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A Capacity Planner: How Many Can You Lift?

A Capacity Planner: How Many Can You Lift?

“If I am a capacity planner, then I am always looking for optimal functionality, but really, what do I do?”

 

Who is a capacity planner? A capacity planner gathers performance data and measures the output to determine optimal fit within the production scheduling. A person in this position is normally at the business unit level, but there are enterprise level capacity planners that look at the whole organization, such as Resource Forecasters or Resource Estimators. A business unit capacity planner may be called a Performance Manager or a Performance Engineer among other titles, but who are they really? Every job is more than just a title.

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Asset Development

Asset Development

“If I create innovation assets, then I can be monetized for my efforts, but I don’t know how to build assets.”

Information Assets such as market evidence, problem statements, business plans, features, roadmaps, requirements, and product launches are developed, and depending on which assets are used, will produce a very different product.

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Capacity Planning Readiness Check-list

Capacity Planning Readiness Check-list

ARE YOU READY FOR CAPACITY PLANNING?

I find that organizations are evenly divided across the three levels of readiness: chaos, visibility, and controlled/optimized. Only about 5 percent of the ready organizations were at the highest "optimized" level, ready with advanced capabilities such as ensuring the best-fit resource for the highest-value work, ongoing resource planning for adapting to change, and the ability to perform what-if simulations.

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Capacity Planning Transitions

Capacity Planning Transitions

"If we continue to improve our resource and capacity planning capability, then we’ll experience lower resource costs, increased amounts of ‘On-Time’ projects, and less conflict, but we will have to make changes in the organization."

Formalizing the process

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Capacity Planning: How Long Can You Lift it?

Capacity Planning: How Long Can You Lift it?

“If you want to determine the production capacity and the plan necessary to meet the changing demands for its products and services, then you have done sufficient capacity planning, but what strategy and steps were taken to develop your plans?”

It should be self-evident as to why an organization should care about capacity planning. No one wants to be in the situation where they have tons of people with nothing to do or to have too many projects and not enough people. As work piles up you are unable to become more efficient or grow as a company. You are unable to do much more than fight the fires. A company that has done sufficient capacity planning understands their priorities, the resource availability, the cash flow, as well as the intricacies of their time frame. Every project matters!

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Capacity Planning: How Much Can You Lift?

Capacity Planning: How Much Can You Lift?

“If I invest significant resources to capacity planning, then I understand the production capacity needed to meet the changing demands, but I am not sure what capacity planning really entails.”

My morning is never complete without a cup of coffee. So, when I first came across the term “capacity planning,” I automatically went to my regular morning struggle, how much coffee can I put into this travel mug without burning myself? This might seem trivial, but it is a delicate process. How big is the mug? Do I want to leave room for cream? How much cream? If your calculation is even slightly off you burn yourself at some point, have a subpar cup of joe, or you managed to cheat yourself out of some coffee.

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Capitalization of Ideas

Capitalization of Ideas

“If I develop ideas for new products and features, then I should be able to make some money from it, but I don’t know how to convert ideas to solutions, nor distribute those solutions so that they are profitable.”

Some types of information assets are more readily turned into cash than others. When information assets are close to being turned into cash, it's easy enough to recognize it as the intellectual capital of a firm or person. As information moves further and further away from liquidity, it may become harder and harder to recognize it as intellectual property, or an information asset.

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Centralized vs Decentralized Product Management

What every executive should know about organizational structures in product management.

In my years of speaking with organizations, one question continues to come up – how do we better align our product teams with the business and development organizations to drive growth. It’s a tough challenge, and one that executives try to address by deciding on if the product management team reports to an enterprise management team, or an individual GM/BU leader. On one hand you can drive a corporate wide strategy and optimize development investments across your entire portfolio. On the other hand, you can get deep vertical expertise to drive change that really moves the needle for a specific business. I always compare it to an age old saying – you just don’t know what you don’t know.

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Define Acceptance Criteria

Define Acceptance Criteria

“If projects have defined acceptance criteria, then project managers will be able to better manage stakeholder expectations, but how project outcomes will meet the needs should be discussed and documented early in the planning.”

Boy oh boy! Isn’t it “fun" trying to define acceptance criteria? You have to know your requirements cold. And usually, you have to do this early on in the project scope when you know least about the project.

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Do You Educate Your Market?

A step that product management teams often skip in the innovation process is working with the customers on what to expect in the next product release. The success of a new product release often hinges on the relationship between the product management team and the existing customers.

When that relationship goes smoothly, the new product initiative does as well. There are many factors to keeping that relationship on track, but perhaps none is as important as educating the customers on what to expect.

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Estimates and Resource Availability

Estimates and Resource Availability

"If we accurately estimate the task duration, then we can tell how many and when we’ll need resources, but estimation methods should be consistent, and we will need to gain more control over the project environment."

Despite numerous estimation methods and approaches, if resources get pulled off projects unexpectedly or aren't available for any reason, the estimate will end up being inaccurate. A project manager can certainly enter an initial "best-guess" task duration, but then, upon assigning resources, the duration must be revisited based on the estimated effort and the availability of the resources. This takes collaboration between project and resource managers, and can become an iterative process back and forth. Then if it turns out that resource availability is indeed an issue, there are other factors to consider that often go overlooked. The inaccurate estimate is just the beginning.

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FEATURE DEFINITION WITH VALUE

FEATURE DEFINITION WITH VALUE

"The feature is a capability that you strive to deliver, and is the basis for your perceived value." Visualization Accessibility Lasting Impact User-Centered Evolved Expectations

The first thing I noticed as we pulled into the driveway was that the house seemed to stand out. I knew it wasn’t the design. Throughout the neighborhood the homes shared a similar architecture. Yet, the paint seemed to be brighter, even though it was a pastel tan. Yes, the grass was healthier, but that wasn't it. Looking in through the windows, I noticed lovely curtains and I thought the rooms all seemed to shine brightly. Still, other homes had nice curtains too.

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Feature Validation and Verification

Feature Validation and Verification

“If the features of the product or service you have selected to produce are validated and verified, then it will be more likely that the project development investment will increase your competitive edge, but you should consider discovering what customers do in addition to what they say about your product or service.”

Focus Groups

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Features, Product Strategy, and Product Lines

Features, Product Strategy, and Product Lines

“If you create products with reusable features, then you can offer the same features in multiple product lines and gain a cost advantage, but make sure the product lines offering those features remain aligned to the product strategy.”

Great cost advantages can be gained by creating products with features that are reusable in other of your products in one line or another. The trick is understanding how the proposed and prioritized features align with product line strategies and how they support the overall product and/or corporate strategy.

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Finding a Completion Date

Finding a Completion Date

"If we begin our Integrated PM journey, then we will gain increases in project performance, but we will need to define the scope of the Integrated PM System, and determine a completion date."

There's a cartoon, like the one above, that's probably posted in every auto mechanic's garage on the planet. In the cartoon, there's a bunch of people rolling around laughing uncontrollably. Above all this mayhem is the caption, "You want it when?" Of course, as an Integrated PM System project manager, you can't take that same approach, but a reasonable deadline must be enforced.

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How Better Product Management Boosts Profits

Profits gained from product initiatives are driven by two factors: the selling price of your product, and its total cost. The difference between the selling price and its cost is profit, both of which are impacted by product management.

Let's take a look at cost. How does better product management impact cost?

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Innovation and PM

OK, so are you a member of the Product Management Team or Innovation Group? Are you a product manager, or an innovation controller? What is the difference between innovation and product management? I think the problem resides in the definition of these two concepts; product management and innovation.

So let's grab the Oxford Dictionary and take a look. It tells us that innovation is "The action of innovating; introducing a new product into the market; a product newly brought on to the market. To change (a thing) into something new; to alter to make new; to make changes in something established."

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Innovation or Product Management

Innovation or Product Management

OK, so are you a member of the Product Management Team or Innovation Group? Are you a product manager, or an innovation controller? What is the difference between innovation and product management? I think the problem resides in the definition of these two concepts; product management and innovation.

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Integrated PM System and PPM Goals

Integrated PM System and PPM Goals

"If we begin our Integrated PM journey, then we will benefit from project performance improvement in terms of increased perceived value and decreases in operational costs, but we will need to spend some time in setting goals, objectives and strategies of the system, and our PPM discipline."

1) Goals

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Integrated PM Without PPM and a Growing Technical Debt

Integrated PM Without PPM and a Growing Technical Debt

"If we exclude PPM in our Integrated PM system, then we won’t need to learn PPM, but there are some typical costs associated with not having the PPM discipline within our Integrated PM system.”

HERE, PUT THIS ON- SEE IF IT INCREASES YOUR PERFORMANCE!

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