The main aim of capacity planning is to have the right mix of skills and experience 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 those shown below, vividly highlight overall utilisation levels and the relative performance fore each department:
Target chart shows average utilisation level across departments, with individual circles showing for each Department
It can be useful to highlight the number of resources that have spare capacity and those Departments with the biggest problem
Whilst short term capacity planning should ensure 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
Data requirements for capacity planning
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, resource managers 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.