Address Your Project Capacity Issues with These Five Questions

If your New Product Development (NPD) project management reliably delivers new products better, faster and cheaper than your competition, I’m impressed. Most of us are working hard to improve our NPD performance.

When capacity constrains a project to an undesired timeline, we must face reality:  If we simply execute the plan, we’ll be late.  Timelines matter.  What’s a project manager to do?  Here are five questions that the project team can ask, to match the capacity to the timeline.

  1. How can we reduce scope? (be brutally honest about our minimally viable product)
  2. How can we increase our productivity? (Should we go ahead and buy that rapid prototype machine? Or serialize projects instead of running too many projects in parallel?)
  3. How can we add an acceptable amount of risk? (skip something and hope all goes well)
  4. How can we add capacity? (internal and/or external)
  5. What happens to the company if we extend the timeline?

To figure out the best responses, a quantitative task/capacity analysis is required. This analysis begins with a list of all project tasks and the person-days of effort required to perform them. Then the five questions above can be applied and the results quantified. I’ll write more about this in a later post.


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