Just looking at the two parts of the world where I spend most of my time, the USA and Europe, it has been a funny old year.In the US, the presidential election has returned a leader who has, to date, sat outside the established political system. Next year the USA will be led by someone who is totally new to his role, rather than have someone who has come through the traditional route of minor political roles leading to national leadership.
In Europe, the British referendum concluded in a vote to leave the European Union (EU), or ‘Brexit’ as this process has now become known. Although a British decision, the ramifications of Brexit will be felt across Europe, something that has already started. The impact will be potentially more far-reaching once the withdrawal of the UK has been negotiated and eventually happens.
Where does all this fit with Capacity Management? Well, both geographies have taken a huge step into the unknown. America has its first businessman with little conventional political background as leader. The EU will see the first fully-fledged member state depart from its ranks, which have been steadily expanding to date. Any step into the unknown like this has risks. What will happen? Will people be happy with the decisions they have taken? Will the changes that come bring more prosperity, more equality or less? How will the all-important financial markets react, with their dislike of uncertainty? How will we cope if what unfolds differs from what we anticipate?
One of the hardest aspects of Capacity Management is handling questions like these: questions for which there is no precedent, no experience on which judgements can be based or from which measurements can be taken. For Capacity Managers this manifests itself in being expected to plan for acceptable service levels through major changes such as a new business venture bringing a need to support an application different to any others currently supported or an external change in user behaviour meaning knowledge of past system usage has no value in anticipating future needs.
This is where the good Capacity Manager really earns his corn. If we have things we can measure and use as a basis for prediction, if we have similar situations in the past on which we can base judgements, the job is always easier. It’s more of a science at such times.
‘Guesstimating’ the totally new is more of an art. Having a Capacity Manager who has, or has access to, a broad range of experience, perhaps both within his business and in the world outside, will help. This suggests a level of maturity and experience that needs to be built up over time, a mind that is willing to challenge obvious perceptions and test boundaries others might feel unlikely to be hit. An open mind, a lateral thinker, someone willing to test assumptions others feel are not worth the time. If you’re recruiting a Capacity Manager, you might want to think about how you test for these capabilities, rather than focus on traditional areas such as technical know-how. For Capacity Managers, you might want to get examples of these skills on your CV – an employer who appreciates the need for them might be a better employer for a Capacity Manager than one who does not.
As for next year – well, no predictions from me. Ask a good Capacity Manager instead….
Thank you to everyone who has interacted with Metron throughout 2016.
My compliments of the season to you all.