Managing projects comes with its fair share of challenges. From difficult stakeholders to resource shortages, a project manager must know how to navigate tricky situations. What makes it even more challenging is the fact that project managers...
Teams around the world are facing similar challenges when it comes to planning their schedules. Creating a project plan is difficult on its own, but keeping it up to date and reacting to changes is more complicated. The situation becomes even more demanding when many employees work remotely.
Calendar apps, project planning tools, and resource scheduling software are here to help you organize your and your team’s work. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at online calendar planners. You’ll see how these apps work and how you can use them for your benefit.
What is an online calendar planner?
It’s a software that allows you to plan tasks or projects on a calendar view.
Sounds simple, but you may be wondering: how is a planner different from an online calendar (e.g., Google Calendar)? These two types of apps have different purposes:
- a calendar allows you to schedule events (e.g., meetings) and serves as a reminder of them,
- an online planner also allows you to schedule events (e.g., tasks), but it additionally comes with powerful work planning features. Such features may include availability management, tracking dependencies between tasks, time tracking, project analytics.
You can say that online calendar tools can also help you to plan your work. And that’s true, at least for personal use. However, when you have to create a schedule for your team (or multiple teams), you will need more features than most calendars offer.
Benefits of using an online calendar planner
Let’s talk benefits: what are the tangible gains of using online calendar planners? We’ve decided to break them down into a couple of categories:
- Time & cost savings – have you ever wondered how many hours your team spends on unnecessary back-and-forths regarding their current assignments or upcoming tasks? Apptension, a 50-person software house has calculated that they used to lose over $11k every month on questions like “what should I work on today?”, “was my vacation request approved?”. With an online calendar planner, they’ve managed to cut this number by almost $10k! That’s quite a gain, isn’t it?
- Increased transparency – when you decide to implement an online planner at your organization/team, it becomes the single source of truth regarding schedules, projects, progress, etc. It’s essential, especially for distributed teams, to have a transparent overview of work happening in a team.
- Smooth collaboration – imagine that your company runs several projects at a time. Each project manager needs to assemble a team and schedule a project around their availability. With a calendar planner, they can also see what other PMs are planning and avoid project scheduling conflicts.
- Projects under control – we strongly recommend using online planners instead of planning the work in Excel or on paper. The reason is that, when change happens—and it will almost inevitably happen, you can quickly react and easily edit the plan using an interactive tool. Spreadsheets and text documents can get outdated quickly unless you regularly update them.
- Happy team – project and resource planning apps are tools for building a happy team. Employees want to be in the know as to what their upcoming assignments are. They also feel better when managers can see and plan around their availability or workload. Chances for overtime or underutilization are much lower when you use a robust online planner.
How to plan your team’s work with Teamdeck?
Now that you know the main advantages of planning work with online calendar tools, we want to show you how you can do it in practice, using Teamdeck.
Teamdeck is a resource management app that combines the functionalities of an online calendar planner with other powerful features such as time tracking, absence management, project reporting.
Here’s how planning the week for your team can be easier with Teamdeck:
See who’s available and who’s busy
Before you start building your week plan, you need to get an overview of your team’s availability. It’s simple: all you need to do is check out the resource calendar.
Here, you can keep track of your team’s availability on two different levels:
- daily availability/working hours (it’s especially useful if you’re working with part-time employees and freelancers),
- planned vacations and different types of time off (e.g., maternity leave).
You can also check people’s current assignments and see if they’re assigned to any projects and for how long. When people already have many tasks on their plates, you might want not to overwhelm them with more work.
Assign your employees to different projects
Once you identified the employees that could get involved in your project, you can easily assign it to them. You can also add tags and notes to your booking: use them to notify other managers that this assignment is tentative or, on the contrary, very urgent.
Keep track of your team’s workload and performance
As a project manager or a team leader, you need to keep your finger on the pulse and monitor your project’s progress every day. Looking at just the planned work won’t give you all of the answers. This is why Teamdeck’s users can record the time they spent on a given project. With access to this information, it’s simple to compare the estimates with actuals and overview both:
- your team’s planned workload (bookings),
- their actual workload (timesheets).
Use project reports like this one to make better team-related decisions.
Integrate Teamdeck with other tools your team loves
Your employees likely use a lot of different apps to simplify their work: chats, calendars, PM tools to keep track of their tasks. You can easily integrate Teamdeck with many popular tools and make the planning and resource management processes more efficient, for example:
- receive a Slack message when someone requests a vacation day,
- sync your schedule with your Google Calendar.
Give Teamdeck a try – it’s free!
Do you think Teamdeck might be the right online calendar planner for your team? Join over 3500 customers that use our app every day.
Start your free 7-day trial here. You can stay on the free plan forever if your team consists of up to 6 people.
We encourage bigger teams to participate in our personalized onboarding process: start by booking a free consultation with our customer success experts.