June 2013 Release: Meet Our New Baseline and Retrospective Views

Tatyana Sussex | June 18, 2013

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The theme of our June 2013 release is looking back in time. We’re particularly excited about this update because these changes were inspired by our most popular customer request: “Give us baselines!”

june 2013 release

Previously, our schedule bars only showed a project’s current and future status. Now, our scheduler gives you a retrospective view of your portfolio in two views:

  • The Timeline view – which now lets you click back into past dates to view retrospective schedule bars for projects and all their tasks.
  • The Baseline view – which gives you comparative data at a glance, including task progress and change metrics. You can also run Baseline comparative comparison reports in the Analytics tab.

A few other changes you’ll notice in this release include the new dropdown view menu (which lets you toggle between Timeline and Baseline views, and access reports); updated schedule bar metrics popups; easier email integration; and a boost to Checklists (from 30 max items to 50).

Let’s dig into our new Timeline and Baseline features, shall we?

See project history in the Timeline view

The Timeline view is your default view of the LiquidPlanner schedule bars –and see into a project’s past! Here’s how it works:

Let’s say a manager wants a quick visual look at the progress of a project you’re working on — we’re talking a status overview that includes active and done work, milestones, delays and dependencies. Use the new timeline control to set the timeline’s anchor date and scale – and voila!

june 2013 release - Retrospective view

With a few clicks  you have everything you need in plain sight to give your manager a well-crafted update on your project’s history. Simply print to PDF for easy distribution.  And you haven’t spent half a day on it.

Get project forensics with Baseline

If “Turning Back Time” is the theme of this new release, then the star attraction is our new Baseline feature. The LiquidPlanner Baseline feature is a way for you and your team to compare the current state of a project with its state at an earlier period in time. Teams use baselines to measure scope creep, finish date slippage and more.  In short, it’s a way to understand how and why changes occur in a project.

june 2013 release - baseline

Now here’s the really cool thing:  LiquidPlanner snaps a baselines for you automatically once a day!  You can snap a manual baseline any time you’d like, but if you forget to do that, you’ll always have an automatic baseline to refer back to.

Let’s say a group manager comes into your office in a state of alarm asking why Project D is running late when two weeks ago everything was on track. The manager also wants to know how much extra time has been added overall and how these changes will affect the delivery date. Eek, you say. And then you calm down and take those sweaty palms to the Baseline view of your project – where you’ll see what caused the project to slip.

Next, you select a date two weeks in the past and start doing some project forensics.  Baseline data is presented in the schedule bar area and plan columns.

In the schedule bar area, you’ll see baseline markers for the expected finish dates (blue for baseline expected finish, black for the current expected finish.  Click on a schedule bar to view other key metrics and delta calculations.

To the left of the schedule bars, you have two columns for each baselined metric – one for the current value and one for the baseline value.   LiquidPlanner collects baseline data for several metrics, so don’t forget that you can add and customize columns in one of two ways: right-click the column header, or click the gear icon at the right of the Owner column.

Baseline Analytics

While the baseline plan view is an ideal quick-reference tool, the new Baseline Analytics Report  is the place to go when you need to dig deeper, slice and dice across projects, and view graphical data summaries.

june 2013 release - baseline report

The baseline analytics report looks for metrics that have changed since the selected baseline date.  You can create baseline reports for Projects, Clients and Tasks.

The look and navigation of the baseline report is the same as our original analytics report.  You’ll notice that we have renamed the original reports to “Filtered Roll-Up” reports.

More release features

Meet our new view menu – This new drop-down navigation is located in the upper-left corner of the projects tab. This is where you can toggle between a Timeline and Baseline view of your projects, and this is also the new home for the other quick-reference reporting views. Timeline is the default setting here, and if you toggle to Baseline or Status, you can always return to home by clicking the blue back button.

june 2013 release - new view menu

New timeline schedule bar popup – Hello, flash visual metrics!  Click on a schedule bar to see the newly refreshed pop-up presentation of key metrics.  Click on the mini Remaining Trend graphic to go to the full Remaining Trend Report for that plan item.

June 2013 - Schedule Bar Pop Up

Easier email access and more Checklist items –  It’s way easier to email information into your workspace because we automated the link for you (no more copying and pasting). Plus, there’s a new email feature that lets you grab links to plan items (with or without the item name) and email them to anyone with workspace access.

For you Checklist overachievers, we’ve upped the max items from 30 to 50.

Coming up this week: We’ll dive into Baseline and talk about taking project snapshots—and the difference between automatic and manual snapshots. Plus, a show-and-tell on the nifty changes in our email integration feature.

If you’ve used any of the new features, what do you think so far?