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Are you a capacity planner?  If not, how are you going to manage the food orgy that Thanksgiving offers, an orgy of variety and quantity?  For experts in capacity planning, this challenge should seem familiar.  You only have X amount of capacity – your stomach.  There isn’t going to be a way to buy more space.  But by careful planning, you can stretch that capacity (without pain, in most cases).  The secret is planning.

Start with the menu.  Find out everything you can about the foods planned, especially considering any appetizers that might fill you up before the main event.  Arrange by priority:

Foods you can’t live without:  High priority work

Foods you love: Medium priority work

Foods you like: Lower priority work

Anything else: Discretionary work

Next, you need to understand your workloads (menu items).  Some items, like soup, may take up only a small amount of your stomach resource.  Others, like the rich marshmallow-laden yams, may make a sizable dent in your available space. 

Factor the capacity demands of the foods you love first, so you can see what is possible.  Perhaps you can “run” a little of the yams, if you ignore the medium priority chips and dip served earlier.  Two slices of turkey instead of 4 might mean that there is room for pumpkin pie.  Line up your plan and see how it looks – IEB-Eyeball is always a great start, especially when you do not have a robust capacity modeling tool.

Your menu might look like this:

  • 2-3 appetizer shrimp (they’re always large – Aunt Gena brings wonderful ones)
  • 1 C. of mushroom soup (it’s a liquid – they shouldn’t count)
  • 2 slices of turkey with gravy
  • 3 T of stuffing
  • 3 T of yams
  • 3 T of mashed potatoes
  • 2 T of cranberry sauce (looks good this year – not that horrible canned stuff)
  • 2 T of green bean casserole
  • 2 glasses of shiraz (okay – really, really big glasses)
  • 1 large slice of pumpkin pie with whipped cream

If it looks reasonable – you know you can eat that – then reassess the quantities of each workload (food item).  Otherwise, reassess.  And remember that there may be latent demand waiting for you (food brought by other guests).  So save some room. In fact, you might want to adjust your workloads a little so that you have some “white space,” in case some high priority “work” shows up.  You need to be able to adapt, while still keeping to your plan.  Remember to focus on high priority work – discretionary work may beg to be consumed, but you can’t – you have a plan.

As we move into the actual day, performance management becomes more of an issue – the more turkey and wine, the more sluggish your performance will be.  Tryptophan and ethanol are a deadly combination that not only slow your metabolism, but also can blind you to your plan.  Like looping transactions or memory leaks, the more you activate these workloads, the more difficult planning can be. 

Finally, remember that performance is all about agility.  If you overload capacity, tomorrow, that rush to the mall for Black Friday will seem like a stretch objective.  Bring lots of Tupperware and take home leftovers for when your stomach has the capacity to enjoy more.  Happy Thanksgiving!