Top 10 Resource Scheduling Software Solutions
Completing a project is one thing, but being able to say that you’ve completed a project successfully is another thing entirely.
A 2015 survey conducted on 50,000 projects shows that 71% failed to meet the basic criteria for success: finished on time, within budget, and with satisfactory results (Forbes). How can you make sure that you’re not just chasing projects to the finish line, but making the right decisions to improve current and future project outcomes? The core of smooth project progress is ensuring that your resource scheduling software is doing exactly what it needs to do: targeting your most valuable resources and simplifying allocation and management.
The best way to do this is to invest in a resource scheduling tool that can provide you with invaluable real-time data, and simplify the distribution of project resources to tasks. In this article, we’ll go over why resource management is so important and list the top 10 best resource planning software solutions currently available.
What Is Resource Scheduling?
Resource management usually takes place across different phases of the project lifecycle. Project managers, sometimes also known as resource managers, will create a resource plan that takes into account the entire picture of business resources. This resource schedule is also an in-depth representation of resource allocation, which is the distribution of team members across tasks, with deadlines, time off, and all other important data taken into account.
For successful project execution, it’s important that this resource plan is flexible enough to account for changes in the project, but also powerful enough to help managers account for future resource demand. Finally, during project completion, the best resource management tool will serve as a single source of truth for all project data, fuelling improved decision-making for future projects with budget and resource forecasting.
See also: Resource Planning Guide: How To Optimize Your Project Planning
Now that we’ve gone through some resource management basics, let’s move on to our list of the best resource scheduling software on the market.
1. Productive – The All-in-one Creative Project Management Software
Productive is an all-in-one resource management tool with powerful features that support managers in their resource management process. With Productive, you can determine your resource capacity and availability thanks to real-time data that supports your task management and project schedules. Moreover, financial reports that include billable utilization and agency profitability will provide you with the necessary business intelligence for optimized capacity planning in the future.
“Productive is an easy-to-use project management software that streamlines all core functions of an agency and makes it easy for cross-functional departments to collaborate” (G2).
Now, let’s go over Productive’s features in more detail.
Key Features Include:
Productive’s resource planning features support decision-making on a granular level. Heat maps and capacity indicators help managers balance workloads and ensure that no employee is under or overutilized. Productive integrates not only working hours but also time off and sick leave, so you can always check who is available to work and allocate resources accordingly. It’s also possible to account for hiring contractors or new team members with placeholders, covering all possible situations in resource availability plans.
All capacity management starts at the same place: with time tracking. This is why Productive offers an integrated time tracking feature that lets your team members track time from a task, or input it manually later. The desktop timer simplifies management in order to provide more accurate data and give employees a more pleasant experience. In addition, by turning on the automatic time tracking feature, all scheduled tasks can be immediately tracked for the specific team member that worked on it. This makes the process of logging hours even more effortless for employees.
On the project level and beyond, Productive lets you take control over your project budgeting, whether you’re working on a fixed-price, hourly, or mixed project. With data consolidated from all your project activities, you can get robust insights into your operations: from the actual time employees have spent working on projects with agency utilization rates, to profitability reports and financial forecasting, Productive scales with your business. The more you use Productive, the more powerful your data will be.
Both your team members and clients can get a full overview of project phases with customizable project views and effortless task management with date ranges, to-dos, and progress updates. Productive makes collaboration easy thanks to integrated sales funnels that let you connect your leads with your project plans and a collaborative documentation option for centralized business information. All of your project management activities can be consolidated on one platform with Productive.
Check out how a spatial design agency optimized their resource scheduling: With Productive, Brigada Increased Project Profitability
Additional features include: Billing, Integrations
- Plans start with the Essential plan at $9 per user per month, which includes essential features such as budgeting, project & task management, docs, time tracking, expense management, reporting, and time off management.
- The Professional plan includes custom fields, recurring budgets, advanced reports, billable time approvals, and many more for $24 per user per month.
- The Ultimate plan has everything that the Essential plan and Professional plan offer, along with the HubSpot integration, advanced forecasting, advanced custom fields, overhead calculations, and more for a custom price.
- You can also check out the Enterprise Plan with custom pricing for companies that would include more than 50 active users per month.
Productive offers a 14-day free trial, so you can check out if it is the right project management software option for you, commitment-free.
2. Smartsheet – A Fair Resource Booking Software Solution for Team Timelines
Smartsheet is an enterprise resource management software solution that offers all of the essential resource scheduling tools. Customers frequently praise Smartsheet for its intuitive interface and numerous integrations that allow them to tailor their software solutions to their day-to-day workflows.
- Time tracking with pre-filled timesheets
- Schedule resources to address staffing requirements
- Customizable templates for project planning
- Automated alerts and notifications for task updates
Users on G2 have reported that although Smartsheet is a good project management tool for complex projects, it tends to lack flexibility compared to modern solutions on the market, mostly due to its Excel-like interface. Others have commented that the tool could provide more visibility into resource availability. Overall, Smartsheet is a fine choice for a team collaboration tool, but users who are looking for robust resource management software might want to look elsewhere.
3. Wrike – A Resource Scheduling Software Option for Project Issue Tracking
Wrike is a versatile and flexible platform that supports team collaboration and project financials with resource scheduling features such as team workload optimization, time management, and budget tracking. Users on Capterra underline that Wrike helps their teams stay efficient and improves overall team collaboration.
- Visual timelines for project planning and resource allocation
- Task dependencies for project scheduling
- Real-time business intelligence with billable utilization
- Integration with popular third-party apps
Although users generally have pleasant experiences with the software solution, the most frequently mentioned downside of Wrike is the extensive amount of onboarding needed to get a handle on some of the more advanced features. Other users have also expressed a need for more advanced tutorials to streamline the implementation process, while multiple have mentioned feeling “lost” in the tool at times (Source: G2).
4. ClickUp – A Fair Management Software Solution for Mid-Size Companies
ClickUp is a comprehensive solution for project managers, helping the entire team track their project progress from start to finish. As one of the benefits of ClickUp, users on G2 highlight that it helps them eliminate some of their administrative work by streamlining repetitive tasks.
- Customizable project views for task organization
- Goal tracking and progress visualization
- Content collaboration with whiteboards
- Visual widgets for tracking platform data
Although ClickUp is a good solution for a comprehensive software development tool, some features of more robust resource allocation software are missing. For example, financial insights could be more developed, such as real-time utilization, profitability, and profit forecasting. Businesses that are interested in advanced analytics and scaling up their operations should consider investing in a more data-oriented tool.
5. Microsoft Project – A Good Real-Time Resource Management Platform
Microsoft Project is a management platform that helps teams stay organized and focused. Microsoft Project helps resource managers handle resources on projects with simple scheduling that takes availability and project duration into consideration.
- Interactive dashboards for project timelines
- Essential resource efficiency management
- Integration with Microsoft Office Suite
For the downsides of Microsoft Project, users have reported that the tool seems most suitable for smaller projects, while others have noted that it lacks customization and flexibility in comparison with other software (Source: Capterra). Overall, Microsoft Project is a fair choice, but a more modern resource management tool might be a better pick for forward-thinking companies.
6. LiquidPlanner – A Cloud-Based Solution for High-Level Planning
LiquidPlanner is a cloud-based resource planning tool for digital agencies. With predictive analytics, LiquidPlanner can report future availability to support capacity management and increase operational efficiency.
- Accurate time tracking with timesheets
- Track resource availability across teams
- Provides priority-based planning with color-coding
As the main downsides of the tool, users have mentioned that the interface is “overwhelming”, and that the learning curve is steep for first-time users. Others have mentioned that the tool isn’t fully tailored to fixed-price projects and that even the most essential pricing plan can be steep for smaller companies (Source: Capterra).
7. Resource Guru – An Easy-to-use Resource Booking Tool
Resource Guru is a resource scheduling system that supports managers in handling their capacity gaps and project financials. G2 users praise the tool for its simplicity and user-friendly interface.
- Resource categorization and employee directory
- Workload overviews for resource balancing
- Integrated time off management
- Real-time utilization reports
The strengths of Resource Guru are its weaknesses at the same time: users have reported that the main disadvantage of the tool is its “lack of features” (Source: G2). Some have also commented that they’ve had to invest in other tools in order to get a full picture of their project profitability. Although Resource Guru is an affordable option, investing in fully-fledged resources scheduling software could prove a more time and cost-effective option in the long run.
8. Workfront – A Good Resource Scheduling App
Adobe Workfront is a project management software solution that helps teams stay goal-oriented with scenario planning and workflow management. Adobe Workfront provides services to marketing, IT, and professional services agencies.
- Expense and budget management
- Agile workflows with sprint planning
- Workload distribution visibility and task management
- Real-time analytics with customizable reporting dashboards
Some users have reported that they find the pricing models “difficult to understand”, and although the resource scheduling software offers a wide range of features, some can end up being redundant, depending on your business and teams (Source: Capterra). Other frequently reported downsides are lack of flexibility and customization in comparison to similar software.
9. Netsuite – A Robust Resource Booking Software Solution
Netsuite is a resource scheduling application from the leading provider Oracle. As a professional services automation tool, Netsuite provides support for service-based companies, as well as a wider range of industries including IT, manufacturing, food and beverages, and many others.
- Real-time project financials visibility
- Employee directory and access control
- Customizable project dashboards for business intelligence
Although users praise Netsuite’s advanced finance tracking features, they mainly point to the same disadvantage: Netsuite has the potential for customization, but it requires extensive technical knowledge and investment. For teams that don’t have enough resources in order to get the maximum out of Netsuite, investing in a similarly powerful tool with a more straightforward implementation process is something to consider.
10. Trello – A Software Solution for Agencies With Simple Workloads
Trello is a collaborative platform for agile teams with a drag-and-drop user interface. As the main advantage of Trello, users highlight its “visually appealing” and “clean” interface (Source: Capterra).
- Kanban-style boards for visual task management
- Community-supported templates covering a range of purposes
- Integrations and plug-ins for various productivity tools
Although Trello is a great tool for creativity and collaboration that can be used as an add-on to your current software solutions, project managers with more complex projects might find that Trello is lacking some essentials for supporting their current workload. Other tools with features such as native time tracking and robust analytics for resource forecasting might be a better investment.
As the main issues, users report some problems with the loading times and input delay, especially when larger teams are working on a single session. Despite this, most users still recommend Miro. In the team collaboration tool category, Miro is a great asset that can serve as an addition to a more robust project management tool, especially for remote teams.
Throughout the article, we’ve established the many useful features that resource scheduling software can bring to your business processes.
The best type of tool for your business will depend on your team composition, your industry, and your project needs, though there are some basics to keep in mind when making a choice. Look out for a tool that can integrate multiple processes in one platform to minimize multitasking as well as software licensing costs. An additional thing to consider is how user-friendly the software solution is, as this can significantly cut down your implementation costs and help you get the most out of the software as soon as possible.
For an easy-to-use tool that consolidates all day-to-day business operations in a single platform, book a demo with Productive.
What is resource scheduling software?
Resource scheduling software helps project managers manage their project or company resources by ensuring optimal utilization and streamlining task management. It usually includes a range of features, from project management support with task assignments and time tracking, resource availability tracking with utilization heatmaps, to financial insights with profitability reports and budget forecasting. The best resource scheduling software serves as a single platform that provides all business-related data and enables effective decision-making.
What is scheduling software used for?
Depending on industry, company size, and project types, different companies might have different needs for resource scheduling software. However, there are still some primary purposes that resource management tools help businesses achieve, such as:
- Project management: resource planning software helps project managers allocate resources to tasks while keeping track of their team utilization.
- Time tracking: most resource scheduling software includes an integrated time tracking feature that provides workload and financial insights through billable and non-billable hours.
- Human resources management: the right tool can take into account all possible situations that can occur by processing time off, sick day leave, as well as scheduling upcoming resources such as new staff or contractors.
- Project insights: all-in-one resources scheduling software consolidates all project data and provides robust insights into financials and budgets, with project reports that provide utilization rates, profitability reports, and agency forecasting features.