Data-driven Decisions a Best Practice, but Still Not Mainstream

Michael Vizard

The trouble with project management software is that while these applications help people keep track of what tasks need to be done, they don't really help people manage the overall project. This is because historically there has been no real ability to do any analysis in terms of what impact any change to those tasks might have on the overall project.

To address that specific issue, LiquidPlanner today released a new version of its project management application that is delivered as a service and now includes analytics capabilities. According to LiquidPlanner COO Liz Pearce, this integrated analytics will allow users to actually engage in probabilistic scheduling, which means that if a change is made to any given task, they can immediately see what impact it will have on the overall project. Conversely, she says they can look at the end date for any given project and determine what factors led to the change to the date.


What all this means is that people will finally be able to use project management software to proactively manage the business, versus just staring at a massive report on who is supposed to do what when that doesn't have any real context to the mission at hand. That's important, says Pearce, because when users have context it becomes a lot easier to prioritize one project over another, while at the same time maximizing the workload capacity of the organization on a daily basis.

More than a few organizations have their ups and downs that result in times when the amount of work assigned easily outstrips the capabilities of the organization, only to be followed a few weeks later by a comparatively fallow period. Better planning would even out the workflow in a way that should reduce stress across the organization, notes Pearce.

It's a little too early to say whether analytics capabilities will expand the usage of project management software beyond the current base of users. But many managers today spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure who did what to whom and when. With analytics capabilities built into a project management software, the amount of time it takes to figure out just who is accountable for what just went from days to a matter of minutes.

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