The Best Resource Planning Tools and Their Benefits
Resource planning tools can help us work more efficiently. They simplify the planning process and assist in improving work procedures.
We’ll also explain some of the benefits you’ll get out of using planning software. And explore some of the benefits that these tools can give you and your company, and how they can help you outgrow your competitors.
What is Resource Planning?
Resource planning is the process in which tasks are allocated to both human and nonhuman resources.
Its aim is to maximize resource efficiency, while simultaneously giving an overview of resources' availability and capacity. Resources can be anything your company utilizes to get tasks done - ranging from humans to machines, and meeting rooms to computer software.
Why Use Tools?
Planning tools are made to simplify and assist you with your planning.
They can be used for both long-term goals, as well as everyday needs. Some organizations are looking for a general overview, while others use them to manage their everyday work. Some only want to know if there are enough resources to take on a new project. And others plan their work with 15-minute accuracy. While there are other organizations that are searching for a balance in between.
There are no rights and wrongs. There’s only what suits you best. And the best tools allow you to do the kind of planning you need.
For planning, we would definitely recommend software which uses Gantt charts. These bar charts are a quick and useful way to see how all your resources, tasks, and projects work together. See how how planning and scheduling with a Gantt chart can help you here. But we also give some tips on how to find the best online Gantt chart software.
What are the Benefits of Planning Software?
Each of these resource planning tools, have their own individual strengths. Once you start using them, you’ll begin noticing some positive changes in your work processes, communication and the amount of control you have over everything. Here’s some of the benefits of resource planning tools:
1. Simpler scheduling
2. More detailed planning
3. Better management
Planning tools are a way to simplify your life. Especially when it comes to scheduling your team members and resources.
Whether you're scheduling a meeting with three teammates for 30 minutes in meeting room “Alpha”; or arranging a consultation with a freelance designer; or booking a crane and an operator for a construction project.
Whatever the task and whatever the resource, the software has you covered. Simply!
Simple drag and drop scheduling allows you to make quick changes in plans, resources and tasks. Plus, it’s super convenient to copy the task or assign tasks to multiple resources with just one click.
With resource planning tools, changes to your plans are no longer a hassle and can be dealt with in seconds. Easy scheduling helps you handle all your resources and gives an overview of their schedules, even months ahead of time. Which is perfect for forecasting workflows.
Our users have describe the scheduling process as dragging and dropping tasks to available resources with the right skills. That’s it! You can customize it more by adjusting the task duration or utilization. But it’s not necessary.
Better still, the software can be combined with other tools. At Ganttic, we've seen cases where companies use complicated ERP systems in conjunction with their Ganttic planners. Plus, with functions such as API, it’s now easier than ever to integrate different programs together.
What are the benefits?
1. Clearer Overview
Scheduling your resources with an online tool or even Gantt chart software helps to give a visual overview of your data. Visualization using Gantt charts, for example, makes data easy to read and absorb. This can give you a quick and easy way to see where your team is and what they are working on. Quickly view your team’s tasks for the day, week, month, or even the whole year.
2. Enhanced Communications
Resource scheduling is done to give those that plan the work, a better and more comprehensive understanding of what’s going on. And since many of today’s tools offer collaborative features and shareability options, your whole team will be on the same page. Work can flow more easily, while collaboration and team communication can improve.
3. Stronger Forecasting
An online resource planner can also be a link between the budget and the plan. This can provide you with a better way to forecast your resource availability and look into making longer term plans. Even a simple glimpse of the plan can tell you who’s busy and where there are free slots. Which resources are booked for the next few months and which ones have more capacity to take on more tasks.
For great scheduling, be on the lookout for software with…
The possibility to drag and drop resources and changes to the schedule
Gantt chart visuality.
Visual reports or graphs.
Flexible timeline (for short-term and long-term availability tracking)
Capability to process large amounts of data.
Planning: “It’s All in the Details”
We’ve all learned from the idiom that the “devil is in the details.” And resource management without the proper tools can definitely be a nightmare.
Proper planning (and without tools to help) requires having regular planning meetings. Even up to several times per week! The process means constant resource allocation and task prioritization.case study that we conducted with Innopolis Engineering. Their default view is 9 months and they plan one week at a time. Meaning they plan day-to-day tasks while keeping one eye on the big picture.
What are the benefits?
1. Store all your details in one location
It’s always hard to keep track of details. However, proper planning tools can help you keep all your necessary information in one place. They are also great for giving you more detailed plans, which in turn helps to optimize your work.
With the right tool, you have the opportunity to see where each resource is and what they are engaged with currently. Or well into the future. And depending on how detailed you want to be, the right software can even show you your resources’ hourly rates, their utilization, their heights or even their blood type. Enter any piece of information you need to to get your work done!
This gives you better capacity planning for your team, lets you make more accurate long-term plans, and allows you to make sure projects are getting done on time and according to strategy.
2. Reduce meetings
Plus, even though planning meetings are inevitable, the correct tool can reduce the number of meetings while simultaneously optimizing their quality. Use your meetings to make more productive and strategic decisions, not plan out next week.
Online planning software gives you the opportunity to set reminders or notifications for important events for yourself and others. That way everyone will already be caught up by the time the meeting starts, and you can you that time more efficiently for other problems.
That means better team motivation and engagement!
A more detailed plan will actually help keep all the team on the same page as well. Everybody will know their tasks, duties, and responsibilities - helping to increase work motivation and get their jobs done. And when unexpected things happen, tools provide an easy solution to making the necessary changes and preventing mishaps.
For more detailed planning, be on the lookout for software with…
Functions such as resource utilization calculations for better capacity planning.
Optimize your resources with task utilization.
Customize your tasks for more strategic long term planning with conditional task coloring.
Integrated reports, for quick and easy reporting
The opportunity to personalize the software features to fit your needs.
Better Management: Taking it to the next level
Truly effective resource management is about knowing what’s coming next, and expecting the unexpected. Whether it’s planning and reallocating your team, or scheduling your next task.
The process requires daily task planning. As well as calling for live updates, a mobile app AND calendar sync. To do it well, you need excellent knowledge of not only the resources in your company, but their current and future tasks, and how they will ultimately inform the projects and overall strategy.
Most resource managers probably already work with specialized software. However, you might want to consider what another tool can add to the process. Many of today’s online planners can work in conjunction with your pre-existing software, such as those with API functions. And these can help take your resource management to the next level.
Managing resources is a part of general project management, as well as the more strategic PPM. High-level planning and management requires communication between the different tools you use with your teams - apps, calendars, and any other software. These days, with APIs, different tools are able to communicate with each other. Letting you see everything on one page and keeping the number of those pages to a minimum.
What are the benefits?
1. Less stress (and more free time)
Online planning tools will keep you up to date and on task. This means that projects can run more smoothly and you’ll have less stress. No more missed deadlines, expensive overtime, or last minute changes. Tools that help you with your planning will ensure that all your resources are working efficiently as possible towards your goals. And hey, if everything is on time and on budget - sounds like an extra free day!
2. Better organization and less messy changes
Resource management is for those that plan tasks that change often. So having an easily updatable tool, with secure changes, and that’s shareable is a must. Say goodbye to messy spreadsheets, and find a more transparent and reliable alternative.
Maybe you’re engaged in higher-level planning, or even project portfolio management. Change your project view, or look at your projects from a variety of angles. This will give you better oversight and ensure you are following your company’s strategic direction. In PPM, it’s not rare that all your projects can shift. With the right tool, fixing this can be done in a matter of minutes.
You can plan resources using different views and get a better grasp on your data.
Moreover, you can better organize your portfolio if you seek out software with customizable features. Managers who use Ganttic, for example, say that custom data fields are their best friends. These allow you to add any kind of data to your project plan. As a bonus, you can use the data for filtering, coloring, sorting, etc.
3. High-level reporting
Reports can be annoying, but they are full of valuable information: overtimes, budgeting costs, meeting times, utilization graphs, and more. Part of great planners are the easy-to-create, customizable reports that contain all the info you need for company reporting and planning overviews. What’s more, you can actually even automate your reports. For example, let your software generate a weekly utilization report for you.
Save your sanity and embrace your free time by letting online planning software help you be a better manager.
To improve your management skills, be on the lookout for software with…
API integration for all your current software
Multi-user interface with custom user rights and custom data readiness.
The possibility to shift all projects at once
Different reporting options, especially the ability to generate automatic reports.
Our Top 5 Resource Planning ToolsFor some recommendations on the best resource planning tools to use, keep reading! These are our top 5:
Ganttic was created for more effective resource usage and scheduling. It is also perfect for high-level project portfolio management or globally dispersed team management - making it easier to organize different sized teams and projects from every industry.
Ganttic's development has been aided by more than 10 years of feedback from project managers, project portfolio managers, and resource managers - basically anyone who uses planning and scheduling in their daily lives.
Your resources will be in the forefront, and while using the software, you’ll be able to:
Keep an eye on who is busy, with which task and where. Track changes in real time with the program’s visual Gantt graphs. It is also super easy to schedule one task for multiple resources - with just a few clicks.
See and build your projects from a variety of angles. Create an unlimited number of specific views based around resources, tasks, projects. Different views help manage a single project’s resources, but can go on to handle hundreds or even thousands of resources. Plus, it helps in breaking them up into more manageable pieces.
Change, shift, or split tasks with simple and intuitive drag and drop functions. Easy enough for simple planning. But also highly customizable for your more in-depth needs. Just in case you’d like to dig into some high-level planning.
Monitor utilization and workloads in real time for resources, for resource groups, and even project portfolios.
Personalize the software for your needs - add the info that is important for your type of business and your company’s specifics. Custom data fields let you add important data and company specific details to your projects, resources or tasks.
Clients: Ganttic has clients from all over the world. Its functions and customizable features make it suitable for any team in any industry- from design to auditing companies and even engineering and construction. Ganttic is made for project managers, project portfolio managers and resource managers. And the software is well known for its great customer service.
Pricing: Resource based, giving users a better opportunity to control their resources and costs. The software is free for the first 10 resources, and for up to 20 resources, plans start at $25 per month. You can add as many users to view the program as you like.
Founded in 2010, in Estonia - land of unicorn companies.
The best part? You can even try Ganttic for free!
Float is made to plan and visualize your team’s tasks and projects in one place. As well as to schedule your resources and save time on meetings, e-mailing, and on planning in general. With a quick glance, Float helps you to see who is busy and when.
You can drag and drop your tasks easily for different resources. Allowing you to plan out and strategize project actions. Plus, making edits and changing your plans is done with smoothly and with ease.
Keep track of your resources’ utilization and workloads to make sure they are used as efficiently as possible.
Manage multiple projects at once and in one place, by getting you an overview of all of them.
See real-time changes of your plans and their updates in a sleek and intuitive interface.
Clients: Float has clients all around the world. Companies of all sizes rely on this software for their planning needs. Float is well suited for agencies and studios.
Pricing: Float has prices starting from $5 per user. You can sign up for a free trial to see for yourself.
Founded in 2012, in the USA.
Teamdeck helps you to plan and measure your team's work - all at once. Whether that’s resource scheduling, time tracking or leave management. The platform can also generate various reports which can be helpful from the initial planning phase to the review process. This is a tool which will give you better performance and a healthier team spirit.
You can actually see your team’s performance - the planned as well the actual. Plus, you are able to compare and make changes according to planned and actual timings.
Time tracking and timesheets let you keep an eye on your team's productivity.
Teamdeck is very intuitive so you can quickly take a peek at your plan. But you can also find the right people for specific tasks, check their availability, and assign them to projects and tasks.
You are able to receive reports on team utilization, your budget, on payroll or on absences. Teamdeck allows you to make your own report based on your own interest. Reports are shareable with people inside your organization, as well as outside the organization.
Clients: Teamdeck has clients all around the world. Both big and small companies use this as their resource scheduling tool.
Pricing: Teamdeck’s pricing is based on program users (starting at $3.99 per user), as well as a $1 additional fee per resource. There is also a free trial to try out!
Founded in 2016, in Poland
10,000ft helps deliver more powerful planning than simple spreadsheets alone. At the same time, it’s less complicated than traditional ERP systems and tools. 10,000ft works with different-sized teams and is scalable for your business and its purpose.
A people-focused approach for more dynamic organizations.
Track changes of your projects for more transparency and better decision-making.
Schedule your team effectively. You’ll also have the ability to forecast workflow, manage team utilizations, and see hiring needs in real time.
The program is well designed and has received many design awards.
Suitable for resource allocation or just a quick visual overview of your plans.
Clients: 10,000ft has clients all around the world. They work with different industries and agencies who use their program
Pricing: 10,000ft pricing is not provided on their webpage, but from their reviews we can see it can be up to $15 per user. There’s also a free trial if you’d like to try it out first.
Founded in 2012, in the USA
Yes, we have a real guru here that can help project managers and all people work with scheduling different projects online. Vacations, absences, utilization, important notifications and calendar syncing are just a few of the features you can manage and get reports about. There is no need to install any program, and you can store all your resources in one convenient place hosted on the cloud. Resource Guru will help:
Keep everyone on your team up to date from anywhere. There’s even a mobile-friendly version.
Quick and easy to use software makes for more efficient planning and tracking the results. Appearance of the software is clear and intuitive
Track all your human resources with a staff time-off tracker. Making long-term planning easier.
You can extend tasks across weeks, split tasks, or duplicate tasks across different team members.
Pricing: Prices start from $2.50 per person per month.
Founded in 2011, in London, UK.
Find an online planner that’s right for you
Technology has so many benefits. And these tools can go a long way to improving your work. By enhancing your planning process, software can help make planning simpler, less stressful, and make working more efficient.