Skip to main content

Adding hours to tasks on sprint PBIs?

Last post 06:54 pm February 16, 2023 by Ian Mitchell
3 replies
04:21 pm February 16, 2023

There's a behavior from SMs that I find concerning.  SMs want to put hours to tasks on sprint PBIs to track which developers are over/under capacity.  They also want to use it to identify what tasks developers are taking on, and which ones they are not so they can help the developers increase their skills.  The expectation here is that team members are cross-functional and can pick up any task. 

My concern is that this is micro-managing a team that is self-organizing, self-managing. 

What are your thoughts?  

05:57 pm February 16, 2023

Agree with you.  The Scrum Master has no responsibility to manage the time of anyone in the Scrum Team.  Scrum Masters help organizations understand and support the Scrum framework to improve the empirical benefits of iterative value delivery.  Your description tells me that your Scrum Masters do not fully understand the Scrum framework. 

The Scrum framework says nothing about individual capacity or commitments.  In fact, the word "capacity" is used only once in the guide.  It is in the "What can be done in this Sprint" section of the guide that describes Sprint Planning.  Here is what is said.

Selecting how much can be completed within a Sprint may be challenging. However, the more the Developers know about their past performance, their upcoming capacity, and their Definition of Done, the more confident they will be in their Sprint forecasts.

There is nothing said about how capacity is determined or how that capacity should be used.  

06:17 pm February 16, 2023

I agree with you and Daniel, I don't think you have a Scrum Master. The question to be asked is who or what is driving these behaviors? And how are these behaviors impacting trust and psychological safety?

Do the Developers agree that they need to increase their skills to be more cross-functional and asked for help? If not, the Scrum Master might share observations in the Sprint Retrospective, and if the Developers agree, the Scrum Master can offer to help the team by facilitating conversations for the Developers to decide on how to do this.

Running at 100% capacity is often a mistake when it comes to knowledge workers. They need time to think. If the Developers are meeting their Sprint Goal, driving effective outcomes, delivering valuable and useful Increments each Sprint, and don't have quality of tech debt problems perhaps the Scrum Master is barking up the wrong tree. Regardless how the Developers work and use their capacity is up to them.

06:54 pm February 16, 2023

SMs want to put hours to tasks on sprint PBIs to track which developers are over/under capacity. 

Why? Is someone leaning on them and applying pressure to adopt this dreadful practice? What forces are at work?

By posting on our forums you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.

Please note that the first and last name from your member profile will be displayed next to any topic or comment you post on the forums. For privacy concerns, we cannot allow you to post email addresses. All user-submitted content on our Forums may be subject to deletion if it is found to be in violation of our Terms of Use. does not endorse user-submitted content or the content of links to any third-party websites.

Terms of Use may, at its discretion, remove any post that it deems unsuitable for these forums. Unsuitable post content includes, but is not limited to, Professional-level assessment questions and answers, profanity, insults, racism or sexually explicit content. Using our forum as a platform for the marketing and solicitation of products or services is also prohibited. Forum members who post content deemed unsuitable by may have their access revoked at any time, without warning. may, but is not obliged to, monitor submissions.