Resource capacity planning software – buyers guide

resource capacity planning software buyers guide

Are you struggling to determine the right number of resources for your projects or forecast your future hiring needs? You’re not alone! Figuring out the perfect balance of resources and skills can be incredibly challenging but vital for project success.

Luckily, there’s a superhero in the world of resource management – resource capacity planning software (also known as resource forecasting software). While many resource management tools focus on day-to-day scheduling, this software takes a step further, allowing you to take a broader, high-level view of your resource requirements.

Now, I know that choosing the right resource capacity planning software can be overwhelming as there is so much choice. But don’t worry. At Kelloo, we have got your back. Our guide is here to walk you through the process and help you find the perfect tool for your organization’s resource management needs. 

Table of contents

What is resource capacity planning software

Resource capacity planning software is a solution that helps organizations ensure they have the right number of people so they can get their projects done. It compares the resource needs for your projects versus the resources you currently have.

By doing so, it identifies any gaps and helps you make informed decisions about resource allocation, future hiring or the timing of projects.


What does resource capacity planning software do

Resource capacity planning software lets you easily spot resource shortfalls and gaps and make informed decisions about staffing levels. With its help, you can optimize resource allocation and project timings for maximum benefit. 

Resource capacity planning software has four main capabilities:

  • Resource visualization: It provides a clear visual representation of resource availability, allocation and capacity thereby allowing you to see the big picture at a glance.
  • Balance workloads: Helps in distributing workloads evenly among team members, preventing resource overloads and optimizing productivity.
  • Resource forecasting: Resource capacity planning software can help you forecast future resource needs based on project demand.
  • Scenario planning: Allows you to run “what-if” scenarios, simulating different resource allocation options to predict their impact on project timelines and outcomes.

Features of resource capacity planning software

Ok, let’s step down into the details and look at the specific features you need to look for when evaluating resource capacity planning software.

Easy to manage resource inventory

The first feature to look for in a resource capacity planning solution is an easy to set up resource inventory. This is used to record the resources you have, their skills and their supply (how much labor time they provide you).

You want to make sure this is easy to set up and maintain and that it also lets you record things like vacation time, time off and different working patterns as these factors will affect the level of resource supply available to you.

If you have a lot of resources look for a tool that lets you import your resources rather than having to enter them one by one.

Simple way to record resource demand

In capacity planning, all the things your resources are being asked to do (projects, support etc.) are called demand. So you want a tool that has a simple way to record:

  • What projects you are doing and when.
  • What resources or skills the projects need.
  • Estimates for the work.
  • The relative priority of the projects.

Spot gaps between supply and demand

You want a tool that gives you an easy way to spot a mismatch between the resource levels you have and the resource levels your projects need. 

A common way to deliver this is using a utilization heatmap. This uses a combination of numbers and color coding to help you zero in on resource hotspots and constraints.

resource capacity planning overallocated

Scenario planning

There is no right answer when doing capacity planning. Instead, there are competing resource and project options that need to be evaluated against each other to strike the best balance.

This is called scenario planning or what if modelling.

This lets you see how approving a new project, hiring more resources or delaying a project would impact your current schedule and resource utilization.

So ensure any resource capacity planning software you are evaluating lets you create different planning scenarios.

select a scenario for what if scenario analysis

Kelloo's resource management tools

Resource planning, forecasting and reporting in one place. We help you get the most from your projects and people.

Flexible reporting

Most resource capacity planning solutions just include a range of canned reports. But what you really need is the ability to build your own reports and analysis

Trying to predict what reports you will need to manage your resources is nearly impossible. So you need the flexibility to build your own reports and analysis. So look for tools with a report builder built in.

Report fields

Tip Look for tools like Kelloo that include report builders.

Resource management reporting

Role and team based planning

This one may seem a little counterintuitive but bear with us. 

When resource capacity planning, the temptation is to focus on individual resources. But the truth is, as your resource pool size grows – individual resources become less important.

Instead, you start managing resources at the role or skill level. This means you compare the skill needs of your projects vs the overall skill levels available to you.

Don’t choose resource management software that forces you to do your planning and analysis at the individual resource level. Look for solutions that let you plan at the team or skill level also.

Plan using placeholders

Sometimes you don’t know who is going to be working on what projects. So it is useful if you can just assign a placeholder (sometimes called a generic resource) to work. 

Most resource management tools don’t have this feature – they require you to always plan individual resources. So look for capacity planning tools that let you use placeholders when planning and forecasting.

Project prioritization

The truth is, you will always be asked to do more work than you have resources for (or the capability to hire). So tough decisions will need to be made about what projects you can take on.

When resource capacity planning, it is key that you prioritize your projects.

Why? Because you should be allocating resources to the highest value projects first.

Tools like Kelloo take this a step further and let you analyze which projects are likely to run into resource difficulty first based on your strategic priorities.

Prioritize projects

Spreadsheets for resource capacity planning

A spreadsheet is normally the first tool that organizations turn to when trying to run their resource capacity planning.

Spreadsheets are easy to use and most organizations have a copy of Excel, Google sheets or some other spreadsheet tool.

If you are planning a handful of resources and one or two projects you may just get away with using a spreadsheet. 

But as the number of projects and resources increases you should look at dedicated resource capacity software.

Here are some of the reasons using a spreadsheet for resource capacity planning may not be the best way to run things:

1. Spreadsheets are cell based

Moving or reallocating a project in your capacity plan will require editing lots of cells. 

Which is time consuming and error prone. 

2. Lack of reporting

Spreadsheets do not include any standard reporting capability and reporting is a major need in resource capacity planning software.

3. Error prone

One big downside of using a spreadsheet for resource capacity planning is that it is too easy for errors and bugs to creep in. 

Make a single error in a formulae and your resource plan could be way off track. 

Errors often creep in when copying formulae forward – which is something you will need to do a lot to model timescales in a spreadsheet.

4. Spreadsheets do not include standard resource capacity planning features

Using a spreadsheet will mean developing the solution from scratch and trying to implement features that are standard in resource capacity planning software. 

Things like scenario modelling and capacity vs demand analysis will have to be designed and built into the spreadsheet.

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