Can anyone recommend some project management software which has good resource management features e.g. resource allocation and levelling.
I'm really struggling to find to something that allows enough flexibility in this area.
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I prefer resource leveling by hand, as well. It may be because I have not worked with a good leveling tool such as the one Trevor is suggesting, but I think it is more about the control of doing it manually. However, that said, I also think the value of resource leveling is best only during the initial creation of the schedule and performance measurement baseline. Chasing a leveled schedule thereafter is futile and I cannot see its value. Proper scheduling decisions can be made simply by looking at the resulting resource utilization after actuals have been entered.
Try Spider Project: http://www.spiderproject.ro/en/downloads.php . It's interface may be clunky at times, but feature wise it's the best I've seen (resource & financial management included).
Not sure of your specific needs (size, number of users, etc.) but I've just started working with a company that provides a server based app called CrossPoint PPM. Still learning about it, but so far it's got the best resource allocation/leveling capabilities I've seen so far.
It has both project gantt and resource gantt views, across projects, or the enterprise.
Might be worth a look to see if it meets your needs.
I'm reading a bit into your question, so forgive me if I'm guessing wrong or assuming too much.
I used to have similar frustrations with resource leveling and the extreme frustration of tools not being able to make what I thought were reasonable decisions. I spent a good deal of time "building my own" with Excel as a framework and started programming in VB to make passes through the Excel schedules. Before I went crazy, I met the guy who would be my PM mentor. He told me to level by hand. Every week, after actuals were entered into the schedule, dig in and work with the data to build a new plan.
He was right. By doing this by hand, I had to -really- understand the schedule and dependencies. Also, I had to make the decisions I needed to make. When an activity ran long, I could look at the upcoming tasks and ensure we had the right priorities for the coming weeks. Sometimes, I had to change priorities and some times I dropped entire sections because the team found a different way of doing things.
I got to the point where (with MS Project) I could level a project schedule for a team of about 40 developers in about 2-3 hours. I could pull out decent metrics (I used Earned Value) and build a report for the project in another hour. It was 3-4 hours "out of the loop" but I -really- knew the project. The plan actually meant something because I sure as heck wasn't going to put up with meaningless tasks.
At this point, I'd really worry about any software that took the decisions I was making out of my hands and trying to assume it knew how to move people around based on a set of relationships I set up. Rather than try to model the interrelationships and maintain them each week, just build them explicitly and work directly with the data.
my 2 cents
again, I apologize if I am addressing the wrong question/issue
I recommend the only tool that I trust for resource management - LiquidPlanner. With LiquidPlanner you can quickly and easily see if your resources are overloaded and what tasks are at risks are at risk of being completed on time as a result. You can then drag & drop the tasks to re-prioritize and then watch all of the red alerts go away. It's a wonderful thing.