Resource planning software, or resource management software, is a tool used to manage the human capital and schedule of an organization. A resource planning tool will help you in allocating and assigning people to projects where needed.
Often resource planning software will also assist in areas such as capacity management and resources needed based on roles and project needs. However, some of this functionality requires insight into project data. Thus, resource planning software is often used in conjunction with project management software to ensure the most optimal utilization.
The objective of resource planning software is to unlock your resources’ full potential, without overbooking them with work. That’s why the best resource planning tools have a resource schedule or calendar that shows everyone’s workload and allocation, where you can spot who is available or vice versa, buried in tasks:
Forecast’s People Schedule
Note that tracking your resource portfolio isn’t the same thing as micromanagement. The optimum use of people’s time and capacity is about better work-life balance and healthy standards in your company. Often professional services organizations have aggressive growth plans, with leaders not knowing if they have capacity to deliver on more projects.
In this case, resource planning software turns out especially handy, as it informs your hiring decisions or indicates if you have enough bandwidth to execute for more clients. Combine it with time tracking and you know who’s doing what and what the key reasons for project failures are. State-of-the-art resource tools have filters you can apply to look at who’s overbooked or available:
Forecast’s resource management filters
Another benefit of resource planning is that you can look into the future. Resource management software with zoom-in and zoom-out functionality allows you to check resource availability on a daily, weekly, monthly, and even quarterly basis. By paying attention to where utilization rates are high, it’s even possible to forecast resource demand.
Additionally, different vendors have started to add automation to resource management software so project managers can make quick decisions and build realistic project timelines without spending too much time on guessing what’s doable. Forecast’s Auto Schedule, for example, matches people to tasks in seconds, based on their skills and availability.
Resource management functionality works best if it’s part of the professional services automation software suite that checks all the boxes for companies delivering IT, marketing, or consulting projects.