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Simply put, capacity planning is the ability to plan your team's work capacity.
It is about juggling resources, budget, time, and tools for your team to help them get their work done on time.
Your goal is to analyze different variables to determine your team’s capacity; you need to look at the available infrastructure, time, and skills available to meet the demand for product building, improvement, and maintenance.
Capacity planning has many benefits, especially in enhancing project management and reporting, such as determining trends, patterns, forecast, supply, and demand.
To start your capacity planning, here are a few steps you will need to do:
1- Categorize the deliverables:
What is the expected outcome?
Is there a deadline?
Will there be milestones to hit along the way?
2- Understand task duration:
Start by using a previously completed project as your baseline
Use the information you gather to estimate how long the upcoming tasks will take.
Calculate the estimated time for your project thoroughly
3- Explore resources:
Do you have a budget?
Will you need more people on the team?
Will you need extra tools?
Remember that 100% availability of any resource, whether people or tools, is unsustainable and unrealistic.
Now that you've identified the above, you're ready to analyze your team's capacity.
The best starting point is identifying your priority tasks and allocating them to specific team members. Never assume that your team has more time than they do.
The best way to achieve the perfect capacity planning is to use a capacity management tool. For example, putting all communication in one place accessible to all team members is an excellent way for everyone to track the project's progress and development, add their notes, or get assigned other tasks.
Capacity management tools allow you to track previously accomplished tasks and completion time per task. Moreover, you can see how long it takes to finish a task if the project progresses as per schedule or if more resources are needed to complete the work promptly.
In summary, capacity planning is excellent for project management and resource management. It's a win-win solution overall. Making capacity-based decisions will lead to a more effective and agile workflow, allowing for more accurate time and budget estimations and saving on management time in the long run.
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