Charles Seybold says that he puts a lot of the blame on the tools when he discusses why projects fail. LiquidPlanner CEO Charles Seybold believes Microsoft Project is too complicated and it’s easy to lose track of what’s going on. Then you add up all the mess with a percent complete. He says, “How do I manage from that?” “Other tools were built to solve a calculation problem. What you need in a modern group is way beyond that.”
LiquidPlanner’s new version is designed to go ‘way beyond’. The latest version of LiquidPlanner includes project portals that allow subscribers to create unlimited private project portals for customers at no additional cost. This functionality is for agencies, consultancies, and professional service organizations that need to collaborate with multiple clients, but also need to customize the view of external groups. This combines the best of Basecamp (simplicity in design, collaboration, private workspaces, and project management capabilities) with advanced project management capabilities, including scheduling. (Is this really an advanced project manager function? You can track time and other information.
The new release’s mantra is “manage more, view less”, which means that you can see less data to make it more meaningful. This basically means targeted views. Seybold says that while the software makes things easy to digest, another person on the team needs to see a larger picture. Seybold believes that projects suffer from the problem of ‘duality.’ The more data you create, the more difficult it is to manage.
This release includes more than portals. This release includes the following new features:
Advanced filtering and bookmarks
Performance and usability enhancements
Scheduling enhancements
Graphing enhancements
Rate sheets

They also have an iPhone app, as well as better reports and budget management.
As you might expect, the LiquidPlanner team uses LiquidPlanner for all their releases. Seybold says that “we have the largest workspace of all,” but other companies are catching up. Its filing system and the way tasks are displayed make it a popular choice for many types of teams. He adds that Agile teams love this type of thing. Software can show you views per sprint so it’s very flexible.
Although it may be flexible, LiquidPlanner could be moving away from project management software. The company’s workspace is three years old and holds a lot of data. The way it works allows them do ‘the daily job’, and not many day jobs that function as projects. Although the software can be used to manage large amounts of data related to multiple projects, it is not a project tool.
It has some neat features and the application is up to you. LiquidPlanner does everything for you, so you don’t need to use it to manage your day job. I liked the customer filtering and the fact you can take a screenshot of the schedule and save it to a.pdf. This is great for stakeholders who are allergic or unsure about plans.
All these improvements have made LiquidPlanner more popular among customers, as you can see by the feedback I received (unprompted) on Twitter.
Seybold says, “We have many international cutomers.” Around 30% of LiquidPlanner clients are outside the US. Although I believe there is still much to be done to improve internationalization of the software’s capabilities, that can wait. Microsoft is a company that seems to be growing in people who cannot manage projects without it.