ITIL capacity planning is an organizational process of evaluating and forecasting the IT services required by a business and ensuring that these requirements are met. This includes analyzing the demand for current and future IT services and assessing any gaps in service provision that might arise from various sources, such as changes in customer demand or technology advancement. When it comes to managing your IT resources, capacity planning is critical because it helps you decide what level of service and what type of technology you should use to meet demand. Capacity management includes four key objectives:
1) Evaluate existing service levels and usage patterns
2) Establish future service levels and usage trends
3) Optimize resource utilization
4) Plan for contingencies
Types of capacity planning
- Workforce capacity planning- Workforce capacity planning is a strategic process that helps an organization plan for the future. It identifies skills and competencies needed to meet organizational objectives, and then it plans strategies for acquiring the necessary skills. The process can also place any skills gaps so they can be addressed in time.
- Product capacity planning - Product capacity planning is a process in which you predict the future demand for your product and decide how to accommodate this anticipated demand. This is done by determining an optimal production level that will maximize profits while staying within manufacturing constraints.
- Equipment capacity planning- It involves looking at your business needs, what you need to produce, how much of each product you need to create, as well as the capabilities of your production equipment. Equipment capacity planning has been seen as one of the most important aspects of a successful company. If you don't have enough space or equipment, your employees will be forced to work in inefficient ways, leading to mistakes and missed deadlines.
Benefits of capacity planning
- Reduced resource expenses- With the help of capacity planning, you can find the best way to meeting a resource requirement with the minor budget available. For example, you require a software developer for a particular project who is experienced and is very expensive. A recent graduate can do the same job that is less expensive but is available after a month. With the help of capacity planner, you can decide whether it is worth delaying the project by one month to save overall cost or go with the expensive resource to save time.
- Ensure availability- When you take a new client project, you need to ensure your team is available to execute the work to complete it before the deadline. Capacity planning shows if you can take on new projects. When staff takes leaves, you can make backup resources available to reduce any project's negative impacts.
- Identify skill gaps- Skills shortage might affect the whole project. Capacity planning helps you spot skill shortages in advance before starting the project. Once you identify these loopholes, you can recruit additional resources, train existing resources, or make other arrangements. You can also forecast the kind of training required based on the changing nature of work.
Capacity planning in project management
One of the most critical components for successful project management is capacity planning. Unfortunately, it's challenging to find enough skilled people with the right skillsets, so managers must plan their work around what they have available at any given time. In this article, we'll discuss some of the best practices for getting optimal results from your capacity planning efforts.
- Updated project data- Initially, you need to register your projects with the required information in the database. This may include the start and end date, project manager, resource requirements. For many projects, it is essential to meet the criteria for resource planning. It illustrates you must plan all required skills monthly or quarterly.
- Identify available potentials- Analyzing each person individually and displaying their capacity on a chart is not a wise option. It would be too confusing as everyone has their skillsets. You can use skill management in resource planning. This can be done by making teams as per the skill level of employees where planning will be done at the level of groups. Make sure to involve team leaders and provide the necessary tools like SharePoint during resource planning.
- Combine capacities and requirements- Once you have the skills and conditions for the project, you must find out how to combine them to give the best impact. Create resource diagrams or dashboards to change anything related to requirements and skills. To alter them, you need to make sure it is viewable on one page. Any changes in conditions or abilities should be visible, and the reason must be notified.
How to develop a capacity planning process
- Select a process owner- A process owner is assigned to develop, implement, maintain the capacity planning process and co-ordinate with other support groups. He must be able to communicate effectively with the developers because the success of the plan depends on the input of the feedback from developers. Along with these, he must have a good understanding of software components and configurations.
- Identify critical resources- Once the process owner is identified, you need to identify the resources to measure their performance and ensure they meet future capacity needs. The resources can be tools like network frameworks, access to specific software, or employees with the specified skill sets.
- Utilization and demand- An ITIL capacity plan focus on current and anticipated demand. It should also document short-term and long-term trends in utilization. The trend data shows the history and possible glimpses of the future; this data can be used as a baseline to make decisions.
- Level of detail- Although the capacity plan is a technical document, make it so detailed that the readers should not be confused. Most of the readers will be IT managers and technicians; they expect more details. Another audience set will be those who acquire your capacity plan, and they have a completely different view. Elaborate any issues or concerns that will impact the IT services and the steps taken to resolve them.