Sunday, October 2, 2022

5 Ways to Overcome Capacity Planning Challenges in Project Management

Do you often find it challenging to mitigate skill shortages/gaps?5 Ways to Overcome Capacity Planning 

Are there frequent hiring/firing cycles within the company?

Are you constantly wondering how you will make your workforce future-ready?5 Ways to Overcome Capacity Planning 

Efficient Resource Capacity Planning is an effective technique to address these concerns.5 Ways to Overcome Capacity Planning It helps bridge these skill gaps effectively and make the best-fit resources available for the right projects at the right time. This also enables managers to utilize the resources effectively and secure the project’s fate by completing them on time and within budget.   

This blog elaborates on the best practices to manage capacity planning challenges and how a futuristic resource management solution can help. 

But, before that, let’s delve into the different challenges.

  • What are the challenges in resource capacity planning?

Resource Capacity planning plays a vital role in project management. However, managers often face certain challenges at the capacity planning stage. First, lack of visibility into future project demand leads to improper planning and inaccurate estimation. This leads to a misalignment between capacity and demand, resulting in skill mismatch, excess/shortage of resources, unavailability of niche skills, etc.

In case of resource shortages, managers resort to last-minute firefighting, wrongful hiring, etc. It results in delayed timelines, budget overruns, dissatisfied clients, and overscheduled resources dealing with a massive workload. Second, the excess of resources will cause an increase in the bench size, indicating underutilization of resources and add to the bottom line. 

Moreover, without resource capacity planning solutions, managers cannot have an idea whether the resource requirement is recurring or limited to one project. This increases the hiring and firing cycle in the organization because they hire people for a particular project, dismiss them and then hire a similar resource again for another project. These frequent hiring/firing cycles can subsequently lead to loss of market opportunities and jeopardize the firm’s reputation.

To anticipate and address these situations, capacity planning is essential.

Now, let’s know the various ways in which we can combat the above challenges.

  • Strategies to overcome capacity planning challenges

Here are 5 ways that managers can implement to combat different capacity planning bottlenecks in an organization- 

  • Identify and onboard key positions for pipeline projects

Often due to a lack of foresight into future pipeline projects, managers fail to identify resource demand in advance. As a result, they might go for hiring in the eleventh hour or allocate an under-skilled resource. This will increase the project’s cost and also affect its quality. Therefore, resource managers should keep track of pipeline projects and first identify the key positions required for them.  

Accordingly, they can arrange resources for these key roles through planned hiring or re-training the bench resources. Foresight into the future project requirements helps resource managers eliminate the bottleneck of filling niche-skilled positions at the last minute. Thus, ensuring the project’s completion within the stipulated time and budget.

  • Forecast and bridge skill gap proactively

The widening skill gap in organizations often results in the loss of market opportunities and reduced profitability. Therefore, resource managers must analyze resource requirements in advance and formulate a plan to bridge the gap and fill the vacancies. 

Depending on the project duration and the nature of the skillset required, the managers can organize appropriate retraining and upskilling programs for the resources or hire a permanent/contingent workforce with the right skill set. Thus, forecasting and bridging the gap proactively eliminates the chances of last-minute hiring and helps in futureproofing the workforce.

  • Periodically allocate competent resources to the right projects

The availability of competent resources at the right cost and at the right time is essential for a project’s successful delivery. Once the project manager raises resource requests, the resource manager should identify the employees whose skill set aligns with the demand.

To accomplish this, they can analyze the resources by various attributes such as skills, locations, availability, utilization, cost rate, etc., and allocate them to suitable projects. This will help eliminate capacity planning challenges such as incompetent allocation, mismatched skillsets, etc., Thereby ensuring successful project delivery within time and budget.  

  • Create the right mix of permanent vs. contingent workforce

The managers should balance the resource pool with a judicious mix of permanent and contingent workforce. It helps minimize high resourcing costs in the organization. Further, it also helps cater to evolving client expectations and prevents last-minute firefighting for resources. 

For this, managers can assess the nature of skill requirements for a project and compare it with other pipeline projects to determine if the skill demand is a short-term or long-term requirement. Based on that, they can hire a permanent worker for recurring needs and contingent resources for short-term skill demand. This will also eliminate the challenges of redeploying on-demand employees to similar future work and thus reduce unwanted firing cycles. 

  • Implement out-rotation and backfill strategy for niche skills

Out-rotation and backfill strategies are suitable techniques to mitigate the shortage of niche skilled critical resources. There may be times when a resource with a particular skill is required for a critical project. However, these resources are already booked on some other projects, and thus, filling these positions is difficult. 

In this case, the resource manager can negotiate with the project managers to implement out-rotation and backfill strategy to help fulfill niche positions. The manager can out rotate the critical resource to the new project and add a suitable backfill to the current project. It ensures that the ongoing project progress is on track and the new project can kick off on time.

Now let’s find out how resource management software can help you achieve the same.

  • How futuristic resource management software can help?

Saviom’s robust resource management software is the key to managing and eliminating capacity planning challenges. It facilitates 360-degree visibility of all resources and their attributes such as skills, experience, capacity, availability, etc. This allows managers to find the best-suited resource with the right skills for the projects.  

Further, the tool’s forecasting capabilities and capacity-vs-demand report help foresee the skill gaps and fill them proactively through appropriate internal and external channels.  It, thus, reduces the last-minute resourcing hassle.  

Moreover, in case of a shortfall of resources, managers can leverage modeling and simulation techniques. It helps analyze various scenarios and compare different outcomes by changing various metrics such as availability, cost rate, etc. This allows them to arrive at the most viable outcome and apply it to the actual resource plan.

Conclusion

 “An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing.”- Dale Carnegie

As rightly said, efficient capacity planning can help prevent a number of bottlenecks in an organization. With the strategies explained in this blog coupled with the right resource management tool, managers can improve the capacity planning process and futureproof the workforce. Further, it ensures that the firm maintains a competitive edge in the marketplace and meets the present and future project demands.

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