Visibility of resource capacity and demand isn't just important. It can be the difference between good decisions and bad ones.
To use an analogy, assume you need to buy a car. You have your checkbook in hand, but you have no idea what's in your checking account.
There are two kinds of people in this situation:
- The optimist, who takes a chances and hopes the check won't bounce.
- The pessimist (or perhaps realist), who doesn't want to take a chance and forgoes buying the car.
Both of these people can end up with bad outcomes. One may overextend their resources and the other may miss out on a car they very much need.
It's the same with organizational resource capacity. If you don't have a good picture of the complete set of demand that your people are faced with, how can you really know which projects you can afford to take on?
Maybe you'll take on too many projects, overloading your staff and causing excessive delays. It's been known to happen. Or maybe you'll decline a potentially valuable project that you just might have been able to staff using untapped skills in your organization.
It all boils down to a simple question.
Do you feel lucky? Or would you rather know for sure?
To avoid the Dirty Harry "Do you feel lucky" approach to project intake, be sure to have a prioritized inventory of your projects, an inventory of your people resources and their capacity, and at least a high level effort forecast of who's scheduled to work on which projects and when.
Equipped with better information, you'll find yourself getting luckier by the day.
Jerry Manas is the bestselling author of The Resource Management and Capacity Planning Handbook, Napoleon on Project Management, and more. At PDWare, Jerry helps clients improve strategy execution through tools and processes that align people and work with organizational priorities. Connect with Jerry on Twitter and LinkedIn