Monarch Teaching Technologies is a Boston-based small business that provides new, highly visual e-learning solutions designed for children with autism and other special learning needs. Founded in 2007, the company introduced its marquee product, VizZle, three years ago to help teachers, clinicians, and parents provide unique learning experiences for their students.
Monarch is a dynamic company where the priorities for any given project can change rapidly and no two projects are alike. In addition, the company is not accustomed to planning for projects a year or even six months in advance.
Monarch’s 25 employees wear multiple hats, quickly adapting to change in the company’s fast-paced environment. For example, while John Haprian’s official title is Vice President of Development and Operations, he is also the de facto project manager at the organization.
Selecting the right tool for the job – and internal methodology
Haprian is responsible for managing as many as 20 simultaneous projects spanning nine developers located in disparate locations. While he tried using two different project management tools, he quickly realized they both had critical limitations to manage the complexity of his projects at Monarch. As a result, Haprian began looking for a project management solution that could effectively and quickly prioritize the elements of a project while functioning as a resource management tool for his distributed team.
LiquidPlanner is an invaluable tool for managing limited resources against the changing requirements of our many development projects. I now have much more insight into the reality of the entire project process, allowing me to address trouble spots and move to the next element of the project more quickly.
JOHN HAPRIAN, VICE PRESIDENT OF DEVELOPMENT AND OPERATIONS
After evaluating a number of solutions, Haprian chose LiquidPlanner to help plan and track his various development projects at Monarch. Avoiding software management costs was important at the small business, so Haprian first considered LiquidPlanner because it offered an online solution. However, Haprian ultimately selected LiquidPlanner because of its unique ability to prioritize the competing demands of multiple projects. LiquidPlanner also allowed Monarch to maintain its existing and familiar project management methodology that was developed internally, eliminating the need to adopt and learn a whole new approach.
LiquidPlanner integrates seamlessly with existing process
“LiquidPlanner is an invaluable tool for managing limited resources against the changing requirements of our many development projects because it works seamlessly within our current internal processes,” Haprian says. “Now, I have much more insight into the reality of the entire project process, allowing me to address trouble spots and move to the next element of the project more quickly.”
LiquidPlanner gives Haprian the ability to create accurate plans that reflect the real world complexities of many projects. As a manager, Haprian is required have his finger on the pulse of a number of different projects at any given time. For example, he often manages several small projects at the same time he oversees larger ones requiring more than 1,600 hours of development. Haprian realized that fewer unforeseen problems were arising on current components of his projects when he used LiquidPlanner, so he was able to spend more time preparing his team for the next priority on the horizon rather than putting out fires.
“I find that LiquidPlanner helps me keep more plates spinning. In fact, we were able to scrap one of our larger applications and rewrite it from the ground up,” Haprian said. “What’s remarkable is that we did it while still working on other projects. That would have been impossible without having a tool like LiquidPlanner to manage our time and resources.”
LiquidPlanner provides unique insights for managing resources
Haprian uses LiquidPlanner to quickly and effectively manage resources at Monarch. Every week Haprian reviews the timesheets of each member of the development team. He considers the number of hours they worked and identifies discrepancies from LiquidPlanner’s projections. He can easily identify where team members are being distracted from their project by other internal demands such as meetings, travel, or other ideas at the company. Haprian can then look forward to the next week – or month – and make adjustments in LiquidPlanner to reflect the team member’s broader role at the company. Making these changes is easy in LiquidPlanner since the solution is designed to represent the realities of today’s complex and ever changing work place.
LiquidPlanner has had a profound impact on the project management process at Monarch. Because the solution effectively prioritizes various elements of multiple projects, it allows the project manager to stay focused on the things that really matter at the company. Ultimately, better awareness on priorities of key projects has created efficiency across the development team and has positively impacted the bottom line. And the team can continue to wear multiple hats and handle all the changes just the way they want to.
Benefits of LiquidPlanner at Monarch Teaching Technologies:
- Provides deeper insights into entire project management process for better resource management.
- Prioritizes competing demands of multiple projects more accurately.
- Maintains existing project processes and methodologies established at the company.
- Save money by cutting down on expensive project management software acquisition and maintenance costs through online solution offering.