Content marketing work ebbs and flows.
But usually, there’s too much flow, not enough ebb—amiright?
When work keeps piling on, it’s all we can do to go with the flow.
Messages keep flooding into your inbox.
Brand new tasks are gushing into your project management platform.
If you don’t have a solid tool that helps you go with the flow, then you’re going to stay swamped.
You’ll run into a lot of problems and unhappy team members.
And it won’t be long before you get swept away in this powerful current.
For real, though.
One project management tool that’s designed to help you stay afloat is LiquidPlanner. It’s built with fast-moving teams in mind, and it can streamline your overwhelming torrent of work into a smooth workflow.
Never tried it? Never heard of it? No worries!
In this review, I’ll give you a detailed overview of its features and compare it with other project management tools on the market.
LiquidPlanner Review: The Project Management Tool That Goes with the Flow
1. Getting Started with LiquidPlanner
Right off the bat, I found that creating a LiquidPlanner account is easy. Always a good sign—no “contact us and we’ll keep you waiting around for an answer.” To get started, you just enter your name, email, phone, company name, industry, company size, country and password.
Thus, your free trial begins! You’ll be redirected to the LiquidPlanner dashboard—no need for you to confirm your account or submit any credit card details.
In the dashboard, the first thing you’ll see is a box with the words “Get Started with the LiquidPlanner basics.” Next to that is a series of video tutorials such as “Crash Course” and “Starting a Project.” These tutorials give you a detailed overview on how you can get started. Personally, I’d recommend that you at least watch the “Crash Course” video to see what LiquidPlanner has to offer.
Even the dashboard is fluid and customizable—you can create info-packed (or super minimalist) dashboards to show you whatever you’d like to keep track of.
For a powerful platform, LiquidPlanner keeps things relatively simple. It has a few basic features such as Projects, Analytics and Timesheets. Sure, that all sounds common enough in the project management platform world.
To help you know what makes this stand out from the pack (and what doesn’t) I’ve reviewed each of these features and compared them with similar project management tools on the market.
2. Plan Your Work with Projects
Only active projects can be viewed in the dashboard view, meaning that you can easily find current projects and ignore finished ones.
To take the Projects feature for a spin, the first thing that you’ll need to do is to create a new project. Just click the “+” button on the upper left-hand side or view the “Getting Started with Projects” tutorial on the dashboard first.
For this example, I’ve created a project titled “Content Strategy [ August]”. I’ve indicated that the project is due on July 31, 2017. I also added a short description for the project. All of your useful, relevant project information has a place to go in this main space. On the right-hand side, you’ll be able to see and update more details of the project. Here, you can add people, plans, comments, notes, documents and links.
In the images below, you’ll see all of this—and you’ll also notice that LiquidPlanner is all about neat, orderly compartmentalization. Its method of storing information is with folders and subfolders. This is intuitive to anyone who’s good at organizing their computer desktop or DropBox.
In the Project details, you can also find the finer details. You can view the date created and the number of hours users logged in to finish a task under the project. This is particularly useful if you have a remote team of writers paid at an hourly rate.
Below each project, you can add a task. Similar to the project details panel, you can also view task details.
3. Get Organized with Tasks
Now, onto the Tasks feature. The Tasks are all nestled within projects. In the image below, I’ve created a task called “Blog Post [SEO Tips]”. The task details display the project owner, people added to the task and tags.
You can click on the Logged column to indicate how many hours you spent on the task on a given day or week.
In the image below, I’ve clicked the time “6H” and updated it with the number of hours I spent on the blog post on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
You can also divide a task into a series of sub-tasks.
For instance, in the image below when I created the “Blog Post [SEO] task” I’ve placed activities that I need to accomplish in order to complete the task. These activities are: research, write outline, write article and send to an editor.
LiquidPlanner also allows you to write notes regarding the tasks, add documents and include links.
As an editor, I find this useful since I can easily access articles written by the freelancers I work with. In addition, I can also add instructions and reminders in the notes sections.
You can also indicate a detailed hourly estimate for the task. This way, members of your team have an idea of how many hours they should allot for the task. Again, this is ideal if you have employees paid per hour.
Overall, LiquidPlanner gets the basics right.
You can easily upload documents, write notes, assign tasks, write a checklist and track time.
However, I feel that it’s still no match for CoSchedule. Unlike Asana and CoSchedule, LiquidPlanner has no calendar view or color labels—elements that make it easier for users to view a variety of tasks.
In addition, you can’t use it to publish posts on social media—like in CoSchedule. However, if your content won’t be posted in social media anyways, then LiquidPlanner is just right. You can read our full review of CoSchedule to compare and contrast what’s offered in each platform.
4. View Your Schedule with My Work
In the My Work section of LiquidPlanner, you can view your tasks across a variety of projects. In the image below, you’ll find a list of the tasks I need to accomplish per week, as well as the number of hours that I should allot for it. Again, I wish that there was a way to view all these tasks in calendar view instead of a list + number of hours view, but that’s because I tend to be a calendar-oriented person.
If you’re not into calendars and you’re more into lists and folders, this will suit you nicely.
In the upper right-hand side of this section, you can write your own personal to-do list. This can’t be viewed by other members of your team, so you can write out any and all tasks that you need to accomplish, personally or as a team.
I love the addition of the My Work section because it allows me to view my own personal tasks. As an administrator, it would be seriously difficult for me to view my own tasks alongside the tasks of my entire team. Fortunately, with the My Work section, you can easily check your work schedule and personal to-do list.
However, I think that the calendar view found in Brightpod, CoSchedule and Asana are a still a lot easier to view, compared to the list-view of tasks in LiquidPlanner. Read our full review of Brightpod here.
5. Manage Your Time with Timesheets
In the Timesheets section of LiquidPlanner, you and your team members can indicate the number of hours that you spent on the task.
In the upper left-hand corner of the image below, you’ll find that the tasks are grouped by project. You can also filter and arrange the tasks in the timesheet according to the project type, client and project status.
6. Analyze Data with Analytics
What sets LiquidPlanner apart from other project management tools is its Analytics section. Here, you can generate workload reports, resource reports, project reports, task reports, client reports, activity reports and export timesheets.
For instance, with Project Reports, you can view the number of hours spent on each project, similar to what’s seen in the image below.
When viewing reports, you have two options: Roll-up or baseline. Roll-up is useful for reports where time spent is indicated. On the other hand, project baseline is useful if you want to compare a current project or task to a past project or task.
Let’s first start with roll-up project reports.
Again, this is useful if you want to view reports in terms of number of hours spent. In the image below, you’ll find a timeline of the number of hours spent on the project (colored in green) versus hours needed to finish the project (colored in blue). The color coding allows you to easily understand each project’s status and time remaining until completion.
You can filter these projects according to hours total, hours logged, completion rate, owners, clients, date range, among many others.
You can also filter it based on time.
You can view the number of hours you spent on the project this week vs. the number of hours you need to allot—in order to stay on schedule.
If you click the bar graph, then you can view the hours logged, hours remaining and total number of hours spent on the project.
You can also view a variety of reports in your Report Library and download them in PDF or CSV format.
Another way that you can view reports is through the Baseline view. Here, you can compare the past to the present data.
What’s interesting to compare is the finish date.
In the image below, you’ll find that the past date is in column B, the present date is in column C and the comparison is in column D.
In column D, you’ll see the delta—the difference between the two dates. A positive number (i.e. 8d, 6d, 3d) indicates the number of days that the task has slipped by unfinished. You’ll be able to see if a certain task has taken longer to do, compared to the past. A negative number (i.e. -1d) indicates that the task was finished earlier, compared to the past.
Overall, I’m loving the Analytics features of LiquidPlanner.
It makes it easy to determine the number of hours your team has worked, the hours billable, the number of hours it takes to finish the project and the number of hours logged, among many other important numbers.
If you’re managing any kind of content marketing business with a significant number of paid, hourly employees, I highly recommend LiquidPlanner. However, if you’re working with a small team, or one that’s not paid hourly, then you can stick with other project management tools such as Brightpod or Asana.
LiquidPlanner Plans and Pricing
The upgraded versions of LiquidPlanner are Small Team Plan ($9.99 per user per month), Professional Plan ($39 per user per month) and Enterprise Plan ($60 per user per month).
Upgrading to Small Team provides users with 250 active tasks, 5 GB of storage, 5 active users and access to basic functionalities. The Professional Plan allows users to have 2000 active tasks, 100 GB of storage, 100 virtual members, access to analytics and access to the dashboard.
Upgrading to Enterprise Plan gives users access to every feature on the Professional plan plus unlimited tasks, unlimited virtual members, 500 GB of storage, expense management features and resource management features.
LiquidPlanner plans can definitely become expensive with more users. Its basic plan is priced similarly to Asana and Trello (both are priced $9.99/month/user), but the price points for professional and enterprise plans are a lot more expensive than other project management tools, given that it’s priced per user.
Alternatives such as Brightpod and CoSchedule are priced per month, not per user. They’re also a lot cheaper. Brightpod’s price point for the Professional ($29/month) and Studio plan ($69/month) are slightly similar to CoSchedule’s Solo Marketing ($30/month) and Team Marketing ($60/month) plans.
Personally, I recommend that if you’re using LiquidPlanner to manage a team of writers, then it might be more cost-efficient to explore cheaper alternatives. However, if your tasks are project-based and your team is compensated on an hourly rate, then LiquidPlanner is worth it. The tool ensures that you can maximize efficiency through a variety of analytics.
Getting into the Flow with LiquidPlanner
LiquidPlanner helps you work smart.
It has project features, timesheets and analytics features, which ensure that you work in the most productive way possible.
I admit that it’s expensive compared to its competitors. But, if you have a team paid per hour and a variety of different projects, then the price tag is worth it!
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