Aha! Develop | Introduction to capacity planning

Program increments, release dates, sprint planning — a product roadmap depends on how accurately you can predict your team's ability to complete work. But deciding how much work you should commit to is hard. Urgent items might be surprisingly complex. Teams estimate effort differently. And of course the best-laid plans of devs and data often go awry when dates shift, resources change, or estimates take longer than anticipated.

Capacity planning in Aha! Develop uses your teams' effort estimates (in time or story points) and actual velocity to visualize capacity. Burndown and velocity reports compare teams' progress against their estimates, and if your team works with sprints, Aha! Develop can suggest the amount of work each individual should take on. If you work closely with a product team in Aha! Roadmaps, your Detailed estimates and logged Actual effort on a record can inform their strategic planning.

Note: While Aha! Develop users on any plan can estimate their work and log effort, the Develop Advanced plan gives you access to advanced reporting and an integration with Aha! Roadmaps for a unified product development environment.

Click on any of the following links to skip ahead:

Pick Aha! plans and products

Capacity planning in your Aha! account can be as simple or as sophisticated as your team needs: from a single development team that wants to improve its sprint velocity to a large enterprise that needs to forecast hiring needs over the next few years. Use the table below to ensure that you have the appropriate Aha! products — and Aha! plan types — in your Aha! account.


Aha! Develop standalone

Aha! Roadmaps standalone

Aha! account integrated with Aha! Develop and Aha! Roadmaps


Essentials

Advanced

Premium/Enterprise

Enterprise+


Estimate effort

X

X

X

X

X

Log actuals

X

X

X

X

X

Manage individual sprint capacity


X



X

Use advanced reports, including velocity and throughput


X



X

Visualize individual capacity



X

X

X

Requires Aha! Roadmaps user permissions

Visualize team and individual capacity



X

X

X

Requires Aha! Roadmaps Enterprise+ user permissions

Use capacity planning scenarios




X

X

Requires Aha! Roadmaps Enterprise+ user permissions

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Confirm user permissions

You will need to be an Aha! administrator to configure capacity planning for your Aha! account — but any contributor can add estimates, and reviewers can access reports to track your teams' progress. If you want to visualize team capacity and experiment with different capacity scenarios on the team capacity report, make sure you have at least reviewer access to an Aha! Roadmaps workspace with Enterprise+ functionality.

Action

Permission level

Configure account-level capacity settings

Administrator with customization permissions

Configure team-level capacity settings

Team owner

Estimate work

Contributor

Adjust personal work schedule

Contributor

View Aha! Develop reports

Team reviewer

Create capacity planning scenarios

Administrator with customization permissions

Visualize capacity with the capacity report

Workspace reviewer

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Configure capacity settings

Think of capacity planning in three phases:

  • Planning: Scenario planning, progress monitoring, and initial effort estimation happens in Aha! Roadmaps. Capacity planning for product teams requires account-level settings configuration.

  • Delivery: Detailed effort estimates, individual work schedules, and dynamic sprint capacity planning happen in Aha! Develop. Capacity planning for development teams requires team-level settings.

  • Reflection: Reports and retrospectives can happen in either Aha! Roadmaps or Aha! Develop. The capacity report in Aha! Roadmaps can show progress — and how teams are actually progressing against their estimated effort. Aha! Develop comes with a wealth of reports to show sprint velocity, team throughput, burndown, and even product value delivered.

    Note: If you are a Develop Advanced customer, you can create team lines to organize teams in your Aha! account.

Where to go

What to change

Settings ⚙️ Account Capacity planning

As an Aha! Develop user, you do not need to change anything here — but if you intend to work closely with product teams, you should confirm that they are using the same Estimation units as your Aha! Develop teams for their Scenarios.

Product teams on the Enterprise+ plan will use these settings to configure capacity planning and view the capacity report.

The teams capacity report uses capacity teams to visualize work across different planning scenarios. Usually these capacity teams need to be configured manually. But you can also make your Aha! Develop teams available within the capacity report, which will reflect team changes automatically.

Settings ⚙️ Workspace Capacity planning

As an Aha! Develop user, you do not need to change these settings — but if you intend to work closely with a product team in an Aha! Roadmaps workspace, you should confirm that they are using the same Estimation units as your Aha! Develop teams.

In addition to a few conversations, the best way to ensure that capacity planning settings are aligned between product and engineering is to create Related teams. An Aha! Roadmaps workspace owner will link their workspace with your Aha! Develop team.

Once linked, you will both be able to see at a glance how your Capacity planning and Terminology aligns and whether you are automating workflow statuses.

Settings ⚙️ Team Capacity planning Note: If you are a Develop Advanced customer, create team lines in your Aha! account. Any teams under a team line can inherit the line's capacity planning settings. Less effort for you and a consistent orientation towards capacity planning for your Aha! Develop teams.

Configure an individual Aha! Develop team or team line for capacity planning:

  • Sprint capacity: Choose how to manage capacity during sprint planning. If you are a Develop Advanced customer, you can choose to calculate sprint capacity at the Individual level, based on each team member's average velocity and current availability.

  • Estimation: You can estimate work in either Story points or Hours. The units you select here will be the default capacity planning units for all newly created records (though you can always change the units on a record individually).

    • Notes:

      • You cannot change a sprint's estimation units once the sprint has started. If you do want to change the Units for estimates that your team uses, complete that sprint and start another. Reporting will always reflect your team-level Units for estimates and include only those records that use the same units.

      • If you are a Develop Advanced customer and have integrated your account with Aha! Roadmaps, we recommend that Aha! Develop and Aha! Roadmaps users use the same Estimation units for both Initial and Detailed estimates. This makes it much easier to collaborate on record estimation.

  • Time tracking: When you complete a record, choose how you want to handle any remaining Estimate.

    • Select Add as logged time if you want the remaining estimate to be logged as Actual effort work done when you ship a record with an outstanding estimate.

    • Select Ignore remaining time if you want the work log to ignore the remaining time estimate. Use this option to ensure that the logged Actual effort accurately reflects work that was done.

  • Estimate association: Two record types in your Aha! Develop account can have child records under them. Choose how you want to calculate effort estimations for these record types.

    • Features: Features can have child requirements.

      • If you associate estimates with requirements and create a feature with requirements, then the feature's capacity will be calculated from the sum of its requirements' estimates by default. You will not need to set the feature capacity manually in this case.

      • If you associate estimates with requirements but create a feature without any requirements, you will adjust capacity planning at the feature level.

    • Epics: Epics can have child features.

      • If you associate estimates with features and create an epic with child features, then the epic's capacity will calculate from the sum of its features' estimates by default. You will not need to set the epic capacity manually in this case.

      • If you associate estimates with features but create an epic without any features, you will adjust capacity planning at the epic level.

Click Update configuration to save your changes.

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Estimate effort

Either in your Prioritized backlog (Plan Backlog management) or during sprint planning (Plan Sprint planning), you are now ready to estimate the effort it will take to complete each record.

There are three capacity planning fields that come standard on Aha! records:

  • Initial estimate is usually configured by product teams when they are first prioritizing a record.

  • Detailed estimate is usually configured by development teams based on their expert assessment of a record's difficulty to implement. Product managers in Aha! Roadmaps can compare Initial and Detailed estimates.

  • Actual effort is used by development teams to log effort against the Detailed estimate (or Initial estimate if Detailed was left blank).

    Note: Individual sprint capacity planning uses Detailed estimates and Actual effort to calculate capacity. If you have enabled that setting for your team, make sure to track those two fields.

If you are working closely with a product team in Aha! Roadmaps, make sure that you both are using the same Estimation units — Time or Story points. Then, start estimating! You can use any number of methods to estimate work (including the planning poker extension). The end result is a Detailed estimate that will be used to visualize individual and team capacity in both Aha! Roadmaps and Aha! Develop.

Note: Parent records — such as epics and features — can calculate their estimates from the estimates of their child records — such as features and requirements.

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Plan sprint capacity (Develop Advanced)

If your team plans in sprints and you are a Develop Advanced customer, you can calculate a sprint capacity from each team member's average velocity and current availability.

To do this, enable individual sprint capacity in your team settings. Each sprint on the sprint planning page will then display each team member's expected capacity based on when they are available to work and what they have accomplished in past sprints.

  • By default, each team member is scheduled to work weekdays for eight hours or one story point each day. Team members can update this default for themselves to change their weekly Availability, add Non-working days like holidays or PTO, or change the Default velocity in hours or story points. To do this, they can click on their name in the sprint planning page, then click Manage schedule.
    Note: If you have integrated Aha! Roadmaps into your Aha! Develop account at the Enterprise+ level, you can create different work schedules for your teams — each with their own defaults.

  • Team members' velocity is calculated from the work they have completed in the previous three sprints — and updates after every completed sprint. If they have not yet completed work in a sprint, their velocity is based on the Default velocity in their schedule.

With updated schedules and personalized historical velocity, you can plan a sprint with confidence. Assign work to team members without overloading them, then complete work on time.

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Log actual effort

As your team gets to work, they can log effort (in Time or Story points) against an estimate. How you choose to log effort — and whether you choose to at all — is completely up to your team's culture and business requirements. There are two common ways to do this:

  • Individual team members can log their own effort as they work on a record. To do this, they will click Log time for time-based effort and Log effort for points-based effort. This method is the most accurate but requires team participation.

    Note: For time-based effort, the Feature timer extension can automate the time-tracking parts of this process.

  • You can configure your team so that when a record has been completed, its estimate will be logged automatically as its Actual effort. This method is the lightest but assumes that your estimates are very accurate — or that your team does not want to compare estimates with effort.

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Visualize team capacity

Reports in Aha! Roadmaps are designed for product teams and reports in Aha! Develop are designed for engineers. If you want to access all of them, you will need user permissions in both Aha! Roadmaps workspaces and Aha! Develop teams.

Aha! Roadmaps

Aha! Develop

Report

Use it to

Report

Use it to

Capacity report

  • Visualize capacity by team and individual team members

  • Use multiple planning scenarios to inform the product roadmap

Burndown

  • Track sprint progress against an ideal burndown of your sprint estimate.

  • Visualize by team or individual team member.



Velocity

  • Visualize average velocity — what was actually completed versus the effort estimate your team committed to.

  • Visualize by team or individual team member.



Throughput

  • Visualize throughput — the amount of work your team can complete in a week.

  • Visualize by team or individual team member.

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