I have calculated the available capacity in hours by month, taking into account overhead, training, holidays, sick leave, etc. (all based upon historical data and expected holidays during summertime). Available hours varies for instance from 650 hours in April to 260 hours in July.

I also have estimates for a number of fairly independent work packages.

I would like to simulate a number of scenario's related to the planning sequence of these work packages eg when I do them all in sequence, where would I end up. What happens if I do two of them in parallel. The purpose is to create a release plan (or a number of possible release plans) to discuss with business.

What would be a good method or tool to do this? Excel is my friend at the moment, using cumulative numbers. I've tried MS Project, but I could not find a way to set a capacity limit by month, and it's all very cumbersome. Anybody has a good way to do this? Thanks in advance.


I don't have an answer but I would look in the direction of manufacturing planning software, which has long included capacity planning. Google turned up quite a few links to open source capacity planning software, including: "Top 10 Open Source Web-Based Project Management Software" (that include capacity planning). You might be able to get free or 30-day capacity planning software to run your scenarios.

Please update when you find a solution.

Sorry this is not more useful. Good luck.


I cannot remember the name of the tool but research Deltek's risk management software. It has a scheduling simulator, or Monte Carlo, and can do exactly what you want. I sat through a demonstration. However, it is expensive!

  • Yes, it certainly looks interesting, but more enterprise PM ERP. That's a bit too much for my needs. But thanks for the tip!
    – Stephan
    Mar 19 '11 at 8:00
  • I sent you a message through Linkedin. Mar 19 '11 at 10:53

Monte Carlo simulation is probably the best route to accomplish what you need. However you CAN do it within Excel with the appropriate add-ins. It is not necessary to buy a separate package.



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