• Team Capacity Planning: What It Is and Why You Need It

    in Small Business Management on June 14, 2021

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    Famed head coach Phil Jackson rightly asserted, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” Depending on the situation, you only need two people to make a team. So, if you are running your business with two or more people involved, think of each member as an individual and a team member. In doing so, you’ll want to determine your team’s skills, available time, and your resources, which requires capacity planning. In this post, we’ll discuss team capacity planning, what it is and why you need it.



    Simply put, team capacity planning is a process to help you determine if your company supply meets the demands of your customers. Understanding your team’s capacity can help you decide when to accept or turn down projects and increase or decrease your number of team members. It’s important to take team members’ capabilities into consideration with any potential project. How much time does each member spend on each task? Which tasks best suit each team member, and which ones are most important? Answering these kinds of questions will enable the team to work at full capacity.



    Are some team members working overtime while others are hardly working at all? Do you find your team buried in projects, or are you wondering if you could be doing more? Team capacity planning guides you through the maze of running your team. The fact of the matter is that time is a limited resource. There are only so many hours in a day, and only so many that are available for your team to work. Using those hours to their full potential is essential for your team to have the best possible quality product or service for your customers as well as maximizing your bottom line.



    • Assess your strengths. Part of knowing your team’s capacity is understanding each member’s strengths and weaknesses, including your own. One way to discover those strengths and weaknesses is to look back at past projects and recall who did what well. Maybe you’re someone who is good at focusing on the logistics, while another member of your team is better at looking at projects with a creative angle. Assign tasks according to those strengths to take advantage of your team members’ areas of expertise. It will be easier to identify which types of projects your team can take on based on your assessment of the team’s strengths.


    • Track time. Knowing how long projects take to complete will give you a baseline for figuring capacity for team members. Record the number of hours spent on each task so that you know how long projects usually take. Then as projects come in, estimate each person’s projected hours to see if they are at, over, or under capacity. In the example below, the graphic designer has no more time for projects during the week. In fact, when lunches and breaks are factored into the weekly estimate, this individual is over capacity.

    • Evaluate your projects. If you’ve discovered that your team’s skill set isn’t a match for certain types of projects that are available to you, then it may be time to consider adding a member with the expertise in the area that your team is missing. Similarly, if you have underutilized team members, you may want to find clients with projects that will require their areas of expertise.


    • Use software to help. Keeping track of projects, their effect on cash flow and the amount of time you need to delegate for each part within that project is a lot of work. When projects start and stop, it’s cumbersome and time consuming to track the details in spreadsheets. Look into software that will manage the chaos for you, save you time, and help you see when a busy month is coming up.


    FuelGauge, a cash forecasting software, can help you keep track of all your upcoming projects in one place, giving insight to when it’s time to think about capacity planning or finding some extra help. Try a free 45-day trial today.