Searching for a capacity planning tool?
A capacity planning tool is one of the easiest ways to deal with incoming workloads. It gives you accurate insights about your resource capacity, helping you deal with varying business requirements.
It also helps you avoid that dreaded scenario where you promise to deliver on a huge project before having to draft an email that says: “so…there were some issues we didn’t foresee…”
Don’t be that company.
Be a company that cares about capacity planning.
However, with thousands of capacity planning software options available today, which one should you go for?
In this article, we’ll help you decide just that.
We’ll highlight what to look for in a capacity planning tool and the 3 excellent capacity planning tools in 2020 to help you out.
This Article Contains:
(click on the links below to jump to a specific section)
- What is a capacity planning tool?
- How to choose a capacity planning tool?
- 3 excellent capacity planning tools in 2020
(includes key features, pros, cons, pricing, and user ratings)
Let’s jump right in!
What Is A Capacity Planning Tool?
Capacity planning software helps companies evaluate their resource capacity needs to keep up with demand fluctuations in the market.
But what are these resources?
A resource can be anything that a business needs, from people and technology to infrastructure and financial resources.
So how do capacity planning tools help?
Sorta like a magic crystal ball, capacity planning tools help a resource manager forecast future resource needs and ensure you have adequate capacity to meet them.
And the best part is, you don’t have to be a psychic to use one!
Here’s a quick rundown of some benefits of using a capacity planning software:
- Eliminates guesswork from demand forecasts and resource planning
- Easily identifies any existing and potential process bottleneck
- Streamlines capacity management workflows
- Analyzes your team’s workload and productivity
- Automates routine resource scheduling processes
- Ensures that you have adequate capacity to meet demands
But remember, you need a dedicated capacity planning tool for this.
A capacity planning template in Excel isn’t going to give you all this. I mean, it might give you a headache, but that’s about it!
Have more questions about capacity planning and capacity management?
How To Choose A Capacity Planning Software?
Look, we get it.
Choosing a capacity planning tool from the thousands of software available today can be as hard as deciding on the next Netflix series to binge on.
And like how Netflix gives you a lot of genres, each capacity planning tool comes with various capacity management features.
While the functionality you need ultimately comes down to your unique business requirements, here are 3 essential features for excellent capacity planning software:
1. Real-time reporting and analytics features
For effective capacity planning, a resource manager first needs actionable data!
Even if your capacity plan is data-focused, manually keeping track of everything going on in a business is simply impossible. Unless, of course, you’ve photographic memory, like Mike Ross from the Suits series.
That’s why a capacity planning tool must be able to analyze your company’s resource availability and utilization to generate real-time reports that break down these details.
The reports can be anything from your team’s workload distribution to your resource utilization rates over a given day.
This way, you’ll have reliable and actionable data regarding your team’s capacity, helping you easily determine if your current capacity is enough to meet incoming workloads.
2. Automation capabilities
Why should a capacity planning software need a workflow automation feature?
Capacity planning and resource planning go hand-in-hand. And scheduling activities involve a lot of repetitive processes that don’t really require human intervention.
Performing these tasks manually will cost you valuable time and resources. That’s resources you could use to plan things with instead!
A capacity planning software with built-in workflow automation features will help you out here.
Usually, all you have to do to set up an automation workflow is to create triggers, conditions, and corresponding actions. Triggers are events that start the automation process when the condition is true and the action defines what the software should perform.
You can now focus your resources on stuff that matters most, like scrolling through Netflix, or planning your project calendars.
3. Integrations with the software you use
Different business operations require different tools.
For example, some tools specifically cater to supply chain management, while others are best for managing project teams.
Don’t expect your capacity planning tool to handle everything you throw at it.
Instead, choose a capacity management tool that integrates with popular workplace software, like communication, time tracking, and file-sharing apps.
Not only will this bridge the workflow gap between all the software you use, but you’ll also be able to manage your resources across the board.
Top 3 Capacity Planning Tools In 2020
You now know what to look for in a great capacity planning software.
But where do you start looking?
Don’t worry! You don’t have to go through the countless online review pages because we’ve done the homework for you. (Where were we when you were in school, amirite?)
Just go through our curated list of the top 3 capacity planning tools available today to determine what works best for your business needs:
Used by 100,000+ ultra-productive teams across startups and tech giants like Google, Ubisoft, and Nike, it’s the one-stop solution for all your capacity planning and project management needs.
How does ClickUp help in the capacity planning process?
For accurate capacity planning, a capacity planner must first understand their available capacity. For example, if you know your team’s task completion rate, you’ll be able to determine if they can handle an increased workload or not.
And with ClickUp’s Workload view feature, understanding available capacity is as easy as opening up your Netflix app!
You can plan and visualize your team’s capacity across any given day, helping you gauge individual workloads and identify if someone is overworked.
Weekly capacity is evenly split from Monday–Friday, with the weekends having zero capacity.
After all, Saturdays/Sundays are for sleeping or binge-watching the latest Netflix show!
However, if you’ve employees working on the weekends or follow different weekends altogether, you can customize the feature accordingly.
To measure your team’s capacity, all you have to do is use a metric like:
- Tasks: number of tasks they can wrap up in a day
- Hours: number of hours they are available
- Points: measure capacity using an Agile or Scrum points system
Then, set the capacity for any team member accordingly and watch this project management software do its magic!
Other key ClickUp features
Here are some other ClickUp features that make the capacity planning process a cakewalk:
- Pulse: get a real-time view of your remote or in-house team’s activity levels on any day
- Timeline view: see current tasks and plan the next ones across days, weeks, or months
- Gantt Charts: manage your project timelines with automated Gantt chart functionality
- Dashboard and Reporting: manage resources using customizable graphs like Velocity, Burnup, Burndown, and Cumulative Flow charts. ClickUp also gives you several productivity reports for real-time analytics of your on-site or virtual team’s performance.
- Box view: know who has too much on their plate and who is underworked for efficient resource allocation
- Profiles: manage your team’s time better by knowing what each member has worked on, what they’re currently doing, and what’s up next
- Mind Maps: visualize your capacity plan or production plan as free form mind maps
- Native Time Tracking: track the time your projects and tasks take right inside ClickUp
- Highly user-friendly and intuitive interface
- Offers customizable features for Agile teams like Scrum and Kanban teams
- Create all sorts of documents with the Docs feature
- Drag and drop functionality for easy resource management
- Always attempt tasks in the right order using task Dependencies
- Powerful team performance monitoring features
- Set task Priorities to help teams tackle urgent tasks first
- Automate 50+ repetitive project management tasks
- Customize task Statuses according to your project needs
- Integrates with several popular workplace tools like Google Drive, Zoom, and Slack
- Available as desktop, browser, mobile, and voice apps
- Dashboards can’t be exported
- Can’t use tags with Docs
Check out ClickUp’s roadmap here to see how we’re fixing these minor drawbacks. You can also see all the exciting features that this resource management tool has in store for you!
ClickUp offers a Free Forever Plan that comes with powerful project management features. For added functionality, go for the paid plans that start at just $5/user per month.
ClickUp user ratings
- G2: 4.7/5 (1200+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.7/5 (2000+ reviews)
2. Resource Guru
Resource Guru is a resource management app that helps identify overloaded human resources when there’s high resource demand but low resource availability. However, this guru doesn’t dish out knowledge for free since they only have paid plans!
Resource Guru key features
- Booking Clash feature alerts you if a specific resource isn’t available for scheduling
- Can see everyone’s schedule on a calendar
- Leave management system for handling employee time offs
- Monitor the utilization rate of all your resources
Resource Guru pros
- Can filter out a resource using custom fields like skills, department, etc.
- Use the drag and drop feature for easy resource scheduling
- Can keep tabs on overworked project team members
- Has an availability bar that shows you who’s free and when
Resource Guru cons
- No free version available
- Lacks native integrations with popular workplace tools
- No Gantt chart functionality
Resource Guru pricing
The paid plans for this capacity management tool start at $3/user per month.
Resource Guru user ratings
- G2: 4.6/5 (50+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4.5/5 (200+ reviews)
3. IQMS ERP Software
IQMS is an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software for large companies in automotive, packaging, and other discrete manufacturing industries.
However, as IQMS is mostly a manufacturing capacity planning tool, it’s not the best solution for software development and other project management teams.
IQMS ERP key features
- Detailed supply chain planning and management
- Advanced resource planning and resource scheduling system
- Capacity forecasting module gives a snapshot of current capacity and projected demands
- Can quickly identify any bottleneck in the manufacturing workflow
IQMS ERP pros
- Built-in Gantt chart to track project completion
- Can export data to Microsoft Excel and Word
- Supports real-time collaborative forecasting
- Has a time and attendance tracker for easy payroll management
IQMS ERP cons
- Steep learning curve as it involves managing several modules
- Doesn’t integrate with tools like Slack and Google Drive
- Limited flexibility with standard reports
IQMS ERP pricing
Contact sales for custom pricing.
IQMS ERP user ratings
- G2: 4.2/5 (30+ reviews)
- Capterra: 4/5 (180+ reviews)
FAQs About Capacity Planning
Since capacity planning is such an extensive topic, we assume you might have a few questions. But don’t worry, we’re going to answer all of them:
Wish your high school teachers were as helpful as us, right? 😉
1. What are the benefits of capacity planning?
Capacity planning (otherwise known as demand forecasting or demand planning) helps you:
- Ensure resource availability for varying demands
- Prevent resource overloading and underloading
- Understand your production schedule
- Identify skill gaps in your organization
- Manage resource allocation easily
- Streamline supply chain management
2. What are the types of capacity planning?
There are three types of resource capacity planning:
- Workforce capacity planning: focused on ensuring that you have the necessary human resources for doing the project/task
- Product capacity planning: makes sure you have enough products/raw materials for your deliverables
- Tools/equipment capacity planning: ensures you have the tools/equipment required for a specific task/project
3. What is capacity planning in Agile?
In Agile project management, resource capacity planning helps you determine how many story points your project team can complete in a particular sprint. For this, a planner mainly considers variables like the team size, sprint length, and the number of productive hours each day.
For more information on Agile project management, click here.
4. How do you do capacity planning?
A capacity planner can take any of these three key approaches for capacity planning:
- Lead strategy: the lead strategy is a popular capacity forecasting technique, where a planner increases resource capacity by anticipating high resource demand
- Lag strategy: in the lag strategy, a planner increases resource capacity only when there’s actual demand or when the organization’s resource utilization rate is 100%
- Match strategy: in this capacity planning strategy, a capacity planner closely monitors demand fluctuations and increases current capacity in small amounts
Want to learn more about capacity planning? Click here.
Sure, choosing the perfect capacity planning software can seem as daunting as browsing through Netflix.
Just when you decide on watching something, there’ll be another show that immediately steals the spotlight!
Simply review the capacity planning tools we listed here to easily choose the right one for your needs.
And while tools like Resource Guru and IQMS can help you out, they don’t come anywhere near the flexibility and functionality offered by ClickUp.
With a wide variety of powerful features, from Workload view to Pulse (many of them are 100% free btw), ClickUp is clearly the best solution for effective capacity planning and project management.
Sign up for free today to stay on top of your capacity management game!
Holly is a Coaching Program Manager at ClickUp, where she helps demystify how to set up Workspaces for max productivity. When she’s not thinking through complicated use cases and set up ideas, you can find her playing her harp or tossing a ball to her dog, Dingdong.