Without effective resource capacity planning resources can end up working on the wrong projects and organizations will commit to projects they cannot deliver with the resources on hand.
What are the benefits of resource capacity planning?
To those in the know, the benefits are self-evident. Most organizations have too many projects and not enough resources – they are resource constrained. So an organization’s ability to align its demand for work with its ability to deliver work is key.
The problem we face is that resource capacity planning is a complicated process to get right. So more often than not it is ignored or done badly and this has major implications. However the benefits for organization who crack the resource capacity planning problem are immense. Cost savings, improved project throughput, improved resource morale, better ability to innovate and improved customer satisfaction are all cited as benefits.
Andy Jordan, writing on projectmanager.com shares an interesting example where an organization overcame major project delivery problems and improved the amount of work done on projects by 11%. Not by recruiting more resource but by implementing an effective capacity planning process.
Another less obvious benefit of resource capacity planning is to be able to reign in unrealistic expectations about your organization’s ability to deliver. Without any clear vision of resource capacity, all too often there is the temptation to just keep piling more projects onto the organization which just leads to unrealistic expectations about deadlines. With a good resource capacity planning process it is simple to point at the facts and ask the question “you want a new project delivering, tell me which project you want us to stop working on”.
Good resource capacity planning gives you the ability to look at things with a long lens. Which means you will not constantly be hitting problems with resource issues. Yes there will be short term bumps in the road – after all capacity planning will not be 100% accurate. However, by looking 3 to 6 months down the line it gives you plenty of time to steer the ship around the rocks and make adjustments to resources if required.
To put some figures behind these statements, in an authoritative study on the state of resource capacity planning, respondent organizations cited the following outcomes of not addressing resource capacity planning properly:
- Inability to compete projects on time – 52%
- Inability to innovate fast enough – 39%
- Increased project costs – 38 %
- Missed opportunities – 34 %
- Dissatisfied customers or clients – 32 %