Resource and capacity management are at the crux of the project management discipline. However, optimizing resource utilization and capacity planning is notoriously challenging. In larger organizations, it can even take the form of an intricate game of trade-offs.
Fortunately, technology now provides project management professionals with a range of tool options to facilitate and accelerate the process.
Dedicated resource and capacity management tools
The market boasts a range of dedicated resource and capacity management tools. Blending project management and human resource management principles, they are designed to help businesses optimize both the well-being and productivity of team members.
Resource management and capacity planning software offers functionality to track and schedule the human, material, and sometimes financial resources required for projects. Their features enable project and resource managers to contrast resource availability with demand to optimize allocation and utilization.
However, these resource-oriented tools won’t help you manage project ideas, tasks, milestones, etc. Additionally, they are often proposed as standalone products. This makes it necessary to integrate with other pieces of enterprise software.
Project management tools with resource and capacity management features
Many of the most popular project management tools include features for resource and capacity management. The likes of Trello, Asana, and Smartsheet come equipped with capabilities that allow project managers to craft resource plans, assign specific resources to specific tasks, and track utilization.
These tools are usually affordable, easy to set up and easy to use, with user-friendly interfaces and processes making them accessible for smaller teams. They also come with a complete range of project management features and functions.
But their capabilities have their limitations, including suboptimal reporting and risk management capabilities, and they’re just not designed to manage complexity at scale.
Project portfolio management tools for resource and capacity management
Organizations looking for a failproof resource and capacity management solution may want to consider PPM tools. These state-of-the-art enterprise platforms offer extensive and thorough functionality to optimize resource allocation and capacity planning company-wide.
They offer among the most advanced and granular functionality for the management of resources, such as features to:
- Build highly effective project teams from a clearly defined pool of resources
- Aggregate resources, categorize by role
- Easily review the upcoming effort for a pool of resources
- Identify resource risks and double-bookings
- Instantly put together high-level capacity reports
- Drill down into specific team members to understand how well they’re being utilized, including in real-time.
All this across the full range of management methods: manual resource additions, dedicated resources, allocated resources, committed resources.
More importantly, PPM solutions provide a platform to reconcile resource management and capacity planning with other project-related considerations and data points. They align different types of stakeholders across the business and beyond, providing a big picture of project activity at the enterprise level, including its contribution to the firm’s strategic objectives.
Some enterprise PPM platforms may seem daunting to smaller businesses because of their perceived cost and complexity. But that’s not true of all. Some vendors are committed to offering companies of all shapes and sizes affordable and easy-to-use PPM solutions to help them optimize their resource management and capacity planning. Why don’t you browse the reviews?