June 23, 2023
10 min.

From 0 to an IT Resource Capacity Planning Prototype


The Importance of Resource Capacity Management

In the fast-paced world of business, where every second counts and every resource matters, the concept of resource capacity management has become a game-changer. It’s not just about having resources; it’s about managing them effectively to maximize productivity and efficiency. It’s about ensuring that your business has the right resources, at the right time, to meet your strategic goals.

SteepConsult: who are we and why should you care about us?

We are a boutique management consulting company that’s been making waves in the industry with its unique, human-centred approach to business solutions. We’re not just consultants; we’re partners, working hand-in-hand with companies to translate their vision into a efficient operating models. In the past, we helped 5 of our clients on the topic of Resource Capacity Planning. For instance, favorite stories of ours are when we restored trust between IT and Business or when we did a complete overhaul of the IT governance ecosystem.

Our Webinar on Resource Capacity

Recently, we hosted a webinar titled “From 0 to a resource capacity management POC in 3 months with Excel”. The webinar was a treasure trove of insights, practical tips, and expert advice on implementing resource capacity management.

This article aims to distill the key takeaways from the webinar and present them in a digestible format. Whether you’re a demand and capacity manager, an IT program manager, or a contract manager, we hope there’s something in here for you to gain. So, buckle up and get ready for a deep dive into the world of resource capacity management!

Understanding Resource Capacity Management

Defining Resource Capacity Management

Let’s start with the basics. What is resource capacity management? In simple terms, it’s the process of ensuring that a business has the right resources, in the right quantities, at the right time. It’s about balancing supply and demand, managing constraints, and optimizing the use of resources. But it’s not just about numbers and spreadsheets. It’s about people, processes, and culture. It’s about understanding the unique needs of your business and tailoring a solution that fits.

Defining Resource Capacity Planning

Resource Capacity Planning is an approach of Resource Management that aims to ensure an organization has sufficient resources to meet the demands of its projects and operations. It’s about aligning the available resources – be it personnel, equipment, or technology – with the tasks and projects that need to be accomplished. It involves forecasting future resource needs based on current demand, project timelines, and strategic objectives.

In the context of IT, Resource Capacity Planning becomes even more critical. It’s not just about managing the number of IT personnel. It’s about understanding the skills and capabilities within the team, the time required for various tasks, and the overall workload. It’s about ensuring that the IT department can effectively support the organization’s goals without overloading its resources.

Effective Resource Capacity Planning can lead to improved efficiency, better project outcomes, and a more strategic use of resources. However, it’s not a one-and-done process. It requires continuous monitoring and adjustment to respond to changes in demand, project timelines, and strategic objectives.

Common Misconceptions and Challenges

Resource capacity management is often misunderstood. Some see it as a rigid, bureaucratic process that stifles creativity and innovation. Others see it as a magic bullet that can solve all their resource problems overnight. The truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle. Resource capacity management is a tool, and like any tool, it’s only as good as the person using it. It requires a deep understanding of your business, a clear vision of your goals, and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Strategic Business Goals and Capacity Management

Why is resource capacity management important? Because it’s a key driver of strategic business goals. Whether you’re looking to increase efficiency, reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, or drive innovation, effective resource capacity management can help you get there. It’s not just about doing more with less; it’s about doing the right things, in the right way, to deliver the right results. It’s about making sure that your resources are aligned with your strategic goals, and that your strategic goals are aligned with your resources.

Why should you care about Resource Capacity Management?

Identifying the Problems

So, how do you know if your business needs resource capacity management?

Well, there are a few tell-tale signs.

Maybe you’re constantly firefighting, jumping from one crisis to the next. Maybe your projects are always running late, or your costs are spiraling out of control. Maybe your resources are stretched thin, or your team is burnt out. These are all symptoms of a deeper problem: a lack of effective resource capacity management.

Symptoms of Lack of Effective Capacity Management

These symptoms can have serious consequences.

They can lead to missed deadlines, cost overruns, poor quality, low morale, and dissatisfied customers. But they can also provide valuable insights. They can help you identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and opportunities for improvement. They can help you understand where your resources are being wasted, and where they could be better utilized. They can help you make informed decisions about where to invest your time, money, and effort.

Insights from the Webinar Poll

During our webinar, we conducted a poll to understand the most common issues faced by our attendees. The results were enlightening. Most attendees reported struggling with:

  1. resource allocation,
  2. demand management,
  3. and forecasting.

Others cited challenges with data quality, process maturity, and stakeholder buy-in. These issues are not unique to our attendees; they are common challenges faced by businesses across industries and geographies.

But the good news is, they can be addressed through effective resource capacity planning!

Best practices on Implementing Resource Capacity Management

The Importance of Starting Small

One of the key lessons we’ve learned from our experience with resource capacity management is the importance of starting small. Jumping straight toward a tool from the start of the project has a 99% chance of leading to failure if organizations do not have the culture & process in place.

Instead, we recommend taking baby steps. Start with a small project, a single team, or a specific resource. Learn from your successes and failures, and gradually scale up your efforts. This approach reduces risk, builds momentum, and allows for more effective learning and adaptation.

Involving Everyone in the Process

Another key lesson is the importance of involving everyone in the process. Resource capacity management is not just a job for senior management or the PMO. It requires the active participation of everyone in the organization, from the CEO to the front-line staff. Everyone has a role to play, and everyone has valuable insights to contribute. By involving everyone in the process, you can build buy-in, foster a culture of continuous improvement, and ensure that your resource capacity management efforts are grounded in the realities of your business.

Our step-by-step approach for Resource Capacity Planning

At SteepConsult, we’ve developed a seven-step approach to implementing resource capacity planning.

It’s NOT a one-size-fits-all solution, but a flexible framework that can be adapted to the unique needs of your business.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Define,
  2. Measure,
  3. Analyze,
  4. Improve,
  5. Control,
  6. Standardize,
  7. Repeat.

This approach emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement and iterative development.

It’s not about getting it perfect the first time (that will probably not happen).

It’s about learning, adapting, and showing improving results to your management over time.

The Role of Prototyping in Resource Capacity Management

Prototyping for Effective Processes

In the world of resource capacity management, prototyping is a powerful tool. It allows you to test your processes, gather feedback, and make improvements before rolling out a full-scale implementation. It’s about learning by doing, and failing fast to succeed sooner. At SteepConsult, we’re big believers in the power of prototyping. We’ve seen firsthand how it can help businesses identify data gaps, validate assumptions, and fine-tune their processes.

Benefits of Using a Prototype

The benefits of using a prototype in resource capacity management are manifold. First and foremost, it provides immediate feedback!

Here’s what happens when you use a prototype for Resource Capacity Planning:

  • You see how your processes work in practice, not just in theory.
  • You identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and opportunities for improvement.
  • You test different scenarios, experiment with different approaches, and learn from your mistakes.

And perhaps most importantly, you can involve your stakeholders in the process, giving them a sense of ownership and buy-in.

SteepConsult’s Experience with Prototyping

At SteepConsult, we’ve used prototyping to help numerous businesses implement effective resource capacity management. We’ve seen how it can transform the way businesses manage their resources, driving efficiency, productivity, and strategic alignment. We’ve seen how it can empower teams, foster innovation, and drive cultural change. And we’ve seen how it can deliver tangible business results, from cost savings and time savings to improved customer satisfaction and business growth.

Staying True to Your Company Culture

Adapting Methodologies to Fit the Culture

Every company has its own unique culture, and this culture plays a crucial role in resource capacity management. It’s not about imposing a one-size-fits-all methodology, but about adapting the methodology to fit the culture. At SteepConsult, we understand the importance of cultural fit. We know that the most effective resource capacity management processes are those that align with the company’s values, beliefs, and ways of working.

Avoiding Forced Methodologies

Forcing book-learned methodologies onto a company can lead to resistance, confusion, and ultimately, failure. It’s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; it just doesn’t work. Instead, we recommend a more flexible, adaptable approach. Use the methodologies as a guide, not a rulebook. Take what works, discard what doesn’t, and don’t be afraid to make your own rules. Remember, the goal is not to implement a methodology, but to improve your resource capacity management.

Creating Your Own Way of Working

At the end of the day, the most successful companies are those that create their own way of working. They don’t blindly follow the latest trends or buzzwords; they carve their own path. They understand their strengths, their weaknesses, their opportunities, and their threats. And they use this understanding to design resource capacity management processes that work for them.

There is No Shortcut for Managing Change

When it comes to implementing new processes like resource capacity management, it’s crucial to remember that there’s no shortcut for managing change. Change, especially in the context of established company cultures, can be challenging. It’s not just about introducing new tools or processes; it’s about shifting mindsets, altering habits, and sometimes, challenging the status quo.

In the face of change, resistance IS a common (and expectec) reaction. This is where the importance of staying true to your company culture comes into play!

Instead of imposing changes that may clash with the existing culture, the changes should be introduced in a way that aligns with the company’s values and ways of working. This approach not only reduces resistance but also fosters acceptance and facilitates a smoother transition.

We had our best results on managing Change at such scale by to implement a network of Change Ambassadors.

One more good old adage: change is a journey, not a sprint!

It requires patience, persistence, and a deep understanding of your company’s culture. By respecting your culture and managing change effectively, you can ensure that your resource capacity management efforts are successful and sustainable.


Recap of Key Points

So, there you have it! A deep dive into the world of resource capacity management, courtesy of SteepConsult.

  • We’ve discussed what resource capacity management is, why it’s important, and how to implement it.
  • We’ve explored the role of prototyping, the importance of cultural fit, and the benefits of starting small.
  • We’ve shared insights from our webinar, from our experts, and from our audience.

But remember, this is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much more to learn, and so much more to do.

What’s next?

If you found this article helpful, we encourage you to watch the full webinar by Jean-Marie & Meghann for more detailed insights. You’ll hear from our experts, see real-world examples, and get practical tips you can apply in your own business. And if you’re ready to take the next step, we’re here to help.

Whether you’re just starting out with resource capacity management, or looking to take your efforts to the next level, we would be happy to join forces with you.

Watch the complete webinar and download the slides