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Capacity planning when team has mixed skillset

Last post 04:16 pm October 19, 2022 by Murtaza Hashwani
3 replies
10:29 am October 14, 2022

When starting sprint planning, we assign capacity in AZDO in hours for each team member, but this ranges depending on skill level. For example, more experienced developers are on 6hrs, juniors are on 2/3hrs and mid-level are somewhere in the middle of that. This apparently is to help show that it would take longer for junior on a task.

However, the team get confused during planning when they have to put times on tasks. At that stage, they do not know who will be working on the task, so they all estimate but the juniors say this could take my 6 hours but the senior says it will only take me 2. Do they put 2 hours on the task and that then allows extra time if a junior picks it up because of their capacity setting?

11:56 pm October 14, 2022

When estimating in hours, I've typically seen two approaches. One is to consider the average team member taking on the task and then any overestimates would tend to be balanced by underestimates. Another is to estimate as if the least knowledgeable person took on the task, and either using the time for the knowledgeable people to cross-train the less knowledgeable people on particular work or having additional work ready if capacity to complete it emerges.

You could also consider a no estimates approach. You can determine, for a large enough size of tasks, how long it takes the team to complete each task. This is the cycle time. You can also compute the team's throughput. You can use actual historical data for cycle time and throughput to forecast future work. Instead of estimating, focus on good definitions of the scope and acceptance criteria for each piece of work.

05:47 am October 15, 2022

How would you describe the Developers' sense of collective accountability for ensuring work is Done? How effectively do they collaborate during the Sprint? Their approach to estimation may reflect something of this.

10:01 am October 19, 2022

Share the work according to the skill set of the people.

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