Do You Need A Resource Planning Tool Or Is A Whiteboard Enough

Categories: Resource Planning, Management Tips
I’m going to be honest here. I would prefer a whiteboard over any software for planning. Not because I don’t believe there is a software out there that is good enough for me. I know there are a lot of good planning tools out there. Whether you need something to create to-do lists for yourself, need to make plans for a small team, manage a project portfolio or plan hundreds of resources. However, for me personally, nothing will beat the satisfaction of really physically crossing something off from a to-do list. I mean, you can even write a thing down that you didn’t have on your to-do list just to cross it off. No meeting is as good as the one where you draw up a plan for the following week on an actual whiteboard. And you can draw a comic of your boss giving you too much sass in the corner of the whiteboard. Buuuuuut… All the resource planning cannot be done on a whiteboard. Not even on a really big whiteboard. That’s why there are so many different resource planning tools for different needs. I’m going to help you to decide whether you need to find one or not.

Choose resource planning software if:

  1. You have more than 10 resources on your hands. 10 seems to be the limit where a whiteboard just isn’t sufficient enough anymore. If you are still using a whiteboard and you have more than 10 resources, get help. Not from a doctor but from a company that has made a resource scheduling tool for your needs.

  2. You plan long beforehand. Whiteboards are good for making plans about a week ahead. If you need to plan ahead longer than that, go fish and hope that you’ll find a nice resource planning fish. Even if you have a really long whiteboard.

  3. You work with a remote team. If your team or even a part of your team is working remotely, you guys will benefit so much from a resource planning software. Your remote team can see what’s going on from wherever they are. They can adjust the plans. Mark tasks as done. See what coming next. Collaborate with others. If you allocate a resource to another project, they will see it right away. There will be less unnecessary emails and phone calls. If you are using a whiteboard to make plans for a remote team, I need to hear about it because I can’t even imagine how that can be done.

  4. Planning is done by only a few specific people. Most of the resource planning software do feature multiple levels of permissions for users. For example, Ganttic has users and administrators. And resource rights and project rights. And view only and edit rights. As you can see you can combine those rights into pretty different sets. So if only a few people are responsible for the planning, and others should only have the possibility to view the plans made and not alter them in any way, you need a resource planning software.

  5. You need a replacement to Excel. What your support team hears a lot is that people are so very done with planning with Excel. If you are one of them, and you are looking for a tool that’s flexible and easy-to-use, don’t take a step backward to whiteboards. Ganttic is a great replacement for Excel spreadsheets for resource planning. I don’t think anything is a replacement for Excel entirely. But you know how easy it is to forget to update the spreadsheets or miss something. And you know how difficult it can be to see the big picture if everyone has their own sheets in front of their noses. So many overbookings. So many resource stealing. And it can all be avoided with the right tool.

  6. You like your plans on the go. Dragging your whiteboard around with you can be a… Drag. Even if the whiteboard has wheels. People generally help to lift strollers to public transportation. Believe it or not, they aren’t so generous with whiteboards. People tend to give you weird looks instead. Or even keep a distance from you. It’s rude, I know. You just want to have your plans with you at all times. But it’s just the world we live in and have to deal with. On the sunny side of life, you’ll see that it’s actually much easier to open an App on your phone or open your laptop at a coffee shop of your choice. You’ll maybe even understand the people that gave you the dirty looks.

  7. You want to see the big picture over long periods of time. I have gone over the big picture a few times. If you plan ahead long beforehand, you can easily click through the timelines and life-cycles of your projects. If all the managers that are planning their projects with the same resource pool are using the same tool, they’ll see when a resource is already occupied with another project and they’ll see how long the resource will be occupied. You can also draw up reports to optimize your planning process. You can even send outs reports to upper management and stakeholders automatically if you dare. All the sort of things that a whiteboard can’t handle.

  8. You’d like to do a favor to your homegirl mother nature. The sticky notes you are using were once tree leaves, you monster!!!

  9. You want the resource planning software to do some of the work for you. Whether it’s the capacity utilization graphs, reports or filtering out resources that are free. While whiteboard can be the white horses that the knights ride on in many occasions, that is not one of them.

I have good news for all of you that still believe in the magic of whiteboards and sticky notes, though. You can have both!

Yes, you can still do some planning on a whiteboard. You can still enjoy the thrill of crossing off or erasing stuff. Use it just for yourself, or for a smaller team inside a bigger team. Do the general resource planning using a tool, and use Kanban technique for whiteboard (don’t forget to update the Gantt charts if you decide to do so). Mix and match.

In a perfect world, would you use a whiteboard or a resource planning software?