Capacity planning, also known as workforce planning and manpower planning, have long been used in industrial operations and other manufacturing companies. Now, as the average office looks at streamlining their operations, capacity planning is becoming more widely utilized.
What is Capacity Planning?
Capacity planning is an arrangement in which a company matches employees to the needs of a project. This can be used to maximize output, forecast staffing needs, and schedule work. Capacity can be measured by the number of hours employees in your department work each week. With 10 employees that work 40 hours each week, a team has a maximum capacity of 400 hours each month. Adjustments can be made for expected PTO or sick time.
To plan capacity, an average amount of time or effort is estimated for different types of tasks or projects so that managers can understand who has available capacity (time to work on a new project) and who does not.
Legal Operations + Capacity Planning
Legal operations professionals can capitalize on and reap the benefits of workforce planning. Why do you need capacity planning in your legal department? There are a number of reasons, but three of these are: appropriately planning projects, justifying staff changes, and tracking work status.
1. Plan Projects
Capacity planning lets teams plan project timelines more effectively. By understanding the needs of a project, how much time it will take to complete, and what team members already have on their plates, team leaders can set realistic deadlines. Managers who plan capacity have easy documentation to justify timelines to leadership.
2. Justify Staffing Changes
Building on setting realistic deadlines, capacity reporting helps managers justify changes to their staff. Whether they need to bring on a temporary team member to complete a project on time, need to recruit a new head, or need more of certain positions and less of others. Reporting is a great argument for investing in capacity planning software. Real-time reports and forecasts can be pulled in seconds, allowing managers to focus on revenue-generating work.
3. Track Work Status and Who has Capacity
Capacity planning keeps a tight grasp on what stage your legal work is in. You’ll easily know what’s prioritized, who is working on it, and what the rest of their workload entails. Workforce planning lets you see which staff members are overwhelmed – perhaps you rely on them heavily because you trust them, but they are burning out while other team members have time to spare.
When working in a legal department, you have better things to do than create an elaborate capacity planning process. That’s why ALOE has capacity planning functions built-in to our software. For no extra cost, you can use our patented Workpoints tool. You’ll have everything you need to track your work, assign to the team member with the most availability, and pull reports on pending and completed work.