Web Design and Development Company Increases Portfolio 300% with LiquidPlanner

Alison Clancy | August 30, 2012

Mike Schwengel Headshot
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Mike Schwengel HeadshotIn Minneapolis, Minnesota, you’ll find BestHive, a thriving web design and development company. Known as “The Hive,” BestHive’s team of creative and technical talent is led by the company’s co-founder, Mike Schwengel. Since he and his partner Artem Kuznetsov started the company in 2011, BestHive’s client and project portfolio has grown by about 300%.  Both attribute a great deal of the company’s success to LiquidPlanner. As the company began to grow, Schwengel soon realized the need for a sophisticated system that could manage the complexities of conducting multiple projects simultaneously, establish realistic timelines for each project, and produce insightful reports to monitor progress.

Since adopting LiquidPlanner, Schwengel has also increased BestHive’s staff from one to ten highly technical employees based in Pakistan and Minneapolis, without one hiccup. LiquidPlanner allows users to manage multiple clients and complex projects across continents in a single integrated view, providing maximum flexibility in grouping projects and tasks. Using LiquidPlanner, Schwengel’s team now comfortably manages ten concurrent projects, many of which are very large and multifaceted.

“Thanks to LiquidPlanner, we have an awesome platform in place to handle all the intricacies of our business today,” says Schwengel. “I feel confident it will grow with us to meet all our future design and development initiatives, too.”

Finding the Right Solution

When the company was much smaller, Schwengel used a rudimentary project management solution which was adequate for simple projects. As the company began to add more developers to “The Hive” to accommodate more projects and the projects became more complex, troubles arose: deadlines were missed, key assets could not be easily located, and Schwengel became increasingly aware that members of the team were not communicating with each other effectively. Stress levels were high for the entire team in those days. Schwengel knew he needed to improve overall organization and streamline the processes related to the company’s projects to ensure the future success of BestHive.

Schwengel and his lead project manager developed a very specific list of criteria for project management needs and looked at a dozen different solutions on the market. When they found LiquidPlanner, Schwengel says he realized they had found ”project management mecca.”

“With LiquidPlanner, I know all the details of our projects will be addressed, and potential bottlenecks will be handled before they become a problem.” Schwengel says. “I also know we are much more organized as a result of LiquidPlanner’s approach and I can say it has actually made us better at doing our work.”

Besthive Map

The Value of Improved Collaboration and Customer Service

An immediate benefit of using LiquidPlanner at BestHive was the ability to create a virtual workspace for individual projects where employees can discuss and document the work they’re doing at any time in a transparent, fully collaborative environment. Collaboration was particularly important for Schwengel, since his employees work remotely in a different time zone. He also appreciated LiquidPlanner’s ability to keep all documentation and communications related to each project in one central hub. BestHive employees use LiquidPlanner exclusively for project-related communications which has greatly reduced the company’s email burden. Schwengel can quickly view the work that has been completed on any project by checking his LiquidPlanner notifications each morning and his team members can easily manage their own workflow, staying focused on the tasks at hand. Schwengel has found LiquidPlanner to be such an effective communication hub that time consuming meetings to assign tasks or update managers are now a thing of the past.

In addition to LiquidPlanner’s impact on BestHive’s collaboration and productivity, Schwengel has been excited to see another, unexpected benefit from the program:  increased customer satisfaction levels. When he sets up a project using Function Requirement Specifications in LiquidPlanner, it automatically lays out each component of the job and establishes a timeline in a highly visual format. This makes it much easier for Schwengel to walk through a project with clients and set meaningful expectations for every component including completion dates, budgets, and required resources. LiquidPlanner’s ability to provide regular or ad hoc overviews of progress in an easy-to-understand graphical format enables BestHive and their clients to be lockstep with each other through the lifecycle of the project, increasing satisfaction on both sides.

Benefits of LiquidPlanner at BestHive:

  • Accelerated business growth by improving overall project management and an ability to manage multiple projects of increasing size and complexity
  • Enhanced collaboration among team members and managers by having all documents, tasks and comments in one location
  • Improved customer satisfaction by visually laying out the components of each project and easily producing reports