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What tool you recommend for resource planning and project tracking for a Professional Services team?

I've seen a lot of debate between agile PM tools like Basecamp, Trello, Asana, etc. Those don't meet our requirements...

We have a Client Service team that is responsible for 2-5 month projects for configuring and implementing our product for clients. We are growing quickly and need to mature our tool set. Looking for a tool to plan our resources across projects, track hours booked, and evaluate the estimated vs. actual hours allocated to projects.



10 Replies

Scott Mayes
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Scott Mayes Advisor
CTO easyroommate.com
Jira - https://www.atlassian.com/software/jira By far the best tool for this kind of thing Scott ----- Reply message -----
Amy Shutkin, MSc
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Senior Project Manager
Pej, When you need to allocate fractional FTE time across multiple projects, MS Project Professional is the tool of choice. The online version has configurable sharing capabilities as well. Their customer support is weak to non-existant. You may well need to hire a consultant to get the configuration where you need it to be. But it sounds to me like you are ready for this maturation ramp up. Namaste, -- Amy
Daryl Lu
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Daryl Lu Entrepreneur
Entrepreneur, Founder, and Head of Business Development
I know a consulting firm called Chainalytics that just built a tool... www.benchmgr.com. just starting out, but pretty good for taking projects (forecasting) and running reports for skills, capabilities, and availability. Daryl Lu [removed to protect privacy] www.daryllu.com
Robert Smith
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Robert Smith Advisor
Expert Reliability Engineer seeks full time work. at Utilities
Pej, It seems to me that a dedicated spreadsheet would be your best bet. Spreadsheets are fabulous at tracking math types of things and this sounds like something on that order. Especially given your intention to track actual vs projected manhous etc etc. You can also set up formulae which will track things like having passed a milestone date and proximity to a milestone. Sounds like you are talking spreadsheet to me. You can probably hire someone to propose the lay out of a spreadsheet for your purposes and to fill in some of the data needs. Most such professionals can be hired at no more cost than a project manager, and the work would be temporary just until the spread sheet is developed to your needs. Bob Smith Sent from my iPad
Anthony Miller
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Anthony Miller Advisor
President & CEO at millermedia7
We've used Pivotal Tracker and Jira! Good success with both!
Deborah Oster Pannell
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0
Founder at Project Mavens
You can look at Pivotal Tracker. I've used that before... D ___________ Deborah Oster Pannell Founder, Project Mavens
Chris Carruth
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Chris Carruth Advisor
VP/Director. Strategy | Business Development | Operations | Product | Solutions
MS Project does a good job structuring/tracking tasks, resources and costs, against multiple projects, if used fully and correctly. You would need someone that has experience using it beyond just basic project planning, i.e., task definitions and dependencies.

Chris
Jeff Herzbach
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Jeff Herzbach Entrepreneur
COO at Tectonica Studio
Pej -

I evaluated several products at my last company before settling on Wrike.

I found Pivotal Tracker to be terrific if your projects are classic agile software dev. For other types of projects, it did not fit as well. For range features, I like Workzone or Clarizen, but they are both pricey. Trello and Asana did not fit our workflow.

Wrike is straightforward, encourages collaboration, has great customer support and will not break your budget. Check it out and good luck!
Ravi Nayak
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Ravi Nayak Entrepreneur
Director, Product Development at ACI Worldwide
Pej, it will be easier to recommend a tool if you provide more information like what are key features you are looking for and key goals you are trying to meet. What did you miss in the tools that you have tried so far.
- ravi
Rich Goidel
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Rich Goidel Entrepreneur
Business strategist, group facilitator, agile practitioner and corporate muse
Pej, I agree with Ravi.

I would also posit that finding one tool that's great at managing the project and planning your resources will be tough. You might look at a tool with APIs for integration with time-tracking tools like Harvest.

Most importantly, no matter what you choose, definitely spend the time to plan the implementation. It's been my experience that the failure of many tools to satisfy PM needs often comes down to poor setup and roll out. This is especially true of highly configurable systems like VersionOne, JIRA, etc.

Good luck. And let us know what you settle on.
- Rich
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