Episode 81 – PM Software – Get More Done

Episode #81
Original Air Date: 05.20.2019

31 Minutes

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Our Guest This Episode: Jen Morrisey

Scheduling is a big deal in project management. Choosing the right scheduling tool is personal. It has to be a good fit. Velociteach reached out to a number of companies to have conversations about their scheduling software, and LiquidPlanner is the first to respond. In this episode, we’re getting into the nuts and bolts of project management tools with Jen Morrisey the Vice President of Product at LiquidPlanner, a cloud-based project management platform.

If you want to leverage smart planning, listen in to hear from our guest. Jen has been a key member of the LiquidPlanner team since joining in 2009. From her prior background in Project Management consulting, Jen brings a clear understanding of the project management space and recognizes customer needs firsthand.

We ask Jen a bit about the history of LiquidPlanner – how and why it got started. Hear too about product innovations, including its predictive nature, best case/worst case estimates, scheduling methodology, and customer interaction to help you make an informed decision regarding your scheduling software needs.

Favorite Quotes from Our Talk:

“The workplace, rather, is rapidly evolving, as is the PM role. And I think project managers today face so many challenges as well as opportunities. …. I think the core challenge is that they’re asked to do more with less resources. So now more than ever they need to use their resources in the most optimal way.”

- Jen Morrisey

“ …the project manager is empowered with the uncertainty and knowing what the possibilities, best case and worst case, could ultimately be…. it focuses them in on the expected finish.”

- Jen Morrisey

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Table of Contents

01:36 … Meet Jen
03:37 … Liquid Planner History
04:36 … “Pain is the Mother of Invention”
06:50 … Supporting the Project Manager Customer
07:45 … Customer Base
09:05 … Best case/Worst Case – Estimating Tool
15:04 … Critical Path
16:13 … Top Innovations
17:09 … Solutions to PM Challenges
19:19 … Agile/Scrum and Waterfall Approaches
20:47 … Estimates vs Actuals
24:29 … Communication among Users
26:11 … Software Versions
27:07 … Looking Forward
29:44 … Connect with LiquidPlanner
30:18 … Closing

JEN MORRISEY:  The workplace, rather, is rapidly evolving, as is the PM role, and I think project managers today face so many challenges as well as opportunities. But with working with so many of our customers, many of which are PMs, of course, I think the core challenge is that they’re asked to do more with less resources.  So now more than ever they need to use their resources in the most optimal way.

NICK WALKER:  Welcome to Manage This, the podcast by project managers for project managers.  Every other week we get together to discuss the things that matter to you as a professional project manager.  We want to bring out the best in you, and we do that by picking the brains of some of the best in the business, sharing in their successes, and sometimes learning from their failures.

I’m your host, Nick Walker, and with me is the one who guides us in this journey, Bill Yates.  And Bill, today we’re going to get into the nuts and bolts of some project management tools to hopefully make us more productive and make our lives a little easier.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, I’m excited about this conversation.  Nick, the reality is every project manager has a favorite scheduling tool.  Project management scheduling is a big deal.  It’s very important because it’s so out there.  When you create a schedule, everybody sees it, and they kind of judge you by it.

NICK WALKER:  Yeah.

BILL YATES:  So we’ve reached out to a number of companies just to have conversations about their software.  LiquidPlanner is the first to respond, so we’re going to talk with them today.

Meet Jen

NICK WALKER:  Yeah, so we’re going to talk with Jen Morrisey, the Vice President of Products at LiquidPlanner. This is a cloud-based project management platform.  She’s passionate about designing and building innovative products that help teams do the work that matters most. She’s been a key member of the LiquidPlanner team since joining in 2009.  From her prior background in project management consulting, Jen brings a clear understanding of the project management space and understands customer needs firsthand.

Jen, thank you so much for joining us here on Manage This. For starters, for the benefit of our listeners unfamiliar with LiquidPlanner, can you give us a brief description of what it is?

JEN MORRISEY:  Absolutely, LiquidPlanner is a project management solution. It’s the only solution on the market that is priority based, And that is built to really pull in factors of reality to build accurate schedules for our customers.

NICK WALKER:  And how did you get involved in this?

JEN MORRISEY:  So I first got started in human resources, and I never thought that I would go into tech. I started out of school at Starbucks Corporate and realized that project management was a calling for me. I went into project management consulting and project controls consulting, and so I spent a lot of time on client sites and saw that project management solutions out there just weren’t adding the value that I thought that they should.  My clients really struggled to keep their plans up to date and to adapt to change that was inevitable in the marketplace.

And so ultimately I heard about Charles Seybold and Jason Carlson developing this new different way to manage projects. And I reached out to get coffee, and one coffee date turned into nine-plus years at LiquidPlanner.

BILL YATES:  So Starbucks Coffee, LiquidPlanner, I’m kind of seeing a Seattle theme here.

NICK WALKER:  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  We should mention that you are in Seattle, and this is where LiquidPlanner is based?

JEN MORRISEY:  Exactly.  I’m looking at the Space Needle right now.

Liquid Planner History

NICK WALKER:  Tell us a little bit about how this company got started, the history of it, when it was started, by whom, and really why?

JEN MORRISEY:  That’s a great question.  So LiquidPlanner was founded by two former executives at Expedia, Charles Seybold and Jason Carlson. They launched the first version of LiquidPlanner in 2008, and Charles really founded the project management organization at Expedia.  And he likes to joke that he and his team were running 400 projects simultaneously, and that not a single one of them could tell you what had shipped in the last release.  Right?  Which I think is the reality with so many, and that it was this total chaos that created their early inspiration for LiquidPlanner.

But the story definitely goes deeper than that. I think if you were to sit down with them, the way that they would describe it is that during their time at Expedia they just encountered so many insights that they couldn’t ignore as to what was missing in the project management market.

“Pain is the Mother of Invention”

BILL YATES:  Jen, I think it was a quick video that I saw of one of the guys, I can’t remember if it was Jason or Charles, but they were describing the number of projects that they were working on, and it was after they had both met at Expedia.  I could just see in his face as he described it that pain is the mother of invention; right?  It’s like, when we have pain on a regular basis, we look for innovation. We look for ways to relieve that.  So I can see how LiquidPlanner, many of the features that are built into it came out of the pain that they experienced when they were just trying to find a tool that would work.

JEN MORRISEY:  Bill, I think that’s a really great point.  I think you hit the nail on the head.  When they were working at Expedia, they were surrounded by the best and the brightest people that money could buy, yet project deadlines were continuously missed, and work was constantly overestimated or underestimated, and they simply couldn’t find a place or a way to visualize or even know where time was being spent. So I think it took some time to really accept this reality and dig in on project performance, and ultimately they met Steve McConnell.  I don’t know, are you guys familiar with Steve?

BILL YATES:  Tell me more.  I want to make sure it’s the one I’m thinking of.

JEN MORRISEY:  Yeah, so Steve McConnell’s the author of “Software Estimation.”  He’s an expert in software engineering and project management, and our founders ultimately studied underneath him, and after their experience at Expedia – that pain you mentioned – and really learning from Steve McConnell, they realized that single point estimates were wrong, were not the right way to go.  So their first key insight that really led to the early inspirations of our company was that they needed to bring ranged estimation into their project management practice to really capture uncertainty that’s inherent in all work.

BILL YATES:  That, see I’m glad you brought that up, and we’re going to get to that point in a few minutes.  But the predictive nature of this scheduling software is something that’s unique and now, knowing the influence that was behind that, that’s intriguing, so we’ll talk more about that.

JEN MORRISEY:  Yeah, it’s just interesting.  They looked around, and estimation was all around you. So what’s your commute time going to be,  it’s probably not going to be 32 minutes, it might be 30 or 40 minutes?  Today it might snow.  It could be two to four inches of snow.  And estimation just wasn’t – it wasn’t there in the project management space.

Supporting the Project Manager Customer

NICK WALKER:  Sometimes, whenever you have software or a cloud-based utility that you’re using, it’s only as good as the support team. We’ve heard great reviews about the support team with LiquidPlanner, so how do you maintain that and give the kind of support that’s needed?

JEN MORRISEY:  Yeah, that’s one that is very much close to my heart.  I spent a lot of my career at LiquidPlanner in customer success.  I think the answer to your question is that everyone in customer success, no matter their role, they are product experts, and they are also customer obsessed.  So we hire for people and grow people into a role that are not only focused on every customer interaction and having that be positive, but that also have the chops to learn our tool inside and out so that they’re not just answering the question that you have for them, but they’re also providing consultative support to make sure that we’re getting our customers to full value in the product.

Customer Base

BILL YATES:  Jen, help us understand, with this scheduling software, who’s your typical customer?

JEN MORRISEY:  Our methodology is so unique and so different that we really don’t have a classic segment.

BILL YATES:  Okay.

JEN MORRISEY:  If we look at our industry, and we kind of slice our customer base, we have a ton in the manufacturing space, technology, professional services, marketing and advertising, but it’s really about the people doing the work, and we typically see software, hardware teams, research and development, and lots of creative folks.  But at the end of the day, anyone who is a high-performing PM or in a high-performing team that wants to leverage smart planning, that’s really who we designed LiquidPlanner for.

BILL YATES:  Good.  What about size?  Does it matter how big the project is, or the project team?  What’s ideal?

JEN MORRISEY:  We support a wide variety, so we have large, 10,000-plus employee companies using LiquidPlanner, as well as small mom-and-pop shops.  So we have short, iterative projects being run in LiquidPlanner, all the way to multiyear complex projects.  So for us it’s not so much about the size, we can scale.  But it’s really about the team mindset and how well they jive with our scheduling methodology.

Best case/Worst Case – Estimating Tool

BILL YATES:  Okay, it’s funny, it’s like when I was thinking about, okay, we get to talk to a company that develops project scheduling software, and for project managers this is pretty personal.  So I think about the tool belt of the project manager, it’s kind of like Batman had his tool belt, he had his shark repellent hanging on there.  It was important to him.  It saved him at times.  Wonder Woman had her, what is it, the Lasso of Truth?  Is that what it was?

NICK WALKER:  I never watched “Wonder Woman.”  I did watch “Batman,” yeah.

BILL YATES:  So this is the equivalent of that for a PM, the scheduling tool is personal. So it’s got to really be a good fit, they’re going to rely on it, I think of the times that you present a schedule to your customer. It’s, man, you are out there with it, so you’re saying, okay, look, we’ve done our planning, and this is the delivery date.

JEN MORRISEY:  Yeah.

BILL YATES:  We’ve fit all the information into our schedule, and here it is, so there’s a strong – you’ve really got to rely on that thing.  So I get that it can be a good fit across all industries, and it’s interesting to hear that as to who it appeals to.

We wanted to dig in a little bit deeper and talk about some of the features that are unique to LiquidPlanner, and one of the first ones I want to talk about, you mention it’s that predictive nature and the best case/worst case estimates because this is a unique feature with LiquidPlanner.  And it really addresses a common pain point in the life of a project manager.  Project managers have to ask their resources how long a task is going to take; right?

NICK WALKER:  Basic question, sure.

BILL YATES:  Yeah.  When you’re building the schedule, you have to get to an end date.  When is the project going to be done?  All these tasks that fit within that schedule have a begin and end date.  They need a duration.  So if I go to – let’s say I’m the project manager, and I go to Nick, and I say, “How long is this task going to take that you’re responsible for?”  Then he’s going to have questions, so I may be asking, all right, we’re doing an office renovation project, and the task is how long is it going to take to rip out the carpet in this office?  So you start having questions in your head, Nick?

NICK WALKER:  Well, yeah.  When are we going to do it?  How many people are going to do it?  How much carpet is there?  Is there anything unforeseen?  Any tacks we have to take up?

BILL YATES:  Oh, yeah.  I glued the carpet down.  I glued it down, and so really, you know.

NICK WALKER:  Yeah, right, right, yeah.

BILL YATES:  And there’s furniture on top of it.  Yeah, so there’s all these questions that pop up.  And so it starts a really good conversation.  But it still gets to a point where it’s awkward, where I’m looking at a resource.  I’m looking at Nick, and I’m saying, “I want one number.  I want one number to put in my scheduling tool.”  And you’re not really comfortable giving me one number.  So this capability to give a range of best case/worst case, I can see the benefit to that, Jen, speak to that a little bit more, how does this play out?

JEN MORRISEY:  Yeah.  It has a huge benefit.  And human nature, I mean, when you ask that question of a resource, we are naturally pessimistic or optimistic. And the accuracy of a single point estimate is pretty low, so for us, we believe that it is fundamental to have a range of all inputs that go into the schedule in order for teams to really operate with reality. 

I should probably take a step back, so our best case/worst case ranges.  It’s a fundamental of our approach, but there’s really – there’s three core factors that go into a scheduling algorithm that runs behind the scenes, completely different from anything on the market. Most tools out there have you put in all of your start and finish dates, as you guys were mentioning, and they have you put in all of your single point estimates, and then when change occurs, it’s really hard to keep all of that up to date.

For us, LiquidPlanner has this algorithm that takes into account three core factors.  First and foremost it’s that range of uncertainty, it’s the best case/worst case effort, and then we also take a look at what are your organizational priorities? What priority does this project take over others?  And the third component is, on top of that, how much availability do you actually have to do that home renovation?  Right?  Are you doing one renovation, or are you doing 20, because oftentimes project team members and resources aren’t just focused on one project, they’re focused on many?

So those three factors go into our algorithm, and we automatically calculate schedule dates for customers, and this algorithm is actually running simulations and generating statistical calculations to provide, not just one finish date – you’re going to finish exactly on March 5th – but it actually gives you a range of schedule dates to really show your best and your worst case outcomes.

BILL YATES:  There are a couple of benefits, too, that I see in this, just again thinking about practically. I’m playing out a scenario with Nick here in the room, but, I mean, this goes back to projects that folks are leading. Nick and I would engage in a conversation, and now that he knows, okay, I’m going to be able to give Bill two estimates – I don’t have to give him one number and kind of twitch as I give it to him. I can tell him best case and worst case – then that opens up the conversation. Now we’re talking more about risks, and we’re doing some risk planning, I like that benefit because then, again, it opens up the communication. Now the team members are talking about, okay, here’s a pretty tight estimate, the best case/worst case is pretty tight for these tasks.

JEN MORRISEY:  Yeah.

BILL YATES:  So I don’t see a lot of risk, but for these other ones there’s a good bit of gap.  So as a PM I’m kind of pushing into that, going, “Why is that, Nick, what questions have we not gotten answers from the customer on yet? Or what are some basic things that are making that gap be wider?”  So I like it that – I believe, by having that capability to have two answers instead of one. It’s going to open up more risk analysis upfront and better communication.  But I’ve got a really basic question for you, Jen.

JEN MORRISEY:  Sure.

Critical Path

BILL YATES:  As I was talking with some of our instructors about this, about LiquidPlanner and the ability to do both with this estimate, one of the questions that popped up was, okay, what do you do with critical path, so if I give two estimates on every task, or a series of tasks, then which finish date do I go with for the end of my project?

JEN MORRISEY:  Our system is calculating that series and range of finishes, right, and expected starts, as well, but it’s taking the expected.  So it’s basically taking your 50 percent likelihood of finishing, and that’s what drives it all.  And then of course all the shared resources to drive that critical path of what impacts one thing or another in the schedule.

BILL YATES:  Got it, okay, that makes sense, so it’s taking that information and then kind of giving me a range.  Okay, given what you’ve given me for each task, here’s when I believe the project itself will end. Here’s the end of the entire schedule, and here’s the range of probability within those dates.

JEN MORRISEY:  Exactly.  So the project manager is empowered with the uncertainty and knowing what the possibilities, best case and worst case, could ultimately be, but it focuses them in on the expected finish.

BILL YATES:  Right.

Top Innovations

NICK WALKER:  Jen, would you say this is probably the most innovative part of LiquidPlanner?  Or is there something else?  But wait, there’s more.

JEN MORRISEY:  It is the driver of all the innovations we do, so overall it’s the scheduling insights that we deliver because we have some amazing analytics.  It’s not just the scheduling algorithm on the dates, but its information that then rolls up into reporting and dashboards.  But you’re right the core is absolutely the innovative approach to scheduling.

NICK WALKER:  Are there other ways that you differentiate yourself from the competition?

JEN MORRISEY:  Our crown jewels, if you will, are absolutely the scheduling methodology, but also the integrated tracking and the advanced analytics that go around it.  And so because we are the only ones in the market that do priority-based scheduling and the ranges all in one, we’re able to tap into a whole ‘nother level of analytics and reporting.

Solutions to PM Challenges

NICK WALKER:  One thing that I’ve learned here doing these podcasts is that the role of the project manager is constantly evolving.  What do you see, the top project management challenges today?  And how does LiquidPlanner play into that in maybe providing some solutions?

JEN MORRISEY:  To your point, the workspace, the workplace, rather, is rapidly evolving, as is the PM role.  I think project managers today face so many challenges as well as opportunities, but with working with so many of our customers, many of which are PMs, of course, I think the core challenge is that they’re asked to do more with less resources. 


So now more than ever they need to use their resources in the most optimal way, and for us, resource availability and automatic resource leveling is just part of what we do.  So our tool is constantly showing project managers what is realistic, given the people that they have to do the work, and if leadership comes and asks them to take on a whole new project, they just drop that project into LiquidPlanner, and our algorithm calculates, not just the dates for that new project, but it also shows the impact to every other project that exists in the portfolio.

BILL YATES:  I know resource allocation is one of the constant points of pain that I hear when I’m in the classroom, and my instructors hear it as well, being able to accurately track the availability of resources and who’s assigned to what projects.  In some organizations it’s managed at a program level, at a higher level; in some it’s really kind of each manager is kind of on his own to get those resources if they can.  So I know resource allocation is a big deal, I imagine that some of the reporting, when you talked about some of the tracking and reporting that’s done, I assume resource allocation is part of that, that is a part of the suite.

JEN MORRISEY:  Absolutely.  Full workload reporting, being able to understand where do people spend their time.  Where are they expected to spend time?  Where are they missing deadlines where they might need some help?  And thus also where might we have an open resource that actually has enough time in their day to take on some extra work and really level everything out?

Agile/Scrum and Waterfall Approaches

BILL YATES: So Jen, one of the other questions that I had along this line, kind of the evolution of project management, has to do with the single word of “Agile.”  Agile is obviously very hot, so you have many project managers that are dedicated to Agile.  Some are dedicated to traditional/waterfall,  some are hybrid. They’re doing a little bit of both depending on what the customer needs or what the management’s looking for.  Does LiquidPlanner lend itself to Agile and Scrum methods, as well?

JEN MORRISEY:  It sure does, so even though our scheduling methodology is highly unique, it’s surprisingly flexible and conducive to a lot of different styles.  So oftentimes we see multiple departments or multiple teams in a single workspace environment, and some are doing the waterfall approach of your formal work breakdown structure with specific phases you go through. While the other team, where perhaps you have shared dependencies, is working in a more agile, fluid, iterative manner. So it definitely supports a wide range of methodologies in one single environment.

BILL YATES: So just to dig into that a little bit deeper, like user stories, points, estimation, does the estimation work differently with Agile versus traditional?  Or how does that work?

JEN MORRISEY:  So we have a lot of functionality around custom fields and numeric options and the tool to track story points.  We, however, don’t have a formal feature specifically for story points, so our estimates are still our estimates within the application.

Estimates vs Actuals

BILL YATES:  Yeah, I mean, there’s a point – it was funny. So I did research on LiquidPlanner and heard a lot of positives, and of course there’s negative feedback, too.  But some of the feedback, you read it, and you’re like, okay, wait a minute.  Time out.  This is a scheduling tool, thinking about what are you using this for?  So there are people looking for things that don’t really fit, in my mind, with what you look for in a scheduling tool, so I get that.

So I want to switch gears a little bit, one of the things that I did was I reached out to our instructors and asked for their feedback on, hey, when you’re looking at scheduling tools, what’s most important to you? Or kind of flip that.  What are some common problems that you see?  This one came from Margo.  And just so you know this, we have a course that Margo’s developed with us, it’s on Microsoft Project, another scheduling tool, very big and popular one, obviously. But problems…

JEN MORRISEY:  I may have heard of it.

BILL YATES:  Yeah, maybe you’ve heard of it, exactly.  Maybe in Seattle you’ve heard of Microsoft.  But here’s a common problem that I think everybody faces.  She says, “One of the most common problems that I see with Microsoft Project is that people have no idea how to develop a real schedule from scratch, so they’re unhappy with the outcome of the software.”  So, she says, “For example, one of my favorite complaints about Microsoft Project is this.”  And the person says, “I can’t enter any actual data because, when I do, it changes my whole schedule.”  And so Margo got a chuckle with that, and she kind of, “Um, yeah, that’s the point, right?  You want to put actual data in to see if you’re on schedule or not.”  So I guess my first question for you is, are you able to enter both estimates and actuals in LiquidPlanner?

JEN MORRISEY:  So one thing that surprises people is that in LiquidPlanner you don’t enter in your start and finish dates at all.

BILL YATES:  Right.

JEN MORRISEY:  You put those three factors in, right, your priorities, your capacity, and those estimates, and we auto-calculate them for you.

BILL YATES:  Right.

JEN MORRISEY:  But you’re absolutely able to track your hard deadline dates and then compare actuals to what was planned.  So LiquidPlanner is most powerful when the team is in there tracking their time, and as a team member, if I go in, and I track two hours against my task, it’s going to automatically shrink up my remaining effort I spend on that task and shrink up the total estimate remaining on the project to keep it live and up to date.  So there’s a lot of ways in LiquidPlanner to see all the actuals of work that happened and when it happened versus when it was scheduled to occur.

BILL YATES:  Right, that’s good, and so a follow-up question on that, and this is something, again, it doesn’t matter what software you have for scheduling.  This is something that I hear over and over from students is, okay, but there are times when I’ve got a customer asking me, all right, well, things changed since a month ago.  So can you show me what changed,  what impacted the delivery date or something like that?  And kind of a rookie mistake is, well, you don’t have the ability to look back.  I forgot to save an old version, or I forgot to archive the previous version of a schedule.

So I like the fact, so just kind of with LiquidPlanner, I like the fact that the team is entering actuals, and the remaining work shrinks and shows actual, that’s great.  What if the customer comes back and says, “Yeah, but a month ago I think it looked differently, didn’t it?  Can I see the delta?”  How do you do that?

JEN MORRISEY:  Yeah, there’s a couple of ways.  So you can actually take a baseline snapshot and see exactly what the dates were and what the estimates were on a single given day, and then of course you can publish schedule PDF snapshots and send  those out to your clients.

Communication among Users

BILL YATES:  Got it.  Good.  Okay.  One other question on this, and it’s a broader question.  Let’s say, okay, these are great things to know about LiquidPlanner.  But let’s say I’m a beginner, right, I’m managing projects,  I’m building a schedule.  Now I’m using LiquidPlanner.  Okay, Bill’s asking some questions, and we’re getting answers from the expert, Jen, but what about me?  So where do people go when they’ve signed up, they’re using LiquidPlanner, but they have questions to get answered, where do they go to get those answered?

JEN MORRISEY:  Yeah, every user type I would imagine uses LiquidPlanner in a different way; right?  So your project manager’s looking in the reports and dashboards and the main project view., but as an end user, as someone who is coming in and contributing to a project, I have very specific views for me, my home, my task within the application, an area where I can go in and track my timesheets. And thus wherever you’re interacting with your tasks in LiquidPlanner, you can see all of the details about that task, anything that your manager or project manager put on that task for information from the very beginning.

But there’s also integrated commenting and tracking, so I can actually send my manager a question or send the project manager a question to figure out whatever it is that I need to know in one central location. And so that’s a really big pain point that a lot of our customers have is they need one central spot for all things project management related, all the information about their projects.

BILL YATES:  And Jen that also hits on one of the things that I know LiquidPlanner really touts is it’s collaborative.  So that threading, that ability to keep track of a lot of information related to a specific task or the history of it, that’s something worth noting, for sure.

Software Versions

NICK WALKER:  So there’s something I want to ask, and this may seem like a weird comparison. But this is sort of where I’ve been living the last couple of months, doing my taxes. Tax software has your Basic version, it has the Premium version, the Home and Business version. So are there different versions for different uses of LiquidPlanner?

JEN MORRISEY:  That’s a great question, so we have several tiers, if you will, of our software.  So we have a professional version and an enterprise version, and the professional version has all things scheduling, time tracking, communication, as well as some reporting. And enterprise takes it to the next level, it’s for larger organizations, typically, that need things like SSO or advanced reporting, expense tracking, so there are two separate versions. But it’s just a matter of functionality differences between the two.

Looking Forward

NICK WALKER:  Good, good.  You’ve got a new CEO, Ted Hawksford.  What do you really think of him?  [Laughter]

JEN MORRISEY:  Putting me on the spot right away.

NICK WALKER:  Just tell us a little bit about him.

JEN MORRISEY:  Well, Ted just joined us last Friday, actually, and what I’m excited about is that he brings decades of experience of people-focused and values-driven leadership.  I’ve only been working with him for a couple of days, but so far he really seems to live and breathe that. And he’s really excited to learn our product and make sure that we have a quality product and a quality service and that he understands the needs of our customers. So I think he’s going to be at a certain level of detail that’s really going to help us impact the product and impact our customer base.

NICK WALKER:  Great.

BILL YATES:  Nick, I think she’s got a future in PR or advertising or something.

NICK WALKER:  No doubt about that, for sure.

JEN MORRISEY:  Actually, he won’t be listening to this podcast.

NICK WALKER:  Come here, Ted.  You don’t want to hear that.

BILL YATES:  That’s right.  I’ve got a question, Jen.  What are you excited about in terms of the future of the product?  What features do you see on the horizon that you’re able to talk about now?  Don’t want to put you on the spot twice in the same five minutes.

JEN MORRISEY:  That’s okay.  I know, two tough questions back to back.  So as you know, I recently moved over to the product team and I had a feeling you guys might ask that question. And we’ve been at this for over 10 years now, and a decade can be a funny thing. A decade almost always drives some form of reflection on what’s working and what’s not. And while I can’t tell you exactly what we’re working on, I can tell you that we are taking the last 10 years of knowledge in the industry and some amazing customer feedback along the way to work on some pretty innovative things.

BILL YATES:  Sounds to me like they’re looking at a blend of project management and Seattle’s Best Coffee, or maybe Starbucks Coffee, and just coming up with something that will push productivity to a whole ‘nother level.

NICK WALKER:  Oh, yeah, yeah.  When you’re on caffeine…

BILL YATES:  All things are possible.

JEN MORRISEY:  Productivity improvement is definitely, definitely one of the focus points and there is also definitely a lot of coffee here at the LiquidPlanner office, I think we all have a couple cups a day.

NICK WALKER:  Well, with that in mind, we have a gift for you, and we don’t want you to leave with you seeing this. This is our Manage This coffee mug, and we’re going to send you one of these. I don’t know if it will hold a venti latte or not, but it’s going to get close. It’s a pretty big mug there, so enjoy that with our thanks.

JEN MORRISEY:  Well, thank you.  I appreciate that.  I always need a fresh coffee mug, so thank you.

Connect with LiquidPlanner

NICK WALKER:  But before we go, how can folks learn more about LiquidPlanner and really get in touch with the company and have access to the software?

JEN MORRISEY:  Yeah, so all they need to do is go to LiquidPlanner.com, and they can download a free two-week trial to really get in and explore and see if it’s right for them.  And if they need any help along the way we have a lot of people to answer questions for them.

NICK WALKER:  Well, Jen, it’s been so great having you with us here on Manage This, we so much appreciate you taking the time to talk with us.

JEN MORRISEY:  It was my pleasure.  It was great to connect with both of you, and let me know next time you’re back in Seattle.

Closing

NICK WALKER:  Will do. So a reminder to our listeners, we know you’re always keeping an eye out for ways to earn those credits to renew your project management certifications. The good news is that you just earned some Professional Development Units by listening to this podcast.  To claim your free PDUs, go to Velociteach.com and choose Manage This Podcast from the top of the page.  Click the button that says Claim PDUs and click through the steps.

That’s it for us here on Manage This.  We hope you’ll tune back in on June 4th for our next podcast, in the meantime, we’d love to have you visit us at Velociteach.com/managethis to subscribe to this podcast. To see a transcript of the show, or to contact us. And you can always tweet us at @manage_this. If you have any questions about our podcasts or about project management certifications in general, we’re here for you.

So that’s all for this episode, thank you for joining us, until next time, keep calm and Manage This.

2 responses to “Episode 81 – PM Software – Get More Done”

  1. Avatar Megan says:

    YES! This podcast spoke to me. I work for an organization where we are being asked to do more with less resources. We are constantly juggling which projects are the priority which impacts other projects too. Sounds like the software allows you to see worst case / best case and manage the critical path. Where I work, we currently use a software program, company wide, which helps. I’m finding myself reinventing how big projects are being managed.

    How can listeners buy a “Manage This” coffee mug?

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