Whatever field you work in, effective project planning can make your work much more efficient, and make your like much easier.
Liquid planner is a unique, online project planning interface that is free as long as your project has three or less team members.
Liquid Planner has a nice interface for defining tasks and constructing Gantt charts, and great features like the ability to attach documents, comments and even mini-discussion forums to each task.But my favorite thing about it is the unique method it uses for determining the likely completion time for tasks.
Project planning is a frustrating business because from the moment you make the plan, you know it is unlikely that your project will pan out like that. The delays will mount up and your actual timeline will look nothing like the original.
When planning a scientific research project, this is especially true because so much can go wrong with science.
For example, if cloning a gene is part of your project plan – how do you deal with the fact that the cloning might not work first time? If you use Microsoft Project or other traditional planners you have no choice but to plump for an estimated completion time and leave it at that.
Liquid Planner, on the other hand allows you to enter best and worst case scenarios for the completion of a task; e.g. you could say at best it will take you 1 week to clone your gene, and at worst 4 weeks.
From this Liquid Planner calculates various scenarios; an earliest finish date, then 10% through to 98% likely completion dates.
The power of this is that it gives a realistic view of your project timeline and when you have multiple dependent tasks these likely completion dates are taken into account so that your projected timeline is much more realistic.
Whatever your project planning needs – whether you are planning for a detailed project with multiple users, or just going through the thought process of planning your own research project – I think that Liquid Planner is a useful tool that is well worth trying out.
If you give it a go, be sure to let us know your thoughts here!