Check out our simple, easy comparison of the best resource management software on the market in 2020.
In this complete resource management software review, you’ll discover the best resource management tool options along with a simple explanation of the criteria for choosing high-performing tools.
You’ll also find overviews of each tool, screenshots, and a comparison chart that will help you narrow down the choices.
On top of that, I answer all the commonly asked questions about resource management; you’ll learn what resource management software is and how it can change the way you deliver your professional services and complete work in a more effective and productive way.
Quickly Compare & Evaluate The 10 Best Resource Management Software
Managing your team members without a proper plan or tool can be a total nightmare. And that’s probably why you’re here. You know there must be a better way to manage your resources and team, right?
You’ve got the PM’s with their half-baked resource requests and the primadonnas who only work on certain clients or types of projects. Throw into the mix competing projects, contractors, 3rd parties and freelancers, insane clients, and leave management for vacations and sick leave, and getting any work done on schedule gets tricky. You know that you need some type of human resource management software, to make a plan that works – but which one? And how to choose?
Video: How To Choose The Best Resource Management Software
Wondering what to look for as you check out the options? Here’s a video that covers our criteria and gives you an idea of what various tool interfaces look like.
Resource Management Software Comparison Criteria
To be featured on this list, I evaluated tools based on the following criteria:
- User Interface (UI): How well-designed is it? Does it offer clear displays and intuitive navigation?
- Usability: Is this resources management system easy to learn and master? Are there tutorials and training? Does the company offer good tech and user support?
- Features & Functionality: How many of the key features and functions does it provide, and how powerful are they? Specifically, I looked for:
- Scheduling and allocation tools: s it easy to allocate the right resources and put the right people on the right projects? Includes simple calendars, timesheets, grids, gantt charts, ability to set deadlines and dependencies, and easy drag-and-drop to move resources around. Auto-scheduling features are a great plus, as are real time updates on changes to resource allocation.
- Skills tracking: can you find certain employees based on their specific set of skills and availability? Includes the ability to input employee schedules, create profiles listing their skills, and easily search by skills. Additionally, the better tools offer powerful search functionality that allows you to filter by essentially any project variable: tag, department, client, etc.
- Forecasting and planning features:does it include staffing or demand forecasting to help you plan resource availability ahead of time? This entails that the software collects data on sales, development, launches, schedules (etc) and makes resourcing recommendations to help you anticipate demands. The best resource management solution options offer an overview of your resource availability for the day, week, or month so you can see what you’re working with.
- Utilization management tools:usually takes the form of analytics and reporting features that give insight into capacity, utilization, and performance for projects, clients, and individuals. Many tools also allow you to analyze your entire project portfolio.
- Integrations: Is it easy to connect with other tools? Any pre-built integrations?
- Value for $: How appropriate is the price for its features, capabilities, and use case? Is pricing clear, transparent, and flexible?
- Customizable: Can you customize and adapt the software to your project team’s specific needs?
- Team collaboration: Does it allow team members to easily collaborate with each other and gain efficiencies through messaging and communication features, screen shares, and the ability to have more than one person contribute to specific tasks?
It’s worth comparing different tools as they’re set at different price points, different functionalities (such as timesheets, expenses, approval workflows, task management), and different 3rd party integrations.
The 10 Best Resource Management Software Overviews
In this post, we’ve tried to cover a broad spectrum of software, considering complexity, price points, and functionality. But as much as anything, it’ll come down to your agency or studio resourcing workflow and what functionality you need to make that function better. Have a look and sign up for some trials to test-drive and find the best agency resource management software for your case.
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1. Mavenlink – Comprehensive project and resource management software that’s designed to integrate easily with other tools
Mavenlink is a well-rounded tool that bridges the core planning, execution, project accounting, and analysis systems in a single operating environment. It has modules for project management, accounting, resource management, business intelligence, and team collaboration. On top of this, it offers a system of dashboards, live time and expense tracking features, a great documenting system. And all of these best-in-class features are delivered through straightforward and minimalistic design.
Mavenlink ticks off all the boxes when it comes to RM features. The resource management module offers real-time utilization and margins at the project and even the task level. Some key features include resource forecasting, capacity management, skills management, scenario planning, and role-based planning.
Drilling down into its other features, the BI suite module supplies built-in reports, custom reporting, trend analysis, data visualization, as well as data integration with other systems. The software also provides more accounting tools than many others, with project costing, project and task budget management, real-time utilization and margin tracking, invoicing, rate cards, and robust integrations into back-end financial systems. It also has some good contextual collaboration features to communicate in both provide and public discussions around tasks, projects, and many other project objects.
I could go on and on about Mavenlink’s features because there really are too many to list—it’s a comprehensive RM suite, that, despite requiring time to truly master, has been recognized as being easy to use and learn. What’s more, the company leverages its professional services expertise as part of their offering, making available their Mavenlink BI Consultants who can build reports specifically for your business. As well, they provide some great training resources that can help mitigate the risks and costs of implementation.
Mavenlink takes a unique approach to integrations. As part of their “API-first strategy”, they’ve built a solution that doesn’t require a third party in order to integrate with any apps. They provide an integration platform (called M-Bridge) that’s designed to simplify integration between Mavenlink and other business apps like CRM, HCM, and financial software. On top of the M-Bridge platform, Mavelink provides several pre-built integrations with these tools: Expensify, G Suite, Xero, Salesforce, Netsuite, Jira, Hubspot, Slack, Concur, Dynamics 365, Qualtrics, Quickbooks, and Sage Intacct.
Mavenlink costs from $19/user/month and offers a 10-day free trial.
2. Smartsheet – well-rounded work execution platform with plenty of integrations, custom branding options, and great reporting features.
Smartsheet is a spreadsheet-like project management tool. It has won a few awards for quickly becoming a favorite business app. It’s a nice tool if you’re comfortable working in Excel but wants a break from complicated formulas—Smartsheet performs all the calculations for you across multiple sheets. You can also add customized brand logos and set color themes for individual projects.
However, Smartsheet is far more than a glorified spreadsheet. It has a standard and well-rounded set of tools for project management, scheduling, resource management, and reporting, collaboration.
For resource scheduling, Smartsheet has useful features such as workflow automation and visualization of tasks in Gantt, calendar and card views. Team members get notified of critical changes in real-time, and the tool provides shared views, detail history, activity logs, automated alerts, reminders, and status reports to keep everyone aligned and informed.
The Critical Path feature highlights all the tasks which directly impact your project completion date to keep an eye on important milestones. Reporting is a strong feature of this tool, with editable summary reports that you can easily export to Excel. You’ll also find real-time data in your dashboards, which you can customize through a drag-and-drop interface for each project.
Smartsheet integrations include Microsoft and Google apps, as well as development essentials like Jira, and useful business apps like Salesforce, ServiceNow, Slack, Box, and Tableau. The platform is extensible through a REST API and webhooks.
Smartsheet costs from $14/user/month and offers a 30-day trial.
3. Float – Leading resource management solution with powerful scheduling, integrations, and mobile apps.
Float is for teams who want a robust and powerful resource management software that’s also unfussy and easy to use. Over 3,000 of the world’s top teams use Float, including Deloitte, Ogilvy, BuzzFeed, and MetaLab. Its simple, visual design and potent feature set make it the perfect choice for teams big and small.
Scheduling in Float is easy and intuitive. Create new projects quickly, and assign them to your team within seconds. The schedule view gives you an accurate, high-level overview of your team’s availability and capacity, and you can drill down deeper using Float’s search and filter functionality. Set custom work hours, import and assign public holidays, schedule time off, assign custom tags like location and skills to your people and projects, and set a scheduled status to let everyone know when you’re working from home or remotely, or what you’re up to on a particular day.
Updating your schedule is simple, with a right-click menu full of editing shortcuts, a click-and-drag feature that lets you reassign and update tasks, and a lightning-fast interface that can handle an enterprise volume of people and projects.
Real-time reporting lets you track your resource utilization, monitor project budgets, and forecast your team’s capacity. Add time tracking to access pre-filled timesheets and compare your team’s scheduled hours with the actual time spent on tasks.
Float has a range of dedicated integrations that play well with your existing apps. Sync and schedule your Jira or Teamwork projects, and import your Google or Outlook Calendar events directly onto your schedule in Float. Stay on top of schedule changes via Slack, email, or mobile push notifications.
Float is free to try for 30 days, and you get unlimited access to both resource planning and time tracking features. After that, it’s $5 per scheduled user, per month, or $10 with time tracking. Float also has volume and yearly subscription discounts available.
4. monday.com – Simplistic and engaging design, flexible planning, and clear communication between teams allows for easy and informed decisions around resource planning.
monday.com is a flexible platform to help teams communicate in context, get a birds-eye view of outstanding projects, available resources, and projected timelines. monday.com’s simplistic design and straight-forward interface mean teams can get started planning timelines, assigning project ownership, and managing any project in minutes.
monday.com offers various views to represent data, so each team member can work according to his preferences. With workload view, you can easily see who’s able to take on more work and who’s not. Gain insight into your team’s work capacity and make adjustments to timelines or ownership accordingly— no matter where you are. The monday.com app gives you the flexibility and power to run your team on the go. You can organize your daily work, projects, and teams all in one place.
Monday.com has over 40 integrates with apps like Slack, Excel, Google Drive, Gmail, Google Calendar, Jira, GitHub, Trello, Dropbox, Typeform, and others, accessible via Zapier.
monday.com costs from $17/month for two users.
5. Hub Planner – Beautifully designed online resource management software with stacks of enterprise resource management (ERP) features
Hub Planner is a complete and powerful human resource management system software with many useful resource management features. These include different views (by resource, team or project), drag and drop resources, split tasks, scale view, utilization, check budgets, holidays, sick days, iCal integration, and powerful filtering. Beyond resource management, it also includes timesheets, integration with a powerful approval workflow, and dynamic dashboard and reporting tools so you can establish progress, billability, and profitability at a glance. You’ll also find a tasks module to brief your resources.
What’s interesting about Hub Planner is that you get the opportunity to help shape the product roadmap, and you can even sponsor new features. They’ve taken a modular approach so you have the option to add or remove extensions to the base product, such as timesheet approval workflows or tasks, so you can increase functionality or turn off bits you don’t need.
They’ve also developed an API which gives access to projects, resources, timesheets, bookings, events, holidays, groups and milestones in case you want to do something fancy with the data. Hub Planner costs from $7/user/month (they offer a 60-day free trial so you can properly test drive it).
6. Saviom – Highly customizable resource management tool offering deep visibility into complex resource data
Saviom is a global specialist in software products which boost efficiency and project performance (Saviom reports that users of their product have cut their resourcing spend by 20% or more).
The several modules in Saviom’s flagship resource management suite, such as the smart resource scheduler, helps you correct work imbalances instantly. The resource planning module (for tracking and scheduling resources while maintaining their optimisation) and the accompanying dashboard which integrates with other business tools to display your key project data. You can also sync resource and project schedules across your enterprise with the suite’s resource management system The capacity planning tools offer granular reporting and analytics which helps you quickly identify resource clashes. It also includes a skills repository which makes it easy to profile resources and find skill matches for future work.
Saviom’s Enterprise Resource Management software is designed to unify project and resource workflows for resource managers hard-pressed for time. Its business intelligence dashboards offer insights into real-time activities across the enterprise, and the Gantt chart view provides visibility into resource and project workflows, enabling managers like you to make accurate predictions of schedule conflicts and mismanaged resources to accommodate work influxes.
With a tiered pricing model as customizable as the tool, Saviom’s power and lite licenses operate under role-based access, ensuring you retain full control over data.
7. Forecast.app – Streamlined resource management software with forecasting, capacity planning, and plenty of pre-built integrations.
Forecast is a full project and resource management solution used by professional service companies all around the world to improve KPIs and scale with real-time insights at hand. Powered with artificial intelligence (AI), Forecast aids with scheduling and finds the right people to work on projects and tasks. The AI learns from the work being performed and helps optimize all parts of people, planning, and projects.
For resource management and scheduling, you can allocate people to projects or specific tasks. On task allocation projects, Auto-Schedule weeds out the need to manually assign resources to tasks. The whole resource allocation process, together with task estimations, can be fully automated. You can manage allocations directly in the heatmap feature, which is a quick visual way to see everyone’s capacity and utilization. You can use the searchable database to find the person with the right role and/or skills that are most likely to be available for any task that’s not assigned yet.
The reporting features in Forecast are great. Timesheets and tracking are built right into the product (and there’s iOS and Android apps for tracking on the go). Forecast uses actual and planned data to present customizable reports with key metrics such as real-time utilization, compare actual vs. scheduled utilization, track project progress, profitability, budgets, and get other insights on a portfolio or project level.
Integrations are above average—there’s turnkey integrations with several mainstream tools in their extensive app catalog, as well as two-way sync with Jira.
Forecast is currently used in 40+ countries worldwide, by agencies, consulting companies, and enterprises – has Lite, Pro, and Enterprise options that cost from $29/user/month (14-day free trial).
8. Resource Guru – Reliable tool used by some of the world’s top agencies; a popular marketing resource management tool
Resource Guru offers some solid features including: visual calendar style interface, custom views, fields and filters, availability indicator, drag and drop resources, scale view, see utilization, reporting, overtime tracking, data import and phone support.
Resource Guru offers some solid features including: visual calendar style interface, custom views, fields and filters, availability indicator, drag and drop resources, scale view, see utilization, reporting, overtime tracking, data import and phone support.
9. eResource Scheduler – Flexible and comprehensive resource management for organizations of any size, including Fortune 500s
eResource Scheduler offers both Cloud and On-Premise versions with configurability &; ease of use at core of its design. It’s been used by organizations of all sizes since 2011.
This resource planning tool’s features include a dashboard that highlights important information on single screen, along with multiple types of user-defined fields that allow capturing complete information (roles, skills, qualifications, certificates, team, office etc.) about your projects.
The scheduling chart offers resource, project and role views, and users can create their own scheduling views on the fly. Filters identify qualified resources as per projects requirements. Meanwhile, features like drag and drop, availability and overload indicator, extend-shorten, precise split, copy-paste make scheduling efficient and quick. They also offer the option to schedule at both project and task levels. You’ll find multiple calendars with different timings, holidays, exceptions and personal leaves (visible on scheduling chart) to ensure correct resource capacity for different types of employee (Full, Part Time, Casual etc.). Their reports show real-time utilization at different levels and their reporting offers several different views/filters which make the reports informative and useful.
To integrate their tool with your other business tools, you can use their Open REST API, and you can also take advantage of easy imports/exports.
And finally, their timesheets feature and financial module (complete with cost and billing rates and a forecasting report) make eResource Scheduler complete resource management package. eResource Scheduler costs $5/resource/month and provides annual billing discounts (14-day free trial).
10. Runn – Modern resource management and capacity planning tool with integrated time tracking and powerful forecasting capabilities.
Runn is a modern resource, demand and capacity planning tool with integrated time tracking and powerful forecasting capabilities that gets remote teams on the same page. It has a Planner interface that provides you with a bird’s eye view of all the projects and people in your organization, allowing you to quickly spot overbookings and manage resource and schedule conflicts.
Runn lets you plan out new work using simple drag and drop functionality. The app also allows you to collaborate with your co-workers in real-time, making it especially useful for remote teams. Runn offers a number of charts and reports that update live as you plan out your work— they provide an overview of your company’s total capacity and workload, allow you to check how much resource availability you have on any given day, or drill into your utilization rates to analyse how your team’s work is split between billable and non-billable work. All of this data can be filtered by a role, team, or tags (which you can use to identify people’s skills or location) and accessed straight from the Planner interface.
Compared to other resource management software and capacity planning tools, Runn also generates easy to understand financial forecasts and surfaces relevant KPIs across the app, so you can keep tabs on your company-, client- and project profitability, project performance, cost overruns, and actual vs. planned variance. Runn supports both fixed-price and time and materials pricing methods, as well as custom and blended rate cards.
The app has time tracking capabilities built-in so you can better understand how time was spent compared to what was planned, or you can integrate with Harvest to import your project, client and people data and sync your time entries. The Harvest integration is currently in beta and more integrations are on the roadmap. Runn also offers a REST API that allows you to build out your own integration and send data to and from your favorite tools.
Runn is currently free until 1 July 2020, to support existing and new customers during COVID-19. Free for small agencies, free-lancers and start-ups of up to 5 people. $10 per person for pro-plan. $30 per person for enterprise plan.
The Best Resource Management Software Comparison Chart
It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the baffling array of resource planning software out there. Below, we’ve put together a reader-friendly table neatly summarizing basic info about the tools described in this article.
Want Help Narrowing Down the Options?
This tool is pretty useful. We’ve partnered with Crozdesk to give you access to their “Software Finder”.
If you input some of the details about your project and the features you’re looking for in a project management tool, it will generate a list of tools that match your preferences. You provide your email, and they send over a nice PDF guide with a summary of your best matches.
Do you need resource management software?
You might be on board, but getting buy-in to change the status quo within your agency, team or studio can be tricky.
After all, do you really, really need resource management tools?
A quick google search for ‘resource management tool excel’ or ‘resource management software free’ and you’ll find a whole bunch of resource management templates that do the job—well, kind of.
Actually, not really. Yes, they’re a free resource management tool, but no, they are not great.
When agencies start, it’s usually with a handful of resources. There’s no urgent need for resource management or specialist software. Usually, everyone simply gets together for a quick huddle, agrees on priorities, and works out what everyone is going to work on for the day. Or—if people are feeling really ambitious—for the entire week.
As the agency grows, resource management becomes more formal and the resource scheduler becomes a whiteboard. Simple, right?
Then, disaster strikes as someone accidentally wipes the whiteboard clean, or the office grows to the extent that people can’t actually see the whiteboard, and everyone realizes it’s time to move to the agency gold standard: the infamous resource scheduler of doom, otherwise known as the resource spreadsheet.
Google docs: the ultimate free resource management tool
The truth is resource management spreadsheets kind of work. Most agencies are still using them. And suffering for it.
Everyone knows resource management by spreadsheet doesn’t really work. It’s not really cut out for the job. Everything’s a bit of a hack, they’re clunky and they’re horribly prone to errors. Months pass by and still the resourcing spreadsheet somehow just about manages to keep its head above water.
But everyone feels like they’re drowning. Yes, it enables you to keep moving and it kind of works but everyone knows that despite good intentions and some fancy formulas, it keeps on slipping under and it’s not really fit for its purpose at all. Unless you’ve got the mother of all resource spreadsheets (that I’ve never laid eyes on) it’s missing a few key features and is a disaster waiting to happen.
Still using spreadsheets?
At a push, your resource management spreadsheet might tell you how under-resourced or under-utilized your teams are, or even include forecasting, but does it include budget tracking, time tracking for billable hours, project reporting, sending staff real time notifications, helping them collaborate, or a built-in process for requesting resources and resource allocation? Without these elements, it cannot be the resource management solution you’re looking for.
And importantly, does it have a change process for when resources get moved around by the resource manager or your rogue project manager colleague? Maybe that’s why no one follows it – it’s considered more of a rough resource management guide than a true resourcing source.
But there’s hope. A growing number of tools have evolved in recent years to fix the problem of resource management in Excel and actually create something better than the free resource management tools—stuff that actually brings additional business value on top of keeping everything organized.
What do you think?
What do you think we’re missing? Which other tools do you recommend, and what would you add to these resource management software reviews? We’d love to hear if you’ve got any suggestions, tips or thoughts on using this kind of software – why not share them using the comments below?What is resource management?