The general features of a project management software include scheduling, costing, budgeting, controlling, management and communication. However an important function of any project management solution is resource management. This covers all types of resources including human, equipment, materials and costs.
Nowadays businesses can work efficiently only by managing resources. With materials and costs things are pretty easy: you buy a stock and it is yours. Human resource management is not the same. You can not just own a human resource, but need to retain one. With the help of a resource management software, project managers can make sure that the right human resources are working on the right tasks and following a real-time project timeline. This is achieved based on several factors like employee’s skills, experience, and availability.
Resource planning software – must have features
In today’s global economy, when projects are spread across multiple regions or even countries it only makes sense that the right resources should make up a project team, regardless of their physical location. Even more project managers need to have powerful project planning tools capable of managing multiple projects with shared resources. At any moment in time they need to view resource availability and utilization even across multiple projects.
Tracking the time and costs using Time Sheets or Resource Sheets is one of the best solution. These tools contain data (total, actual, remaining, standard, overtime) related to the work and cost of the resources and their assignments. The data can be seen as totals or time distributed. As the project evolves the actual data represents the work/cost already consumed for the completed part of the project. The remaining data refers to the values needed for the remaining part of the project:
- Assigned – the planned work resulted from assignments
- Available – the unassigned work that can be done by resources according to their calendar
- Capacity – the total work (assigned + available) that can be done by resources according to their calendar
- Actual – the work already performed according to the completed part of the project
- Remaining – the work to be performed to complete the unfinished part of the project
- Standard – the work paid at standard rate (planned in the working hours of the resource)
- Overtime – the work paid at overtime rate (planned beyond the regular working hours of the resource)
- Overallocated – the work which can not be physically performed
An important feature that a resource planning software must have is the ability to handle multiple working calendars for different shifts and holidays. The capability to manage leaves, holidays, planned, unplanned work is necessary in relation to overtime work. It is a well known fact that overtime rates are always higher than standard ones and these should be avoided as much as possible in any project in order to not increase the costs and to fit in the estimated budget.
The possibility to have a time distributed sheet with different timescales is a big bonus. Sometimes it is needed to manage resource bookings in hours, days or even minutes. A flexible and dynamic timescale would do the trick. The system should also be very user friendly and easy to learn, allowing users to handle functionality with a minimum number of clicks.
An powerful resource management software can keep the overtime costs of a project as low as possible and thus can make the project management process more effective and finish the project on time and within budget. Such a project planning software is RationalPlan.