What is Utilization and why is it important?
Utilization is a useful metric for evaluating how well you’re planning, and how well you’re making progress toward those plans. It is an important, but lagging, indicator of how good you are at proactive planning — not necessarily how good you are at resource management.
Business leaders often fall into the trap of trying to maximize utilization as much as possible. In reality, driving utilization too high can lead to even more detrimental effects on morale and the business. Good insight into your utilization can help prevent People and teams from underperforming or being burned by heavy workloads.
So what is Utilization? Simply stated, it is the number of billable hours divided by capacity. Regardless of the billing model established (T&M, fixed fee, etc.) think of billable hours as anything associated with generating positive revenues. Standardizing this across the organization allows agency leaders to quickly see the revenue generating potential of the team.
Utilization - Forecast Report
The challenge in managing to Utilization is that we are often only able to get an accurate measurement when looking backwards setting us down a path of trying to correct a situation that has already happened. This report arms you with the ability to look forward and get ahead of managing utilization. We can leverage the information presented to highlight where we need to turn our attention and make adjustments before situations unravel.
The Chart and Chart Filters
The chart at the top of the page allows us to view Utilization compared to our chosen benchmark. We can filter by Total hours (based off of the 40 hour week) or our adjusted Billable capacity. This information can be further altered to display in hours or as a percentage of utilization.
The Table and Table Filters
The table presents the same information but broken down by department and role. Here we are able to define a target Utilization number and the table will highlight those roles that are under-allocated. Any roles over 100% are automatically highlighted in red. Using these two filters in conjunction with each other allows us to quickly spot areas that need our attention.
The table also allows us to display the information in terms of FTE ratios rather than just the hours. This is meant to be illustrative of how many people will be needed each week in order to service the hours in the backlog. The calculation simply divides the total number of hours that week by 40 to give an FTE ratio.
Planned Capacity: Total planned (shaped) hours divided by total capacity less PTO / holidays, shown as a percent
Projected Hours: Allocated hours that have been added to Parallax project shapes inclusive of projects that are “awaiting start,” “in-progress,” or soft allocations to projects in the pipeline; filters can be applied to remove pipeline projects, or only "in-progress" projects (as an example) and Planned Hours will adjust accordingly
Billable Capacity: Total available hours set aside for billing per week
Total Capacity: Total available hours per week (typically 40)
Projected FTE: The number of projected FTE needed to service the planned hours (planned hours /40)