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Libby Marks

How to Build & Read a Capacity Report

Want to understand capacity in your project-based business? Tasked with creating a capacity report but not sure how? Here’s what you need to know.

In project-based businesses and professional service firms, your capacity is the amount of work you can expect to deliver with the resources and hours available to you. It represents your ability to take on, deliver, and realize revenue from client projects. A capacity report tells you exactly how much you have to work with. So why doesn’t everyone use them?

Capacity planning is the key to achieving your strategic objectives and growth plans. But calculating how much capacity you have - for current projects and your future ambitions - can be challenging. 

There are different work schedules to consolidate. Varying skill levels, seniority, and cost to consider. And the shifting sands of client projects and scope. 

But it’s essential to get it right. Too much capacity means your business incurs unnecessary resource costs. Too little capacity and you’ll struggle to meet commitments and seize opportunities.

That’s where a capacity report comes to the rescue - both for real-time capacity management and long-term capacity planning. But how do you build one, read one, and use one to proactively manage capacity? 

[Not clear on capacity planning yet? Bookmark this article and read our Beginner’s Guide to Capacity Planning first].

What is a capacity report?

A capacity report reveals the capacity you have available to deliver services and take on new work - typically expressed as hours or a percentage. It compares your actual capacity with your confirmed and tentative workload. It includes data and calculations to help you with managing capacity in real-time and planning capacity for long-term needs.  

A capacity report helps project-based businesses to answer questions like:

  • Can we complete our confirmed work with the resources we have available?
  • Is any individual or group under or over-capacity?
  • Who’s available to take on confirmed but unscheduled work?
  • Do we have the bandwidth to take on additional projects?
  • What future projects can we onboard with current staffing?
  • Do we need to make changes to meet projected customer demand?
  • Who do we need to hire - and when?

It enables professional service businesses to protect against resource clashes - and the risk they pose to projects and profits - as well as surface extra capacity to take on additional work. It’s also integral to improving operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. 

Two types of capacity reports

Capacity reporting is helpful from a granular and bird’s eye view. 

  • Bird’s eye capacity reports look at the bigger picture of organizational capacity
  • Granular capacity reporting looks at the capacity individuals and teams have available

Granular capacity reports are essential for day-to-day project management, resource allocation, and operational efficiency. Whilst bird’s eye capacity reports support forward planning, especially aligning capacity to pipeline projects and strategic objectives. 

Granular capacity reports

With granular capacity reports, you can see the workload assigned to individual team members within your chosen reporting group - that might be everyone working on a particular project, or everyone with a particular skill set. 

As well as seeing an overview of where this group is reaching - or already over - capacity, you can dig down into the details. See what those overbooked resources are working on and start reallocating tasks and resources to resolve pending capacity issues - issues that could undermine project delivery, budget, and client satisfaction.

granular capacity report

Bird’s eye capacity reports

With bird’s eye capacity reports, you can visualize capacity across roles, teams, or your whole organization. Use a range of reporting types - such as capacity, availability, and utilization - for at-a-glance insights into capacity compared to confirmed workload. 

Filter to see capacity by specific groups - like person type and skills - to identify capacity and recruitment issues in time to take action. Learn more about business capacity and how to manage it.

capacity report

Understand how the demand stacks up against your team's workload and effective capacity with Runn. Flip a “tentative” project on or off, and instantly see how it affects your team's capacity. Glance at the capacity report, and within seconds, you'll pinpoint which team is feeling the squeeze. Gain the insights you need to have game-changing conversations with executives and stakeholders. Try for free today.

Benefits of creating a capacity report

The main benefit of creating a capacity report is that it lets you proactively manage capacity - to improve client outcomes, staff morale, operational efficiency, profitability, and more. A capacity report

  • Ensures resources are working at optimum levels - not bored or burned out - by providing an accurate understanding of your team’s workload 
  • Helps you assess the impact of confirmed and tentative projects - so you can optimize your pipeline for maximum ROI
  • Quantifies your hiring and contracting needs - so there’s no more guesswork or delays to recruiting the right people
  • Surfaces available capacity - so you can seize opportunities you might otherwise have missed
  • Protects profits, productivity, and reputation - by surfacing capacity issues before they become a problem 
  • Improve operational efficiency - by eliminating waste and maximizing resource utilization 

Related: How to Do Resource Capacity Planning (Theory & Practice)

How to build a capacity report

Do I need specialist software to create a capacity report?

You don’t have to use specialist software to create a capacity report. But it makes the process much faster, easier, and more actionable. A capacity report is most useful when it doesn’t JUST consider availability and capacity but also covers job roles, skills, seniority level, actual project allocations, utilization rate, and more. That additional information helps you take action on any capacity issues or opportunities you uncover.

You can create a basic capacity report manually but anything more detailed will take a data analyst’s time and expertise. Specialist software like Runn, on the other hand, provides intuitive self-serve tools that anyone can use. Sounds good? Check out the seven best capacity planning tools - free and paid!.

How to build a capacity report manually

  1. Decide the period that you want your capacity report to cover. It could be this week, month, quarter, or year. 
  2. Decide who you want to include in the capacity report. Do you want to look at capacity organization-wide or within a specific team or subset of colleagues (such as all of your web developers)?
  3. Work out your maximum capacity. That’s the sum of all of your resources’ hours minus the sum of all their time off. This gives you a realistic picture of the capacity you have available.
  4. Calculate your confirmed workload. That’s the sum of assignment hours in confirmed projects.
  5. Calculate your tentative workload. That’s the sum of assignment hours in tentative projects.
  6. Subtract your confirmed and tentative workload from your maximum capacity. This will show whether you have the capacity to take on more work or not.

How to automate capacity reporting with Runn 

  1. Decide the period that you want your capacity report to cover. It could be this week, month, quarter, or year. 
  2. Decide who you want to include in the capacity report. Do you want to look at capacity organization-wide or within a specific team or subset of colleagues (such as all of your web developers)?
  3. Go to the People Planner and select "Turn Charts on".
  4. Then, don't forget to  set your filters. In the image below, we're looking at the current capacity of our Developers, sorting by Role. 
  5. The chart shows capacity vs confirmed workload of our Developers, and this way we understand that in October, our developers are under capacity, while in November, they're overbooked. 
  6. Spotted capacity problems? You can Click into individual resources in the People Planner to see exactly which projects Developers are assigned to and what's causing overallocation. 
  7. Adjust the report parameters to see capacity over different periods.

How to read a capacity report 

A capacity report can provide actionable insights into lots of different factors. Here’s some typical information a capacity report can provide.

  • Availability - which individuals, groups, or skillsets have availability for more work
  • Capacity - when and where you’re going overcapacity and putting delivery at risk
  • Utilization - which individuals, groups, or skillsets are being under or over-used
  • Allocations - where individuals are allocated and when

How you read your capacity report will depend on the questions you’re trying to answer. 

For example, if you’re interested in surfacing capacity to take on new work in the next month, you might look at organizational capacity. 

Whereas if you want to know who to recruit for pipeline projects, you could explore utilization. Or, if you’re concerned about workload and ability to deliver particular projects, you could dive deeper into individual allocations and availability.

What to look out for:

  • Navy bars show when a resource is over capacity - this is a potential problem you need to resolve
  • Green bars show when a resource has availability and how much - this is an opportunity to allocate work
  • Blue bars show resources at capacity - aim for this as it means your resources are delivering maximum ROI
  • Notice the Resource Utilization chart at the top of the page - red indicates where the group is overcapacity. See how it corresponds to the navy bars below.
This chart shows team capacity over a given period. You can view it daily or weekly.

What to look out for

  • The purple background shows your capacity for the period - you can see at a glance when capacity dips due to annual leave, for example.
  • The blue bars show confirmed workload - you can easily see if you have the capacity for it by checking that the blue bars are LOWER than the purple background
  • The light blue bars show tentative projects on top of confirmed workload - this lets you assess whether proposed projects will take you over capacity
This chart shows team availability over a given period. You can view it daily or weekly over the period of time you select in the People Planner.

What to look for

  • The green bars represent availability to take on more work
  • The red bars represent times when you can’t take on more work - in fact, you’re overcapacity.

Capacity reports made easy with Runn 

If you’re ready to improve how you use your resources, surface unused capacity, futureproof your workforce, and create more revenue, you can hopefully see the benefits of capacity reports. 

And if you want to do all of that in a couple of clicks - instead of hours of manual data manipulation - hopefully you’ll see the benefit of using Runn.

TPG, one of Runn’s loyal customers, finds resource capacity planning particularly useful in their projects as they have around 600 people and somewhere between 30 and 40 projects running at the same time in Runn.

‍“I would ask any IT company that does in-house development to consider using Runn. It really does help you understand the demands on your team,” concludes Cindy, General Manager of IT Planning in TPG.

Shareholders, executives, or directors are always going to ask you to justify why you need such a large team. But using Runn, you can clearly demonstrate the demand and the workload. And that’s the information you need to have some very constructive conversations.

Continue reading: From Weeks to Two Days: How TPG Telecom Streamlined Their Capacity Planning with Runn.

Capacity reporting is just one of the invaluable tasks that Runn can automate for you. It’s the ultimate platform for project and resource management and includes intuitive tools to make everyone awesome at:

And you can try it for free today. Sign up now - no credit card necessary - to explore our test environment or set up something specific to your business.

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