Resource Management

5 Free Resource Planning Templates For Project Team Management

Resource Planning Templates

Are you looking for free resource planning templates?

If, like most small teams, you use spreadsheets to manage projects, ready-made templates are a huge time-saver. Instead of starting from scratch, you can get quickly off the blocks using templates.

In this article, you’ll learn about the five templates that make resource planning and management relatively easy.

Specifically, you’ll learn: 

Let’s dive in.

What Are Resource Planning Templates?

Resource planning is the process that ensures that the right resources are available to the project when needed. Within resource planning, project managers:

  • Track resource availability.
  • Plan and track project resource allocation.
  • Assign resources to project tasks.
  • Manage resource capacity and workloads.
  • Track time spent by resources on tasks.

Without a resource plan in place, projects get delayed, or worse, fail. Besides, upfront resource planning also helps avoid conflicts with other teams.

However, resource planning is not a one-time activity. Project managers need to adjust resource plans to account for:

  • Changes in project scope
  • Changes in resource availability or capacity
  • Delays in tasks and milestones

Resource planning templates are tools that help you record, update and visualize resource availability, allocation, and capacity data. 

With templates, instead of starting from scratch, you can get started quickly. Also, templates are readily available on the internet. And, most of them are available for free.

Template makers often use spreadsheet software like Microsoft Excel or Google Sheets. As a result, it’s easy to work with data and formulas. Plus, almost everyone has easy access to spreadsheet software.

Disadvantages Of Resource Planning Templates

Resource management templates make it easy to get started quickly and are often freely available. 

But, they do have a few inherent drawbacks. These include:

Lack of communication features

Project team members need to communicate with each other constantly. They need to exchange information, files, and feedback.

Other than adding comments, you cannot do any of these communication activities in a spreadsheet.

So, you have to use email, chat, or other tools to communicate with each other. Communicating across multiple channels adds an overhead. Plus, it also adds to the cost.

Lack of collaborative planning features

Project managers need to collaborate with other managers for planning resource allocation, especially when it comes to shared resources.

It’s hard to work collaboratively on a spreadsheet. 

Other managers can unintentionally update or delete your resource plan. So you end up maintaining multiple copies and backups. The end result is chaos.

Lack of data integrity

Spreadsheets are error-prone, especially if multiple people are updating the same sheet. It’s impossible to know if data was accidentally replaced or deleted. 

It’s hard to maintain your project’s data integrity in spreadsheets.

So you start creating multiple versions, storing them in various places. As a result, you end up with even more confusion and inconsistencies.

Information overload

Clients, higher-management, and team members — all need access to different project information. It is too much work to create a dedicated view for each project role. So, everyone sees the same spreadsheet.

Such shared spreadsheets often contain too much information. 

As a result, the project team spends more time than necessary to find and use relevant information.

Cannot track progress

Spreadsheets are not great for reporting. It’s hard to track project or task progress in Excel. You won’t know if a resource is delayed or becomes available earlier. 

As a result, all your project and resource plans can get tossed out of the window.

So teams start doing status meetings and maintaining another spreadsheet to track progress. As a result, you end up doing more work and waste more time.

Resource Management Templates For Project Team Management

So far, you’ve learned about resource planning templates and how they can help. You also know about the disadvantages of using these templates.

Next, let’s take a look at the templates you’ll need to manage your project team.

Team Availability Tracker

Finding an available team member to work on a project is a critical step in resource allocation

Some people may have a public holiday. Others may have planned leaves. At the same time, some people may be busy with another project.

Team Availability Tracker

A team availability tracker helps you track and visualize your team’s availability to work on a project.

How to use the team availability tracker?

  • Click here to open the availability tracker template.
  • Go to File > Make a copy to create your copy of the template. Or, you can download it as an Excel from File > Download > Microsoft Excel (.xlsx).
  • If a team member is on a public holiday, enter “PH” in the cell corresponding to a date and the team member. Or, if a team member is on leave, enter “L”.

Resource Allocation Template

After you’ve found the available resources, the next step is resource allocation. It involves assigning a resource to a project for a specific period. 

Tracking resource assignments is critical, especially when it comes to shared team members. For example, project teams could share a designer in a small web design company across multiple web development projects.

Resource Allocation Template

The resource allocation template helps track when a specific resource is available to work on a project. Use this template along with the resource availability tracker to avoid scheduling on dates when the resource is AWOL.

How to use the resource allocation template?

  • Click here to open the resource allocation template.
  • Go to File > Make a copy to create your copy of the template. Or, you can download it as an Excel from File > Download > Microsoft Excel (.xlsx).
  • When you assign a team member to a project, add a checkmark (or any other character) in the corresponding date column.

Project Resource Planning Template

Once people are assigned to a project, the next step is to track their task responsibilities. 

You’ll need to account for task dependencies, delays, as well as people’s availability and skills when assigning tasks. 

Project Resource Planning Template

A project resource planning template keeps track of the tasks and dates when your team members are busy

How to use the project resource planning template?

  • Click here to open the resource allocation template.
  • Go to File > Make a copy to create your copy of the template. Or, you can download it as an Excel from File > Download > Microsoft Excel (.xlsx).
  • When you assign a team member to a task, add a checkmark (or any other character) in the corresponding date column.

Resource Capacity Planning Template

After you’ve assigned people to tasks, the next step is to track each team member’s workloads. This way, you can ensure that no one is over or underworked.

Resource Capacity Planning Template

A resource capacity planning template helps track the estimated working hours for all team members. Plus, you can visualize if any team member has some extra capacity. Or rebalance workloads if any team member is overwhelmed.

How to use the resource capacity planning template?

  • Click here to open the resource allocation template.
  • Go to File > Make a copy to create your copy of the template. Or, you can download it as an Excel from File > Download > Microsoft Excel (.xlsx).
  • Add the estimated effort hours a team member will put in on a corresponding date.

Timesheet Template

Finally, you need a way to track the actual number of hours a team member puts into a project. Actual effort is critical to bill clients and to keep control of your project budget.

Timesheet Template

A timesheet template helps you track and measure the billable hours put in by your team in a project. Some templates also calculate the total hours and cost.

How to use the timesheet template?

  • Click here to open the resource allocation template.
  • Go to File > Make a copy to create your copy of the template. Or, you can download it as an Excel from File > Download > Microsoft Excel (.xlsx).
  • Add the actual hours a team member puts in on a corresponding date for a project.
  • The template automatically calculates the total hours and cost.

Updating Templates Needs Discipline & Effort

If you haven’t realized it yet, updating all these templates is a lot of work

These templates work together. And, if you miss updating any of these, your resource planning will be error-prone.

Some of these templates may look similar. And it’s tempting to combine these templates into one. 

But, there’s a reason why these templates are separate. Each template serves a different audience and purpose. Combining templates will cause information overload, inconsistencies and lead to chaos.

So, what are your options?

  • Either, you can choose to keep all the templates up to date with the necessary discipline.
  • Or, you can choose to follow only the relevant steps in the resource planning workflow. That way, you’ll have fewer templates to update.
  • Or, you can use a project and resource planning tool like Toggl Plan.

Toggl Plan: A Better Alternative To Resource Planning Templates

Toggl Plan is a beautifully simple work timeline planning tool. It makes project and resource planning a breeze.

Let’s understand how:

Track Team Member Availability

Toggl Plan Team Availability Tracker

With Toggl Plan, you can create unlimited, color-coded plans. You can create a plan specifically to track your team’s leave plans. 

Besides, Toggl Plan also adds country-specific public holidays to the timeline. 

With these two features, you can easily visualize and find the available team members to take up a project.

Allocate Team Members To Projects & Tasks

Toggl Plan Resource Allocation

With Toggl Plan, you can easily add team members to a project plan or a team plan. 

You can assign one or more team members to a task. And, these team members can collaborate on a task using comments and file attachments.

As a result, all the project-related information is available in one place. And, your team doesn’t have to use multiple channels to communicate about the project.

Managing Team Capacity & Workloads

Toggl Plan Capacity & Workload Management

For each task in Toggl Plan, you can include the estimated effort. 

On the team timeline, you can visualize your team workloads. Visualizing workloads helps you understand if team members are overworked or have any capacity to take up more tasks.

Time Tracking & Timesheet Management

Toggl Plan integrates with Toggl Track for time tracking and timesheet management

With this integration, you can easily track the actual time on each task. Plus, you can generate timesheets and billing reports. 

In Conclusion

Resource planning templates help you organize, capture, and track resource allocation and usage. 

Spreadsheet templates are easily accessible to everyone. Plus, such templates are readily available for free on the internet.

However, spreadsheets don’t come with communication and collaboration features. Also, you’ll constantly struggle to maintain data integrity and prevent information overload.

To avoid these drawbacks, consider using a project and resource planning tool like Toggl Plan. Try out the team plan with a 14-day free trial. 

Get started with Toggl Plan for free.

March 18, 2021