What is the forecast page?
The forecast page helps you estimate the effort required for each of your work items in the backlog, both at the program and team level. Effort is measured in points, member weeks, or team weeks, depending on your estimation system, and is compared against the available capacity for the program increment (PI) calculated on the capacity page. This article explains key concepts of the forecast page and provides a step-by-step guide on how to forecast effort for your work items.
On this page
- What is the forecast page?
- Open the forecast page
- Understand estimation systems
- Set your page filters
- Reorder work items
- Understand the forecast grid
- Enter estimates in the program view
- Enter estimates in the team view
- Enter estimates on the forecast tab
- Additional columns
Open the forecast page
In new navigation:
- From the main navigation bar, select portfolios, solutions, or programs.
- From the sidebar, select your program increments (PI).
- From the sidebar, select Forecast.
In old navigation:
- From the left navigation menu, select Program.
Understand estimation systems
The forecast page displays estimated effort points, member weeks, or team weeks, depending on which estimation system is selected in portfolio settings.
- If you use the points estimation system, the forecast page will display effort in points.
- If you use the team weeks, member weeks, or t-shirt estimation system, it will display effort in weeks. In this case, you can also specify your preference for team weeks or member weeks in portfolio settings.
Set your page filters
(1) Team and work item level filters
The team level and work item level buttons located in the upper left of the page open drop-down menus that assist you in customizing your forecast grid. This allows you to focus on what is important for your role and situation.
- The team level filter enables you to switch between the team and program level hierarchy. The appearance and calculations of the grid will vary depending on this filter.
- The work item level filter allows you to switch between epics, capabilities, and features. For instance, if you choose "epics," your grid will display all epics within the selected program increments (PI) in the sidebar.
(2) Apply filters
The apply filters button in the upper right corner of the page opens a modal that allows you to drill down even further.
For all work item views, you can filter by specific process steps, themes, teams, or epics, and enable the hide empty rows and columns toggle.
For the epic level view, you can also enable the show stand-alone features toggle to display features that do not have a parent (note: the hide stand-alone features in backlog setting program settings must be disabled).
You’ll need to select the filter forecast button to save your selections, and you can always select the reset filters button to clear all entries.
(3) Configure columns
The configure columns button in the upper right corner of the page opens a modal that allows you to show/hide fields from the forecast grid. You can view and edit most of the fields on specific tabs within the work item's details panel, which you can open by selecting the work item on the left (header) column.
The default fields include:
- Theme: parent theme set on the details tab.
- Owner: owner assigned on the details tab.
- Program increment estimate: the total effort (measured in points, member weeks, or team weeks) forecasted for the work item for the PI.
- Program estimate: the total effort forecasted for all selected programs assigned to the work item for the PI.
- Team estimate: the total effort forecasted for all selected teams assigned to the work item for the PI.
- Capacity needed: The percentage of capacity that the work item consumes, based on the program increment estimate. Calculation: program increment estimate ÷ program increment available capacity * 100.
Additional columns include:
- Forecasted Spend: estimated cost of delivering a work item based on your estimates. Forecasted spend is calculated by multiplying a program PI forecast by the program's current program spend per point and will be more accurate when you enter estimates for each program and PI combination associated with the work item. To learn more about how the value is calculated, select a Forecasted spend value for that work item, and the forecasted spend panel will pop open.
- Epic: the parent epic set on the details tab.
- (Business) Driver: a selection set on the details tab.
- MMF: the MVP checkbox on the details tab.
- In-Scope: a checkbox on the forecast grid that allows you to include or exclude a work item from calculations for what-if planning.
- Long-Term Goal: a higher-level goal set on the parent work item's details tab.
- Value: the strategic value score set on the details tab.
- Scoring: the high-level ROI score set in the value tab.
- WSJF Prioritization: a prioritization framework that is available on the details tab.
- Process Steps: listed on the details tab, if enabled.
- Chat: a link to discussions that is available on the details tab.
- Progress: a bar graph of the work item's accepted child stories.
You can easily restore the default configuration by selecting the restore defaults button.
Reorder work items
You can view multiple program increments (PI) on the forecast page, with work items broken down into a collapsible section for each PI. To ensure alignment between the forecast and backlog, work items are automatically listed according to their ranking in the backlog. New work items added to the backlog appear at the bottom of the corresponding PI's forecast list.
To reorder the list, you can manually drag-and-drop or right-click on a work item. Changing the rank of an item in one PI will not affect its rank in other PIs.
To reset the list, select Apply Backlog Rank, and apply the program, portfolio, or global rank.
- The program level rank resets all work items to the same order as the backlog.
- The portfolio level rank resets epics to the same order as the epic backlog for the PI.
- The global rank resets all work items to the same order as the backlog for all portfolios without a PI set.
Understand the forecast grid
Once you have set all your filters and ordered your work items, you're ready to start forecasting.
Work items are displayed as individual rows, and the grid can be broken down into roughly three sections.
- The left section displays all the work items for the program increment (PI). You can select any work item to open its details panel and make more granular changes within the forecast tab.
- The middle display contains all the fields you selected in the configure columns menu, with a horizontal scrollbar applied if needed.
- The right section is where you enter estimates of how many points, member weeks, or team weeks are required to complete the work item during the PI. These fields match the forecast tab of each work item’s details panel.
Note: Your entries on the forecast page will display in the forecast tab, and vise versa.
Enter estimates in the program view
- For each work item, enter a value into the program’s input field.
- If the program is not assigned to the work item, the field will be disabled.
- Each program's header displays its capacity remaining, as well as a comparison of forecasted effort versus available capacity. For example, if a program has 100 points of available capacity, and you enter 60 points for work items for that program, the header will display: capacity remaining: 40 pts (60/100).
If the sum of work item estimates exceeds the available capacity, this content will be displayed in red.
Enter estimates in the team view
- As above, for each work item, enter a value into the team’s input field.
- If the team is not assigned to the work item, the field will be disabled.
- Each team's header displays its remaining capacity versus available capacity. For example, if a team has 50 points of available capacity, and you enter 40 points for work items for that team, the header will display: (10/50).
Note: The available capacity number is calculated on the capacity page.
Enter estimates on the forecast tab
The forecast tab allows you to estimate at the program and team level and then sum up the entries to the PI estimate field.
- Select a work item so its details panel opens.
- Select the forecast tab.
- Enter a value into the program estimate input field.
- Alternatively, you can also enter an value into each team's input field.
Learn more about controls and fields on the forecast tab.
Read the next article: Understand your capacity plan