Capacity Planning Tips and How to Develop One for Your Project?

Capacity planning template helps you manage employee time, understand his capacity and stay on the assigned project budget. Capacity planning is on top of the basic resource management planning and is an essential task for portfolio management.

Tips on Capacity Planning:

  • Capacity planning should be part of any project managers tasks whether it is waterfall or agile project management. Check out our Agile Sprint Based Capacity planner.
  • One of the key points which a capacity planner should highlight is the assumptions that have been made when doing the capacity planning.
  • One of the major drivers for capacity planning is to get an understanding of the financial budget required.
  • Planning capacity ahead of time helps in getting the real picture of what is planned.
Follow the below steps to start using the Capacity Planning Template Excel-- 

Before going on to steps to use template note here that there are two key sections of this template that are Capacity Planner and Resource Requirements.

Capacity Planner -

The Capacity Planner consists of two areas - Planner and Resource Pool. Resource Pool is the area where you configure all your resources and their availability.. The Planner area is the key as it displays the availability and deficit based on the Resource Requirements.

Resource Requirements - 

The Resource Requirements tab is the area where the planned projects and resource are allocated.

Gathering Project Information

  • Gather a list of projects which are to be planned for the specified duration.
  • Collect high-level estimates for the projects. During the capacity planning phase, it is natural to not have detailed estimates and WBS.
  • Generally, the projects are also resourced on past estimates or guesstimates.

Updating the Resource Pool or Resource Loading

  • Update the Resource Pool Section with the resource types in your organization.
  • This activity can be called as resource loading because a resource managers go ahead and allocate all the tasks even if it means overloading the resource.
  • If you have too many resource types I would recommend keeping the resource type to as minimum as possible to avoid maintenance overhead.
  • In the resource pool section update the total availability for the resource type. For example, if you have two project managers who are full time then the total availability will be 10 days, if you have DBA who is part-time then it 2.5.
  • Also, update the holidays or vacation times. For example, if there one public holiday in a week starting 4th Jan then that week everyone should be available for 4 days.
  • If an individual is going on leave then you can update the availability for that resource type. For example, if you have two project managers then the usual availability would be 10 days but if one of then is going on leave it would reduce to 5 days a week.

No changes are required in the planner section so do not update any data under the planner area.

Update the resource requirements

  • For each project start entering the project name, project phase and select the resource type.
  • Then enter the requirements for that resource in weeks.
  • Review the planner section to see issues with the resource needs.
  • The capacity planner auto highlights cells to indicate any issues with the allocations or utilization.