We love hearing from our customers and receiving product feedback. It not only allows us to improve our online project management tool, but we also get to learn from our customers. Sometimes THEY’RE the ones teaching us a scheduling trick or two!
I recently had a call with one of our longtime customers, Matt Nisonger. Matt is with SharedVue, an ever-growing cloud marketing company, and he’s definitely earned the title of “LP Guru.” Want proof of his LiquidPlanner prowess? Matt formulated his own project creation workflow trick that’s so good, we just had to share it.
With SharedVue’s steady influx of projects, Matt needed to find a way to streamline project creation. As he explains it, “we wanted to find a way for our Project Managers to quickly set up projects without having to recreate the wheel each time with regard to scoping out tasks and phases.” In short, his goals were to create a template that could:
- Be used for the planning of all projects;
- Place the responsibility for scoping and task planning on departmental leads;
- Free the project manager from having to track detailed tasks outside of their domain.
Here’s how Matt’s project creation process works:
- He’s started by creating a general “skeleton” template for his projects:
Note that the milestones are determined by client deadlines, are driven by department work, and the project manager is responsible for making sure each one is met. The grey sub-folders are for functional breakdowns that represent each department that typically works on the project. They are assigned to the departmental heads and will be populated with tasks as soon as they are scoped by the department.
- When the “Project Approved” milestone is met, the project manager duplicates this template and keeps the new, “live” project low in the priority order until it is fully built out. To initiate the project work, the project manager uses our Email Integration feature to send comments directly to departmental heads requesting that they initiate scoping for the project.
- The department heads then create task deliverables within their allocated sub-folder, estimate them, and assign them to their team members. They have one week to scope their portion of the project. This locks down the scoping period, ensures that everyone involved has early input, and helps prevent future feature creep. Once this is complete, the project manager checks off the “Scoping” milestone for each department.
- Next, the “Scheduling Signoff” milestone is the kick-off to bring the project up in priority order and start prioritizing project tasks within the monthly package structure they have in place. See below:
The project manager and department heads have a 15 minute huddle each week (with LiquidPlanner up on a projector) to prioritize tasks within packages and discuss status updates and resource allocation.
- Once each department has executed all tasks within their sub-folders, the PM signs off on all the work by marking the “Signoff” milestones complete. This process allows the project manager to focus primarily on managing the scoping process and tracking against major milestones. They can check on status by simply viewing how many hours have rolled up in the “Total Done” column for each of the the departmental sub- folders.
- Finally, the last milestone for “Push to Production” is used to mark the date when the product is released and available to the customer.
Although this exact project creation workflow is specific to Matt and his team, you might be able to apply some of his ideas to your own project creation and prioritization needs.
Do you have any tricks you’d like to share with fellow LP customers for more efficient project planning? If so, I’d love to hear them! Feel free to shoot me an email at email@example.com or leave a comment below.