Resource planning tools are a secret weapon for project managers. With them, PMs can select the right resource for the right task, ensure their projects have enough capacity, and help plan future projects with precision. What’s not to love?
Plus, in today’s world where we have enough on our plates, resource planning tools can help us get more out of less. Helping PMs to work smarter, not harder.
This article will introduce you to some of benefits of resource planning. Demonstrating how your project management and work processes can improve once you implement this practice. Jumpstarting your success. And helping you outgrow your competitors with 5 of the best resource planning tools.
Resource planning is the process of allocating tasks to human and nonhuman resources.
Its primary aim is to maximize the efficiency of your resources. And does this by providing an overview of resources’ availability and capacity.
Resource planning helps you answer these questions confidently, and without hesitation:
Resources are anything your company utilizes to get tasks done. Ranging from people to machines, and meeting rooms to computer software. That means the best resource planning tools must accommodate diverse scheduling requirements. While also adapting to many diverse needs.
When you plan resources, you create a singular, systematic overview of a resources’ skills, projects, availability, and location. Making it easier to find exactly who or what you need to get work done.
Commonly, 6 kinds of resources are found in project management. All work together to accomplish different project goals. They include:
1. People (Labor) – the staff working on the project. Can include sub-contractors, part-time workers, freelancers, as well as full time staff.
2. Tools and Equipment – reusable items that don’t go into the finished product. This includes computers, bulldozers, software, keyboards, and more.
3. Materials and Supplies – that which is consumed during the course of the project. Lumber, nails, and fuel all fall within this category.
4. Money (Costs) – The money used in financing the project. Costs include administration, payments to workers, service fees, overtime, interest on loans, etc.
5. Space (Facilities) – Where the project takes place. Meeting rooms, construction sites, recording studios are different examples.
6. Time – the oft-forgotten resource by which you measure all the other resources.
Planning tools simplify and assist you with your work activities. And they make the job of project managers considerably easier.
They can be used for both long-term goals, as well as everyday needs. Some organizations are looking for a general overview, while others rely on them for their everyday tasks. Maybe you need it for your project work breakdown structure (WBS) or you’re looking to fill in the efficiency gaps.
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.
Although tools are paramount to carrying out projects, the techniques and methodologies that project resource managers use are also important.
To carry out these techniques you need a decent tool to help. That’s why it’s so important for PMs to consider all the features that a piece of software has and how it will fit into their unique workflow.
Below are a few of the top techniques used for resource planning.
Resource planning ensures maximum efficiency during the project cycle. With less conflicts between resources, then all projects and tasks can meet their deadlines, and happy outcomes are produced for all. When you manage resources, you really are setting up your organization to fire on all the right cylinders.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind when you take the leap to making a resource plan.
No matter which piece of software you go with, its use in your workflow should start providing you with some tangible benefits along the way. Here’s some things that will start to improve with the use of a resource planning tool:
Planning tools are a way to simplify your life. Something we all could use. Especially when it comes to scheduling your team members and resources.
With resource planning tools, changing your plans is simple. And problems such as shortages and bottlenecks 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.
Features such as drag and drop scheduling helps you make quick changes to plans, resources and tasks. Plus, it’s super convenient when you’re working with multiple tasks and resources. As it ensures you’re matching your available resources to the right tasks. So you’re not just meeting capacity, you’re creating a stronger team with the necessary skills.
Perhaps you’ve heard the idiom that “the devil is in the details”? But without the proper tool to help, resource planning can be a real nightmare.
In the old days proper resource planning required having regular planning meetings. And for those with a large portfolio, this could mean planning meetings up to several times per week! The process means continuous resource allocation, reassignments, and task prioritization. Meetings that no one wants to attend.
Wouldn’t it be nice to skip these time-sucking meetings altogether?
With resource planning tools, you can. Create a real-time schedule that the whole team can see. Or send plans directly to everyone’s Google or Outlook Calendar. Think about what else you could accomplish with 5 extra hours per week….
Plus, when you plan out your resources, you can bring together the plans for both your budget and day-to-day tasks. But filter out the information that’s important for the right place and time. So not only will you have the right info, but your team will too. All without being overwhelmed by an information overload.
A great example of this is a case study that we conducted with Innopolis Engineering.
“Innopolis Engineering uses Ganttic mainly for resource planning. To do that, we need an overview of our resource schedules. The schedules give input to our sales team. If a department has an opening, they’ll evaluate it and decide if there are enough resources to take on a new project.”
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. Plus, this helps them
“I think the fact that it’s easy to use and one can get a clear visual overview of everything that’s going on.”
Read more about Innopolis Engineering’s success with resource planning using Ganttic.
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.
For 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 strategic high-level project portfolio management. As well as team and equipment management. This resource planning tool makes it easy to spot capacity issues or overbookings. And helps your teams and projects run smoothly and efficiently.
With more than 10 years of feedback from project managers, project portfolio managers, and resource managers, it’s been adapted to every industry. That’s what has made Ganttic the ideal choice for anyone who uses planning and scheduling in their daily lives.
As opposed to some of the other tools on this list, Ganttic is unique for its ability to change planning perspectives. While, you may decide to keep your resources will be in the forefront, you can also change to the POV of projects. This makes it incredibly versatile, and .
Clients: Ganttic has clients from all over the world. Its functions and customizable features make it suitable for any team in any industry. From art and design, to architecture, to engineering, construction, as well as post-production, IT, and more. 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. Each plan allows for unlimited users.
Founded in 2010, in Estonia.
The best part? You can even try Ganttic for free!
Toggl Plan is a beautifully simple timeline planning and management tool for teams. It’s built for small teams that value self-motivated work over micromanagement. Their support team is super-responsive to user requests. And new features get added every six weeks.
Clients: Toggl Plan works great for small, self-motivated teams. Creative, design, and marketing teams including those from Amazon, Netflix, and Stripe love using Toggl Plan.
Pricing: Toggl Plan has a simple per-user per-month pricing. Its Team plan is priced at $9 per user per month. And if you need role-based access, the Business plan starts at $15 per user per month. Both plans have a free 14-day trial. And if you’re a solo user, you can use Toggl Plan free forever.
Toggl Plan is a fully remote company, founded in 2017, in Estonia.
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.
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.
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. One who 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.
Clients: Resource Guru has clients from all over the world. Companies of all shapes and sizes use the program for their resource scheduling and planning.
Pricing: Prices start from $2.50 per person per month.
Founded in 2011, in London, UK.
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.
Get started today with a resource planning tool that can help your business match goals to reality.
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