This article presents a high-level overview of creating and scheduling projects in LiquidPlanner. You can see all of these concepts in action in our Getting Started Video Series.
- Go to the Projects tab and add your clients, projects & sub-folders and individual tasks. Watch a video demonstration here: Adding a Project
- When you create tasks, be sure to estimate the remaining effort (not calendar duration) required to complete each task, and enter the estimate as a range, e.g. 4-6 hours.
- Add dependencies as necessary. Note that priority-based scheduling typically eliminates the need for dependencies between tasks owned by the same person.
- Add deadline dates as necessary. Folders are logical places to add deadline dates, e.g. on the project itself or a phase of the project. LiquidPlanner will alert you if all the work in a container can’t get done by that deadline date, so you’ll always know where intervention is required.
- After creating your projects, it’s time to review their schedule order. Read on!
Review and Modify Schedule Order
- By default, each person’s tasks are scheduled automatically in the order in which they are listed on the Projects tab. For any task, LiquidPlanner takes the ranged estimate and weighs it against the task owner’s availability and other higher priority tasks. When multiple owners are assigned to the same task, owners can be scheduled to work independently (as soon as they are available) or in the order in which their assignments are listed (work in order). LiquidPlanner also factors in any delays or dependencies that might be affecting the task, and it applies a statistical algorithm to determine the likely start and finish dates. Unless it’s affected by a delay or dependency, the earliest start date for a task should match the earliest finish date for that task owner’s previous task in the priority order.
- If you happen to work on just one project at a time, simply drag and drop the project folders to arrange them into priority order.
- If you are juggling concurrent projects, be sure to read about multi-project scheduling. You’ll need to create a package structure to establish priority overrides for your tasks. Packages allow you to accurately prioritize tasks across different projects.
- When you edit a task, LiquidPlanner immediately recalculates the dates for that task, as well as the dates for all other tasks that got affected by the change you made. You’ll see the rescheduling indicator at the top of the screen and you’ll see the results of the recalculation when you refresh.
- Be sure that each person has accurately set their availability in their profile. That’s important because LiquidPlanner references availability to do automatic load balancing. It’s impossible for a person to be over-booked in LiquidPlanner because we will simply push out task start dates to respect availability.
- LiquidPlanner creates a live dynamic schedule. A key to keeping it current is maintaining accurate remaining estimates on all of your tasks. Logging progress will reduce remaining estimates automatically, and it offers the additional benefits of time-tracking analysis.