3. Determine and set sprint capacity in Azure Boards

TFS 2017 | TFS 2015 | TFS 2013

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

Because days off and time available for each team member may vary from sprint to sprint, set capacity for each sprint. The capacity tool helps you make sure your team isn't over or undercommitted for the sprint. Also, as you work day-to-day, you'll 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, see the Manage sprint timelines while working in Scrum article.


About the Activity or Discipline pick-list items

The values displayed for Activity (Agile, Basic, or Scrum) or Discipline (CMMI) reflect a union of all values defined for the Activity or Discipline fields in all projects within the project collection. Or, if your project has been customized, with the field assigned to type="Activity" within the ProcessConfiguration file.

To change the Activity or Discipline menu selections, see Add or modify a field, customize a picklist.

Capacity per day entries

Most teams specify capacity in hours. You can also specify it in days or any other units your team chooses. For example, 0.5 days would correspond to 4 hours for a typical 8 hour day. Choose the same unit your team uses to estimate and track their time. For example, the entries they'll make to the Original Estimate or Remaining Work fields.

Open a sprint backlog for a team

  1. From your web browser, open your team's product backlog. (1) Select the project/team from the project/teams selector, choose (2) Work, (3) Backlogs, and then (4) the product backlog, which is Backlog items (for Scrum), Stories (for Agile), or Requirements (for CMMI).

    Screenshot of Open the Backlogs page, earlier versions

    To choose another team, open the project/team selector and select a different team or choose the Browse option.

    Screenshot of Choose another team, earlier versions.

    The set of sprints selected for your team appears in the left pane. If you don't see any sprints listed, you can add sprints or select existing sprints for your team's use. To learn how, see Define sprints.

  2. Choose the sprint you want to plan.

    Screenshot of Choose another sprint, earlier versions

    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 see Define iteration (sprint) paths.

Set capacity for the team and team members

From the Capacity page, you can add team members, enter the team time off, and set capacity and days off for each team member.

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.


This feature is available from TFS 2015.1 and later versions.

Notice that only the capacity-per-day value and activity value 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.

For example, here we choose Sprint 2 and copy the capacity set for Sprint 1. Screenshot of Copy capacity from the previous iteration, earlier versions.

Remove a user from capacity

To remove a user, choose the option from the users action menu. This action won't remove the user from the team.

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 and the entire team.

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

Screenshot of 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.


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 sub-tasks as taskboards only show leaf node tasks. If you do divide a task into sub-tasks, specify Remaining Work only for the sub-tasks, as the system rolls up summary values to the parent task.

Track capacity when completing 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 time between Deployment and Development.

Screenshot of Add activity to capacity tracking for an individual.

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. As such, give 3 hours a day to the Web team, and 3 hours a day to the Phone team.

Screenshot of Allocate capacity for team Web.

Screenshot of Allocate capacity for team Phone.

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

Next step

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 given sprint over sprint.