Resource Management and Capacity Planning

The success of an agency’s workflow hinges on a careful balance of supply and demand. While getting more projects into the pipeline is a plus, not having enough people to get them done can mean overworked team members and late deliveries. 

Capacity planning is the process of capturing demand against the project portfolio and calculating how many resources are required to then meet that demand.  

Usually, capacity planning can be broken down into three parts:  

  1. How much your team can get done within their physical working schedule. You can calculate how much work your team can realistically do within their capacity hours. See also how agile velocity metrics can help you visualize this! 
  2. A transparent pool that takes into account your team’s capacity and skillset. Each team member’s availability and skillset is used to make sure their scheduled effectively 
  3. Effective capacity planning gives team leaders a better look at their resources’ availability and schedules. Team leaders should be able to see what people are working on, and make quick decisions about how many tasks they can take on without burning them out.  
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    During the earlier stages of planning, the detailed WBS may not be known, along with the resource profile, both of which will develop over time. It’s therefore good practice to define a Planning Horizon which can be used to allocate resources using a logical approach.  
    Planning Horizon  

    Depending on the length of the project (and the pace of change), not all the resources will be identified long term. Therefore, it is good practice to define a Planning Horizon which can be used to allocate people using a logical approach. Planning Horizon is the amount of time an organization will look into the future when preparing a strategic plan: 

    • Named Resources 0-6 weeks
    • Named and Generic Resources 6 weeks-3 months
    • Mostly Generic Resources 3 months+
    In order to utilise this combined approach, we first need to understand the relationship between Generic and Named Resources. Generic resources are roles, they are not real people. They’re used to capture demand during the early stages of planning and then replaced with named resources later in the project lifecycle, this requires constant reforecasting. It’s important to realise that, when combining generic and named resources, that generic resources do not represent capacity, only real people can satisfy demand.