3. Set sprint capacity

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As a next step, you'll want to determine your team's actual capacity. Whereas velocity correlates to how your team estimates requirements, capacity correlates to actual task time - either hours or days. Capacity takes into consideration the variation in work hours by team members as well as holidays, vacation days, and non-working days.

Because days off and time available for each team member can vary from sprint to sprint, you can set capacity for each sprint. The capacity tool helps you make sure your team isn't over or under committed for the sprint. Also, as you work day-to-day, you'll be able to see if your team is on track.

  • Set team capacity for a sprint
  • Copy capacity from the previous sprint to the current sprint
  • Track capacity when performing multiple activities
  • Add or remove user accounts from capacity planning for a sprint
  • Track capacity when working on more than one team

If you haven't set up sprints yet for your team, go here to do that now.

Prerequisites

  • You must connect to a project. If you don't have a project yet, create one.
  • If you haven't been added to a project or team, get added now.
  • You must be a member of the Contributors group and granted Basic access or be granted Stakeholder access to add or modify work items. Or, you must have your View work items in this node, and your Edit work items in this node permissions set to Allow.

Note

Users with Stakeholder access for a public project have full access to backlog and board features the same as those granted to users with Basic access. To learn more, see [About access levels

  • You must connect to a project. If you don't have a project yet, create one.
  • If you haven't been added to a project or team, get added now.
  • You must be a member of the Contributors group or be granted Stakeholder access to add or modify work items. Or, you must have your View work items in this node, and your Edit work items in this node permissions set to Allow.

To learn more, see Set permissions and access for work tracking.

Open a Sprint backlog for a team

Note

Choose Previous navigation when you see a top-level blue bar. Choose New navigation if you see a vertical sidebar or if you enabled the New Navigation preview feature. The vertical sidebar, along with other navigational features, is enabled when the New Navigation preview feature has been enabled for the signed-in user or the organization. To learn how to use the web portal effectively, see Web portal navigation.

For on-premises TFS, choose Previous Navigation for guidance.

  1. From your web browser, open your product backlog. (1) Check that you have selected the right project, (2) choose Boards>Sprints, (3) select the correct team from the team selector menu, and lastly (4), choose Capacity.

    Open Work, Sprints, for a team

    To choose another team, open the selector and select a different team or choose the home-icon Browse all sprints option. Or, you can enter a keyword in the search box to filter the list of team backlogs for the project.

    Choose another team

  2. To choose a different sprint than the one shown, open the sprint selector and choose the sprint you want.

    Choose another sprint

    The system lists only those sprints that have been selected for the current team focus. If you don't see the sprints you want listed, then choose New Sprint from the menu, and then choose Select existing iteration. For details, see Define iteration paths (aka sprints).

New navigation isn't supported on TFS at this time. Choose Previous navigation for guidance.

Set capacity for the team and team members

From the Capacity page, you can enter the team time off, and set capacity and days off for each member of your team. If your team tracks capacity by activity, then also select the Activity for each team member.

  1. If you don't see your team members listed, add them. Choose the action icon and select Add all team members. For this feature to work, team members will have been added to the team.

    Add team members

  2. If you need to add other contributors to your project, choose the Add user.

  3. Next, set any time off that the team will take. Choose the 0 days link as shown.

    Add team members

    In the Days off for the entire team dialog, select the start and end days during the sprint that the team will take off.

    Note

    Your sprint planning and tracking tools automatically consider days off when calculating capacity and sprint burndown. You only have to indicate planned days off for the team. You set weekend days or other recurring days off under your team's Settings, Working days page.

  4. Now, set the Activity and Capacity per day for each team member.

    Most teams specify capacity in terms of hours, however, you can also specify it in days. For example, .5 days would correspond to 4 hours for a typical 8 hour day. Choose the same unit you will use to estimate the time a task will take to complete. You only have to indicate planned days off. You manage weekend days or other recurring days off under team settings.

    For example, Christie Church's capacity is 6 hours/day for design work.

    Set team capacity, vertical nav

New navigation isn't supported on TFS at this time. Choose Previous navigation for guidance.

Copy capacity planning from the previous sprint

By copying the capacity from the previous sprint, you save time. With the basics defined, all you have to do is adjust the capacity based on individual and team days off and capacity allocation per activity.

Copy capacity, vertical nav

New navigation isn't supported on TFS at this time. Choose Previous navigation for guidance.

Note

This feature is available from TFS 2015.1 and later versions.

Notice that only the capacity per day and activity are copied over. Individual and team days off remain unset. The copy operation always copies the latest updates made to the previous sprint. So you can repeat the copy operation if you've made changes to the previous sprint that you want to copy to the latest sprint.

Remove a user from capacity

To remove a user, choose the option from the users action menu.

Note

This feature is available from TFS 2015.1 and later versions.

Remove user from capacity list

New navigation isn't supported on TFS at this time. Choose Previous navigation for guidance.

Review capacity charts

As you define tasks and estimate the work, you'll see capacity charts start to fill in for each team member. Capacity bars track the remaining work against the capacity for each team member as well as the entire team.

You'll also see a roll-up of the remaining work required to complete each requirement or bug.

Capacity charts

From this view, you can easily see which individuals are at or near capacity. Teams can determine if work needs to be moved out of the sprint or to reassign tasks.

Tip

Define tasks that take a day or less to complete. This helps mitigate the risks that come from poor estimates.

Also, don't divide tasks into subtasks. If you do divide a task into subtasks, specify Remaining Work only for the subtasks, as the system rolls up summary values to the parent task.

Tip

Define tasks that take a day or less to complete. This helps mitigate the risks that come from poor estimates.

Also, don't divide tasks into subtasks as the task board will only show leaf node tasks. If you do divide a task into subtasks, specify Remaining Work only for the subtasks, as the system rolls up summary values to the parent task.

Track capacity when performing multiple activities

Because individual team members have different sets of skills and duties, you can track their activity and capacity for each activity and for each sprint.

Here, Jamal divides his time between Deployment and Development.

Add activity to capacity tracking for an individual

Note

This feature is available from TFS 2015.1 and later versions.

Track capacity when working on more than one team

If you work on more than one team, you'll want to specify your sprint capacity for each team. For example, both Christie and Raisa split their time between the Web and Phone teams. They therefore allocate 3 hours a day to the Web team, and 3 hours a day to the Phone team.

Allocate capacity for team Web

Allocate capacity for team Phone

If your name isn't listed in the capacity view, you need to be added as a team member.

Try this next

Setting capacity and estimating remaining work for each task provides you with the tools you need to track the amount of work and resources you have allocated sprint over sprint.