Managing your agency or studio resources without resource management software or resource scheduling tools can be a total nightmare. And that’s probably why you’re here. You know there must be a better way to manage your resources and team, right?
Every week you’re busy trying to meet everyone’s crazy resourcing needs. You’ve got the PM’s with their half-baked resource requests, the agency’s management team with conflicting priorities, the primadonna’s who’ll only work on certain clients, and then try throwing into the confusion contractors, 3rd parties and freelancers too. Trying to get a resource plan into order without some sort of human resource management software is hard enough. Throw into the mix competing projects, insane clients, vacations, and sick leave and you find that getting any work done on schedule begins to get tricky.
Jump straight to the best resource management software tools.
Do you need resource management software?
You might be on board with trying to find the best resource management software, but getting buy-in to change the status quo and replace it with resource management software tools or project scheduling software for your agency, team or studio can be tricky.
After all, do you really, really need resource scheduling software or resource management tools? A quick google search for ‘resource scheduling tool excel’ or ‘resource scheduling tools free’ and you’ll find a whole bunch of resource management templates that do the job – well, kind of. Actually, not really. Yes, they’re a free resource management tool, but no, they are not great.
When agencies start, it’s usually with a handful of resources and so there’s no urgent need for resource management or specialist project management software. Usually, everyone simply gets together for a quick huddle, agrees on the resource management priorities, and works out what everyone is going to work on for the day – or if people are feeling really ambitious, for the entire week.
As the agency grows, resource management starts to get really formal and the resource scheduler becomes a whiteboard. Simples, right? Then disaster strikes as someone accidentally wipes the whiteboard clean, or the office grows to the extent that people can’t actually see the whiteboard, and everyone realizes it’s time for more advanced resource management – it’s time to move to the agency gold standard – the infamous resource scheduler of doom – the resource spreadsheet.
Google docs – the free resource scheduler tool
The truth is resource management spreadsheets kind of work. Most agencies are still using them. And suffering for it.
Everyone knows resource management by spreadsheet doesn’t really work. It’s not really cut out for the job. Everything’s a bit of a hack, they’re clunky and they’re horribly prone to errors. Months pass by and still the resourcing spreadsheet somehow just about manages to keep its head above water.
But everyone feels like they’re drowning. Yes, it enables you to keep moving and it kind of works but everyone knows that despite good intention and some fancy formulas, it keeps on slipping under and it’s not really fit for purpose at all. Unless you’ve got the mother of all resource spreadsheets (that I’ve never laid eyes on) it’s missing a few key features and is a disaster waiting to happen.
Resource management software trumps spreadsheets
At a push, your resource management spreadsheet might tell you how under-resourced or under-utilized your teams are, or even include forecasting, but does it include budget tracking, time tracking, project reporting, send staff notifications, help them collaborate or have a built-in process for requesting resources and allocating resources to projects?
And importantly, does it have a change process for when resources get moved around by the resource manager or your rogue project manager colleague? Maybe that’s why no one follows it – it’s considered more of a rough resource management guide than a true resourcing source of truth.
But there’s hope. A growing number of resource management software and resource scheduling software tools have evolved in recent years to fix the problem of the resource management in Excel and actually created something better than the free resource management tools. They’ve made resource management software that works!
The best resource management software & resource scheduling software
So here are some of the best resource management software tools for agencies and studios if you’re looking for a replacement for your excel sheet and resourcing management doom. They’ve been picked because they’re tools that are trying to do one thing well – resource management. At a minimum to be featured on this list we were looking for tools which had:
- Resource planning, scheduling, and management – putting the right people on the right projects and moving them around easily on a simple, collaborative, calendar grid that’s as simple as working with Excel or Google Sheets
- Clients and project planning – managing client and project details and having a single source of truth to feed all the other features
- Analytics and reporting – giving insight into capacity, utilization and performance for projects, clients and individuals
It’s worth comparing different resource management software tools as they’re set at different price points, different functionality (such as timesheets, expenses, approval workflows, task management), and different 3rd party integrations. In this post, we’ve tried to cover a broad spectrum of resource management software tool price points and functionality. But as much as anything, it’ll come down to your agency or studio resourcing workflow and what functionality you need to make that function better. Have a look and sign up for some trials to test-drive and find the best resource management software tool for your agency or studio.
1. Float – https://www.float.com/
Float is a simple, flexible resource scheduling application used by the world’s top agencies and brands including Vice, NASA and RGA since 2012. Float’s resource scheduling features include: click and drag resource assignment, different views, live updates, utilization, holidays, sick days, and powerful filtering.
Helpfully, in Float, multiple people can have access to the schedule and make changes at the same time as live updates ensure you and your team are always seeing the latest changes. Resources are updated with their weekly schedule via email and with live notifications so that everyone’s always up-to-date. They don’t need their own login information, which keeps the system simple.
There’s a powerful reporting component that you can view by resource, department, client and project so you can keep track of utilization, compare staff and contractors, drill down t a department and compare billable with non-billable time as well as including holidays and time off.
Float have been evolving their product and so using their API and Zapier you can connect with 100’s of your favorite apps including Basecamp, Asana and Trello. Float costs from $5/user/month (they offer a 30-day trial).
2. Resource Guru – http://resourceguruapp.com/
Resource Guru is a veteran in the resource management software world and used by some of the world’s top agencies with some solid resource management features including: visual calendar style interface, custom views, fields and filters, availability indicator, drag and drop resources, scale view, see utilization, reporting, overtime tracking, data import and phone support.
Helpfully Resource Guru tried to make sense of the gong show that can be resource conflict resolution and so resource management and team collaboration is built in to make resource booking more straightforward, with clash management leave management and a waiting list to prevent over-booking. The tool allows Project Managers to make bookings simultaneously with no chance of stepping on each other’s toes. Clashes are automatically prevented.
Helpfully, 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 help identify which projects and clients are being over-serviced and help to monitor team utilization and help with future capacity planning. Resource Guru costs from $2.50/user/month (they offer a 30-day free trial).
3. Hub Planner- https://hubplanner.com/
Hub Planner is a new, versatile and quickly evolving online resource scheduling management software tool with powerful resource management features including: different views (by resource, team or project), drag and drop resources, split tasks, scale view, utilization, check budgets, holidays, sick days, iCal integration, and powerful filtering. Beyond the resource scheduling it also helpfully includes timesheets which integration with a powerful approval workflow, and dynamic dashboard and reporting tools so you can keep track of your projects better and establish progress, billability, and profitability at a glance as well as a tasks module to brief your resources.
What’s interesting about Hub Planner is that if you get on board, you get the opportunity to help shape the product roadmap and can even sponsor new features. There’ve taken a modular approach so you have the option to add or remove extensions to the base product such as timesheet approval workflows or tasks so you can increase functionality or turn off bits you don’t need.
They’ve also developed an API which gives access to projects, resources, timesheets, bookings, events, holidays, groups and milestones in case you want to do something fancy with the data. Hub Planner costs from $7/user/month (they offer a 60-day free trial so you can properly test drive it).
4. Saviom – http://www.saviom.com
Saviom is a great enterprise grade solution if you’re looking for an intuitive but powerful resource management or workforce planning software and optimization solution. It’s built for enterprise level planning and scheduling with features including: Visual scheduler with multi-dimensional viewing to view/edit your schedule by resource, project, team, location, drag and drop resourcing, resource selection filtering and utilization tools.
In addition to its powerful Gantt chart that allows for intelligent scheduling (i.e. drag and drop bookings), the tool also allows you to make accurate resource forecasting decisions with its powerful reports- including its capacity v. demand and resource utilization report.
The software is user-configurable, allowing it to be scaled and adjusted based on company size and industry, and is also well equipped to integrate with most existing software as well as ERP systems. Perhaps uniquely in the resource management software world, Saviom is not a SaaS (software-as-a-service) solution, so you retain full control of the product. It can be hosted on a company server or a cloud server of your choice.
Headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Saviom’s clients include some of the world’s largest corporations including: PwC, DHL, Siemens, Fujitsu among others. Saviom provide interactive demos and a free trial.
5. 10,000ft Plans – https://www.10000ft.com/
10,000ft Plans is a powerful resource management software tool used across a host of different industries including architecture & engineering, design, and of course, marketing & advertising. Their features including: a very simple drag-and-drop interface for resource assignment, powerful project dashboards, simple task management, and easy reporting.
10,000ft has a unique project and resource matching feature which helps match individual resources to the project’s requirements by finding team members according to different criteria like disciplines, skills, availability, or custom options to help you maintain consistency on projects.
With built-in timesheets (and mobile time tracking) as well as expense tracking, you can create rich and complex project reports by filtering and customizing project data with just a few clicks. Reports can give you a look back or forecasted view of things like team utilization, actual vs. planned time reports, budget tracking, expense reports, and projects in the pipeline. 10,000ft costs from $10/user/month (they offer a 30-day free trial and consultation sessions to help see if it’s a good fit).
6. Ganttic – http://www.ganttic.com/
Ganttic has some interesting features that demonstrate an understanding of some of the complexities of resourcing including the ability to schedule concurrent tasks by scheduling %’s as well as a feature which allows you to add dependencies to tasks so when the critical path gets moved, all the resources get moved with it.
Ganttic has some useful reporting (which automated reporting built in) for utilization and capacity planning. Using reports, you can have an overview of all the tasks, track budget, calculate the difference between the task duration and used time and calculate the utilization percentage using the tasks you have set for that resource for the time period you have selected on the timeline. Ganttic is aggressively priced, and costs from $1.25/user/month (they offer a 14-day free trial).
7. Forecast – https://www.forecast.it/
Using artificial intelligence (AI) Forecast is able to aid with scheduling and finding the right people to book on projects and tasks. The AI learns from the work being performed and helps optimize all parts of people, planning and projects.
Forecast is a full resource & project management solution used by agencies and professional service companies all around the world. For resource management and people scheduling you can book people to projects, shuffle around tasks across multiple projects on a single timeline to make sure no one has too little or too much work at any given time; all using drag&drop to make it intuitive and simple to use. Quick booking lets you find the person with the right role and/or skills that is most likely to be available for performing a given task and/or project, so you don’t have to spend time planning, but doing the fun stuff instead.
Timesheets and tracking are built right into the product, and apps for both iOS and Android can be used for planning and working on the go. You can build and filter your own insights and safely share with clients and stakeholders. These enable you to see things such as real-time utilization, compare actual vs scheduled utilization, tracking project progress, profitability, budgets etc. very simply.
Deep integrations make Forecast the ideal resource planning tool for JIRA, and other products listed in Forecast’s extensive app catalog. Forecast has a free plan, as well as professional and enterprise plans that cost from $19/user/month (they offer a 14-day free trial).
8. Schedule App – http://scheduleapp.com/
Schedule App is a very simple, pure-play resource management tool that’s now totally free! If you’re looking for a free online resourcing tool, that offers the bare bones of functionality, and you primarily work with resourcing your team in half-day increments, then this could be the tool for you.
Schedule App is that offers a very simple solution that allows you to add your team’s email address, name, projects, role and assign a project manager so that you manage your team’s allocation. There is no analytics, reporting, or timesheets built in, bare-bones bones solution that helpfully sends out emails with the schedule, it’s better than using a spreadsheet. Schedule App is free.
9. Harvest Forecast – https://www.getharvest.com/forecast
Harvest is a well established time tracking tool used by Amazon, Kiva, and they recently released Harvest Forecast, a way to schedule your team across projects with features including: click and drag resource assignment, different views, utilization, holidays, sick days, and powerful filtering.
If you’re not familiar with Harvest – a time tracking tool, which you have to pay for separately, it’s one of the key reasons to choose Forecast; the ability to tie together Harvest’s features of time tracking, expenses, invoicing and powerful 3rd party tool integrations and an API, together with resourcing and forecasting is a powerful combination.
Combining timesheets and resourcing gives you the full picture of your projects of what you did and what you will do. With the built-in reporting tools you can see your project health in real-time with visual updates on estimate vs actuals and projections. Harvest costs $5/user/month (and they offer a free 30-day trial).
10. Teamdeck – https://teamdeck.io/
Teamdeck is a complete resource management tool to help you plan and measure your team’s work. It covers resource scheduling, time tracking and leave management to give you a better overview of your projects.
The tool aims to improve your resource allocation, employee utilization and forecasting capacity. At the same time, employees can use it to manage their availability, request time off and track their time. Teamdeck’s new report suite also allows you to analyze the data, optimize your team’s work and plan future projects.
Teamdeck is a free resource management tool for teams up to 6 and paid versions cost from $3.99/user/month. This covers all of the functionalities, integrations, support and custom onboarding. You can try Teamdeck for free with a 14-day trial to see if the tool is a good fit for you.
Other resource management software tools
None of the above work for you? Check out the list below for additional project resource management software tools:
What do you think?
What do you think we’re missing? What other resource management software tools or resource scheduling software have you found that we don’t know about? 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?
Update 9/12/16: This post has been updated with additional standout free task management software options that have been released or improved over the past year. We’ve also removed options that are no longer free.
I’d had it.
I had been relying on a pen and paper for years, making silly little boxes to check off throughout my day. Write a blog post? Check. Demo a new piece of software? Done. Clean my desk? Ehh, I’ll get to that next week.
But I finally hit my limit when I was trying to sync up my task list with my calendar and writing out my repeated tasks over and over again. There had to be a better way.
Unsurprisingly, there is some incredible free task list software available online.
So I decided to dive in. What are the best free task management software options? Which ones offer the most features, compatibility with other major software, are easy to use, and are well-reviewed? I’ve compiled my research and narrowed the list down to these final nine, listed alphabetically.
Centrallo promises to “centralize your life.” If your life can be completely organized with a bunch of lists and tasks (which is why you’re probably looking for a task manager, right?), Centrallo follows through on that statement. The app, available on the cloud, iOS, Android, and Apple Watch, allows users to prioritize which lists—and which tasks within those lists—are most important. If you like Evernote’s functionality but wish it could be tied to tasks, Centrallo is likely the task manager you’ve been searching for.
Pros: Drag-and-drop interface, save information bits like articles and photos directly to the app, generous storage (1GB) for the free version.
Cons: No time tracking, limited attachment sizes (25MB) for the free version, no passcode lock for the free version.
Used Centrallo? Leave a review!
When it comes to a free task management tool, few options on this list come close to the unlimited features on this app. For example, easynote.io offers unlimited lists, task reminders, tasks, users, and labels. All of this comes at the low cost of nothing. The app is intuitive and doesn’t do more than it promises; if you need a simple day-to-day free task planner, easynote.io is a good bet.
Pros: Consistent updates, excellent for both personal and collaborative use, and intuitive; no training required.
Cons: Still in beta; may not be free forever. There also aren’t task dependencies, time tracking, or attachment features available yet.
Used easynote.io? Leave a review!
MeisterTask is a reflection of the operating system it caters to – Apple. And like Apple, it focuses on simplicity, aesthetic, and function. While these three ideals are certainly difficult to achieve, MeisterTask comes very close. This kanban task management software is so simple that you can open it up and be working within your first minute of use. The free version includes two free integrations, like with Drive, Slack, GitHub, or Zendesk.
Pros: Lots of great integrations, intuitive, standout iOS app.
Cons: No mobile version for Android (yet) and gives preference to developing for Apple.
Price: Free for up to two integrations; $9 per user per month for more reporting and integrations features.
Used MeisterTask? Leave a review!
If you want an alternative to the popular free task management software option Trello (reviewed below), check out Pintask. The software offers users the ability to track due dates, attachments, and reminders so everything is done on time and on budget. The kanban-based software is wholly customizable through add-on extensions, allowing users to build their own perfect, low-cost task manager.
Pros: Intuitive, easy to create your own extensions for, and great for team collaboration.
Cons: Users must buy extensions that are otherwise free on other apps, like card mirroring.
Price: Free plus the cost of extensions (starts at $3 a month)
5. Todo Cloud
The above-mentioned apps do a whole lot—but some people just want a to-do list, with not a whole lot of bells and whistles attached. Todo Cloud offers exactly that.
Create your tasks, order it by label, set a date, and go. Tasks can also be broken down into multi-level priorities, starred, and (my personal favorite feature) “focus,” or tasks that must be completed that day. This online task manager can be used for teams as well. Users can comment on, share, and sync their to-do lists, keeping everyone on task.
Pros: Simple to pick up and use, cross platform (iOS, Android, Mac, and PC), well-priced, and unique tools like geotagging.
Cons: Requires Internet access and mobile apps are only available in the paid version.
Price: Most users can get away with Todo Cloud’s free version. For those looking for mobile and email integration, Todo Cloud costs $1.99 a month, or $19.99 a year.
Used Todo Cloud? Leave a review!
Todoist is a trusted standard in task management software. It offers a synchronized system that is available over iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, PC, and most major browsers. The interface is intuitive and set up similar to Gmail’s—on the left, there are categories (for example: due today, the next seven days, or “projects”), and on the right, there are the tasks themselves, which can be broken down into subtasks, sent out for collaboration, and can be filtered by their corresponding labels. And Todoist adds a small bit of gamification to its system, encouraging its users to earn “Todoist Karma” to track their productivity trends as they get their work done.
Pros: Very simple design, offers a mobile app, and lots of cool task-based features, like Todoist Karma, that aren’t available elsewhere.
Cons: The free version is limited in its capabilities and is not well-encrypted. Some of the mobile apps have design issues (like being unable to sort tasks).
Price: Todoist is free for projects and tasks. For additional features, like reminders, filters, labels, and templates, users must pay $29 a year.
If you’re a freelancer looking for a free task management option and free time clock software, TrackingTime will be a lifesaver for you… and your team of up to three. TrackingTime doesn’t limit the number of projects or tasks, and it has powerful reporting tools to make sure everyone stays on track. TrackingTime is available on Windows, Linux, OS X, iOS, and Android.
Pros: Completely free time tracking solution, time tracking integrates with tasks, tons of integrations available (like Chrome, Asana, Slack, Jira, and more), and offers time estimates.
Cons: Free version has no calendar functionality or custom reports.
Used TrackingTime? Leave a review!
Trello is another powerful task management software that made the list of top free project management software. It relies on the Kanban system of project management for users to visually organize their tasks. Use Trello to divide projects up by tasks, and then edit those tasks with descriptions, labels, checklists, and even attachments. Trello is particularly helpful for teams working on separate tasks toward a greater project goal, where the tasks are in need of a pipeline.
Pros: Intuitive layout and design, great for collaborative projects, and most companies and individuals are satisfied with the free version.
Cons: There is no good way to use this system to prioritize tasks between projects.
Price: Free for unlimited projects and users. Users may choose to purchase Trello Gold to up their card attachments to 250MB. Businesses may opt for Trello Business Class, which costs $8.33 per user per month, paid out annually.
Used Trello? Leave a review!
Want a drag-and-drop task management system that’s great both for individual use and for group projects? Create and manage tasks based on due date and urgency with this tool. Users can use Wrike’s “Spreadsheet View” to mass-edit tasks and, with Wrike’s intuitive collaboration system, can share discussions and files that attach straight to tasks. Wrike also syncs with Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, and iCal, so users can keep all their projects and tasks aligned with their respective files.
Pros: Wrike offers a host of features and is, overall, a powerful project management product. Outstanding customer service, always new features, and makes collaboration easy.
Cons: The free version is substantially less full-featured than the paid option.
Price: Free for up to five users. Professional plans come with many more features and run $49 per month for up to five users and $99 per month for 15 users.
Used Wrike? Leave a review!
Love free task management software? Check out these related articles:
There are many other powerful task management software solutions available across the Web. Were there any programs that I didn’t include? Share them in the comments below!
Love these free task management apps? Hate them? Let us know either way with a review!
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About the Author
Rachel is a content manager for Capterra, a free online resource that quickly matches businesses to their software needs. She specializes in project management tips, tools, and tricks . She also runs her own blog on content marketing. On the rare occasion Rachel isn't writing, she's reading, hiking, jogging, or spending time with her friends and family.