I think you’ll agree with me that resource management is a tricky nut to crack.
I guess that’s why you’re looking for recommendations on resource management software?
In this guide you will find overviews of each tool, screenshots and feature comparisons.
To help you cut through the confusion and help you make the best choice for your team.
Here is how you can use this guide.
We’ve kicked the tires on the best tools out there so you get a head start on selecting the best tool for your team.
On top of that we answer some commonly asked questions about resource management. You will learn what resource management software is, its benefits and how it can help you deliver more work with happier resources.
Getting resource management wrong will cost you dearly. And so will selecting the wrong tool. But a small investment in resource management tools will pay for itself many times over.
Read on to check out our comparison of the best resource management software on the market in 2021…
What type of resource management software do you want?
Resource management tools fall into two main categories and some cover both. Understanding the differences will save you a lot of wasted time and effort when evaluating solutions as their features and capabilities are quite different.
The following infographic shows the processes involved in resource management.
In one corner we have resource management tools that take a higher level view of the resource management puzzle. These tools help you work out which resources should be working on which projects, help you forecast future hiring needs and optimal resource levels, spot skill hotspots and understand which projects you can realistically commit to based on your resource supply.
These tools are often called resource capacity planning, resource planning or portfolio resource management tools. An example of this type of software would be Kelloo.
These tools will help you:
- Plan both shorter term work and forecast longer term project resource needs.
- Decide what projects you can initiate with the resources you have.
- Schedule and allocate the right resources to the right projects.
- Make longer range hiring decisions based on forecasted resource needs.
- Understand if lower value projects should be cancelled or deferred to free up resources.
- Prevent over-utilization of resources in a multi project environment.
Work assignments are normally made to individual resources, teams of resources or even skill placeholders.
And in the other corner, we have resource management tools that focus on the day to day scheduling of resources. These will help you ensure your resource schedules are filled up with work and resources don’t have too much work allocated on any day.
They are better for teams who need to micro manage resource schedules at a detail level – possibly even planning in hours. An example of this type of software would be Resource Guru.
These tools will help you:
- Schedule tasks and ad-hoc work for resources.
- Spot days when resources have too much work.
- Often have a timesheet capability.
- Tools are lightweight and often better suited to smaller teams.
They typically use a calendar style planning format showing all your team members so you can then assign work to specific team members. Planning is normally short term – perhaps no more than the next few weeks.
Resource management software - common questions
Resource management is the practice of planning, tracking and optimizing the use of your resources. The aim is to match the right resources with the right projects and organize your resources to deliver projects on time.
Resource management can be a tricky puzzle to solve. Resource management software is designed to help you plan, track and allocate resources to work. It sometimes gets called resource planning software, capacity planning software or resource allocation software.
Wow – that is a big topic to tackle here. For a deeper dive you can head over here to learn more about the benefits of resource management.
But in summary, here are some of the benefits you will get from resource management software:
- Streamline the use of your resources to improve utilization.
- Get a helicopter view of your resources, including skills in demand and future hiring needs.
- Make better decisions about what projects you can take on with the resources you have.
- Be able to evaluate different options to staff and schedule your projects to deliver more on time.
These are terms you will come across when looking at resource management software. Here is what they mean along with some other terms you may come across.
Capacity planning: Technique used to work out what projects you can do with the resources you have available. It compares the supply of your resources vs. the demands for work made on your resources (from projects).
Resource forecasting: Long range gap analysis between the resources you have and the resources you need.
Resource utilization: A metric used to analyze what % of a resource time is allocated to work.
What if scenario analysis: Lets managers test out changes to their plans and resources to understand likely impacts. Typically adjusting resource levels, project timings and project priorities.
- First decide if you need a portfolio resource management solution or a resource scheduling solution. They solve different problems.
- Next consider if you want a cloud solution or on-premises (installed at your offices). Cloud solutions are more common now and have the advantage of being quick to rollout.
- Look at pricing. Basic cloud offerings can be as little as $5-10 per user per month. However the feature set will reflect the price. Some vendors don’t list pricing on their website which normally implies $$. However price should not be your main focus – a good resource management solution will pay for itself many times over.
- Ease of use is important. You will likely spend a lot of time working with the software you select so make sure it is easy to update and work with. Try to avoid tools than require you to micro-manage things.
- Is a free trial available. I am always a little cautious when no free trial is available. Is it because the solution is hard to use or difficult to set up and requires a lot of consulting dollars to get started with?
- Decide if you want paid or free resource management software. To be honest, there are very few free options around and what is available is pretty rudimentary. So if you have a zero budget, perhaps try to create a spreadsheet for resource management.
- Do you want to plan just people or anything? The tools here are designed for human resource management as the scheduling needs for resources is quite different to scheduling things like rooms.
Best resource management software overview and comparison
Resource planning, team scheduling, utilization tracking and reporting are all covered.
One really useful feature is that you can see how scheduling changes made in the planner impact resources. As you drag to update the schedule, the resource utilization heatmap updates in real-time instantly highlighting any resource issues or conflicts
To help executive teams make decisions on what projects they can realistically initiate and run, the capacity planning features let you evaluate how different mixes of projects, resources and project timings will impact your resources and deadlines.
Anticipating future resource levels and hiring needs is key for resource managers. And this is where the resource forecasting features in Kelloo come to the rescue by letting you report on the skills gap between your current resource pool and your projects.
Other useful features include a backlog that can store work still pending approval, dashboards, finance tracking and agile resource planning support.
Conclusion: Helps organizations allocate and schedule the right resources to the right projects and ensure they have enough resources to deliver on their plans.
Float falls within the category of resource scheduling tools. So you are not going to find some of the typical resource management features such as capacity planning, scenario planning and long range resource forecasting in Float.
What you will find is an easy to use staff planning solution that lets you assign tasks in a calendar format and optionally track time using a timesheet. Float also includes reports to help you track resource utilization.
One area I felt was lacking was being able to check how much available time a resource had when scheduling them. I had to open a report to check then return to the planner to make my updates.
So if you are looking for something to schedule ad-hoc tasks and projects float is certainly worth a look. The interface is very clean and intuitive and I was able to start planning straight away.
Conclusion: Clean interface and very easy to use. Absence of some important resource management features may prevent adoption for enterprise or portfolio resource management users.
Plans start at $5 per user per month going to $10 per user per month if time tracking is included. Resources you add to the account who do not login will still incur a fee. So costs could quickly stack up.
View their pricing page here. Float offer a free thirty day trial.
Like Float, Resource Guru falls within the category of resource scheduling tools. So features that some folks might need like capacity planning, scenario planning and long range resource forecasting are missing from Resource Guru.
However, scheduling resources is a breeze and it is really easy enter and manage tasks. Things like being able to split tasks or make tasks recurring are a nice bonus.
Similar to Float, reporting was limited. For example a report showing utilization or availability week by week or month by month would be a must have report for most resource managers and yet is not available in Resource Guru.
Booking clashes are highlighted as you add tasks and gives you the option to add them to a waiting list or to accept the utilization issue the clash causes.
Conclusion: Straightforward to use with some nice usability features that make your day easier.
Plans start at $2.50 per user per month going to $6.65 per user per month. Resources you add to the account who do not login will still incur a fee. So costs could quickly stack up.
View their pricing page here. Resource Guru offer a free 30 day trial.
Resource Guru features
Meisterplan is a good consideration for teams that want a lightweight project portfolio and resource management solution which includes capacity planning and what if analysis.
Whereas many of the resource scheduling tools like Float, Resource Guru and 10,000ft use calendar views when scheduling work, Meisterplan uses a more familiar Gantt layout.
Similar to how Kelloo works, Meisterplan also uses project priority to optimize resource allocation. Best practice for portfolio resource management is that resources should be allocated to the highest priority projects first, and Meisterplan make this easy to achieve.
Meisterplan ships with some simple project ranking and scorecard capability which is a nice feature to include.
Conclusion: Priority driven project resource management for teams who are looking for a little extra from their resource management.
Plans start at $500 per month for 25 resources. View their pricing page here. Meisterplan offer a free trial.
Tempus resource is a resource portfolio management tool which aims to help you make the best decisions about which projects you should run using resource capacity as a driving factor in the decisions.
It has a high level strategic focus and informs organizations of what skills they are lacking and when projects can happen given resource capacity and supply.
It has some nice features around what if modelling so you can evaluate different resource and planning scenarios.
Conclusion: Well rounded features including what if analysis, capacity planning and resource allocation.
No pricing available on their website. No free trial available.
Tempus Resource features
PDWare’s ResourceFirst software puts resource planning at the heart of the portfolio planning process. Similar to Kelloo and Meisterplan it uses project priorities to highlight which projects are not getting the resources they need.
It will help you answer questions such as how will a new project impact my resources, what skills are we short of and how will changes to my resource pool impact my projects.
ResourceFirst also includes tools for scoring and ranking projects along with dashboards and reporting.
Conclusion: Could be worth a deeper look if you are looking for an enterprise resource planning solution.
No pricing available on their website. No free trial available.
While primarily a simple task management tool, Toggl Plan does have a visual planning feature that may work for smaller teams with straightforward needs.
Conclusion: Feature light simple visual scheduling solution. Best suited to teams with simple resource management needs.
Free for up to five users. Free trial available