Reporting Can Be So Much More Than Analytics

Liz Rosen | April 16, 2013

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I recently visited a local LiquidPlanner customer here in Seattle to help train a group of managers on reporting.  As a customer support and adoption manager, I prepared by sitting down to brush up on my Analytics skills, figuring that’s what they’d want to talk about. But I was only partially right.


Generally, managers are slicing and dicing data by people and teams all the time.  So, being familiar with our Analytics module helps them create custom reports with a wealth of information.  However, I quickly realized that the group I was training would also want to know how to keep better tabs on their projects and team members — without micro-managing, without a huge investment of time, and without crunching numbers daily.

Once the lightbulb came on, I showed them all the ways they can use LiquidPlanner to accomplish their reporting needs – outside of our Analytics feature. Here’s the list:

Use Custom Fields:

  • To categorize more specifically.  This eliminates the need to append the task name or its description with specific terms.
  • To inject data that needs to be reported on later (in conjunction with the work that was done).
  • To create a “team” field that shows group responsibility for a project where task owners are cross-functional.
  • To create a “status” field to facilitate workflow when handing a task from one owner to another.

Set Deadline dates, even if you don’t have an actual deliverable:

  • Deadlines provides a fixed visual point that makes a ton of sense once schedule bars start creeping closer and that milestone.
  • Deadlines help calculate how much work can fit into prioritization packages.
  • Status, Remaining, and Total Trend reports can have more impact when there’s a target in play.

Customize the view of your project plan to get all the necessary info at a glance:

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Look at the Workload Report to find people who are available, rather than wondering who is booked solid and what they’re actually working on.

Use Plan Exports and Timesheet Exports as reports, especially for those who do like number-crunching:

  • Try exporting plan data.  In one quick download you’ll get the list of project tasks you filtered down to, plus over 30 additional data columns. From here, you can delete what you don’t need and use your Excel wizardry skills to create glorious pivot tables, graphs and pie charts to wow the dude in the corner office.
  • Need granular data regarding hours logged on completed projects?  Use the filtering tools on the timesheet export and just like the previous tip, you’ll get a heap of data to work with.  Delete the ones you don’t need and have fun crunching the rest of the numbers to the delight of Madame CFO.

Hopefully this helps you think about what reporting means to your organization or team – and gets you brainstorming about the information you want to get from your workspace.