Key Steps to Achieve Accurate Resource Utilization Reporting in Your Project Management Software Tool: Part 4
In part 1, we discussed the key of capturing all of the work to be performed by your resources (people for the purposes of this series).
In part 2, we discussed the key of accurately capturing when the work will be performed.
In part 3, we discussed the key of capturing the effort as opposed to strictly the duration of the work.
Now let's talk about capacity. Capacity is a key measurement because it directly affects your resource utilization statistics. Capacity is the amount of time that a person has (in reality) to do the work. For example, they may work 8 -10 hours a day, but in reality they wear other hats and may only have 4 hours a day to do project work. That is their capacity.
Why is this important? Because you cannot accurately decipher and make decisions from your resource statistics without it. You can see how much work has been allocated to them. You can see when that work has been allocated. But you do not know if that is too much work, not enough work, or the right amount of work. For that insight, you have to know the resource's capacity.
Once you know the resource's capacity, then it is simple math to figure out key metrics such as their allocated utilization (the work that has been allocated divided by their capacity) or their availability (their capacity minus the work that has been allocated).
In order to accurately figure out a person's capacity, you need to include the following factors:
- Non-project activities: how much time does the person need each day to work on non-project activities, such as meetings, administrative activities, and while we don't like to admit it social conversations and breaks.
- Vacation: a person's capacity is 0 if they are not there. Forgetting to factor in vacation can ruin your resource picture at a critical point in the project.
- Training: are there training requirements that the person must fulfill which affects their overall capacity?
- Holidays: don't forget about company holidays.
- Full time vs. part time: is the person working full-time or are they working part time? Part time does not necessarily mean they are a part-time employee, but they may have multiple responsibilities with project work being only one of their responsibilities.
There are different strategies for capturing this. You may factor all of these together for the entire year and create an average capacity per day. Or you may create calendars that keep track of their specific capacity over specific time periods.
This may seem like a lot so let me make the point again about accuracy. You do not necessarily have to track all of this to the nth degree. It depends on how accurate you want the statistics to be when you do your reporting. Which means that you need to decide what statistics and the level of accuracy you need in order for you to make decisions. If you need accurate, detailed resource statistics, then there is no magic waving of the wand - you have to go through the effort of accurately collecting the base data. And capacity is one of those pieces that you need to capture.