Utilization tracking can help ensure that your team’s busy, but not burnt out. This planning metric is important to monitor, and luckily in Ganttic, is done automatically. Here we will give you a brief introduction to utilization tracking, what it is, and when you should use it. Plus some tips on optimizing your utilization and what to do if your resources are overutilized.
What is utilization tracking?
Simply put, utilization tracking is monitoring the usage of your resources.
There are three main items of which you can track the utilization in Ganttic: individual resources, groups, or tasks.
You can monitor individual resources’ utilization in the column to the right of each resource. This is displayed as a percentage. This number represents the percent of available work time covered by tasks in the visible time period. For more tips on this subject, check out our blog post on overcoming common resource utilization mistakes.
If you instead decide to group your resources, you can see the total group utilization for the visible time period. This appears as a percentage next to each resource, but is actually the weighted average of the group. Setting individual resource and group utilizations is discussed more in depth in Resource Capacity Planning.
And task utilization allows you to manually set the task’s percentage. This is useful if you need to schedule part-time tasks. Which may be necessary if you need to multitask or are scheduling concurrent tasks.
Customizing utilization tracking
From the view Visibility Settings, you can decide if you want this metric displayed as the resource’s available time or scheduled busy time.
Ganttic will automatically calculate the resource utilization percentage. This is done using the tasks you have scheduled for your resources, within the time period you have selected on the timeline.
When should you use utilization tracking?
You can use utilization tracking at any point in the planning cycle. However it’s especially important in the following instances:
When you are scheduling concurrent tasks for your resources. The capacity utilization graph above the resources will automatically tell you if the utilization needs to be adjusted. This can be done manually and is an easy way to show which tasks should be prioritized. Just make the utilization higher for the task with the highest priority.
When you want to optimize your workforce. If it doesn’t feel like your team is working as efficiently as they should, start monitoring their utilizations. Or on the flip side, if they seem overwhelmed and overworked, maybe the utilization is too high and should be adjusted.
When preparing reports for stakeholders. This can be a crucial metric to include as it gives a clear picture of performance.
When you have a dispersed team. Manually setting and following utilization can help you maintain better control over your remote workers.
When forecasting. Plan more accurately and have a better idea of future team capacity.
What is optimal utilization?
This depends on the resource type. For machines and equipment, you want to be at about 90-95% utilization. For human resources, aim for something between 70-80% utilization. More than 80% increases the chances of mistakes and burnout. Plus, higher utilization can lead to a reduction in quality and cause delays.
Read on: for some more utilization tips, take a cue from real-life Ganttic users, Innopolis Engineering. They aim to keep their utilization for each department at 80%. See how they do it in our case study.You can set utilization percentage for individual resources, grouped resources, or tasks.
What do you do if your resources are overutilized?
If you see that one of your resources is overutilized, here are a few tips.
Using custom data fields, filter your resources. Organize them according to available time, skill sets, or even whether they’re freelance or permanent. It’s up to you! Once you find your perfect resource match, add them to the task or project for some extra hands.
Use task splitting. Break up the task into smaller tasks which you can then reallocate to other resources.
Change the duration of the task. By increasing the duration you can spread out the task and decrease the amount of overutilization. Just make sure that you also account for future tasks by changing their start date or manually adjusting the utilization on each task.