How to Identify Bottlenecks with LiquidPlanner

Doug Moscaret | July 24, 2018

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When people and priorities change, you need to figure out how it could put your schedule at-risk.

You can take advantage of our features to help you understand where you are versus where you want to be; they will also prepare you to answer tough questions from your most important stakeholders.

Here are some useful ways that LiquidPlanner will help you find bottlenecks in your schedule.

Leveraging Deadlines

Let’s say you’ve got a new project that has Design, Test, and Launch phases with key dates you need to hit. Putting Deadlines on these items drives alerts to let you know as soon as work is at risk of missing them.

A common scenario: you have moved resources around and now your scope is affected because of it.

You can see deadlines on the grey subfolder bars in the Wayne Website Upgrade project, represented by the black diamonds. Notice how the expected finish date, Finish [E], is coming after the deadline on the Launch phase. This has triggered an alert and turned the phase bar red, letting you know you’re not on track to hit the goal.

Keep in mind that the [E] date is not static but based on the priority order, estimates, and resource availability. As your work changes, having deadlines on tasks, phases or projects will let LiquidPlanner determine the effects as they occur.

Using Delta Deadline to Keep Pace

Expanding on the use of deadlines, you need to be able to easily track them. Because LiquidPlanner is built with uncertainties and changes in mind, we do much of the reporting to tell you where you are in real-time.

You’ve seen how you can visualize this in the Projects Tab when the bars turn red on tasks and projects. When it comes down to seeing the discrepancy between the Deadline and Finish [E] dates, Delta Deadline is a useful field to bring into Dashboards and Analytics tables.

If you want to see how close you are to your Deadline or how many days past it you are, here’s a table you can quickly reference:

You can see the Delta Deadline column exposed, and what it’s telling you is how many days over or under your worst-case finish date [90%] is from the Deadline you set. The negative number implies your work coming in ahead of it, albeit cutting it close on some like the third task. The positive numbers on the first two let you know you’ve gone over. In both cases, LiquidPlanner alerts you before and after, with yellow being mild and red being severe.

Use a Custom Status Filter to Find Scope Risks

As you saw above, LiquidPlanner will alert you to risks before and after they happen. Another powerful way of seeing what has the potential to throw you off course is with Custom Status Filters.

To clarify, there are pre-defined Status Filters that allow you to find and group tasks by certain definitions. Think of when you want to see what’s been created recently, what’s been done. Additionally, there are Custom Filters which let you build your own rules to categorize and find tasks.

Let’s see an example to find potential bottlenecks. We’ll look at task estimates with a high degree of uncertainty. LiquidPlanner looks at the range between the best and worst-case estimates to determine the project’s expected finish date, so we always encourage customers to reassess them. As work progresses, you may be able to re-estimate with more accuracy and create a clearer scope of work.

Here’s what this might look like if you want to see work with a range of uncertainty equal to or greater than 24 hours that has been estimated within the past month:

When applied this is going to pull up all your tasks that meet the criteria. These are the ones that are increasing uncertainty in the schedule and have been recently estimated by resources. Now you’ll be able to frame conversations about what can be accomplished compared to how long people previously thought it would take.

Complement What You Already Know

Whether your priorities and people change, LiquidPlanner is going to make it easy to see where issues are before they happen.  Keeping these examples in mind allows you to have several ways of looking at your bottlenecks and set up views to track them from start to finish.

Have questions? Don’t hesitate to reach out to our support team for help.

New to LiquidPlanner? Try these features and more with a free trial.