One of the critical elements of an Agile sprint is the team’s ability to accomplish work. From team members’ vacation plans to conferences, or even professional development training, the team’s capacity is an important part of the Agile planning process.
In order to ensure maximum efficiency and productivity, teams need to understand what capacity planning in Agile is and how to go about it.
Agile capacity planning is the process of figuring out how much work a team can accomplish in a single sprint, based on their schedules, other work-related tasks, and expected absences.
Agile capacity planning has one goal: balance the team’s capacity and the amount of work that’s been scheduled for a sprint. Capacity training in Agile can help teams avoid the common Agile problems of over-committing or under-delivering by better understanding the team’s total capacity to complete a sprint. When capacity issues can be predicted, the Scrum master can better arrange the workload to avoid delays.
Capacity planning in Agile can be done by looking at the number of total hours a team has at their disposal for the period of the sprint. When looking at hours, a typical equation used to determine a team’s capacity is calculated by multiplying the number of team members by the number of hours they can spend on the sprint each day, and then by the number of days in the sprint.
Subtracting the number of hours team members won’t be working because of outside commitments or planned absences leaves you with a rough estimate of the number of hours a team can commit to a sprint. However, many Scrum leaders multiply this total number of hours by what’s called a focus factor, which is usually between 0.6 and 0.8. Assuming every team member can work every hour of their workday at full focus on the sprint at hand can lead to burnout, mistakes due to rushing, and lower team morale.
Multiplying the total hours by a focus factor will allow a more realistic and sustainable estimate of a team’s Agile capacity.
To learn more read our Professional Services Guide section on capacity planning.