Resource management software and resource scheduling software have come a long way from colored spreadsheets, prone to human errors. That’s why we’ve decided to do a detailed review of the best resource management and scheduling tools to help you match your current project demand with the available resources.

You’ll get an overview of each tool, along with screenshots, key takeaways, and a comparison chart at the end to help you make a more rational decision. Plus a rundown on a bit of theory.

So without further ado, take a look at the best agency resource management software out there.

Resource Management Software

paymo-scheduler

Team Scheduler in Paymo

At its core, Paymo is a project management software that besides planning, native time tracking, and invoicing, boasts a powerful resource scheduling module.

Albeit the module’s name (Team Scheduling), I still consider it a top resource management software because it has the best of both worlds. On one hand, it allows you to plan task durations and set dependencies between them. On the other hand, it reunites team capacity, workload, and availability on a visual timeline to help you allocate resources accordingly across your small business. With tasks and bookings in sync, of course, so resource changes can get mapped on the actual project plan.

The automatic resource scheduling feature is worth taking a look at, as Paymo sets up automatic ghost bookings based on the previously added task dates. What’s left is to convert them into real bookings, instead of manually adding them one-by-one. No worries if tasks don’t have a start and end date, you can still drop unplanned tasks directly to a user’s schedule.

In terms of the future resource demand, you can toggle between a weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly timespan to forecast it. As well as book resources on an hourly basis (for meetings) using the daily view, which is similar to a calendar but with hours on the horizontal axis.

Paymo also comes with a built-in leave planner to plan vacations, without leaving the scheduler. Pair this up with the professional user analytics that give you an overview of a user’s remaining paid vs. non-paid leave days and their current performance, and you’ve got yourself a strong combo for resource management.

Key features

  • Gantt Charts and Portfolio Gantt Chart
  • Schedule timeline with users/projects/unscheduled work views
  • Drag and drop functionality for resource scheduling
  • Auto scheduling based on previous task details
  • Auto sync between tasks and bookings
  • Resource capacity indicator at a user/task/project level
  • Vacation and leave management
  • Timesheets for tracking planned vs. actual work time

Pricing

  • Small Office - $11.95/user/month
  • Business - $18.95/user/month
forecast

People Schedule in Forecast

As the name suggests, Forecast is a project planning and resource allocation software that comes with powerful automation and resource forecasting features.

Their AI-powered auto scheduling for example is much more different than Paymo’s, in the sense that it matches a list of tasks with the available resources in accordance with their role and current workload, while also sequencing them on the project timeline. Bear in mind that this is just a provisional resource forecast, which can be saved to be later used for similar projects.

After you’re done with the resource planning, you can quickly spot over-allocated users and do adjustments thanks to the visual resource heatmap. This one gauges everyone’s utilization rates against their initial capacity in a grid-like view, highlighting potential bottlenecks early on.

Forecast also offers rich user profiles, where you can document each team member’s role, team, and available skills; parameters to search after when matching resource demand with resource capacity in a strategic way.

Resource management wise, the resource utilization report is not to be ignored, as it compares the total billable vs. non-billable allocated hours for each user, in case you want to calculate your projects’ profitability. Or make sure your team is working only on the projects with the highest revenue.

Key features

  • Scoping for project planning
  • Schedule timeline with users/projects views
  • Auto scheduling based on current workloads and task dependencies
  • Resource heatmap with over- and under-booked hours
  • Resource forecasting suggestions
  • Resource utilization reports
  • Rich user profiles with roles, teams, and skills
  • Timesheets for tracking planned vs. actual work time

Pricing

  • Lite - $29/user/month (annual plan, minimum 10 seats)
  • Pro - $49/user/month (annual plan)
  • Enterprise - $69/user/month (annual plan)
runn

Projects Timeline in Runn

A new cloud resource management software on the market for almost two years, Runn has by far the slickest and most intuitive interface out of all the resource management tools out there.

At one glance, you can view all your project timelines (including tentative ones, that haven’t materialized yet from a sales perspective) and important milestones, along with the available resource pool in a so-called Planner. Tasks are planned through a simple drag and drop, while the editing options include task splitting and multi-selection to ease the resource planning part.

What I also like about it is the fact that you can add placeholders to account for work that needs to be done, but you’re not sure whom to allocate it in the first place. As well as different rate cards for each user, depending on the project, to factor in junior and senior payment rates.

At the same time, Runn boasts visual charts to evaluate your team’s current capacity and workload, what’s their remaining availability, and actual utilization in terms of the billable vs. non-billable work. A new addition is the people costs chart, which allows you to see the overhead that you incur on a daily basis with salaries - a great feature if you run payroll.

Where this employee resource management software stands out though is the dynamic financial reporting, which is clearer than in Forecast. Personalize your reports to monitor the project’s profitability, performance, and overall spend both in terms of the date when the budget was breached and the actual amount. People KPIs and missing timesheet reports are available and look professional too.

Key features

  • Scoping for project planning
  • Schedule timeline with users/projects views
  • Drag and drop functionality for resource scheduling
  • Split, transfer, multi-select for resource allocation
  • Placeholder to indicate resource demand for a role
  • Different rate cards for users & HR overhead calculator
  • Resource utilization and financial reports
  • Timesheets for tracking planned vs. actual work time

Pricing

  • Startup - Free, up to 5 users
  • Pro - $10/user/month
  • Enterprise - $30/user/month
toggl-plan

Teams Schedule in Toggl Plan

If you’re looking for a simple web based resource management solution with not too many bells and whistles, Toggl Plan has your back.

The online tool comes with a simplistic, colorful design that makes project planning and scheduling resources fun. Define project segments on a separate left column, then plan out task durations with a drag and drop on the plan timeline for each segment. Milestones appear on top of the calendar dates, so you never miss any important updates ever again. You can also turn them into company wide leave days.

Scheduling resources is simple, just switch to the team timeline to visualize your team’s current workload and availability on a daily basis. Too bad the staff capacity is not visible too, otherwise all resource scheduling basics would have been covered. Luckily, any changes made to the schedule also get reflected at a task level.

To probe against future demand, Toggl Plan lets you zoom out on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly basis. This way, you’re better prepared to know whether you should hire more people or shuffle resources with a strategic mindset first.

The best part is that you can publicly share the project and team timeline with external clients, and choose whether to show milestones and keep the preferred zoom level.

Key features

  • Project and team timeline
  • Scoping for project planning
  • Drag and drop functionality for resource scheduling
  • Auto-sync between tasks and bookings
  • Daily workload and availability
  • Shareable project and team timeline
  • Zoom levels for weekly/monthly/quarterly/yearly timespan
  • Custom color coding for tasks and schedules

Pricing

  • Free - Up to 5 users
  • Premium - $9/user/month

Resource Scheduling Software

Float

Schedule in Float

Float is the leading web based resource scheduling software packed with a lot of useful features, amidst its simplicity. Or perhaps should I say because of it.

Right off the bat, the people area shows you the entire team’s schedule along with their current workload and leave days. To probe for deeper data, use the search bar or predefined filters that sort information on a descending or ascending order. What I like about it is that the resource scheduler also comes with an activity feed, allowing you to follow updates as they unfold chronologically and perhaps spot inconsistencies along the way.

In terms of updating the schedule, right click on a task to split, re-assign it, or duplicate it on the go. Or use the quick shortcuts to apply the same change to multiple tasks. The speed and smoothness of the updates will delight you.

You can also set a scheduled status to alert the team that you’re either working from home or are out of the office. As well as set tentative tasks, in case they haven’t been confirmed yet.

Users profiles on the other hand come with job titles, departments, and tag fields, which makes it easy to organize your team after searchable terms. In return, they can also clock-in their work time and compare it with the initial scheduled hours thanks to the pre-filled timesheets.

Float doesn’t disappoint on the reports side either, displaying logged vs. scheduled hours, future scheduled workload, and the billable vs. non-billable ratio of logged hours in an easy to understand barchart timeline. It has project reports as well, but they’re too simple (projects are either under or over an hourly or financial budget), that’s why I didn’t include it under the project resource management tools.

Key features

  • Schedule timeline with users/projects views
  • Drag and drop functionality for resource scheduling
  • Split, duplicate, multi-select for resource allocation
  • Placeholder to indicate resource demand for a role
  • Scheduled statuses and tentative tasks
  • Resource schedule change history
  • Resource utilization and financial reports
  • Timesheets for tracking planned vs. actual work time

Pricing

  • Resource Planning - $5/user/month
  • Resource Planning + Time tracking - $10/user/month
resource-guru

Schedule in Resource Guru

Perhaps one of the oldest online resource scheduling software on the market, Resource Guru still keeps their ‘99s website design alive. However, the interface has undergone a major update, packing enough punch power to help you effectively manage resources of any kind.

You read that right. This is one of the few software for resource scheduling that lets you manage not only people, but also physical and non-physical resources, like meeting rooms or conference calls. These will show up on the schedule timeline, with the possibility to book them on an hourly basis.

Back to people, the scheduler gives you the big picture in terms of your team’s workload and remaining availability on the same timeline. A nice addition against burnout is the ability to add bookings on a waiting list, in case the person you’re trying to schedule is overbooked already.

Resource Guru is ideal for remote teams, as it takes into account different time zones. Mention each user’s time zone, search after it, then do resource planning accordingly. You can also specify hourly intervals for when a user is available for work, to avoid any resource clashes.

Like Paymo, this cloud based resource scheduling software comes with a more robust built-in leave planner than others in its category. I’m talking about customizable leave types, part-time support, paid vs. unpaid holidays. And fully customizable permissions, with each user being able to see their current and future workload in a personal dashboard. No need for a human resource management software anymore.

Key features

  • Schedule timeline with workload and availability
  • Human, physical, and non-physical resources
  • Add bookings on a waiting list
  • Account for different time zones
  • Custom fields for teams and skill tracking
  • Individual dashboard for current and future bookings
  • Resource utilization reports
  • Vacation and leave management

Pricing

  • Grasshopper - $3/user/month
  • Blackbelt - $5/user/month
  • Master - $8/user/month
Teamdeck

People Schedule in Teamdeck

For simple resource scheduling software, time tracking, and leave management all-in-one, Teamdeck wins the ticket.

Bookings, timesheets, and leave days (yes, even timesheets) reside on the same resource plan, with visual indicators for the remaining bookable and to be tracked hours. At your choice, you can display/hide either one of those timelines or re-arrange them as you see fit. Don’t forget to hit save at the end to keep the customized view.

Roles, skills, and departments can be accounted for with the help of custom fields. Projects on the other hand, are really easy to create or import from a csv, text, or xml file.

Where Teamdeck stands out in terms of benefits though is the robust leave management. People can request full or half-day leaves to be further approved by their project or resource managers, while also motivating their reason. The leave days will automatically get deducted from each user’s total.

I also like the fact that you can create resource utilization and time off reports from templates, which save you the hassle of adding them from scratch. Since there’s a timesheet module, you can also run payroll and see how much you should pay each one of your team members.

Key features

  • Project bulk import
  • Schedule timeline with workload, availability, timesheets, and leave days
  • Customizable schedule timeline
  • Custom fields for teams and skill tracking
  • Resource utilization reports
  • Vacation and leave management
  • Vacation approval
  • Timesheets for tracking planned vs. actual work time

Pricing

  • Free - Up to 2 users
  • Standard - $3.99/user/month

Resource management and resource scheduling software comparison chart

So what’s the best software for resource allocation, you may ask, after so many reviews? We’ve put together a comparison chart below for all the online tools, to make your life easier.

paymo-scheduler

Top 7 Best Resource Management & Resource Scheduling Software for 2020

Resource management vs. resource scheduling

To better understand the difference between those two, let’s analyze what’s a resource.

In traditional project management, a resource can be any type of asset required for the successful completion of a project - be they human, physical, or technical equipment. The more modern approach leans towards naming human resources as people, for good reasons, but it doesn’t exclude the rest.

Moving on, resource management refers to the act of planning, monitoring, and optimizing resources. This implies that you, as a project manager, need to first identify the number and types of resources required. If they’re people, this is usually done after a specific role or skill set that is fit for the project at hand. Only then can you balance out resources in accordance with their allocations (either via resource leveling or resource smoothing) and forecast future ones.

Allocating the right people for the appropriate tasks is what is known as resource scheduling, which is part of resource management as a whole and precedes the optimization part. This involves evaluating the current workload of each team member, checking their future availability, and prioritizing tasks accordingly so there are no project delays

To sum it up, resource management deals with planning and identifying resource demand, while resource scheduling deals with allocating the existing resource capacity in such a way as to not delay the project.

How does this work out in a software context though?

Criteria for resource management software

Resource management software entails a bit of planning, so don’t be surprised if you see Gantt Charts or timelines with task dependencies included in their suite. They’re more encompassing in this sense, leaning more on the project management software end.

Apart from this, consider the following feature criteria:

  • Planning tools: Is it easy to create a clear project breakdown, with assigned users, deadlines, and dependencies? Look for calendars, timelines, Gantt Charts, or any type of planning feature that allows you to schedule project phases.
  • Skills management: Can I filter after specific skill sets? You should be able to create detailed profiles of team members with skills, location, belonging teams, as well as filter after different parameters such as custom tags or clients.
  • Resource forecasting: Can I forecast demand for future projects? Ideally, the resource management system will act as your trusted adviser and calculate future demand based on the previously forecasted projects.
  • Analytics: How easily can I gauge project and user capacity in relation to the current resource utilization? The more granular you can be, the better.

Criteria for resource scheduling software

Resource scheduling software on the other hand, is more oriented towards scheduling resources per se. This means you’ll want a clear overview of the whole team’s capacity, both at a macro and micro level, so you know where to make trade-offs and when.

Here’s the feature criteria that we took into account for the best resource scheduling software:

  • Bird’s eye view of resource schedule: Can I see the entire resource schedule for the whole team, including current workloads, remaining availability, and unscheduled work?
  • Automatic scheduling: Will the resource planning tool make suggestions based on the existing data? Preferably, there’s some sort of mechanism or automation that either allocates resources on your behalf or speeds up the process altogether.
  • Visual alerts: Are there any available burndown graphs or visual indicators that work for me, not against me? You want tools that signal the resource utilization status or progress both at a user and project level.
  • Leave planner: Will I know whom to rely upon? Although often overlooked, a built-in leave planner can save you time when it comes to allocating the right amount of work to the right people, without overburdening them.

Benefits of resource management & resource scheduling software

Of course, some of the features listed above might overlap or come in pairs. Planning might be accompanied by an overview of the project schedule, for example. Or real-time analytics might be part of a dense user profile filled with different metrics.

However, both resource management software and resource scheduling software come with a set of advantages:

  1. Increased Visibility

    Effective project planning is deemed to help deliver projects on time and on budget. But this is just half the story. You also need to know which resources are available, what’s their current workload, and future availability.

    Resource management and resource scheduling software gives you a visual overview of your team’s schedule. This way, you can match the available people with the right tasks based on their actual efforts. Plus avoid resource clashes and resource shortage.

  2. Closer ties with clients

    If you think about it, a resource management solution or a resource scheduling software is in fact a communication tool.

    Project managers can monitor the correct deployment of resources against the initial resource forecast. While stakeholders and clients can follow the project progress in a straightforward way: a clear project schedule, instead of a prolonged and painful meeting.

  3. A healthier work environment

    Having a simple resource management software and resource capacity planning software in place can boost the overall team accountability. It might sound too good to be true, but knowing whom to report to and what’s on your plate at any given moment brings in a sense of reassurance.

    Your colleagues can finally organize their efforts in a productive way, without burning out in the process. This will also increase the quality of the delivered work, as everyone can contribute to the full extent of their skills and not scramble their efforts on tasks with low impact.