Understand the capacity page

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The capacity page helps you create a comprehensive plan to understand how much work your teams can accomplish in a program increment (PI). It provides a simple, flexible, and spreadsheet-like experience for all managers to view and contribute. Based on user inputs, the page calculates each team’s available capacity, aggregates the data, and compares it to forecasted work for the PI.

This article gives an overview and explains key concepts and nuances of the capacity page. Once you're familiar with this material, continue to the next article: Build your capacity plan.

On this page:

Navigate the capacity page

The capacity page includes four core elements: page filters, bar graph, totals cards, and plan details.

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Per the image above:

  1. The page filters allow you to personalize your view so you can focus on the solutions, programs, and work item levels that are most important to you.
  2. The bar graph in the plan summary helps you visually compare forecasted work with available capacity so you can quickly determine if you are over, under, or at capacity.
  3. The cards in the plan summary display aggregated data for the current program increment (PI), and a glimpse into the previous capacity plan. As dates may overlap, the previous plan is determined by the PI with the closest end date to the current PI.
  4. The plan details table offers a flexible interface for various people to contribute to the plan. You can set, modify, and apply default values, or apply other data options sourced from Jira Align, to multiple programs or teams simultaneously. You can also enter custom values for individual teams.

Use the member weeks or points estimation system

The page calculates available capacity differently depending on which estimation system you have selected in portfolio settings.

  • If you use the points estimation system, the capacity page will default to the points estimation system (pictured above).
  • If you use the team weeks, member weeks, or t-shirt estimation system, it will default to the member weeks estimation system. If needed, the capacity page will convert forecasted work from team weeks to member weeks, however, the forecast page will continue to represent work in team weeks.

How the member weeks system works:

  • Available capacity is the number of member weeks that a team or program has available for delivering forecasted work. At the team level, we calculate the available capacity using a simple calculation: ((members * weeks) - buffer member weeks) * capacity percentage. As we aggregate data at higher levels, we add up the available capacities of all the child teams and programs.
    • Members: the number of people contributing to available capacity.
    • Weeks: the number of weeks in a program increment (PI).
    • Buffer (member weeks): the number of member weeks that should be subtracted from capacity due to holidays, training, and so on.
    • Capacity percentage: the percentage of time that a team or program dedicates to delivering forecasted work items. This may include things like core projects and innovation, but not bug fixes, administrative tasks, and so on.

How the points system works:

  • Available capacity is the number of points that a team or program has available for delivering forecasted work. At the team level, we calculate the available capacity using a simple calculation: ((points per sprint * sprints) - buffer points) * capacity percentage. As we aggregate data at higher levels, we add up the available capacities of all the child teams and programs.
    • Points per sprint: the number of points expected to be completed in one sprint.
    • Sprints: the number of sprints in a program increment (PI). Note that innovation and planning (IP) sprints are excluded.
    • Buffer (points): the number of points that should be subtracted from capacity due to holidays, training, and so on.
    • Capacity percentage: the percentage of time that a team or program dedicates to delivering forecasted work items. This may include things like core projects and innovation, but not bug fixes, administrative tasks, and so on.

Personalize your view with page filters

Filters allow you to personalize your page view so you can concentrate on what’s important for your role and situation. For example, as a leader overseeing multiple programs, you may need to assess the capacity of the entire portfolio. Alternatively, as a manager in charge of a single solution, you may only want to view the teams associated with that specific solution.

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Filters include:

  • Solutions, if applicable. This allows you to filter by solution and/or by unassigned programs.
  • Programs, if applicable.
  • Work item level, which defaults to epics when you start a new capacity plan. This filter determines the work item level (epics, features, or capabilities) you want to compare against available capacity.

Filters are set by default based on how you enter the capacity page, and you can adjust the page scope using the solution and program filters. For example, if you enter from a portfolio context, the filters will include associated solutions and programs. If you enter from a solution or program context, they’ll only include that solution or program.

Note: To view a plan on the capacity page, you must have a single program increment (PI) selected in the main sidebar. Keep in mind that all capacity plans “lock” and become read-only 30 days after a PI’s end date, with a 30-day countdown leading up to the lock date.

Speed up planning with data options

To help you plan efficiently, the details table offers various data options sourced from Jira Align. These options can be applied in bulk to programs and teams, or to individual teams. The availability of these data options varies depending on the estimation system and variable used.

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Applicable to both estimation systems

  • The default option applies a standard value that is set at the portfolio level. It applies to all variables in both systems. Any changes made to the defaults will automatically update any cells with the default option selected, ensuring consistency throughout the system. To edit the defaults, you need the Capacity > Set Defaults permission enabled for your system role.
  • The previous plan option repeats the value from the previous capacity plan (which is determined by the program increment (PI) with the closest end date to the current PI). This option applies to all variables in both systems. In some cases, like for new teams not included in the previous plan, this option may be unavailable.

Applicable only to the member weeks system

  • The team allocation option copies the assigned allocation in team settings. It is only applicable to the members variable. Modifying team allocations, such as deactivating a member or changing a role, will update relevant cells.
  • The anchor sprints option applies the number of derived weeks from the anchor sprints set for the program increment (PI). This option is only available for the weeks variable. Adding, removing, or changing an anchor sprint’s date will update relevant cells.

Applicable only to the points system

  • The average velocity option calculates the average team velocity based on the last 5 sprints. It's available for the points per sprint variable and doesn't apply to kanban teams. Average velocity changes when a new story is accepted or a sprint is completed, and relevant cells will update.
  • The anchor sprints option applies the number of anchor sprints set for the PI. This option is only available for the sprints variable. Adding, removing, or changing an anchor sprint’s date will update relevant cells.

Data considerations

  • After creating a new capacity plan, it can take up to 20 minutes for data from the previous plan to become visible in your plan.
  • Similarly, in all cases where external changes can impact the plan, it may take up to 20 minutes for the changes to appear. This applies to changes in team allocations, anchor sprints, and average velocity listed above.

Permissions

To access the page, you need the Capacity permission toggle enabled for your system role. This toggle is available at the portfolio, solution, and program levels. 

The Read-only Mode permission toggle provides view-only access. When enabled for your role, you won't be able to edit any capacity values and a message will display at the top of the page:

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Ready to get started?

Read the next article: Build your capacity plan

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