In the past few years, EmployPlan grew to one of the most user friendly multi project resource planning software tools in the market. With a responsive modern user interface, EmployPlan puts down the time consuming administrative tasks needed to handle resource management to a minimum.
Challenges of modern resource management
Resource planning tends to be difficult when you need to handle multiple projects with varying dates. In the past project managers used excel to track the resource utilization and plan resource capacity.
Nowadays resource management solutions started showing up in abundance but few cover the needs of agencies running multiple projects. Often with large turn around, short project dates and a lot of emphasis on matching people with the right skills to the right projects.. agencies and software houses need a more tailored solution.
What’s the focus?
EmployPlan has always been focused on managing resources, with a strong accent on user experience in resource planning and efficient resource allocation for multi project scheduling. Letting project managers always have an up-to-date view on the shared resource pool.
Our most important goal is to listen to what our clients have to say, adjusting the software to feel perfectly tailored to the individual business case of our clients.
We are happy to announce that after 4 months of development we are releasing version 2.0 of EmployPlan. This is beyond all doubts, the largest release that we published in the last 2 years. We hope you will love it, as much as we loved developing it.
So without further ado, let’s dig into the changes.
Let’s start from the most obviously visible change.
We completely reorganized the whole application to be much more pleasant to navigate. The menu is now conveniently placed in the sidebar with an integrated smart search located right in the center of the application navbar.
The reorganization is driven by feedback we received from our clients, as well as, our own experiences managing multiple projects with the solution (yup, we also use our tool!)
Modularization of the App
As the expectations of our clients hugely vary based on the business case they need to handle. We’ve decided that it would be most appropriate to give our clients the possibility of selectively turning off the features they don’t need.
The modularization allows you to turn on and off the features you want to use. You can currently choose to activate 5 modules:
- Skills matching – enables one click recommendations to easily match skills required to talent available
- Skills tracking – enables the skill counting system that ranks people according to their skill level using an in-depth machine analysis of their profiles
- Scheduling – allow to plan who is working on what project until when. Efficiently managing schedules across multiple projects
- Chat – allows to quickly communicate with employees right from the app
- Talent Sourcing – provides access to an external database of verified IT talent that you can pull into your project when needed.
In the future we will introduce an app marketplace where you can integrate all your other software from one place, also being able to select the necessary modules as EmployPlan apps.
Often, our users want to get a bird eye view into what’s happening in the company. Either to understand their KPI’s, or to quickly see who in the resource pool needs a new project.
The user would previously have to use the very limited analytics gauges above the planning chessboard, to get a partial picture into whats happening in his organization.
We decided this was not enough.
From now on, on the sidemenu you can navigate to the analytics dashboard, that lets the user get a high level picture of the resources across multiple projects.
In the near future we will allow you to fully customize, create and share your own dashboards with a drag and drop editor.
Project / Team Details
Probably one of the most sought for change was the projects details page.
This new feature gives you a place where you can store additional project related data. This was especially important for the clients that use EmployPlan primarily as a portfolio management solution more than anything else. They might want to keep the project files right next to them so they don’t get lost in the process.
The new UI is now divided into 5 distinct tabs: details, notes, team, files and activity
Project Management Notes
A potential place where you can formulate general information about what’s happening in the project. The project scope or information about the project requirements, project priorities, generally any data you need.
Thanks to the new feature, you can keep all project files related to resource allocation in one place. Perfect spot to place filled out questionnaires, timesheets, project rules and role description documents.
Team planning view
Very similar to the chessboard view, lets you see a summary of your team’s skills, letting you match resource requirements to talent more effectively. With a single glance, you can see how people fit into their roles and if there are any substitution options in other projects.
We know that capacity planning across more than one project is tiresome, especially in agencies. Different projects tend to use different software to track their ongoing activity. One client prefers to use Jira, another will use Asana for the same task. Makes it impossible to track how each of the projects is going.
The multi project management activity tab allows to instantly get a quick glance into what’s happening in the projects, across multiple integrated systems.
You will notice this tab is greyed out by default. That’s because we customize the view tailoring it exactly to the system used.
Not much changes here since the last version but we made the view much more compact and the search more accurate. Users can also now highlight to us if they get an incorrect course recommendation. This allows us to retrain our algorithms to be better at matching education to employee needs.
The professional profile didn’t change much. You still have your project details, including the persons availability calendar, his roles and skills listed. You can download CV, manage schedule, as well as present the profile in a linkedin-style anonymized profile for if you want to share someone’s profile with your clients. Statistics also work the same with real time updates.
Multi project scheduling
Its not a secret that EmployPlan is focused around multiple project scheduling and resource management. We try to solve the challenges of todays allocation planning, simplifying the process so that the company can focus on the task at hand and spend less time allocating resources across multiple projects.
Project planning chessboard
You can define resource requirements to easily find available resources across multiple projects, even among already occupied people. Becomes easy to check who is available or already allocated, removing challenges of spreadsheet based resource management.
We have often received feedback that the analytical gauges that were placed just above the chessboard, are not used as often, as we originally expected it they would be used.
Most of our users would scroll down to the chessboard, the moment they navigate to the page, completely ignoring the extra analytics provided. The gauges that were suppose to help turned out to be an annoyance for our users. Hence, we decided that it would be best the gauges be moved into the newly added command center dashboard.
Project schedule timeline
Our easiest way to avoid double booking is still there and its still a great help at managing resources. We have been however often told that the timeline is just too small to reasonably use without the need to scroll to cover several projects.
That’s why we decided to stretch the timeline across the entire page, giving you a broader look into your projects. Now the timeline occupies almost the entire page and users have to scroll less to do the capacity planning they need.
What are the future priorities?
So given all the features and use cases we spoke about. What are our next prorities?
Analytics dashboard – Q2 2022
Our full focus at the moment is on improving the analytics dashboard. This command center style tool will employ customizable tiles that the project manager can add and reorganize according to his own preferences with drag and drop.
The cards will display general information about the state of resource planning in the company, talent development of employees data, resource data, financial information, with each user being able to create and share their own dashboards.
Project budget handling – Q2 2022
The second in line is expanding the financial tracking side of the app. Most notably, allowing agencies to plan hourly billing and general information associated with it, such as burndown, resource utilization rates, comparison of project profitability across multiple projects and many other topics.
We want to give the project manager an easy way to determine where he stands on a more strategical level with a single peek of an eye.
App Marketplace – Q3 2022
Already next quarter expecting to finish the App Marketplace, which will provide a single point of touch for all integrations and additional modules employed in the application so that you can setup all the integrations you need in a single 10 minute session and have all the projects under control.