Drag and Drop Scheduling Software: Pros and Cons
Drag and drop scheduling is the act of creating resource schedules using a feature that allows you to start dragging a task where you want it to start on the timeline and release the click once you have reached the desired point ie where the task should be completed. Once you have released the click, you’ll have a task or a Gantt chart that starts and ends where you dragged and dropped it. The tools that feature drag’n’drop seem to be the shish in employee scheduling. When choosing between a resource planning software that has the drag'n'drop interface feature and one that does not, the first definitely has the upper hand. But there isn’t sweet without bitter. There’s always something to look out for. That’s a rule even a drag and drop scheduling software can’t outrun. If you are someone that’s just starting out planning with a tool like that or even if you are an experienced dragger and dropper, you can benefit from knowing the pros and cons of using it.
The Pros | Why You Need it
There is little chance you need to be convinced that drag and drop scheduling is great but bashing our planning BFF without talking about the good stuff would be unheard-of.
The most obvious PRO is, of course, the simplicity. That’s why so many project managers love it. You don’t have to be looking at a spreadsheet and enter any numbers. You don’t even have to write a title for the assignment. You can just place your cursor where you want the task to start and release where you want it to end. It’s that easy. You can just drag’n’drop some Gantt charts to book the resources and be done with it. You’ll see what’s going on, you’ll see who is free, you’ll see who is booked. No spreadsheets. No numbers. Just Gantt charts. A wet dream of every project manager. In addition to that, Gantt charts are easy to understand. You don’t need almost any training to understand them. You might need to establish some rules in your team but nothing major. It’s a win-win.
The visual nature of it
Drag and drop interface is to visual planning as peanut butter is to jelly. They go together. And visualizing your schedule makes following and optimizing it easier. You can also make financial decisions like when to take on a new project or where additional resources are needed to reach the milestones you have set. If you combine the visual input that the Gantt charts give you with some visual reporting in the form of charts, you’ll have the complete picture with a glance. Some might argue that you’d still need advanced reporting and it might be right in some cases but not always. Visual resource schedules make life easier. And that’s a huge PRO.
Easy to reallocate and edit the duration
Drag and drop scheduling is also a good match with easy reallocation. If a task can be planned using the drag and drop feature, it can also be dragged to another resources timeline. The fact that you can’t do that with spreadsheets is probably one of the biggest reasons why managers are implementing resource planning tools. Who wants to merge and color cells if it’s possible to click on an assignment and drag it where it needs to be? No one in their right mind. The simplicity of it might even be a gateway drug to resource allocation syndrome. Nevertheless, when resource planning is easy, resource planning is good. And the fact that you can easily edit the duration of a task by moving your cursor to the beginning or the end of the Gantt chart to shorten or lengthen it, is just the icing on the cake.
The Cons | What to Look Out for
Since good things can only be good to a certain extent, even drag and drop scheduling can’t be perfect.
It's just not that detailed
If you are just dragging and dropping bookings and assignments, and not going into details, you won’t have detailed plans. It might be fine if you just need to visualize your schedule using the resource planning tool, but it isn’t ideal when you also need to perform advanced reporting. It’s also not ideal if your team is getting the information regarding their daily tasks by looking at the resource schedule. You’ll still need to add details to tasks. You’ll need to add comments, dependencies, edit the utilization etc. Therefore it might seem that you are saving a lot of time with the feature however it might not be the case since you still need to add the details after dragging and dropping.
You still have to edit a thing or two
Although it’s unbelievably easy to add tasks this way, it’s also unbelievably easy to make mistakes which means you are going to need to edit the task duration. You might also need to add a task title and connect the task to a project if you want to have a bit more thorough overview. Of course, with Ganttic, you can plan resources for each project in a separate view, where tasks are automatically connected with the project and you don’t really need to add names to the tasks but it can still be iffy if you get over the honeymoon phase where everything seemed so simple and beautiful.
It gets tricky when you have a lot of data
Now, shishloads of data is often a huge bummer. And unfortunately, it’s making resource scheduling more troublesome as well. Dragging and dropping a tonne of tasks can actually be more time consuming than adding them using bulk import or making copies or assigning a task to multiple resources at once. Although bulk import does require you to look at a spreadsheet for a while, it still saves time in the long run. Now, you can combine making copies of tasks and assign tasks to multiple resources with drag and drop scheduling. In addition to that, you can actually plan recurring tasks in Ganttic. It isn’t like you can't have any fun with drag and drop scheduling when you are managing huge amounts of data. It’s just that you are going to have to dive a bit deeper into the feature pool and figure out what you need to make resource planning more efficient.