You’re probably asking – do we really need project management tools or resourcing and project scheduling software? The answer is probably no, and yes. No, you probably don’t need it – you could get away with not having it. But yes, if you had the best project management tools, you could probably run your PM team and deploy your resources more effectively and efficiently. As agencies and studios grow, the systems and processes that worked for a small agency often struggle to scale. Excel and Google Docs are great, but the best project management tools and resource scheduling software out there that can help you work even smarter.
Work smarter with project management tools and resource scheduling software
Project management tools can help plan, organise, and manage projects as well as your agency resources – whether they’re people, rooms, or phone lines. Project management tools can be used to develop resource plans and create resource requirement forecasts. Depending on the sophistication of the software, they can also include tools for estimation and planning, scheduling, cost control and budget management, resource allocation, and documentation storage.
The challenge with these project management tools and resource scheduling software is that there’s often a lot of overlap. Resource management, time tracking, project communication, expenses, storage, Professional Services Automation (PSA) and Services Resource Planning Software (SRP) can all find themselves bundled together – this can be good, but if you need to integrate with or replace legacy systems, things can start getting complicated.
Personally, my preference is for tools that do one thing really well rather than a catch-all tool which does lots of things, but none of them are quite right. Below are some great options for project management tools and resource scheduling software.
15 great project management tools for studios and agencies
1. Hub Planner – http://www.hubplanner.com
Hub Planner is a sweet looking resource planning and management tool for PM’s to plan, schedule, track and book their teams of resources. The tool focusses around a high-level view of resources, their capacity and utilisation, and also gives PM’s the power to deep dive into projects to at a glance establish progress, billability and profitability. Within the tool are some powerful tools and features for resource scheduling and planning – with drag and drop and filtering, timesheets – to analyse schedule vs actuals, and reporting – with smart report templates and custom reporting capability. Helpfully, it also has an API so you can plug it into your other systems too. Hub Planner costs from $69/10 users/month.
2. Resource Guru – http://resourceguruapp.com/
Resource Guru is a dedicated resource management tool. With a great visual calendar style interface, it shows what everyone’s working on and clearly displays availability so you can maximise utilisation. The tool allows Project Managers to make bookings simultaneously with no chance of stepping on each other’s toes. Clashes are automatically prevented. Bookings can be added to a waiting list and used for capacity planning later. 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 monitor utilization of your team and help with capacity planning. Resource Guru costs from $2.50/user/month.
3. 10,000ft Plans – http://www.10000ft.com/
10,000ft Plans is a tool designed give you the big picture (hence the 10,000ft) of your business, teams, and projects. Armed with this information, you’re then able to make better strategic decisions based on this real-time, complex data. The tool is based around a project dashboard, a schedule for projects and resources, time tracking, and analytics. The project element gives top-level project information across different types, clients, and states. Custom fields can also be added for easier connection with the API. The resource view of the schedule lets you spot who is available and update assignments. The time tracking component shows each team member which projects they should be working on and suggests hours based on the schedule. The analytics component gives a great overview of forecasted vs. actual project hours, utilization, budget tracking, and estimation accuracy. They have a great overview of the product on their site here: http://www.10000ft.com/plans/
4. Clarizen – http://www.clarizen.com/
If you’re looking for an enterprise level and fully tailored project management toolkit solution, check out Clarizen – a complete professional services automation (PSA) platform with a great set of tools for managing projects, tasks, resources, and budgets – wrapped in a single product. Clarizen brings together project management, configurable workflow automation, in-context collaboration and a tailored, role-based experience that simplifies work, reduces communication overload, and provides visibility so everyone can work more effectively and adapt to changes. It centralizes release plans, release backlog data, bugs, documents, communications and more into one system, helping you to deliver releases efficiently, track and prioritize incoming tickets and schedule them for iterations with stacks of handy built-in reporting. Clarizen costs from $30/user/month.
5. Saviom – http://www.saviom.com/
Saviom is an intuitive Enterprise Resource Management software used by PwC, DHL, Siemens, and Fujitsu that has multiple functions to both schedule resources in real time and track them in relationship with project statuses. Along with its comprehensive forecasting reports, it also ropes in an array of different functionalities ranging from ( but not limited to) leave, cost, time and capacity management, solving most resource-centric problems of project management units. While the Gantt Chart view gives complete visibility from across the organization, the flexibility to change views enables you to make project-specific decisions as well as schedule changes. The software is highly configurable and is also well equipped to integrate with most existing software as well as ERP systems. Saviom provide interactive demos and free trials of up to 6 weeks of the solution.
6. Paymo – https://www.paymoapp.com
Paymo is a modern project management software that allows your team to manage projects from start to finish. Having all the features you need bundled in a modern interface will translate into cost savings – you don’t have to pay for several apps to get the projects done – less time spent juggling multiple software, along with a seamless work process, due to better module integration and consistency among features. The advanced task management, Gantt Chart, Resource Scheduling, Automatic Time Tracking, collaboration, advanced reporting, invoicing are just the core modules that will assist you in delivering successful projects. You can try the app for free for 15 days without restrictions. Paymo starts from $4.95/user/month.
7. Hansoft – http://www.hansoft.com
Hansoft is a fast and smart collaboration software for everyone in the team, placing project management at the centre. It has a great product backlog combining the best from tools like Excel with structure and hierarchy to ensure that deliverables are easy to work with for priority and estimation. The planning side allows you to combine gantt, scrum and kanban in a single project and also gives you an overview of the allocation and capacity. The dashboards and reports are very powerful compared to most tools, and allows you to create and share almost any views that you need for reporting on both team, project and higher levels. Hansoft is free for up to 2 users, and then starts from $28 per month and user.
8. Forecast – http://www.forecast.it/
Forecast is a brilliantly simple combination of a resource management and project management tool built on the foundation that successful projects require a combination of short and long term planning. Forecast does not dictate how you work so you can mix scrum, Kanban and traditional Gantt scheduling.
The Artificial Intelligence (AI) built into Forecast enables you to easily spot projects that are at risk of delay or veering off track. Build and share your own powerful dashboards, reports and insights so you can put real-time information right at your team or clients’ fingertips. Effortless resource planning enables you to track utilization and capacity. In the upcoming work view the connection between prioritization and scheduling easily let’s team members focus on the most important tasks. Forecast has a free 14-day free trial and costs from $19/user/month.
9. Teamdeck – https://teamdeck.io/
Teamdeck is a complete resource management solution for teams, offering resource scheduling, time tracking & timesheets, leave management and customizable reports. The tool makes it easier for project managers to allocate resources, optimize employee utilization and forecast the capacity.
What’s important, teamdeck not only helps with running current projects, but also gives you a high-level control over the company resources. You can use it to compare workload with available resources, track employee’s work hours and then assess the project’s value.
You can try teamdeck for free with a 14-day trial to see if the tool suits you. What’s more, it is free for teams of up to six people. Business Plan, on the other hand, covers all of the functionalities, integrations, support and custom onboarding, and comes for $3.99 per employee a month.
10. FunctionFox – https://www.functionfox.com
With more than 100,000 users in over 120 countries, FunctionFox is the proven time and project management system for creative professionals. Three versions offer powerful and intuitive project management capabilities: Classic includes Timesheets with stopwatch timers, unlimited clients and projects, a CEO Desktop, and multiple reports, as well as estimates, quotes, budgets, invoicing, and more. Premier gives you all that, plus advanced project management and scheduling features: action assignment for resource allocation, to-do lists, project scheduling, a project calendar and project blog, timelines, milestones & resource availability. In-House, for creative teams within larger organizations, includes all the above, plus extensively customizable request forms, cycle and capacity reports, unlimited custom fields & advanced reporting options. Simple to use, easily scalable, and very affordable, FunctionFox simplifies management of every aspect of a project, from estimate to final invoice. (From $5 per month per user. $35/m for 1st user. Customer service is free!)
11. Harvest – http://www.getharvest.com/
Harvest is built around a robust time tracking tool. Harvest allows staff to track time and send invoices from an integrated application. Staff are able to start and stop timers to allow accurate reporting and submit time sheets. The Harvest system then generates visual reports allow you to analyze time and see the distribution of your staff resources at a glance, helping you to keep your projects on budget and estimate for future projects accurately. Harvest also allows you to invoice accurately using the time sheet tracking data. The system provides an integrated invoicing component which generates and tracks invoices and retainers through to payment. Harvest costs from $10-12 /user/month.
12. Teamwork Project Manager – http://www.teamwork.com
Teamwork Project Manager is a Basecamp alternative – an online teamwork & project management application to assist managers, staff and clients in working together more productively. Teamwork has components to enable Project Management collaboration, task management, milestone tracking, messaging, file management and time tracking. In short, this is one of the many young upstarts trying to offer a Basecamp alternative. A unique feature of Teamwork PM is The Risk Register where you can post risks and assign it a priority – a great tool for transparency among the team and with clients. Teamwork Project Manager costs from $49 /35 projects/month.
13. Projectplace – https://www.projectplace.com/
Projectplace is a powerful project management and collaboration tool. More than just another Basecamp alternative – Projectplace has a slew of additional features including issue management, project templates, online meetings, meeting and resource management and organisational reports and analytics. The resource management features in Projectplace give users overview of all scheduled resources in all projects, show the availability and capacity, allow searching and booking of resource, perform scenario planning of resources, identify possible “show stoppers” due to overbooked resources and prioritise resources between projects. Projectplace costs from $29/user/month.
14. Basecamp – http://basecamp.com/
Basecamp is an excellent project management tool that focuses on making collaboration easy. It’s really simple to use and for many years it was the de facto choice of agencies. Basecamp helps you manage multiple projects at a time with to-do lists, file sharing, chatting, messages, calendars and time tracking. As it’s so established there are now many different possible integrations and ways to extend the base product including time tracking, invoicing, accounting, reporting, planning (including Roadmap), file synchronization, bug & issue tracking, source control, creative approval and lots more. Read about them here: http://basecamp.com/extras. There is a trimmed-down free version, which is great for starting out. Basecamp costs from $20/10 projects/month.
15. Ganttic – http://www.ganttic.com/
Ganttic is a powerful, pure-play project portfolio management software that’s being used across different industries for resource management in professional services, software development, design studios and even manufacturing with features including: click and drag resource assignment, live updates, utilization, recurring tasks, Google calendar sync, and resourcing history.
Ganttic is a good choice for those that plan multiple projects with a common resources pool. They offer powerful filtering and grouping tools which make it easy to manage projects separately and as a portfolio. You can do basic resource planning as well as advanced capacity utilization planning. Sync personal plans made in Google Calendar to Ganttic and set up dependencies and color schemes. Using reports, you can have an overview of all the tasks, track budget, and optimize task duration, and send the reports out automatically.
It’s highly customizable, has a rich feature set, and it’s still easy to use. Since it’s cloud-based you can access it from anywhere and have your plans on the go. They charge by the number of resources you are planning (from 25$/per month/max 20 resources) and they offer a 14-day free trial. You can use the PRO version of the resource planning software for free with no time limit if you are planning 10 resources or less.
Other project management tools and solutions:
Below is a list of additional project management tools and resource scheduling software:
What do you think?
What do you think we’re missing? What else is there to project management tools and resourcing scheduling software? 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?