Does Good Project Management Make for Good Client Management?
Sarmeesha Reddy, co-founder of software development and technology consulting firm Dharmatech, says, “Yes!” We recently sat down with Sarmeesha to learn about how she and her partner, Jason Hill, are using LiquidPlanner to manage not only their clients’ projects but also the internal operations of their Salt Lake City firm.
What was your project management process like before LiquidPlanner?
Internally we used a kanban board, which was basically a big white board with sprint lanes for all of our clients. Every sticky note on the board represented a separate task. While this worked okay for our internal process, it didn’t work very well for our clients since they had no visibility into their projects, nor did we have a way to easily communicate the status of projects with our clients. And since we were moving from a physical office to become a virtual office, we knew this wasn’t sustainable over the long-term.
How does LiquidPlanner help you efficiently multi-task across client projects?
The first thing we did was to think about how we engage with our clients on their projects and then configure LiquidPlanner to work within that framework. Our goal was really straightforward: how do we improve the velocity of projects so that we spend less time spinning our wheels and more time delivering results. As a consultancy, we’re continually juggling multiple client projects so LiquidPlanner has become invaluable as it enables us to balance our workload in real-time so we can set the right expectations with our clients. One of the other killer features is the client portals. We have about 10 client portals running at any one time and our clients love it since they can see exactly where we are in a given project.
However, what’s really surprised us is how we’ve begun to use LiquidPlanner to manage our internal operations – everything from our business development pipeline to our legal processes. There were a lot of moving pieces as we made the transition to becoming a for-profit and we now put pretty much everything into LiquidPlanner, regardless of whether it’s a client project or an internal project.
How has LiquidPlanner’s ranged estimates helped you manage your workload?
LiquidPlanner’s ability to capture best and worst case estimates has been essential. And it’s come in handy in some very unexpected ways. For instance, we feel that the best way to remain a small and nimble firm is by hiring people who are as experienced as we are. One way to identify a really stellar engineer is to see how good they are at estimating, which anyone who’s done this long enough knows can be something of a black art. We do a lot of contract to hire and one of the things we’ve learned is that by the two month mark, it’s easy to evaluate how good a job they’re doing at estimating by looking at how their best and worst case estimates map to reality.
What would you say has been the single most valuable benefit you’ve realized since you’ve been using LiquidPlanner?
Probably the fact that it enables us to stay focused and disciplined, which is always challenging in a start-up environment. We all left our Fortune 500 jobs because we hated process and bureaucracy. LiquidPlanner provides us with a really good sense of what we’re committing to for the week, which means we don’t end up wasting a lot of cycles planning and we can use our limited time on client work.
Every few weeks we feature a different LiquidPlanner customer and showcase how they’re using LiquidPlanner to power their business. If you’re interested in being featured, drop us a line or leave a comment!