Here’s the reality most project managers find out sooner or later: project resources are finite.
Without proper methods to analyze the available resources, their utilization, and which skills to map with specific tasks, your project is doomed to fail, no matter how detailed it is.
There must be something that can simply fix this, right?
You bet. Enter resource management tools.
In a nutshell, resource management software helps project teams improve visibility into their resources — through resource planning, workload management, and more. It also gives them a way to forecast resource needs for upcoming projects, so they know what they need to budget for.
Beyond that, resource management tools can also help automate scheduling and time tracking. This saves you time and money, while giving team members better visibility into their work schedules and availability.
The real benefit of using resource management tools is that they allow you to optimize your use of resources across multiple projects simultaneously. You get more done with fewer resources, which improves project profitability without raising costs.
Resource management tools involve much more than allocating resources. They play an essential role in setting up project expectations and how a company will ultimately perform.
Here are but a few ways in which they can benefit you:
Let’s see how these play out as resource management software tools.
To date, resource management has been an incredibly manual process. Because of its complexity, many organizations relied on a combination of multiple spreadsheets, email, and other tools to manage their resources across different departments. This created a lot of inefficiencies as well as errors that could cost companies millions of dollars in lost productivity and revenue.
As project managers started to realize that colored-coded spreadsheets were too error-prone and difficult to maintain, it led to the gradual emergence of advanced solutions. Resource management tools and techniques have been developed to address these challenges by providing organizations with one centralized system for managing resources across entire departments and projects.
Runn is probably the resource management tool you’ve never heard of but actually need. It brings together projects, people, timesheets, and profits under a modern interface, so teams of all sizes can forecast their revenue and future capacity needs with more accuracy.
From the very beginning, you get an overview of current and tentative (not yet approved) project timelines, milestones, and user hourly allocations on the same calendar. This gives you a clear picture of overbookings and any potential resource clashes that might occur. You can use Runn for both improving your resource allocation process and measuring resource utilization.
Scheduling resources is just as intuitive. Just click and drag on the timeline to add the work days, then specify the work hours. If you’re not happy with the initial scheduling, split it, transfer it to someone else, or assign it to a placeholder if you don’t know who to assign it to yet. Talk about quickly editing changes!
What’s worth noticing is that Runn is putting people front and center. I’m talking about their current workloads, future availability, holidays, even billing rates and actual payroll; something that will help you balance resources and costs more efficiently. You can then filter after their role, team, and skills to find the right talent for a project.
Where the tool excels in addition to resource management, though, is profitability. A few examples are dynamic reports that feature the scheduled vs. actual work variance and the project’s financial projections. That’s why Runn is a strong fit for agencies and service businesses in general, who need to predict whether their projects are on budget and inform clients about possible course corrections.
Try Runn for free if there's a need in effective resource management combined with project and finance management.
Float deems to be a resource management software, implying more functionality than normal project management resource tools. Let’s see if it’s true.
The design is minimalistic, indeed, featuring a date range selector that allows you to visualize your team’s workload, resource availability, and capacity for a given period. The only drawback is that the amount of overbooked hours is only available under the user’s unscheduled column and not on the actual timeline.
As for the core functionality, Float’s new timeline merges the actual scheduled time with the logged one. Time tracking users will love this, as they’ll better understand their efforts in relation to the initial resource forecasts. Equally valuable are the personal tags to identify skills at a glance, the “Me” toggle for viewing individual hourly bookings, and the possibility to set a scheduled status to alert your team that you’re working from home (connects with Slack too).
Features aside, Float really seeks to simplify analytics. You can keep tabs open on your resource utilization, project budgets, and time off without too many configurations whenever you access a people or project report. Despite this, the lack of a project revenue forecast stops Float short from becoming a complete resource management platform.
Price: Starts at $7,50/user/month.
Resource Guru is an early player in the project and resource management tools space, now doubling down on fundamental resource management features for high-growth teams.
In the past year, the platform’s design has evolved into a sortable table layout where clients, projects, bookings, resource availabilities, and days off are skimmable at a calendar view level. The new code also makes load times non-existent, delivering on their initial promise.
Nevertheless, Resource Guru’s main differentiator lies in resource clash management. You can automatically prevent overbookings - those with diagonal bars over a red background - by putting them on a waiting list that you can deal with later on. Another unique feature is physical resources to account for meeting rooms and equipment, although they cost extra.
Because of its straightforward approach to resource management, Resource Guru lacks some capabilities other platforms offer, such as integrated timesheets, advanced reports, and native integrations with third-party apps. For this reason, companies that value capacity planning over profitability will find Resource Guru a reliable HR resource management platform.
Price: Starts at $2,50/user/month and $0,83/non-human resource/month.
Mavenlink is a popular enterprise project and resource management tool specializing in resource optimizations.
Its resource-first approach powers each of its modules. The master planner, for example, displays workloads and allocations across all projects. At the same time, the team builder helps you staff projects by recommending resources based on their role, skill, and availability. Note that each criteria can be weighted on a scale of 0-10 to create your recommendation engine.
Not surprisingly, Mavenlink’s ace in the hole is forecasting resource demand. Project managers can compare the actual resource costs against a project’s total revenue to better understand their project pipeline’s needs and timing. Beware though. Resources with different hourly rates might mess up your final profitability figures.
Being an enterprise tool, some customers expect to have more granular features such as requesting resources for approval or being able to add resources directly at a project level. Despite these, Mavenlink works best for companies looking for a solution that connects resource optimization, business intelligence, and automated workflows under a single roof.
Previously 10.000ft, Resource Management by Smartsheet pledges to be a resource capacity management tool that supports companies with their hiring decisions.
Looking more like a Smartsheet add-on rather than a stand-alone app, Resource Management by SmartSheet ticks all the standard resource management features. You get a resource schedule, a talent pool for matching skills with job roles, timesheets, and a visual resource allocation heatmap that acts as a window into your team’s capacity.
Its key strength lies in the granular account settings that customize different resource-related aspects. However, this comes at the expense of the overall user experience. The interface is rather clunky, the horizontal scroll inexistent, while you can't drag and drop bookings on the resource calendar.
All in all, users understand the value of using both Resource Management by Smartsheet and Smartsheet. Still, they would like to see a more intuitive interface and a double-way sync between bookings and project phases dates. Timesheets also don’t show up on the main schedule, but the platform is robust enough to support existing Smartsheet customers.
Yet another enterprise IT resource management tool, Saviom has sacrificed usability for extensive customization to reduce enterprise-related resource costs.
The platform has emerged as one of the key enterprise market players ever since 1999 (yes, you read that right!). Built upon an ERP framework, Saviom helps project managers sort their resources after a combination of filters and levels. View resources based on their availability or the project allocated to perform proper resource leveling.
Those short on time will also appreciate the skill matching feature, although it works more like a filter than a dashboard. Similarly, forecasting future demand and financials in an Excel-like interface allows you to better keep tabs open on KPIs to benchmark against each month.
Being an ERP tool, the business intelligence dashboards are as customizable as they get - even though some custom fields may be unavailable in reports. Additionally, integrations exist to connect with your existing workflows and process. This drives the point back to Saviom’s focus on customization, which ultimately enables scalability across all resources.
Silverbucket promises to be the smartest planning tool for project businesses, meaning those that charge by the hour. And for good reasons.
This project resource management tool gives you the freedom to allocate specific people or roles as a resource, even at a task level for more fine-grained resource management. In addition to the bread-and-butter resource management features, Silverbucket also covers various project risk types, resource risk included, to react proactively against threats.
Skill management is perhaps the most robust amongst platforms. With a skill map that organizes skills under a hierarchy, different competency levels (beginner, intermediate, advanced, expert), and a competency analysis, you’re well equipped to build the right team for each of your projects.
As for reports, reference customers experience some issues. They are not so flexible, as fixed-rate projects and part-time schedules can ruin final numbers. Silverbucet makes up for this with a great resource forecast chart, accompanied by a resource baseline for comparing the project post-mortem results with the initial allocation plans.
Price: Starts at €9/user/month.
Hub Planner might seem like yet another contender, but it proves to be a strong human resource management tool.
Hub Planner has nailed the resource scheduling part, allowing the allocation of resources as a percentage, a number of hours per day, or total hours spread evenly across days. On the same note, unassigned work resides on the same timeline as the usual bookings so you can be aware of the future resource demand in relationship with the current one - from a single place.
The human resource planning part shines best when it comes to vacations and PTOs. A vacation request engine is literally powering the tool, allowing employees to request time off directly form the scheduler. Project managers, in return, can approve or reject it. As well as configure their email flow chart to automate the HR process.
Timesheets somewhat work along the same line since you can accept or reject them. Or even better, upload bookings as time entries to ease filling them out. All these features make Hub Planner a great choice for large organizations that employ hundreds of employees. The very few complaints revolve around the difficulty of assigning colors to bookings and the platform’s initial high learning curve.
Price: Starts at $8/user/month.
Teamdeck acts as a single source of truth, reuniting resource scheduling, time tracking, and leave management under a sleek UI.
The same mantra also applies at a resource calendar level, where bookings, timesheets, and availabilities are stacked up by default one under another to limit distractions and increase the overall visibility. You can still re-arrange them and save the preferred view, along with a few indicators for the remaining and tracked hours.
Teamdeck also aims to simplify time tracking by introducing a start-and-stop timer for convenience, in addition to the classic timesheets. After everyone has logged their hours, you can create a utilization hill-chart report to measure their productivity and spot patterns early on.
Speaking of reports, there are six available report templates to help you out. While the custom ones allow you to group data after specific parameters, say the overbookings for a specific project and job role. Thanks to these reports and granular interface, Teamdeck has, without a doubt, the potential to serve many industries. However, the best fit would be as an agile resource management tool in our opinion.
Price: Starts at $3,99/user/month and $1/non-human resource/month.
After reading all these reviews, you might still be wondering which tools for project resource management are right for your company?
Even though the answer depends largely on your team’s needs and budget, remember this. A good resource management tool will give you the means to see who’s working on what, when, and for how long. The best resource management software will help your find the right person for the right job, while also making sure they don’t burn out in the process.
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