Capacity planning template

Stop project delays before they start. Learn how to create a capacity planning template in Asana to ensure your team has enough bandwidth to accomplish tasks on time.

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Your team is the life force behind every successful project. You need their time and expertise to move things forward, but sometimes it’s hard to predict everyone’s availability. With so many different projects and priorities bouncing around, you need a way to gauge your team’s bandwidth, make sure you’re setting realistic project deadlines, and adjust when project needs and resources change. 

That’s where a capacity planning template comes in. 

[Product ui] Capacity planning project in Asana, spreadsheet-style project view (List)

What is a capacity planning template? 

A capacity planning template is a reusable guide that helps gauge your team’s bandwidth for a specific project. It outlines all the steps you need to take to ensure you have enough team availability to accomplish project tasks on time. Thanks to your template, you know you’re not missing any key information that could lead to project delays. You can make sure you have the resources you need ahead of time—plus, make a plan to adapt if your project scope or team member availability changes.

Creating a capacity planning template takes just a bit of upfront effort, but it can save you time and hassle down the road. At the start of every new project, you can copy your template and fill in information like project tasks, required hours, and team member availability. Instead of starting from scratch for each new initiative, your template outlines every detail you need to consider to plan and adjust to changes. 

Read: Capacity planning: What it is and how to do it

The benefits of a digital capacity planning template

Capacity planning isn’t a one-time thing. You need to continuously monitor your team’s capacity throughout the course of a project in order to adjust to changing requirements and circumstances. That’s where a digital capacity planning template comes in handy. 

Instead of documenting project requirements and team bandwidth in a static document or Microsoft Excel template, a digital template lets you make changes in real time. As a result, you can adapt to changes on the fly by adding additional team members to your project, adjusting your project scope, or extending your project timeline

With a digital capacity planning template, you can: 

  • Compare current resources to required resources.

  • Update capacity requirements, team availability, and deadlines in real time.

  • Visualize how team resources and workload change over time. 

  • Easily share team capacity with stakeholders and other team members.

  • Plan team capacity in the same place work happens—so you don’t have to switch back and forth between different apps to get things done.

  • See whether you’re under, at, or over capacity at-a-glance. 

  • Automatically calculate hour totals for your project. 

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What to include in your capacity planning template

Your capacity planning template should include space for you to forecast anticipated project demands, calculate the capacity of your current team, and compare current capacity to required capacity. The easiest way to do this is by breaking your template into two sections—one for your team members, and another for your project tasks. 

In the project tasks section, include space to list out all the deliverables you need to complete, their deadlines, and required hours. You can also create custom fields to specify which project role is responsible for which task—like project manager, copywriter, or designer. Later, you can use this information to match team members to the right tasks based on their skill sets. 

In the team members section, list out everyone who will work on your project. Include columns to specify their available hours and the hours required of them. To make it crystal clear when team members are under- or over-capacity, create custom fields to specify the status of each person’s bandwidth. 

Manage team capacity with Workload

A capacity planning template is a great way to manage resources for specific projects. But if you have a large team or want to manage capacity across many projects at once, you may need a more bespoke workload management tool. In that case, Asana’s Workload feature can help by providing a visual snapshot of your team’s capacity—so you can see what everyone is working on across different initiatives. 

Integrated features

  • List View. List View is a grid-style view that makes it easy to see all of your project’s information at a glance. Like a to-do list or a spreadsheet, List View displays all of your tasks at once so you can not only see task titles and due dates, but also view any relevant custom fields like Priority, Status, or more. Unlock effortless collaboration by giving your entire team visibility into who’s doing what by when.

  • Custom fields. Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization. 

  • Start dates. Sometimes you don’t just need to track when a to-do is due—you also need to know when you should start working on it. Start times and dates give your team members a clear sense of how long each task should take to complete. Use start dates to set, track, and manage work to align your team's objectives and prevent dependencies from falling through the cracks. 

  • Adding tasks to multiple projects. The nature of work is cross-functional. Teams need to be able to work effectively across departments. But if each department has their own filing system, work gets stalled and siloed. Asana makes it easy to track and manage tasks across multiple projects. This doesn't just reduce duplicative work and increase cross-team visibility. It also helps your team see tasks in context, view who’s working on what, and keep your team and tasks connected.

Recommended apps

  • Jira. Create interactive, connected workflows between technical and business teams to increase visibility around the product development process in real-time—all without leaving Asana. Streamline project collaboration and hand offs. Quickly create Jira issues from within Asana so that work passes seamlessly between business and technical teams at the right time. 

  • Clockwise. With the Clockwise + Asana integration, you can add Asana tasks as time blocks in your Google Calendar. The Clockwise + Asana integration allows you to specify the duration of tasks, when they happen, and whether Clockwise can automatically reschedule them. Add tasks to your calendar and make time to get work done

  • Slack. Turn ideas, work requests, and action items from Slack into trackable tasks and comments in Asana. Go from quick questions and action items to tasks with assignees and due dates. Easily capture work so requests and to-dos don’t get lost in Slack. 

  • Zoom. Asana and Zoom are partnering up to help teams have more purposeful and focused meetings. The Zoom + Asana integration makes it easy to prepare for meetings, hold actionable conversations, and access information once the call is over. Meetings begin in Asana, where shared meeting agendas provide visibility and context about what will be discussed. During the meeting, team members can quickly create tasks within Zoom, so details and action items don’t get lost. And once the meeting is over, the Zoom + Asana integration pulls meeting transcripts and recordings into Asana, so all collaborators and stakeholders can review the meeting as needed.

How to use your capacity planning template

Once you create your capacity planning template, using it is simple. Here’s what to do: 

  1. Add all project tasks to the template. 

  2. Estimate time requirements for each task. To make your estimates as accurate as possible, consider how long it took to complete similar tasks in the past. 

  3. Decide which team member will be responsible for each task. 

  4. Ask your team to audit their schedules in order to determine their total available hours. To calculate available hours, determine the number of working days over the course of your project. Then subtract time for meetings, admin tasks, communications, breaks, and other projects. 

  5. Fill in each team member's available working hours and compare them to the hours required for each task. 

  6. As work progresses, make adjustments as necessary to ensure your team has enough available resources to complete your initiative. This can include deprioritizing other projects, adjusting your project scope, pushing back your project timeline, or recruiting other team members to work on your project. 

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FAQs

Do I need a capacity planning template?

If you routinely manage projects and stakeholders, a capacity planning template can save time each time you start a new initiative. It also helps you think about project resource planning and team bandwidth at the start of a project, so you can start planning early to avoid delays later.

When should I use a capacity planning template?

Create your capacity planning template before your project kicks off—ideally before you finalize your project timeline. That way, you can consider your team members’ availability when estimating how long the initiative will take.

Who should I share my capacity planning template with?

To be as transparent as possible, share your capacity planning template with your entire project team. That way, everyone knows what’s required of them and how their work impacts the project timeline. You can also share your capacity planning template with stakeholders to make it clear why deliverables take the time they do. When stakeholders see how carefully your team bandwidth is planned out, they may reconsider adding additional deliverables or last-minute requests.

What’s the difference between a capacity planning template and a resource management template?

A project capacity planning template is more specific than a resource management template. It details the exact hour requirements for each project deliverable and compares them to your team’s available hours—so you can see exactly where you’re under, at, or over capacity. 

On the other hand, a resource management template provides a high-level view of all the tasks your team members have on their plates. It’s more focused on balancing your team’s workload and avoiding overwork, rather than ensuring you have enough human resources and production capacity to complete a project.

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