Struggling to understand who’s currently busy and who isn’t? Need to determine if you have the right people and skills for projects looking into the future? From Project Managers to self-managed teams, these challenges can be solved with Favro utilization boards. While Favro reports and dashboard collections can help with getting a holistic view of team allocation, the best way to visualize and manage people (formerly known as resources) utilization in Favro is with a dedicated product team, teams-of-teams, or even company-wide utilization board.
Cards in Favro, which represent tasks or deliverables, can exist in multiple places. If you need to track utilization, it makes sense to aggregate cards that exist on various boards, possibly across multiple teams, on a single board. With team members assigned to cards, this makes it simple to see all utilization in a single location. A utilization board can sit at the top of a Dashboard collection, making it easy to drag and drop cards from the actual workflow boards to the aggregating board. The dashboard collection could be laid out like this, with multiple teams working in different ways, completing items out of the same backlog:
Depending on your organization or preference, you might choose to view utilization by Kanban stage, by person, by discipline or even by all three.
The most common way to visualize workload is by person. In this example, it’s possible to see members of Team Alpha, Team Beta, and Team Gamma all on one board. Favro’s relations show the current state of each card in each person’s column and the team name. The cards exist on both the team boards and the Utilization Board by Person.
Another way to see who’s doing what is by Kanban stage. The simplest form being how many tasks or deliverables are in the queue, in progress or done. Continuing with this example, if you choose to see utilization based on Kanban stage for members of Team Alpha, Team Beta, and Team Gamma, the cards would exist on both the team boards and the Utilization Board by Stage. The team members assigned are shown on each card.
With cross-functional teams, it’s often essential to have a clear understanding of the current and future availability of specific disciplines. In this case, viewing utilization by particular skill set is vital. Individuals, current stage, and teams are shown on each card.
With Favro’s new All Teams Expansion these utilization boards are even more powerful, allowing you to switch to different views of the same cards. Here’s what the Utilization Board by Stage could look like in sheets view:
In sheets view, you can sort by any column. For utilization, it makes sense to sort by Members.
And possibly the most useful view of utilization is the roadmap view, where the same cards can be manipulated and viewed on a timeline:
These same three toggles are available on every board. This enables you to also visualize utilization directly on the individual team boards at a more granular level.
We’ve looked at multiple ways to manage traditional resource utilization. But, to take a more agile approach, every flow-based (Kanban) system requires some slack in order to be fully optimized. Just as too many cars on a highway cause a traffic jam with nobody going anywhere, too much work in progress and 100% utilization will bring your value delivery flow to a standstill. While you don’t want people to be overwhelmed or completely idle, it’s a better idea to optimize the flow of value instead of tracking and managing team member utilization. The analogy often used is in a relay race it’s better to watch the baton moving around the track instead of the runners. In a business, it’s more about how much value is being produced and not about managing people utilization.
Here are a few articles to start thinking more about the flow of business value and less about resource allocation and utilization.