so that Samsung, the South Korea-based electronics giant recently launched an amazingly funny, even if slightly backhanded video about the subject to promote their newest mobile device. The ad, which ran liberally during the Rio Olympic Games, is both funny and accurate—which is likely why I loved it.

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In that spirit, here are a collection of stories that speak to the state of productivity today. I hope you enjoy these posts while checking email, listening in on a conference call, and texting your friends about weekend plans.

Bonus Story! The most read blog post of the week:

Read something that you want to share? Find me on Twitter @mmerwin.

If you want to read up on how to be the top dog of project managers, download our handbook, The Ultimate Project Management Guide.”

Ultimate PM Guide

Making the Inc. 5000: We’re Niche and We’re Proud of It

Hi LiquidPlanner readers! We’ve got some exciting news to share this week.

I’m thrilled to announce that we made the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in America! It’s an honor to be included as it’s one of, if not the most comprehensive look at the trajectory of thousands of innovative companies that don’t typically talk about financial performance. The Inc. 5000 rankings are based on three years of verified revenue growth, and while it’s scary to reveal, I’m incredibly proud of our results.

The Inc. 5000 listing is a great follow up to our successful launch of LiquidPlanner Small Team edition, something we think will be a game changer for our business. Small Team edition is built to help teams of five take advantage of our fab online project scheduling and collaboration software. Our goal is to help every team, independent of size, ditch old-school spreadsheets and instead modernize how they approach planning and accomplishing work with a dynamic online project tool like LiquidPlanner.

Making the Inc. 5000

For those of you who run a business, you know how challenging it is gain market traction and stand out in a crowded industry. The project and work management space is no different. Project management plays a massive role in every business. Do it well and your team can turn strategies into plans, plans into action and action into industry-winning products. We take great pride in helping our customers do this in a dynamic manner, every day.

Make no mistake, we’re OK with being niche; in fact, we’re banking on it. I can say, quite proudly, that being niche is helping us achieve our goals, from winning customers in the technology and manufacturing space to hitting critical financial milestones. We’re niche and we’re proud of it.

And that’s why the Inc. 5000 recognition is important. It’s a stepping stone in a long path of validation that our approach not only works, but works really well.

At our core, we’re a company built upon the fundamental believe that ingenuity, creativity and attention to details at the product, customer service and financial level is what makes us unique and ultimately successful.

So, a big thanks to the entire LiquidPlanner team who busts their asses every day to build a unique and powerful product backed by amazing customer support and service. I’d also like to say thank you to our customers – we’re here as long as you get value from LiquidPlanner every day. Thank you!

Check out our Inc. 5000 profile here.

To learn more about how we help companies grow and thrive, download our eBook, “An Introduction to Dynamic Project Management.”

Intro to Dynamic PM