What are capacity planning tools?
Capacity planning software is a tool capable of calculating and managing employees’ maximum hourly output while taking into account all of his previous, current and future engagements, including absences, public holidays and other projects.
Just judging by the length of the definition above it is easy to see that this process is quite troublesome and time-consuming. In fact, we agree with that evaluation of the process; in our article on how to plan and manage capacity, we explored all the possibilities and scenarios a project manager needs to cover to create an exact capacity plan.
In short, capacity planning tools simplify the process of resource planning and make it much more bearable.
What should a capacity planning tool have?
Capacity planning software combines resource management with time tracking, time offs, public holidays and advanced, real-time reporting - only with all this data can they accurately calculate the capacity.
To do that, a perfect capacity planning software should have:
- a flexible calendar with availability heat map, information about people allocations and their utilization level, people / project perspective, drag & drop function for quick reallocations,
- a database of public holidays for different countries to choose from,
- dynamic utilization, availability and timesheets reports,
- time-tracking module or integration with time tracking tools (such as Jira time tracking plugins),
- detailed work description, including billable and non-billable hours,
- time offs and absences (leave management),
- information about people skills - in the best scenario CVs with experience and project history,
- notifications for unexpected events, such as overbooking,
- type and history of contracts with information about capacity engagement (number of hours available).
Best capacity planning tools: ranking
We already know what a perfect capacity planning software should have - it’s time to find the one that really has it all.
Primetric offers a comprehensive approach to capacity planning, with numerous additional features at hand. However, what really makes this tool stand out is its ability to solve even the most complex problems with as much automation as physically possible.
But let’s start with a more general picture of this capacity planning tool - how do all of these features work together, and how do they appeal to the users?
Let’s get this straight: Primetric’s main focus, apart from the number and quality of features, is its UX. It does not matter what modules you look for; a transparent and intuitive interface with numerous guides and instructions will definitely help you find them. Additionally, should you have any doubts, Primetric’s support, as well as help center, will always welcome any inquiries.
Well-designed interface in Primetric is accompanied by a variety of features. Those looking for an advanced capacity planning tool will be happy to hear that the software has modules for:
- custom public holidays, working days and time-off categories,
- automated calendar with public holidays for numerous regions to choose from,
- leave tracker with leave approval window,
- contract management with terms and wages,
- employment and contract history,
- comprehensive time tracking with allocations.
Thanks to the variety of available solutions, Primetric can reflect all types of projects and billings while remaining accurate - an advantage any manager would like to have at his side.
This list is, however, just a tip of the iceberg. That’s because Primetrics also has a number of accompanying features that, when combined with capacity planning, offer a wide range of possibilities. That includes:
- resource planning and skill management,
- project portfolio management,
- business intelligence,
- project accounting,
- time tracking.
As far as the integrations go, Primetric also has many virtues a potential customer can look forward to. At the moment, the system can be combined with tools such as: JIRA, Redmine, Tempo Timesheets, Teamwork, Calamari, and more. It also offers an open API for those who want to try to make their own integrations.
All things considered, Primetric has everything a manager might need in his work - and these are not just empty words. Primetric has an average rating of 4.9/5 on both G2.com and Capterra, making it one of the best tools in his category.
Monday.com is one of the most popular project management tools on the market, but did you know that it has also a capacity planning feature?
The tool is undoubtedly very flexible. According to its creators, it is capable of reflecting any environment a manager can wish for by picking modules and integrations tailoring the tools to their expectations.
However, while Monday.com can offer quite comprehensive services, they are all a part of a very chaotic environment. For a new user, it is hard to find the features one looks for, and it's even harder to arrange them in a logical manner - and customers’ opinions on the Internet confirm that.
As far as the features for capacity planning are concerned, Monday also misses the mark. Right now, it offers features such as:
However, while it is praised for its task management, Monday’s focus on a particular, short-term operation is troublesome for capacity calculations. That’s because, according to Monday’s guide, capacity management is based on estimated duration of the project and not on the availability of an employee. As a result, a resource management plan created in Monday may not reflect the real availability of resources! What is more, the actual capacity is not shown anywhere - even the official guide to the feature states that the allocations are based on manager’s assumptions.
Apart from the features typical for capacity planning tools, Monday also offers a wide variety of resource management. However, while they are definitely useful for short-term planning, they do not provide project managers with an overview of operations. The tool is also no good for those taking pride in their analytical approach - there are no reports capable of summarizing the work in the long run.
However, on the bright side, Monday.com definitely can be proud of its integrations. Right now, it can be connected with numerous different tools, including Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Zapier, Jira, and more.
Overall, Monday’s capabilities earned an average 4.6/5 grade on Capterra, and a 4.7/5 grade on G2. However, it is worth noting that the majority of these reviews come from small companies - major businesses may have to look elsewhere for their preferred capacity planning solutions.
Mavenlink is another popular choice for managers interested in capacity planning tools. However, while it managed to get over 1400 reviews on G2, its features were barely enough to guarantee it a rating of 4.1/5. Then what is that Mavenlink lacks?
Let’s start off with the UX. While on the first sight it may look welcoming, some customers report interface problems in some of the modules offered in the tool. Additionally, many users were bothered with its lack of flexibility - according to the online reviews, there were companies that simply could not reflect their structure properly.
As for the capacity planning features, Mavenlink does not look any better. Its approach to capacity-related options focuses almost exclusively on reports, and not on using the data to improve resource management plans.
For example, Mavenlink gives its users an option to check allocations by week for particular employees or the entire staff, as well as the availability and timeline with staffed and unstaffed projects. However, you cannot edit the actual data from the reports, as they are not displayed in the calendar. In other words, every change that may result from the data has to be made manually in a separate tab.
On a bit more bright side, Mavenlink does offer a number of other tools that go well with the capacity planning software it includes. Still, project monitoring, resource management and project management available in the tool are all separated from capacity planning, making it hard to make changes. Additionally, this capacity planning tool is said to have some troubles with instant automatic updates for the data and can provide incorrect results during real-time operations!
Mavenlink is also no stranger to integrations. This capacity planning tool can be connected with popular programs, such as Slack, Jira, Asana, and more.
However, numerous integrations were not enough to impress the users. Despite Mavenlink’s popularity, it has only achieved a 4.1 rating on both G2 and Capterra, showing that its popularity did not solve its obvious flaws.
Wrike is a project scheduling software that added capacity management to its offer. However, is that addition enough to effectively manage executives’ problems?
At first glance, Wrike looks like a user-friendly tool with a welcoming interface. Still, this first impression is, in this case, misleading. That’s because the multitude of options this capacity planning software has to offer makes it difficult to find necessary features. As a result, the learning curve for this tool was described as steep by numerous users who left their reviews online.
As far as the capacity planning features are concerned, Wrike has quite a few options to offer. The tool includes:
- Gantt charts with employees’ workload,
- resource allocation system with time tracking,
- overviews and reports for capacity and availability,
- team calendar.
Still, even these quite promising features have their limitations. Users claim to have encountered some problems with allocations and project creations, making it difficult to quickly manage capacity-related processes.
However, the biggest challenge posed by Wrike is its calendar. According to the guides to this capacity planning software, it has to be created separately for each team (even though the settings can then be used as a template). To add to that, a manager also needs to add all the holidays to the calendar manually, too, which is a big problem for planning capacity.
Apart from strictly capacity planning tools, Wrike also offers other features a manager may find useful. That includes project portfolio management, time tracking, analytics, invoicing and to-do lists. However, many users mention that, despite having all of these features in the system, they have difficulties finding them.
To add to that, Wrike offers a multitude of different integrations. It can be connected to JIRA, GitHub and Azure, just to name a few. However, they do not make up for the problems with accessibility we mentioned before.
All in all, according to users, Wrike only deserves a 4.2 rating on G2 and 4.3 rating on Capterra. In other words, if you want to focus on capacity planning, it may not be the choice for you.
Asana is well-known for its task management features. Still, can it also be used as a capacity planning tool?
Looking at Asana for the first time, it is easy to notice that its interface tries to be user-friendly while incorporating as many features as physically possible. This goal is achieved fairly well - at least as long as the user is using this capacity planning tool on a slightly larger screen.
Still, despite its best efforts, Asana may seem discouraging for new users. Just like in the case of Wrike, the tool tries to be a jack of all trades and fails at organizing its content in a manner accessible to an average new customer.
UX is, naturally, not all Asana has to offer. As far as its capacity planning tools go, the software has a few features that naturally attracts people interested in the field. Those include:
- capacity analysis by project and specialist,
- drag-and-drop allocations,
- task management,
- extended timeline.
However, just by looking at the short list you can certainly see that Asana’s approach to capacity planning tools is unorthodox to say the least.
Asana, as a typical task management tool, focuses on a more short-term approach instead of long-term allocations. That is why the tool puts a stress on capacity management in tasks and short allocations. Additionally, this point of view also resulted in very limited analytical features that present little to no value for the managers.
To add to that, Asana also struggles with its Calendar view, which is critical for capacity management. Just like in Wrike, the calendars have to be created manually for each team or project, and they cannot serve as a single source of truth for the entire company. They also do not contain holidays, as they need to be added manually by the managers. As a result, this capacity planning tool is prone to human error.
Other features do not make Asana look any better. Just like in the case of capacity planning, Asana mainly focuses on tasks and short-term planning - an offer that can surely be tempting for a small company, but not for a blooming business. While the software has time-tracking capabilities, it does not offer contract management, leave tracker, or even advanced analytics.
Some may argue that all of the missing features can be replaced with integrations - there’s no denying Asana has plenty of them. However, these integrations may be the cause of additional costs that many businesses would like to avoid.
To sum up, Asana may be a good choice for those looking for a task tracker, but it would disappoint managers willing to purchase a capacity planning tool. This is confirmed by more than just our opinion. Asana’s users rated the software at 4.2 on G2 and 4.3 on Capterra, leaving much to be desired for its prospective customers.
In its description on the website, Resource Guru claims to be a mixture of all the features required for quick and efficient resource management. It is, however, a different story when it comes to capacity planning.
At first glance, Resource Guru looks simple and pleasant to use. The interface is definitely not confusing or misleading, but, compared to other tools in this ranking, it also seems empty. That is because Resource Guru focuses on resource management with little additional features, which naturally resulted in its UX being more straightforward.
However, its specialization should make Resource Guru a master of capacity planning - at least in theory. Unfortunately, its actual features may be disappointing for those looking for a comprehensive approach.
Right now, Resource Guru offers capacity planning tools such as:
- workload planning,
- capacity reports,
- Gantt charts with allocations.
Still, while the list of capacity planning tools included in Resource Guru may look somewhat promising, it quickly turns out that the software is lacking in the field. Users claim the option to add a public holiday to the calendar is very limited (which is critical information for accurate capacity planning!),
Other features Resource Guru has are not perfect either. Apart from the capacity planning tools, the software also includes leave, project and resource management. However, some options simply weren't yet added to the system. For example, customers report that there is no bulk scheduling, repetitive tasks or visualizations that are expected from a resource management system just like this one.
Resource Guru’s focus on resource management helped it get fairly good ratings, with 4.7 stars on G2 and 4.6 stars on Capterra. However, it is easy to notice that these opinions mostly focus on resource-related features. That is, in fact, a very telling description of Resource Guru as a capacity planning tool - while its focus on planning may seem attractive, it has only a few things to offer for those wanting to perfect the capacity processes in their business.
Float combines resource management with task management, offering its customers a detailed perspective on short-term allocations. Still, this approach may not be a good choice for those looking for capacity planning tools.
Let’s start with the UX. Float’s interface is not much different from other tools available on the market. What really makes it stand out from the competition is its minimalistic menu bar. However, this more modern approach to UX did not bore fruits - many users claim to have problems with finding the features they are looking for. Additionally, some users even report the stability issues that cause the software to freeze on a regular basis.
When it comes to capacity planning, Float also has some problems. Right now, the tool offers features such as:
- time offs and custom working hours,
- real-time reporting,
- calendar with an option to import public holidays,
- team workload status.
However, despite being a quite promising set of options, these features lose quite a lot on closer acquaintances. The main issues they have include navigation - zooming in and out or changing the view from month to week was described as cumbersome for many users.
To add to that, Float does not include many options customers expect it to have. Repetitive tasks, contract management or bulk scheduling is missing from the tool, making capacity planning much more difficult.
However, these features on their own would still be a welcome addition to any resource management tool. However, they do not mix well with other features present that include resource scheduling and project planning. This is caused by a lack of in-depth analytics and skill management modules that are necessary for successful allocations.
All these problems seem to be remedied by a variety of integrations Float does have. Still, as you probably know at this point, every of these integrations comes at additional cost for features you would expect to find in a single tool.
Float’s virtues and flaws are reflected in its score on G2 and Capterra. With a rating of 4.2 and 4.5 stars, Float definitely should get some attention, but not from those looking for a capacity planning tool - in that field it requires significant improvement.
Teamdeck describes itself as a comprehensive resource management tool that combines timesheets with project planning and budgeting. But was there a room for some capacity planning tools, too?
In the case of Teamdeck, answering this question is not easy. That is because the system, however pleasant to the eye, is lacking stability. Loading times for the majority of sections discourages the user from analyzing the content of the tool. Repetitive pop-ups only add to this annoyance, and constant freezes fuel the irritation even more.
Still, UX is not everything a manager looks for in a capacity planning tool. So, are the capacity planning features better? The answer is: unfortunately no.
Teamdeck contains the following features for capacity management:
- time tracking,
- leave management,
- resource and project scheduling,
- resource utilization and workload management.
As good as this list may look, these features still require lots of development from Teamdeck’s team. That is because they are simply cumbersome to use and sometimes generate unnecessary records that confuse many of the users that have decided to leave their review online. The same issues are also visible in other modules of the tool, including time tracking and leave management.
However, the worst side of Teamdeck is its analytics. According to opinions of some users on Capterra and G2, the reports provided by this tool have problems with real-time updates, resulting in incorrect numbers being presented in the tables. For managers, it proved to be a challenge that’s simply impossible to overcome.
All in all, Teamdeck is lacking as a capacity planning tool - and customers have noticed it, leaving the software with 4.3 and 4.4 starts on G2 and Capterra respectively.
Want to know more about capacity planning tools?
We are always here to help you!
Feel free to read our other articles on resource and capacity planning:
- learn about JIRA resource management,
- tools for Jira timesheets,
- check our guide to creating a resource management plan,
- implement a perfect resource planning process in your organization,
- read more about resource management software and how it can help you,
- see why resource planning in project management matters,
- calculate the utilization rate with our guide.
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