Capacity Planning, time budgets - how best to set up work items

  • 22 March 2023
  • 8 replies

Userlevel 2

It drives me crazy that when a work item’s budget is assigned to only one team member at a time, even when two or more team members are working on the item.  It’s like karbon things the overall time budget on the work item is what’s key, where I would argue that the time budget for each team member is what’s key.

In order to get around this, I am considering breaking up our work items such that each item is only assigned to one person.  So our monthly close work item would be broken up into, say, three work items:  Reconciliations and anything else the bookkeeper does; adjustments and sales tax and anything else the account manager does; and review reports and hold advisory meeting and anything else the advisor does. 

It seems to me that this will lead to much more clarity around time budgets.  What am I missing?

I know one thing I am missing is that since work items can’t be dependent on each other that we will need to build in a step for the bookkeeper to kick of the next stage of the account manager and the account manager to kick off the final stage for the advisor.


8 replies

Userlevel 6
Badge +10

@Rachel_Smith we tried this method on our accounting work and broke out the bookkeeping from the accounting and it was great at first, until we had so many work items that weren’t being kept up with properly and had so many past due work items it was more work to keep up with than the small budgeting benefit it gave us.  We’ve gone back to more involved work items and are just trying to better set budgets at the role levels.

It’s still a long work in progress.  

Userlevel 2

Thanks for the feedback.

Part of me just wants to keep a list in Excel of all our work items and the time budget per person.  I am trying to figure out the real need here.

We block our calendars with all repeating work items so that is maybe our best indication of open capacity.  Maybe we just keep getting better at that….and work toward making our workflow system simpler rather than more complicated.

Userlevel 6
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That’s what we are focusing on now - the calendar blocking - for me it’s very helpful because I am a visual person, and seeing all the blocks really does help with capacity planning and budgeting to some extent too.  

Userlevel 7
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Yes @Rachel_Smith we would like to get more granular with this as well.  We are focusing on time budgets by person/role and we do not use time tracking so the budget is always remaining - until the work order is completed.  We pull the information into a spreadsheet, not ideal.

@kylenecarse calendar blocking is so key for time management, I have never thought of the use case for capacity planning.  Nice.

Userlevel 2

Here we go, back to excel and google calendar! 

It’s so hard when you have a complicated tool like Karbon and you think it can do everything for you and it just can’t.

Karbon’s biggest selling point for me right now is the team collaboration features - commenting on emails and work items, client timelines.  If I could get that in another software program for less than $75/seat I would move in a heartbeat.  Because you can make a process checklist and put client notes anywhere.  

Userlevel 6
Badge +11

@Rachel_Smith I’m not sure if I misunderstanding your comment about a work item only having a budget assigned to one person, but here’s what we do.

We break all our budgets out by Role in the template, and when the work item is created, we assign a person to each role which adds each individual’s budget. If you use Work Views and have a Kanban grouped by colleague, it will show the total budget for each person in the column header. A person’s budget for a work item will also show in the work card in My Week.

Budget set up on work item, per person/role/task
Work View column total for employee showing budget for all work items in the filter (3 work items)
My Week card with individual person’s budget - you can see this is the same amount as in the work item budget


Again, if I’ve misunderstood what you’re after, please let me know and provide some clarifying details!

Userlevel 6
Badge +10

@Rebecca Williams this is a great visual, and what we are working towards as well, albeit very slowly as we rebuild work items to include budgeted amounts by the role, then modifications if needed for the specific client as well.  

Userlevel 2

I have a similar view saved in my work kanbans.  The budget vs the allocated budget just drives me crazy.

For instance, a month end work item I just looked at has 6 hours budgeted for the client lead and 2 for the bookkeeper.  The bookkeeper is the current assignee of the work item so it has 8 hours under her name as “budget”.  Under “allocated” I understand that 2 hours are included there. 

But when I look at the work card in the column all you can see is “8 hours”.  It doesn’t show that the bookkeeper is only assigned 2 of those.  

And then in the client lead’s column, it shows she is “also working on” that month end item, but does not show that she has 6 hours assigned to that item. 

When looking at capacity planning for team, I should easily be able to see that the bookkeeper is budgeted for 2 hours on this job and the client lead is budgeted for 6.

It’s just so not intuitive.