The Best Way to Spend Your Free 30-Day Trial With LiquidPlanner
Note: As of 5/9/2015 the LiquidPlanner trial period is now 14 days.
For an updated week-by-week version of how to spend your trial, see How to Make the Most of Your 30-Day Free Trial With LiquidPlanner
Free. It’s one of my favorite words. Trial? Not so fun. But a free trial? I’m listening, and so should you.
Here at LiquidPlanner, our goal is to make project management radically simple. And to do that, we want to make sure that our customers feel comfortable with the tool before they decide to purchase. That’s why we make LiquidPlanner available for FREE (there it is again) for 30 days for each new customer. A lot can happen in a month, and it’s our hope that your approach to project management will become simplified—and maybe even more fun—with the help of LiquidPlanner.
So let’s say you’ve signed up for your free trial. You’re sitting there at your computer ready to go, but you’re not sure where to start. What can you do to make the most out of your 30 days? Here’s a loose schedule that might help:
If you’re the Workspace Owner, now is the time to dive right in and explore your new workspace. Even though you’re only in trial mode, you have complete access to all of the LiquidPlanner features at this time. Day 1 is a good day to watch a handful of our training videos or skim through the LiquidPlanner Methodology. Get comfortable with what features are available and where things are located.
If you’re comfortable navigating around your workspace, it’s time to invite any other initial testers in to join you. For larger teams, they should be key drivers (like the project managers, coordinators, etc) rather than all team members. Now is also a good time to sign up for a free training webinar. Over the course of an hour, you will get an overview of how LiquidPlanner works and will be shown how to create a full project plan and how to schedule multiple projects with shared resources.
Once you feel comfortable with the basics and with our methodology, you can get started building out your projects:
- Create projects and tasks and assign them to the right people. You can use virtual members to represent task owners who have not been invited to test yet.
- Add estimates to tasks as you create them. LiquidPlanner uses ranged estimates (best case/worst case) to capture the amount of uncertainty associated with each task. This provides a more realistic schedule for you and your team.
- Don’t forget to estimate in effort (how much time it will take to do the work) instead of duration (over what period of time you will do the work).
Now that you’ve assigned and estimated your projects, it’s time to start scheduling. You should discuss with your testers the best package structure to try (in LiquidPlanner, “packages” are used to schedule multiple projects at the same time). During this discussion, you should also decide how your unique processes will flow in LiquidPlanner. Once you’ve made some decisions, go ahead and:
- Package tasks
- Add dependencies, delays and promise dates
Getting comfortable with all this can take you a day or take you a week. Everybody is different, and there’s no need to rush!
Your dream team of testers is probably feeling pretty darn good at navigating LiquidPlanner by this point. But they are also likely have some questions. Now is a great time to get in touch with a LiquidPlanner support or sales representative to address any concerns. If there’s something you need to know that you can’t find in our Help Guide, we’re happy to answer questions over email or on the phone at your convenience.
Time to prep your LiquidPlanner introduction to the rest of the team! You should decide what your priorities will be for the big rollout. Should you focus everyone on updating estimates and progress? Will the collaboration features entice your crew or make them shy away? The point is to think about how much your people can take on at once. Focus on introducing LiquidPlanner at the right time and with the right level of detail.
Send out invitations to the larger group of workspace members, and train them with a focus on your key priorities. During the big rollout, try not to be a perfectionist. Encouraging participation is your first goal. The initial testers may be experts now and they can help coach other team members.
Celebrate your new project management tool and future successes! Once you’ve signed up officially and are on your way, rest assured that the LiquidPlanner team will continue to support you in all your ongoing needs.