Great resource planning is about connecting work with the right people at the right time. It’s an essential part of delivering successful projects – making sure tasks are completed on-schedule without derailing other projects. Between monitoring employee availability and capacity, and navigating upcoming commitments, there are a lot of variables to think about. Thankfully, a good resource planning tool can simplify the entire process and cut your project scheduling down to seconds. Here’s our pick of the best – with options for small teams and enterprise business alike.
Why resource planner tools are indispensable
Resource planning involves a complex equilibrium. You need to be mindful of existing employee workloads and parallel projects, as well as planned employee vacation and unforeseen absences, like illness. Synching schedules and mapping availability gets even more complex when you throw remote working arrangements, freelancers and external consultants into the mix.
Without using a purpose-made resource planner, project managers face an overwhelming task in just aligning that information – drawing on a disparate set of spreadsheets, calendar apps and emails. It’s ridiculously inefficient and time consuming, and opens projects to risky inaccuracies whenever details are lost or forgotten.
Fortunately, there’s a growing range of affordable, intelligent resource planner tools to absorb the administrative burden. With clean interfaces and slick functionality, project managers can now quickly visualize employee schedules, monitor employee capacity and allocate resources thoughtfully – ensuring everyone maintains a healthy workload.
Simple resource planner tools
To help cut your research short, here are 10 of the best resource planner tools currently available on the market:
Seamlessly meeting people against schedules, Hubplanner allows you to quickly identify the right resources for a project using skills matrices and location tags. The tool has a built-in dynamic “Heat Map” feature, which allows you to quickly identify specific gaps in your production schedule and visualize your team’s capacity.
Saviom’s AI helps organisations optimize their resource allocation to boost productivity and increase project management efficiency. It integrates comfortable with existing systems, so you can quickly import and export important capacity data. Gain real-time visibility of each team member’s availability against current tasks, projects or time off.
Timely’s capacity management tools make it easy to see all team availability and allocate project work fairly. You can see all logged and planned hours for each team member, including any overtime, and set an individual capacity to adjust for flexi-time and those on reduced schedules. Task management features also enable teams to gauge individual workloads and follow the status of work in real-time.
4. Project Manager
Typically used by construction, engineering, manufacturing and IT fields, Project Manager helps coordinators distribute tasks evenly and gauge task duration. As part of a suite of comprehensive project management functionalities, the tool also helps account for resources beyond the team – like equipment rentals and office space.
Connected with apps like Dropbox, Docusign and Jira, Smartsheets is a simple collaborative tool for scheduling your teams. It also provides priority lists to help keep your most important tasks front-of-mind, and also integrates popular agile tools, like Gantt charts and Kanban boards.
6. Microsoft Planner
Used by over 20 million, Microsoft Project’s resource planning function provides insight into how resources are used while simplifying task management. With AI-powered resource analytics and built-in resource request tickets, resource managers can enjoy greater executive oversight across project lifecycles.
Productive marries resource coordination with live project management, showing how long people have worked on different tasks. It highlights who’s available and who’s overbooked, as well as upcoming employee vacation plans and team events, like training. You can also forecast your cash flow for an upcoming period based, making it handy for monitoring project profitability.
Using a traditional wallchart, Retaininternational makes it easy to keep resource activity and stakeholders aligned. It clearly lays out team availability over time, using colors and shapes to help you anticipate any overbookings. Great for planning work against minutes, hours or even weeks’ worth of time.
Workamajig is fully-integrated resource planning platform for agencies and in-house creative teams. It takes care of scheduling and assignment while organizing important project details so people can collaborate anywhere. Requests are automatically routed to the right person using an intelligent portal space, so nothing gets misplaced or miscommunicated.
LiquidPlanner’s “Dynamic Project Management tool” breaks down the spread of all your resources, and lets you shift tasks against team capacity in real-time. It provides a simple way to track exactly what different teams are working on – ensuring deadlines and priorities are always respected.