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Today, numerous companies operate on a project to project basis. Each such project requires an individual approach and a number of specific actions for its implementation, often not similar to the previous projects. Each client wants a special relationship, attentive and thorough attending to their needs.
Therefore, each service provider aims to implement the most efficient project resource scheduling. Indeed, it is careful planning that distinguishes successful companies from others. A well-designed balance of resources and capabilities will not only increase productivity but also help the team stay motivated.
But what is resource scheduling and how to handle it?
What Is the Definition of Resource Scheduling?
Resource planning is the analysis of resources and tasks, their quantity and the period of time necessary for the successful implementation of the project. In other words, it is a list of specialists with relevant knowledge and experience, their time and requirements for performing certain tasks, and the financial costs of the project. Such a plan helps to understand the real picture of the available resources and time.
By planning everything long before the start of the project, you avoid unpleasant situations, such as overtime, unplanned vacations, serious financial losses.
There are several basic processes in resource scheduling management:
- resource requirements planning
- distribution of resources by departments, performers
- control of resource consumption and implementation process (compliance of planned data with actual indicators and subsequent corrective actions in case of a large difference in indicators)
Proper resource planning will provide you with open access to information about the status of the project; your colleagues and other teams will be able to plan their work taking into account the ability to take on new tasks.
Who Is Responsible for Resource Scheduling?
The question of who is involved in resource planning is not that simple. Large corporations often have the position of resource manager: the person responsible for controlling the consumption of labor resources. Nevertheless, this rarely includes projects.
Here, the one in charge is the project manager. This person is not just responsible for communication between the team and the customer. Their responsibilities include the creation of the organizational structure of the project, the selection and training of the team, the development of an action plan, as well as the monitoring and analyzing the process of project implementation.
The project manager, like no other, understands the capabilities of their team, and it is this person who collects all the data together to find out what resources the company owns. From the outside, it all seems very complicated and confusing. But this is where modern technology comes to the rescue.
Why Do Project Managers Need Resource Management Tools?
The time of boring, complex spreadsheets where every field was manually filled is long gone. Today, every company has its own set of software for the successful implementation of goals. Project managers have long forgotten how to calculate the number of working hours to complete a task: special tools are doing it for them. The developers have done their best: most of the routine tasks can now be delegated to very affordable project scheduling tools. They do a great job with scheduling, filling out calendars and preparing reports.
How Can Resource Scheduling Tools Help Your Company?
Resource planning is a complex and time-consuming task. Any manager highly values their time, so the use of resource management software is justified by saving time. Many of these programs have a convenient interface, and you only need a couple of clicks and a few seconds of time to find information on a specific project or task. And, of course, the possibility of joint project management is of great importance. Your colleagues can plan their work in accordance with plans that are easily accessible to the team.
Using these tools, you can plan the work of employees in such a way as to avoid overworking or underworking, and, of course, control all the processes. All information is beautifully framed in a spreadsheet or infographic and available at any time. And if something goes wrong, you can always reallocate resources so that everything is done in time. After all, the manager will always have the latest information provided by resource tracking software.
Most Important Features of Resource Scheduling Software
It cannot be doubted that the right software can greatly increase the productivity of the team. If we are talking about the programs in more detail, then we need to pay attention to several important aspects.
- Automation. The software performs many processes and calculations on its own. Sometimes you need to re-enter the correct data for each resource, but still it simplifies the work when you do not need to draw up reports, create requests or send reminders manually.
- Real-time scheduling. This feature is very important for large projects. You can quickly track the current situation, change the people in charge of tasks, and carry out corrective actions without first checking the data.
- Alerts. A program that has a convenient alert system is invaluable. Of course, you will probably set up an individual selection of reminders and warnings, but this is guaranteed to facilitate a lot of work processes.
- Integration with other products. Your company may be using many programs and applications in its daily work. Integration with some of them is often simply necessary for quality work.
- Visual design. Scientists have proven that our brain perceives images much better than bare text. That’s why we love presentations and infographics so much. Software that is able to present information about project management in a visually pleasing way is definitely a priority.
Best Resource Scheduling Software: Estimation Criteria
It’s not that easy to find a tool that will satisfy your particular needs. There are many pitfalls. If your company already has a good name in its field, then you should pay attention to working with staff. Software that can distribute the working hours of employees, providing an opportunity for relaxation, will help maintain a happy team. Tools with the function of detailed budget planning can simplify your interaction with financial issues.
If you need a lot of materials for presentations, then pay attention to software with wide possibilities for visual presentation of data. Evaluation criteria can be very subjective since a lot depends on the company, employees and the specifics of the business. If you cannot decide, try different tools: many developers provide free trial versions for you to test out the software.
Top 20 Resource Scheduling Tools to Use in 2020
So, we have discussed the resource planning process, examined various features to notice when selecting the necessary software, and identified the evaluation criteria. The only thing that remains is sharing our best resource scheduling tool list.
This is a great tool to increase the efficiency of your team. With its help you can manage the project in a quality manner. The program automatically edits the expected completion dates depending on the workload of team members and available resources. LiquidPlanner also indicates the volume of work for each employee, counts the time that they allocate for each task, and whether there is a risk of breaking the deadline.
A cloud project management tool. You can divide the project into tasks, select the responsible person for each, and control the process of project implementation. The functions of the software also include maintaining project documentation, monitoring the time to complete tasks, and compiling reports of various formats. Thus, Workzone provides a complete project management package.
This is a software for resource planning, time management, remote employee management and much more. Using this tool, your team can draw up individual work schedules and keep track of the workload of employees, as well as plan future projects. The tool is perfect for advertising agencies, software developers, as well as financial companies for detailed project management.
This is a platform for managing the daily activities of the company. With its help, your team can perform tasks efficiently and on time. Workfront differs from other similar tools in its set of creative functions. In addition to the usual schedules and tasks, the program allows streamlining the process of receiving answers to surveys and adjusting the task flow so that one task cannot be started if the previous task has not yet been completed. The program synchronizes perfectly with other tools (Microsoft Project, Smartsheet, Excel, other).
This is an online service created to facilitate the project management process. Assigning tasks with several stages, using detailed graphics, generating reports, managing schedules, as well as tracking resource costs and budget expenditures – this is not a complete list of the features that this product provides. Clarizen is popular both among large corporations and among small companies, as its set of tools is suitable for different formats of work.
This is a collective calendar with the ability to visually plan resources. That is, you do not just plan and monitor tasks, but create a timeline where you can view and filter tasks by projects. The team can be divided into groups with individual timelines for each group. The software integrates perfectly with other services, such as Slack.
This is a cloud platform for integrated business management. The program includes planning the organization’s resources, maintaining the financial part of the project, communicating with the client and working with e-commerce. The platform works in a modular format: if necessary, you can add the necessary functions (e.g. NetSuite Financials).
This is a special solution for project management. With its help, you can create a project management checklist shared with colleagues, plan and organize meetings, share documents, and form Gantt timelines.
This is a simple and convenient tool for tracking the full cycle of the project, from creation to accepting the payment. This application is great for companies that focus on offline project management. You can create and assign tasks, track employees’ working hours (in the office and remotely), interact with customers and issue invoices based on the data on hours worked.
This is one of the top resource scheduling software examples. The functionality includes tracking of working hours, synchronization with Google Calendar and e-mail, maintaining charts and percentage graphs, grouping of various resources, the ability to add notes. Developers claim that Ganttic has the best overview of project plans.
it is a service for optimizing employee work schedule management and resource planning. With it, you can easily assign and manage work tasks, control the load volumes of your team, receive notifications about project status updates, track the reach of resources (sick days, holidays and days off) and much more. The financial planning function deserves special attention. It allows you to build budget plans, monitor the effectiveness of the team, build and fulfill both short-term and long-term financial goals. This way you can check your daily, weekly or monthly financial flow report and examine your accounts in detail.
This is a good calendar for managing work schedules and other resources online. The developers promise that this software will help you quickly and easily cope with such daily tasks as managing paid leave, sick leave, maternity leave or any other type of vacation. You can also control paid and unpaid time, overtime, and absences, all in a convenient and simple calendar format.
A cloud platform for solving tasks related to resource control and teamwork management. The program has an easy interface, where you can use drag and drop to assign tasks and view the status. Analytical reviews and dashboards are also easily accessible. In general, all information about the workflow and budget plans of the project is stored in one place and is quickly updated during the course of your work.
This is an effective resource tracking software with quite extensive functionality. It includes the reservation of resources, the collection of information about available resources through analysis of reports, the distribution of optimal costs, and a convenient system of resource allocation. A feature worth noting is the convenience of graphical options for visual comparison of plans and results. This tool is perfect for companies whose work is divided into several projects that need to be constantly monitored with regular accounts.
This is an online resource scheduling tool for managing projects, personnel and financial statements. With its help, you can track the daily workload of each team member using the Gantt chart, control financial costs, reassign the load for each project, study refineries and create detailed tasks within the project. The program has a fairly simple interface, which makes it attractive for companies from various business niches.
This is a comprehensive software for collective project management. With its help, you can track the complete management cycle: from launching a project to issuing a final invoice to the client. The program provides access to a huge number of functions: tracking the status of the project, distributing employees by tasks, maintaining documentation, monitoring the status of communication with the client, managing working time, and billing.
You can also get acquainted with the receivables in a chosen currency or familiarize yourself with the company’s legal documentation. Everything is accessible and simple with elapseit.
A cloud platform for productive project management. The software will easily transform your team’s work schedules into visual plans, analyze the time spent on a specific task and allow you to track the main events and project results. Now you can manage the progress of your project and forecast your time and costs resources.
This is a tool that can simplify and facilitate the process of company management. According to the developers, the project was created specifically for agencies and consultants and can manage the entire project life cycle from a single application. The functionality of the program is really wide. It includes a visual overview of sales, planning the working (and non-working) time of employees, a convenient system for co-working on a project, and monitoring profitability in real-time.
This is software to facilitate convenient workflow planning. With its help, your employees are given the opportunity to jointly manage projects and control working time. Easy to use and diverse in functionality, Mavenlink includes all the necessary data for sales and brand promotion.
This is a cloud-based software for quality resource management. The eResource Scheduler dashboard can be divided into several blocks, you can set different date ranges and monitor several projects at once. The resource planning schedule is provided in the form of Gantt charts, and detailed work reports are generated as a visual picture for the convenience of data parsing. This software is used by creative agencies, design companies, software developers, and many innovative startups.
Things to Consider when Choosing Resource Scheduling Tools
As we’ve seen, there is a great number of tools for resource planning. Many of them offer a huge set of additional features that can speed up the workflow. Therefore, you need to consider what functions your organization needs.
Pay attention to the interface, the complexity of the information and data retrieval. Do not forget that you need to consider other software used by your employees. Weigh the pros and cons before investing in a full-fledged tool. The program should perfectly correspond to your needs, should be easy to use at all levels of the organization and should be as accessible as possible to your colleagues. Do not forget about security: this is your business and the data should be protected.
How to Make the Right Choice?
When choosing between a complex program with a huge list of functions and a simple one with limited capabilities, start with analyzing your needs. Projects that require detailed planning are difficult to close without having all the data available. But your colleagues do not always need to use the full functionality of the program. Keep in mind that combining these tools with a good CRM such as Nimble may remove the need to use some of the functions.
The choice should not be difficult. It is enough to approve a number of functions without which resource planning is impossible, and a number of functions that would be very desirable, but can be done without. And then it’s all up to your personal preferences.
If you see a big difference between plans and reality, if you can’t bring together the necessary information on the product, if you are unable to meet deadlines, do not delay the choice of software for tomorrow. Today, the selection is so wide and varied that there is simply no reason to dismiss such an opportunity to optimize your business.
After all, there is no need to suffer from routine work and calculate working hours and resource costs manually. Everything has been created for our convenience, and all that remains is to control the processes and get the maximum benefits of a resource scheduling tool.