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Resource Demand vs Capacity

Managing multiple projects and services assignments with a limited pool of resources is a constant challenge. No sooner have you got the resource demand nicely in balance with the skills capacity when a project change creates a new bottleneck.

Project managers will want to have sufficient spare resources to ensure that key project dates will be met. But Team leaders, with challenging utilisation targets, will keep a close eye on any resources being kept ‘just in case’.

By highlighting the resource bottlenecks  as each change in demand is recorded, project managers can see straightaway when key dates are in jeopardy because of resource shortages.

Project Demand Management

If there is increased resource demand for a low priority project it can hopefully be scheduled around periods of spare capacity. A high priority project, however, may need to take resource from lower priority work, unless additional contract or permanent staff can be hired. This is where Innate’s interactive views step in, enabling you to see by how much the lower priority work needs to be delayed. Such re-balancing must minimise the impact on other projects’ commitments.

The video below shows the impact of the New Project arriving when Analysts are in overload. It answers the question  – By how much must it be delayed to overcome the bottlenecks?

You can also use these views to see the implications of different combinations of potential projects. The chart below, when applied to each team or discipline, shows the extent to which bottlenecks will be introduced if combinations of potential projects are successful. These profiles will give greater confidence when hiring decisions must be made.

The effect of delaying proposed project start dates can easily be seen

Effectively managing resource demand ensures that commitments can be met and client satisfaction maintained.

Capacity Planning

The aim of capacity planning is to have the right mix of skills and experience available ready to meet the demand. It is challenging because the demand across multiple projects can be quite volatile and difficult to predict.

It is tempting to keep sufficient spare resource to meet those sudden changes in demand. But having too much resource just sitting on the bench can erode usage levels and severely impact overall profitability. Target Charts, such as the one shown below, vividly highlight overall utilisation levels and the relative performance for each department.

Target chart shows average utilisation level across departments, but IT looks much better than Operations.

Whilst short term capacity planning ensures that lack of suitable resources does not jeopardise key project dates, there are longer term issues too. Strategic planning must look at how the required skills mix could be changing over time, as types of projects and trends change. This can trigger hiring and retraining programs if the skills mix is to remain in balance with projected demand.

Heat map table shows departments that have insufficient capacity to meet demand in red, and too much in green. Click on Department Links to drill down to Team level

Resource Data Implications 

The Resource Allocation page discusses how resource requests can be created and dealt with. Your resource data elements need to be carefully considered, so that project managers can accurately describe the skills and competencies that they are looking for. In more complex organizations, where projects can be resourced from multiple locations, Team Leaders may not know the capabilities of every individual. So time needs to be spent in gathering details of each person’s skills, qualifications and competency levels.

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