Mavenlink's New Resource Planning Tool Helps You Think Long-Term

By Juan Martinez Features PCmag

Mavenlink has unveiled a fully revamped project management (PM) solution, the company's founder and CEO Ray Grainger told PCMag. The update is built to deliver an end-to-end resource management tool that can span capacity planning, opportunity management, forecasting, scheduling, and time tracking, among other PM disciplines.

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The tool, dubbed Mavenlink Resource Planning and Management, intends to treat your projects and resources as interconnected cyclical processes more akin to enterprise resource planning (ERP) rather than one-off tasks. This pivot is designed to give managers and planners the ability to address company changes that might affect multiple project timelines, budgets, and profitability. The solution spans the service lifecycle from sales commitment to project delivery and postmortem analysis. Your projects are broken down into four phases: Estimate, Plan, Execute, and Analyze & Optimize.

"When you look at long-term planning, you typically plan for things like the amount of people you have, the revenue planning cycle," said Grainger. "That [type of planning] was okay when I had long-running projects and when things didn't change that much. Today, projects are much faster. The resources I need might only be necessary for a part of the project, and real-time planning is much more acute."

How It Works

The Estimate phase of the tool helps you track what resources you'll need to complete a project. The tool provides you with an assortment of project templates to help you get started quickly, role-based scheduling to help you oversee when and where staff will be deployed, and resource request and approval forms that let you begin the process of securing project needs.

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The tool's Planning phase gives you a space to oversee the requirements, deliverables, resources, and schedules associated with the project. Included in this phase are a new master planning dashboard and a visual resource planning widget that lets you envisage when, where, and how resources are deployed.

Should you be awarded a project, the tool's Execute phase gives you a breakdown of the project's structure, tasks, subtasks, and timelines. You'll also be able to access a configurable weekly schedule view and a management workflow chart to see how your resources are being deployed.

Analyze & Optimize is the tool's analytics and business intelligence (BI) portal. Here, you'll be able to review completed projects in order to improve processes and templates. Reports include: Projected vs. Actual Utilization, Planned & Scheduled Availability; Total Utilization by Role, Function, Region, and More; Daily Schedule for Billable vs. Non-billable Scheduled Hours, and Billable Capacity Forecasting.

How to Get It

Existing Mavenlink customers will be able to access the tool as part of their ongoing subscription this week. The tool will automatically pull in whatever information you have in your Mavenlink software, so there will be no need to transfer data from the current version of the tool to the updated version. There will be no change in pricing for any Mavenlink customers.

Grainger said the tool is ideal for companies with more than 15 users. "Even a 15-person company will be more highly utilized and they'll see more margin expansion [because of the tool]," he said. "It continues to scale for large organizations, organizations with multi-thousand users, and even organizations in the tens of thousands."

Mavenlink is available in five different pricing tiers: a free plan, a $19-per-month plan for up to five users, a $39-per-month per user plan, and two custom pricing plans for larger and more complex PM needs. The company, which was founded in 2008, recently secured $39 million in a Series D round led by Goldman Sachs, bringing its total funding to $84 million.

This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.