Managing your agency or studio resources without resource management software or resource scheduling tools 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?
Every week you’re busy trying to meet everyone’s crazy resourcing needs. You’ve got the PM’s with their half-baked resource requests, the agency’s management team with conflicting priorities, the primadonna’s who’ll only work on certain clients, and then try throwing into the confusion contractors, 3rd parties and freelancers too. Trying to get a resource plan into order without some sort of human resource management software is hard enough. Throw into the mix competing projects, insane clients, vacations, and sick leave and you find that getting any work done on schedule begins to get tricky.
Do you need resource management software?
You might be on board with trying to find the best resource management software, but getting buy-in to change the status quo and replace it with resource management software tools or project scheduling software for your agency, team or studio can be tricky.
After all, do you really, really need resource scheduling software or resource management tools? A quick google search for ‘resource scheduling tool excel’ or ‘resource scheduling tools 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 and so there’s no urgent need for resource management or specialist project management software. Usually, everyone simply gets together for a quick huddle, agrees on the resource management 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 starts to get really formal and the resource scheduler becomes a whiteboard. Simples, 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 for more advanced resource management – it’s time to move to the agency gold standard – the infamous resource scheduler of doom – the resource spreadsheet.
Google docs – the free resource scheduler 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 intention and some fancy formulas, it keeps on slipping under and it’s not really fit for 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.
Resource management software trumps 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, project reporting, send staff notifications, help them collaborate or have a built-in process for requesting resources and allocating resources to projects?
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 of truth.
But there’s hope. A growing number of resource management software and resource scheduling software tools have evolved in recent years to fix the problem of the resource management in Excel and actually created something better than the free resource management tools. They’ve made resource management software that works!
The best resource management software & resource scheduling software
So here are some of the best resource management software tools for agencies and studios if you’re looking for a replacement for your excel sheet and resourcing management doom. They’ve been picked because they’re tools that are trying to do one thing well – resource management. At a minimum to be featured on this list we were looking for tools which had:
- Resource planning, scheduling, and management – putting the right people on the right projects and moving them around easily on a simple, collaborative, calendar grid that’s as simple as working with Excel or Google Sheets
- Clients and project planning – managing client and project details and having a single source of truth to feed all the other features
- Analytics and reporting – giving insight into capacity, utilization and performance for projects, clients and individuals
It’s worth comparing different resource management software tools as they’re set at different price points, different functionality (such as timesheets, expenses, approval workflows, task management), and different 3rd party integrations. In this post, we’ve tried to cover a broad spectrum of resource management software tool 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 resource management software tool for your agency or studio.
1. Float – https://www.float.com/
Float is a simple, flexible resource scheduling application used by the world’s top agencies and brands including Vice, NASA and RGA since 2012. Float’s resource scheduling features include: click and drag resource assignment, different views, live updates, utilization, holidays, sick days, and powerful filtering.
Helpfully, in Float, multiple people can have access to the schedule and make changes at the same time as live updates ensure you and your team are always seeing the latest changes. Resources are updated with their weekly schedule via email and with live notifications so that everyone’s always up-to-date. They don’t need their own login information, which keeps the system simple. Plus, Float offers an iOS app so you can make updates to your team’s schedule on the go.
There’s a powerful reporting component that you can view by resource, department, client and project so you can keep track of utilization, compare staff and contractors, drill down t a department and compare billable with non-billable time as well as including holidays and time off.
Float have been evolving their product and so using their API and Zapier you can connect with 100’s of your favorite apps including Basecamp, Asana and Trello. Float costs from $5/user/month (they offer a 30-day trial).
2. Resource Guru – http://resourceguruapp.com/
Resource Guru is a veteran in the resource management software world and used by some of the world’s top agencies with some solid resource management 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.
Helpfully Resource Guru tried to make sense of the gong show that can be resource conflict resolution and so resource management and team collaboration is built in to make resource booking more straightforward, with clash management leave management and a waiting list to prevent over-booking. The tool allows Project Managers to make bookings simultaneously with no chance of stepping on each other’s toes. Clashes are automatically prevented.
Helpfully, each staff member gets their own resource dashboard so they can log in and know exactly what they should be working on. And to monitor business performance, powerful reports help identify which projects and clients are being over-serviced and help to monitor team utilization and help with future capacity planning. Resource Guru costs from $2.50/user/month (they offer a 30-day free trial).
3. Hub Planner- https://hubplanner.com/
Hub Planner is a new, versatile and quickly evolving online resource scheduling management software tool with powerful resource management features including: 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 the resource scheduling it also helpfully includes timesheets which integration with a powerful approval workflow, and dynamic dashboard and reporting tools so you can keep track of your projects better and establish progress, billability, and profitability at a glance as well as a tasks module to brief your resources.
What’s interesting about Hub Planner is that if you get on board, you get the opportunity to help shape the product roadmap and can even sponsor new features. There’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).
4. Saviom – http://www.saviom.com
Saviom is a great enterprise grade solution if you’re looking for an intuitive but powerful resource management or workforce planning software and optimization solution. It’s built for enterprise level planning and scheduling with features including: Visual scheduler with multi-dimensional viewing to view/edit your schedule by resource, project, team, location, drag and drop resourcing, resource selection filtering and utilization tools.
In addition to its powerful Gantt chart that allows for intelligent scheduling (i.e. drag and drop bookings), the tool also allows you to make accurate resource forecasting decisions with its powerful reports- including its capacity v. demand and resource utilization report.
The software is user-configurable, allowing it to be scaled and adjusted based on company size and industry, and is also well equipped to integrate with most existing software as well as ERP systems. Perhaps uniquely in the resource management software world, Saviom is not a SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution, so you retain full control of the product. It can be hosted on a company server or a cloud server of your choice.
Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Saviom’s clients include some of the world’s largest corporations including: PwC, DHL, Siemens, Fujitsu among others. Saviom provide interactive demos and a free trial.
5. 10,000ft Plans – https://www.10000ft.com/
10,000ft Plans is a powerful resource management software tool used across a host of different industries including architecture & engineering, design, and of course, marketing & advertising. Their features including: a very simple drag-and-drop interface for resource assignment, powerful project dashboards, simple task management, and easy reporting.
10,000ft has a unique project and resource matching feature which helps match individual resources to the project’s requirements by finding team members according to different criteria like disciplines, skills, availability, or custom options to help you maintain consistency on projects.
With built-in timesheets (and mobile time tracking) as well as expense tracking, you can create rich and complex project reports by filtering and customizing project data with just a few clicks. Reports can give you a look back or forecasted view of things like team utilization, actual vs. planned time reports, budget tracking, expense reports, and projects in the pipeline. 10,000ft costs from $10/user/month (they offer a 30-day free trial and consultation sessions to help see if it’s a good fit).
6. elapseit –https://elapseit.com/
elapseit is an online tool built to offer a secure and complete user experience while allocating and managing company’s resources.
Assign resources on multiple projects, phases or task components by using the resourcing planner. The interface is easy to use, just drag & drop an allocation from a person to another, add a new one or modify an existing allocation in seconds. Get the best performance and results from your team and avoid resources over-allocation or under-allocation using the elapseit’s planner.
The resource scheduling integrates also vacations and bank holidays. Includes a leave planner with approval workflow and evidence of remaining vacations days. Once a manager approves a vacation request, all the allocations are automatically updated. The timesheet of each person will be pre-filled based on the allocation and you can generate multi-language invoices based on hours submitted and approved.
elapseit is smart enough to let you know in seconds if you have enough resources to take a new project on board based on the “Available Capacity” report. You can check the resource utilization and many other reports.
In a nutshell, elapseit is a powerful online project management software with highly connected features: time-tracking, resource scheduling, task management, invoicing, time-off management, Kanban board, dashboard, reports, document management all together in a secure user experience, through different access levels. It’s the best option for all size companies and it suits perfectly all kind of projects. There is a freemium version which includes all features. The price starts at 5USD/user/month.
7. Forecast – https://www.forecast.it/
Using artificial intelligence (AI) Forecast is able to aid with scheduling and finding the right people to book on projects and tasks. The AI learns from the work being performed and helps optimize all parts of people, planning and projects.
Forecast is a full resource & project management solution used by agencies and professional service companies all around the world. For resource management and people scheduling you can book people to projects, shuffle around tasks across multiple projects on a single timeline to make sure no one has too little or too much work at any given time; all using drag&drop to make it intuitive and simple to use. Quick booking lets you find the person with the right role and/or skills that is most likely to be available for performing a given task and/or project, so you don’t have to spend time planning, but doing the fun stuff instead.
Timesheets and tracking are built right into the product, and apps for both iOS and Android can be used for planning and working on the go. You can build and filter your own insights and safely share with clients and stakeholders. These enable you to see things such as real-time utilization, compare actual vs scheduled utilization, tracking project progress, profitability, budgets etc. very simply.
Deep integrations make Forecast the ideal resource planning tool for JIRA, and other products listed in Forecast’s extensive app catalog. Forecast has a free plan, as well as professional and enterprise plans that cost from $19/user/month (they offer a 14-day free trial).
8. Epicflow – https://www.epicflow.com/
Epicflow is an easy way to manage multiple complex projects with a shared resource pool in MS Project and Jira. The Epicflow value-added extension works in tandem with these PM systems to enable faster and cheaper delivery of multiple projects simultaneously.
Epicflow is used by BIC, De Keizer Marine, Pilz, TKF, CWZ Hospital, KPN, and other globally recognized businesses worldwide to get their projects finished on time and on value. Whether you’re a consumer goods producer, an electronics manufacturer, or you’re a company in any other industry that requires resource allocation in complex environments, Epicflow will make your projects run smoothly by prioritizing tasks based on demand and workload and constantly identifying bottlenecks.
Epicflow’s science-based algorithm performs calculations in real time. The pipeline visualizes multiple projects and milestones, predicting future bottlenecks in red so you can release them by adding more resources before the delay comes. The historical load graph presents group performance, capacity, load, and output over time. The future load graph helps you take control of resource planning and predict the impact of additional projects on your pipeline. The task list prioritizes all tasks under one roof based on project needs and available resources. You’ll be able to see a real-time overview of all projects in your portfolio, sorted by priority, and identify the most urgent issues on the workfloor in a click.
They offer a free “health check of your organization,” an opportunity to check in your projects into the Epicflow system and get analytics regarding your team performance, project statuses, and the best possible combination of priorities to finish your projects on time. A free trial is available after a live product demonstration.
9. Harvest Forecast – https://www.getharvest.com/forecast
Harvest is a well established time tracking tool used by Amazon, Kiva, and they recently released Harvest Forecast, a way to schedule your team across projects with features including: click and drag resource assignment, different views, utilization, holidays, sick days, and powerful filtering.
If you’re not familiar with Harvest – a time tracking tool, which you have to pay for separately, it’s one of the key reasons to choose Forecast; the ability to tie together Harvest’s features of time tracking, expenses, invoicing and powerful 3rd party tool integrations and an API, together with resourcing and forecasting is a powerful combination.
Combining timesheets and resourcing gives you the full picture of your projects of what you did and what you will do. With the built-in reporting tools you can see your project health in real-time with visual updates on estimate vs actuals and projections. Harvest costs $5/user/month (and they offer a free 30-day trial).
10. Teamdeck – https://teamdeck.io/
Teamdeck is a complete resource management tool to help you plan and measure your team’s work. It covers resource scheduling, time tracking and leave management to give you a better overview of your projects.
The tool aims to improve your resource allocation, employee utilization and forecasting capacity. At the same time, employees can use it to manage their availability, request time off and track their time. Teamdeck’s new report suite also allows you to analyze the data, optimize your team’s work and plan future projects.
Teamdeck is a free resource management tool for teams up to 6 and paid versions cost from $3.99/user/month. This covers all of the functionalities, integrations, support and custom onboarding. You can try Teamdeck for free with a 14-day trial to see if the tool is a good fit for you.
Other resource management software tools
None of the above work for you? Check out the list below for additional project resource management software tools:
- Traffic Live – http://trafficlive.com/
- Workbook – http://workbook.net/
- Teamweek – https://teamweek.com/
- Workstack – https://workstack.io/
- Workamajig – https://www.workamajig.com/
- NetSuite OpenAir – http://www.openair.com/
- Visual Planning – http://www.visual-planning.com/en/
- eResource Scheduler – https://www.eresourcescheduler.com/
- ProjectorPSA – https://www.projectorpsa.com/psa-software/resource-scheduling
- Teambook – http://www.teambookapp.com/
- Roadmap – https://onroadmap.com/
- Team Gantt – https://www.teamgantt.com
- Ganttic – http://www.ganttic.com/
What do you think?
What do you think we’re missing? What other resource management software tools or resource scheduling software have you found that we don’t know about? 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?