15. Oct 2020Insight

Evolution of resource planning in the software development company

In today’s hyper-competitive business arena, companies are under constant pressure — to deliver more in less time and with fewer resources. Pressure on high productivity is tremendous. A professional resource management tool can help you overcome the challenges of handling and allocating resources.

But not all resource management tools are suitable for every company and sometimes it is not about the tool but the size of the company. Look at our 5-years evolution of human resources planning. Throughout those years we went from simple to complex solutions, through which we can plan resources for the entire company. Maybe you can learn something from it.

Resource planning tool: Mouth

When you have a few employees, commonly, you have only one project and you don’t need to plan the resources of your small team. The only thing that you need is your voice and good colleagues.

Employees: 1–5
Active projects: 1–2

developer planning capacity

Resource planning tool: Paper sticks on board, Google calendar

A successful project leads to more business with more developers. The first step is to divide one team into sub-teams. In our case: Web, Android, iOS, Design, Management, and QA team.

It is quite simple to plan capacities when you have smaller teams. Even if they cooperate on a project the necessity of software is not so urgent. The only thing that you need is to visualize it somewhere. You should try Google Calendar

Employees: 5–10
Active projects: 2–5

capacity planning in it company

Resource planning tool: Custom made excel sheet

It’s becoming very hard to keep all projects/employees visually updated as you grow, so you are starting to realize that Excel is a great tool for everything. :) So you create your first excel sheet. It looks very bad, it is very hard to manage everything there but it fulfills your purpose.

Employees: 10–20
Active projects: 5–10

Resource planning excel sheet

Resource planning tool: Improved resource planning excel sheet + meetings

It is pain to use your custom made excel sheet as I have mentioned before and you are going to try to find alternatives. I have found a resource allocation template that provides an overview of the human resources (expressed as work hours, project requirements). It was better than a custom made solution but you have to make much more effort to keep it up to date. This also requires to have more meetings.

20–30 Employees
Active projects: 10–20

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30+ Employees and 20+ active projects

What is the number when you realize that you have to move away from static and unreliable spreadsheets? In my opinion, it is 30 employees and 20+ active projects.

To ensure that your team is effectively deployed, you need two things:

  • regular capacity planning
  • correct capacity visualization

Capacity planning

The best way to plan capacities is to meet regularly with platform leaders, project managers, and sales. This is the best people who can help you with the business priorities of the team. In our case, we have a capacity meeting once per week. 

Result of capacity meeting:

  • rotations of developers on projects
  • ensuring projects are being delivered in time and within the budget
  • action steps to ensure better effectivity of teams
  • outputs for hiring

Capacity visualization

As you could see in the previous parts of the article, I have spent a really lot of time looking for the right visualization tool when I realized that it will be best to use the software made for my problem.

Planning software that I have tried: Float, Timely, Hub Planner, and Tempo Planner.

These solutions are pretty good and each of them has some great pros but also some cons. For us connection with the Atlassian is crucial since we are trying to benefit from a consistent environment:

  • Jira: task management
  • Confluence: all documentation, meeting notes, retrospectives, project cards, etc.
  • Tempo timesheet: time tracking

We chose Tempo Planner. An effective tool to plan resources and report on capacity in Jira.

Connection to Jira offers us better reports. We can easily report planned time and logged time in tempo timesheet. Nice tools for project planning, since Tempo planner is not only suitable for the planning resources but you can also plan the whole project there.

We are looking forward to the next challenges which will come with 100+ employees :)

And what about you and resource planning? What kind of planning&visualization do you use? Let me know, you can write me on LinkedIn.

Martin Macík
Martin MacíkHead of Business