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How to track and manage team capacity effectively

The success of any project depends on balancing available resources and the demand for those resources. But it is not always easy to maintain that fine balance, as there is a persistent imbalance of work and resources in most organizations.

Over-looking capacity planning results in overworked resources, poor prioritization, and skill gaps. Or at the other extreme, underutilized resources and people sitting on the bench. Both these scenarios hamper the quality of services, project success, and business value.

Effective capacity planning plays a significant role in the success of agile projects. Optimizing resource constraints by identifying gaps and dependencies is essential to maximize product value. In addition, deploying the right resource for the appropriate task and matching available team hours with project requirements helps complete the work within the specified timeframe.

 

Best practices for effective capacity planning

 

1. Analyze the current capacity

Get a realistic view of the team's capacity and how much they can get done within their working hours. Calculate time-off, unplanned work, administrative tasks, interruptions, and previous velocity to understand the amount of work that can be completed within a period of time. Factoring for planned and unplanned activities will help you accurately plan capacity for future sprints.

2. Determine resources required for the project

Look at the scope of work for each project to determine the resources you will need. This also helps you to identify dependencies, the required skill sets for each project, and the gap between supply and demand for resources.

3. Prioritize projects

Identify important projects and those that can be delayed in the pipeline. Depending on the business goals, budget allocations, and project priorities, you can either delay the project or hire resources, either full-time or as contractors or freelancers.

4. Use a capacity planning software

Project management tools that include time tracking apps, comprehensive reporting capabilities, and resource modules increase visibility into your projects and the time spent on tickets, stories, issues, etc.

These features enable you to ensure that your organization gets maximum value from its people and enhance the productivity and efficiency of your team by identifying roadblocks, eliminating them, and mapping out your resources.

Agile teams need to gain the maximum output from their resources to pull off successful sprints, and effective capacity planning is the foundation for maximizing team resources. 

Developing an accurate capacity plan can be a daunting challenge without the right capacity planning software.  

A reporting and time tracking app that allows you to generate automatic reports based on timesheets logged by users will help you plan capacity and allocate resources accurately. In addition, these reports can also be utilized for effective stakeholder management, thus adding immense business value.

1 comment

That was a good one, @Andreas Springer _Actonic_

I hope you had a chance to work with Jira's inbuilt capacity planning and I assume you might be aware of various apps in the Atlassian Marketplace that provide this functionality.

If you can, please share any such experiences you had in the past. Probably, that could be a discussion point but would help many others here to make correct choices.  

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