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Microsoft Project is one of the most robust project planning tools I've seen thus far. But, it's also fairly expensive. I've played with some free tools but none of the ones I've found include resource leveling. Are there any project planning tools on the market that include resource leveling and cost less than $500 USD?

The solution must have the following.

  • Windows 7 support
  • Costs less than $500 USD
  • Has resource leveling

Resource Leveling is a scheduling tool. If a tool has it it will also have the following:

  • Ability to create tasks with a start and end date and estimated work in hours.
  • Ability to enter resources and their availability. This usually involves a calendar that shows hours worked per day and which days are worked.
  • Ability to assign multiple resources to a task and set a resource's level of effort (usually expressed as a percentage of total work)

The resource leveling adjusts the start and end dates so that no resource is scheduled to work more hours than he is available.

  • 3
    projectlibre.org – juergen d Feb 10 '14 at 16:07
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    Could you write what things you liked of Microsoft Project so we could get a well scoped list of recommendations – Braiam Feb 22 '14 at 2:47
  • @Braiam do you have a long list of recommendations that needs to be narrowed down? – crownjewel82 Feb 25 '14 at 14:08
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    Right now your question could be read as "what's an alternative for X?" which is strongly discouraged here. Instead tell us what are the characteristics you are looking for instead in a easy to parse format (preferably bullet points) so anyone that doesn't know Project could answer. – Braiam Feb 25 '14 at 14:24
  • @Braiam Ok I made some changes to further explain what's involved in resource leveling but that's as much as I can do. I will say that I'm exceptionally frustrated by the requests to list more features because I don't want a ton of answers like the one below that don't come close to having what I want but are technically valid because they match some other feature I listed that I don't really care about. – crownjewel82 Feb 25 '14 at 17:28
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For many years now, I have been using Task Juggler, which is free.

I use it specifically because it has resource levelling.

It can also do the other things which you request (emphasis added):

Advanced Scheduling

Automatic resource leveling and tasks conflict resolution
Unlimited number of scenarios (baselines) of the same project for what-if analysis Flexible working hours and leave management
Support for shift working
Multiple time zone support

Accounting

Tasks may have initial costs, finishing costs
Resources may have usage based costs
Task and/or resource base cost models
Support for profit/loss analysis

Reporting

Comprehensive and flexible reports so you can find the information you need when you need it
Powerful filtering functions to provide the right amount of detail to the right audience
Time and status sheet reporting infrastructure
Project tracking and status reporting with dashboard support

Scaling and Enterprise Features

Projects can be combined to larger projects
Support for central resource allocation database
Manages roles and complex reporting lines
Powerful project description language with macro support
Scales well on multi-core or multi-CPU systems
Support for project management teams and revision control systems
Data export to Microsoft Project and Computer Associates Clarity

Web Publishing and Groupware Functions

HTML reports for web publishing
CSV data export for exchange with popular office software
iCalendar export for data exchange with calendar and productivity applications
Built-in web server for dynamic and interactive reports
Server based time sheet system for status and actual work reporting

screenshot

2

I would recommend RedBooth.

Its an online project management tool, and is well integrated with Google and Evernote. At the same time, its cheaper, has amazing features and a very neat and friendly interface to work with. Even the free version is really good for starters.

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Based on your needs, I can recommend the following software, AccountSight.

AccountSight has a time tracking tool with a stopwatch feature that you can use to correctly define start and end times.

There is also a separate section for resource allocation and scheduling under the planning segment, which lets you select resources, assign them tasks and then overview the scheduling of your resources.

From the system dashboard, you can select and assign as many tasks to resources as possible. Notifications are sent through emails and through the system.

Their prices are reasonable, and the customer service is really helpful and friendly. They are will to sit down and discuss your options and your needs with the software and if necessary, tailor it to suit your style.

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    Do you have any affiliation with AccountSight? – RockPaperLizard Nov 17 '16 at 2:54
  • Hello, yes I have used their software. – tariqs Nov 28 '16 at 21:09
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There are sites like Podio and Asana which are cloud based team management systems.

They let you customize (they won't help with setup) the interface and add automation and reporting(should help you with resource leveling). Their systems are fairly easy to configure for an average programmer. This is the cheapest solution I know. We are planning on using SAP in our office but it's very expensive and I personally wouldn't recommend it unless you have over 1000 employees. Since these are cloud based solutions you need not worry about OS.

Also try Google apps marketplace (not playstore). Look for project management tools and you should find several suggestions. I hope they are within your budget.

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    Do you have experience with mentioned tools? Are you able to update answer including your experiences and why the mentioned tool will meet OP requirements? – danijelc Feb 19 '14 at 18:16
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    I am CTO for an holdings company. Our firm has and manages construction company and education institutions in its portfolio that uses these tools. The above suggested solutions will definitely work with a bit of improvisation. Also all the firms in our portfolio use google apps for business. – user899893 Feb 19 '14 at 18:28
  • I found a project management app for podio but no scheduling so obviously no way to adjust the schedule by leveling resources. Asana seems to have the same problem. – crownjewel82 Feb 25 '14 at 13:50
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jxProject costs $20/year for a 5-user license, and also comes in a free, ad-supported "lite" version. It has resource leveling as well as resource scheduling. While these features will not behave exactly the same way as their MS Project equivalents (you have to learn how to use the jxProject ranking system correctly, etc.), it will ultimately do everything you're asking for here.

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