We caught up with Joe to ask him how he uses LiquidPlanner to improve SWERVE’s driving curriculum and their operational processes.
LiquidPlanner: Why does a driving school need a project management and collaboration solution?
Joe Pruskowski: We started SWERVE about six years ago. In just a short period of time, we have grown the company to almost 100 employees. About 60 of these employees are driving instructors while the rest work in the office. Unlike a typical driving school, we believe technology can both improve our driving education curriculum as well as our operational processes, enabling us to bring a higher quality service at a more competitive price point to students. One of the things we realized early on is that we needed a central place to manage our portfolio of projects as well as a better way to collaborate more effectively with one another as we grew the business.
LP: Why did you choose LiquidPlanner and what other project management systems did you evaluate?
JP: Historically we would use Microsoft Project but we realized that we needed something more flexible and forward-thinking so we evaluated a number of online project management tools – especially those that would allow us to communicate and collaborate in real time. Services like Basecamp were useful but were limited in scope and we wanted to avoid using a variety of disconnected standalone solutions. Then we learned about LiquidPlanner and quickly saw that it would meet all of our requirements, could grow with our business, and was well within our budget.
After we had been using LiquidPlanner for a year, it became more fundamental to our business with every passing week. These past few years we’ve really ratcheted up our development efforts and we recognized that we needed to do a better job on the project management side of the equation.
LP: How do you use LiquidPlanner on a daily basis?
JP: We have around 10 serious, day-to-day users and then another eight to 10 portal users such as contractors and other vendors that we work with on a regular basis. While we initially were interested in LiquidPlanner from a pure project management perspective, we’ve since discovered that its collaboration functionality has become even more important to our team.
In many ways, we’re still really learning how to do project management. We don’t have any certified project managers on staff and LiquidPlanner has shown us that we really don’t need to add this particular expertise. We simply enter all our tasks into a given project, assign an owner, prioritize them, and get back to work. From a collaboration standpoint, we now use LiquidPlanner more than email to share documents. Meanwhile, the Commenting feature lets us discuss tasks with one another in real-time without us all having to be in the same room at once. So you can see, we really view LiquidPlanner as a platform for all of our project communications.
LP: What would you say would be the biggest benefit you’ve realized since rollout?
JP: Probably our ability to really understand what everyone is working on without actually having to ask them to constantly provide status updates. Since we’ve been using LiquidPlanner for a while now, we also now a good historical view into our past projects which have enabled us to better understand where our process is working and where we’re having issues. But likely the most salient benefit has been our ability to easily collaborate with each other and our various external partners. Since we’re always running several projects concurrently, this capability provides a huge improvement in both our overall business process as well as greater visibility into our entire portfolio of projects.