LiquidPlanner is a collaborative project management software solution based out of Seattle, Washington. The privately held company was founded in 2006 by former Expedia senior managers Charles Seybold and Jason Carlson. The software operates with a distinctive scheduling methodology with a heavy concentration on task prioritization.
The company's first public beta release of the web-based software was launched in 2008. Employees of the company include Microsoft, Expedia, Google, and Intel alumni. LiquidPlanner boasts more than 1,500 teams in over 50 countries worldwide in a full range of industries. Well-known clients using the Liquid Planner software includes Pitney Bowes, Nissan, and the Marriott Hotel chain.
The product features:
- automatically updated priority-based scheduling
- best-worst case estimates
- portfolio-level planning
- shared inboxes
- checklists for tracking
- connected conversation threads
- file sharing
- email and calendar integration
- task timers
- custom report builders
- dashboard reports
- Free trial
- Multiple projects
The features are intuitive and user-friendly. It doesn't take long to find your way around the software and to get a good feel for how things work together. There is also an abundance of storage available (100GB).
One unique feature LiquidPlanner has is that projects can be grouped in different packages. Examples include ASAP, In Progress, and Near Completion. This is perfect for medium to large business who need to oversee high levels of resources. The platform also comes equipped with a built-in time tracking tool. If a user forgets to turn the timer off after completing work, the recorded time can be adjusted manually. The stopwatch is not required to be used. User can always note completed hours without it.
Project managers are given the ability to set schedules based on priority within the platform. Best and worst-case scenarios may be estimated regarding how long a project may take to be completed. Each item is plotted on a timeline that change dynamically as various factors affect it. Tasks located at the top of your account are scheduled before any other assigned work. For example: If you were given a task that takes about 2-6 hours to complete in an 8-hour workday, the platform will schedule the entire day solely for that task.
Fluid interactions and drag-and-drop capabilities allow users to easily fine-tune project details and schedules. If a team member is assigned multiple projects and one is put on hold, the other projects will automatically adjust to make the best use if the newly acquired time the user just earned from the paused project. Project managers can manually make these adjustments as needed. Project delays and dependencies always override prioritization within the software platform. LiquidPlanner features a handy checklist feature. Task may be broken down into 50 components or less. However, components are not scheduled. Schedules are calculated on the whole task and not all the individual components.
The company provides a free 14-day read-only mode trial of their software, with no credit card information required. LiquidPlanner also provides a wide array of support services for its customer base, except for live chat support. The company can be contacted by phone for general questions or by email. Since the software has a high learning curve, the company provides plenty of one-hour webinars that are followed by question and answer sessions. There are also step-by-step instructional videos available for customers to learn how to use the software.
The ability to keep track of and effectively handle multiple projects simultaneously is another plus when using LiquidPlanner. And if you need to quickly find documents and other important materials, LiquidPlanner's single-site storage makes it easy to access this critical data.
- Mobile app
The mobile app from LiquidPlanner is poorly developed. Past users have complained that it is clunky and difficult to maneuver, especially with the iOS version. The Android app was rated more favorable but users cited that it is not practical and has limited functionality.
LiquidPlanner is more expensive than other competing project management software solutions. Smaller companies will not find it suitable in fitting their budget restraints. Prices start at $29/user monthly on an annual plan with a minimum requirement of 10 users.
There are quite a few software bugs for users to contend with. Scheduling meetings is practically impossible with the platform. Project managers are not able to account for partial-day events or add recurrent meetings to schedules. The company stated it is working on these issues and should have them resolved in the near future.
Users have also reported issues with the fact that the platform does not provide alerts when a task or project goes over-budget. This can create huge problems for businesses who quote fixed rates or hours when projects exceed limitations. Some companies have lost large revenue amounts due to this factor.This is another area the company is well aware of and is working on a solution.
User roles are restrictive in the software. Users with restricted access are not allowed to perform certain managerial functions. This is especially true for interpretive functions, such as analyzing data or synthesizing a set of information. In order to allow an employee to perform these tasks, they must be giving full access to the account. This can compromise sensitive and private information. Financial management features are also lacking in the platform. New users will require a heavy learning curve in understanding and working with the software. There are many options and features that it easy to get lost and takes considerable time setting up. There is no chat app available on the platform.
The Bottom Line
The web-based collaborative project management software solution provided by LiquidPlanner is best suited for medium or larger enterprises. It features a distinctive scheduling methodology that heavily concentrates on task prioritization. The software has excellent time-tracking capabilities as well. However, it lacks in financial management and team collaboration features when compared to similar solutions offered by competitors in the marketplace.
It does require a steep learning curve at first for new users. It would be nice if the company provided live chat with software that is hard to learn. Liquidplanner would benefit greatly as a company by providing this service. The mobile app provided by the privately-held company is impractical and clunky to use.
LiquidPlanner isn't the newest project management software provider in the game, nor is it the oldest, but they are good at what they do. We all know how precious time is and how important it is to meet deadlines, hit milestones and achieve objectives. Even if you somehow drift of the path to your goals, the applications make it easy to get back on. If you are a project manager or leading a crucial project for your organization, take a look into LiquidPlanner.