Learn how to master capacity planning to effectively allocate resources
Managing resources is a critical part of the product management process and includes deciding which dev tasks will be included in upcoming Releases (larger time containers defining the date of deployment for a set of Features) or Sprints (shorter time, lower-level time periods for a specific Features) and which ones won’t be required. To bypass the tedious process of plugging these estimations into spreadsheets, Craft.io has capacity planning inbuilt into its planning section, allowing you to make smarter product decisions in the context of all available resources, even when things change unexpectedly.
Rather than restricting you to a number reporting on overall capacity (which realistically fails to give you a true indication of resources), Craft.io allows you to drill down into specific parts of your business to get a deeper understanding of capacity availability. Multi-dimensional capacity planning means you can outline capacity parameters across various dimensions of your team, e.g., front-end development teams, back-end development teams, and various squads.
The new capacity planning view is set up like a regular table view in Craft.io, with inbuilt features designed to give you an instant top-level view of resources available.
Capacity Planning step-by-step:
- To access the new capacity planning view, simply click on Capacity Planning in the Planning section of the main navigation panel.
- From the top menu bar, select from the dropdown to manage capacity either by Sprint or by Release:
- Next, navigate to ‘Filters’ to add a specific Sprint or Release filter:
- To add a new capacity dimension (e.g., specific teams, squads, etc.) click on the ‘+’ appearing beside the last column of the table.
- Select ‘Number’ as the custom field type
- Give your new field a name, e.g. F/END for frontend and B/END for backend development)
- Add a maximum value per item (e.g., if you would like to limit users when assigning capacity to a maximum of 20 man-days/weeks/hours per feature)
- Select the checkbox ‘Connect to capacity planning’ and click Save.
Note: If you would like to add an existing number field to your capacity planning view, simply add it as a column by selecting the existing field from the Columns dropdown under View Settings. Once added you will see a blue Connect button beneath the field name in its new column. Click Connect to open the number field dialogue box, then checkbox ‘Connect to capacity planning’ and save.
- Back in the main capacity planning view, you will see your newly added dimension in the table header. Click into the number counter of that column to set the actual # of available units for that column within the Sprint/Release.
- Next, update each individual item line according to their estimated effort.
- As you assign capacity to the items within this Sprint/Release, Craft.io automatically tallies up capacity based on your dimension parameters.
Note: The capacity counter will tally up all items of the Sprint/Release in use, even if they are filtered out/hidden. To remove an item from being calculated in capacity planning, either mark it as 'OUT' or move the item into a different Sprint/Release or to the Parking Lot/Backlog.
- Exceed any given capacity, and the system will automatically alert you by turning the capacity counter red.
- To get a fast and clear indication of how planning changes affect the Release, use the “Out/In” function to simulate these modifications if you exclude an item.
Note: Marking an item as ‘Out’ does not remove it from your Craft.io Release, it simply deducts it from the capacity calculation while you are in the capacity planning view.
- After settling on the right plan, simply click the Apply button on the “Out/In” column to send the excluded items out of the Release to the Parking Lot (or to the Backlog if you are in Sprint view).
To illustrate the process, let’s take an example of a dev team, consisting of six front-end developers and two back-end developers:
- If the upcoming Release is comprised of four weeks, assuming a five days work week, we have 6*4*5 = 120 front-end man-days and 2*4*5 = 40 back-end man-days.
- You start the process by entering” 120” and “40” in the FE and BE capacity fields.
- Then, for each item, we fill in what is the estimated effort for both FE and BE.
- Craft.io will alert you if the items in the Release are exceeding any of the resources by turning the column counter red.
- To get a fast and clear indication of how planning changes affect the Release, you can use the “Out/In” function to simulate these modifications if you exclude an item.
- After settling on the right plan, simply click the Apply button on the “Out/In” column to send the excluded items out of the Release to the Parking Lot.
As is standard across Craft.io, you can customize the capacity planning view with custom fields to show precisely what you need to be able to make smarter product decisions. Hone in on specific Sections, Sprints or Releases using the filter functionality, and share your final view with LiveShare links with a click of a button.