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If you've got a big, complicated project to manage, and multiple people involved in it, you've got a headache in the making. Not only is it difficult to understand all the moving pieces, but it can be even harder to keep everyone on track--and for everyone involved to see the big picture, and communicate with one another. The LiquidPlanner 3.0 web application ($29 per user, 30-day free trial) can help solve the problem.
LiquidPlanner offers online project management, and includes scheduling, tracking, collaboration, and reporting tools. For the uninitiated it's not easy to use, and at $29 a person, it's not inexpensive. But if you've got a very large project that need wrangling, and are willing to put in the effort to learn how to use the site, it may well be worth the cost.
A central dashboard lets you create new projects, and then add tasks, subfolders, subprojects, deadlines, and so on. LiquidPlanner takes a fill-in-the-forms approach, although those forms aren't always easy to fill out. If you're not used to the concept of dependencies and other concepts related to project management, you may find yourself at a loss.
Useful is that when you set up multiple events, schedules, and so on, LiquidPlanner automatically collates everything so that you'll be able to quickly see the project at a glance, see any conflicts and problems, and make changes.
LiquidPlanner is designed for multiple people to use, and it becomes even more useful when it collates everyone's tasks and timelines to show any conflicts, and help keep everything on track. Also included are collaboration tools such as sharing files, making comments, sending Web links, and so on.
This Web software will only be worth the cost for those who need to manage very large and complex projects, because of the cost involved. If you have ten people working on an ongoing project, for example, at a cost of $29 per person per month, that adds up to a very substantial $3,480 per year. So you'll want to think long and hard whether LiquidPlanner is worth the cost.
LiquidPlanner doesn't have the depth of features that Microsoft Project has, such as being able to so closely match and track dependencies. But Microsoft Project doesn't have the group features of LiquidPlanner. Microsoft Project is better suited when there is a single project manager in charge of a very large project or group of projects; LiquidPlanner is better for group collaboration.
Because it combines collaboration and project planning, LiquidPlanner may well be very useful for many people. But LiquidPlanner is not for the faint-hearted or short of wallet, because there's a considerable learning curve--and it takes a considerable bite out of your budget. It's not designed for individuals, and will put you back $29 a month per person using it--less than Project in some cases, but not an inconsiderable cost. It may even be overkill even for very small businesses.
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