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LiquidPlanner, Inc.
Type Privately-held
Founded 2006
Headquarters File:Flag of the United States.svg Bellevue, WA
Industry Software
Products Project management software
Website LiquidPlanner

LiquidPlanner, Inc. is a project management software company based in Washington. The firm was founded in 2006 and launched their first release to a public beta in 2008.

LiquidPlanner is a platform-independent, web-based project management system which uses ranged estimates (e.g. 3-5 days) to express the uncertainty in the estimate for performing a given task.[1]



LiquidPlanner was founded by Charles Seybold and Jason Carlson, both former senior managers of Expedia. The company employs alumni of Microsoft, Expedia, and Intel.[2] LiquidPlanner launched a public beta at the DEMO 08 conference.[3]


Built using Ruby on Rails, LiquidPlanner claims to be the first SaaS-based project management solution to allow users to express uncertainty in their task estimates using ranges. It then uses a probabilistic scheduling engine that is claimed to build more accurate schedules.[4]

Several authors have noted that estimating in ranges (e.g. 3-4 days, 1-3 hours) is preferable to single point estimates (e.g. 1 hour, 2 days).[5] [6] Steve McConnell states "simplistic single-point estimates are meaningless because they don't include any indication of the probability associated with the single-point." [6] Project management and scheduling methodologies such as PERT generate best-case/worst-case ranges. However the preponderance of popular project management software does not readily accept ranges as inputs for estimates.

LiquidPlanner accepts ranges as estimates and infers a probability distribution from that range.[7] It then uses the distributions and the relationships between tasks and people to calculate a distribution for the project as a whole.[7] By exposing the uncertainty in estimates the developers of LiquidPlanner claim that the uncertainty can then be managed.[8]It then tracks the evolution of these estimates over time.[9] From these uncertainty measures over time it can plot the history of the project estimates. This type of plot is often referred to as the Cone of Uncertainty.

Some feel that while the service is fairly comprehensive, that comes at the cost of complexity and a busy interface.[9] Though this is disputed by others.[10] [11]

Project managers create workspaces and invite users to participate in a way similar to LinkedIn or Facebook. The workspace can contain multiple projects and keeps a running narrative of tasks, comments, documents, and other project collateral.[3][9]


  1. "Software project management tool clarifies project uncertainty". February 21, 2008.,289142,sid92_gci1299733,00.html. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  2. Ephraim Schwartz (January 28, 2008). "DEMO: Presenters Bet on Predictive Capabilities". PCWorld.,141949-c,sites/article.html. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Clint Boulton (February 3, 2008). "Project Management Startup Could Be a Fit for Google". eWeek. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  4. Chris Kanaracus (January 28, 2008). "LiquidPlanner adds probability to project planning". NetworkWorld. Retrieved 2008-02-27. 
  5. David Daly (September 12, 2007). "Accurate Estimates". Outside of the Triangle. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 McConnell, Steve (2006). Software Estimation. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Press. pp. 6–9. ISBN 978-0-7356-0535-0. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 David Daly (February 20, 2008). "PM Interviews: Bruce P. Henry". Outside of the Triangle. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  8. LiquidPlanner, Inc. (January 28, 2008). "LiquidPlanner Redefines Project Management". Press release. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Mike Gunderloy (February 28, 2008). "LiquidPlanner: Sophisticated Online Project Management". Web Worker Daily. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  10. David Daly (February 6, 2008). "LiquidPlanner: A Revolution in Managing Uncertainty?". Outside of the Triangle. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 
  11. Don Dodge (January 30, 2008). "Liquid Planner and Huddle at DEMO". The Next Big Thing. Retrieved 2008-02-28. 

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