Capacity planning for individuals

There are two parts to good planning — clear definition of the work to be done and an understanding of available resources. If you get either of these wrong, your team suffers. To make matters worse, the rest of the organization loses confidence that key launch dates or deliverables will be met.

In this article, we will focus on capacity planning and time tracking at the level of individual members of your team. But if you are an Enterprise+ customer, you can also visualize capacity across entire teams.

Note: Turning on capacity planning also enables a Start date, End date, and Due date that will be visible in all features. You can visually manage feature due-dates and dependencies on the Releases → Gantt page.

Click any of the following links to skip ahead in this article:

Turn on capacity planning

You must be an owner in Aha! to enable capacity planning. Capacity planning is enabled for each workspace in Settings ⚙️→ Workspace → Capacity planning by checking the box for Capacity for individuals.

Note: If you do not see the menu option, you might be in a parent line instead of a workspace.

  1. Check Capacity for individuals.

  2. Set the default Units for estimates in Time or Story points.
    Note: If you are sharing these estimates with another team, make sure to use the same default units.

  3. Select your Remaining estimate preference. By selecting Add as logged time, the remaining estimate will be logged as work done upon completion. By selecting Ignore remaining time, the work log will ignore the remaining time estimate. This provides more control to ensure that the logged time accurately reflects work that was done.

  4. Associate estimates with features or requirements. If you associate estimates with requirements but create features without requirements, capacity planning will be found at the feature level.

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Capacity planning and integrations

If you set up a 2.0 integration and then enable capacity planning afterward, you will need to go back and update your integration to map the estimate fields by using the Update records option to re-sync the data from your development tool. Find specific instructions for your development tool in the integrations articles.

If you have an existing 1.0 integration set up that syncs Aha! features to your development tool and then enable capacity planning for individuals, you run the risk of sending estimates of "0" to your development tool. This happens because the integration automatically starts syncing as soon as it is turned on. To prevent this from happening, you can convert your 1.0 integration to a 2.0 integration. 2.0 integrations have the same functionality as 1.0 versions, plus extended capabilities.

If upgrading your integration is not an option, follow these steps:

  1. Update the time tracking fields in your integration set up to a one-way sync (from whichever system has the accurate estimates).

  2. Enable capacity planning for individuals, then and adjust estimates and ensure everything is correct.

  3. Return your integration set up to a two-way sync.

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Estimate capacity by initiative

You can estimate capacity at three levels. At the highest level, you can apply an estimate to initiatives by filling out the Estimate field on each initiative. You can find this field in the initiative's Overview tab if you are looking at an initiatives drawer view, and on the right side of the initiative's detail view.

You can also assign initiatives to users in your Aha! account, then track their capacity in the capacity report.

You can use the following key for setting your estimates:

  • use h, d, w, m to represent time (e.g. "2d 1h"), e.g. 8h = 1d, 5d = 1w, 22d = 1m

  • use p to measure points, e.g. 0.5p, 1p, 2p, 3p

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Estimate capacity by release

Once the capacity planning feature is enabled, planning bars appear at the top of releases on the Features → Board page. The bars can display total capacity, work completed, work remaining, and whether you are over capacity. Click Capacity under the capacity bar to set total available capacity. If you do not know the total capacity, you can estimate and change it later.

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Estimate capacity by features and requirements

You can also set estimated effort for features and requirements from a feature's detail or drawer view to estimate what each feature will cost in terms of effort.

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The planning bar at the top of a release on the Features → Board page will automatically update to reflect the total estimated capacity vs. the total required effort to complete each release. If there is not enough capacity to meet the estimated effort, a section of the bar will turn red to highlight this discrepancy. On the features board, a red Capacity limit line enables you to drag the most important features above and decide whether to move the rest of the features to another release or to extend the release date.

If you are unsure which features are the most important, use scorecards to prioritize them with objective metrics that are aligned to your strategy.

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Log time worked

Capacity planning also includes the ability for your team to track time spent working on initiatives, releases, features, and requirements. If this is widely used, you will have a clear view of the progress being made during a release or sprint, as well as the work that has yet to be completed. You still get all of the benefits of capacity planning without using this. However, by using it, you can track (and report on) the actual time being spent if this is important to you and the team.

  • To log time, find the Estimate field on a record (in the Overview tab in a record's drawer view), then click Log time on the record (depending on how you have set your default estimate association), and update Work done.

  • After you have logged time on a record, you can choose to have any remaining estimate Updated automatically or Set to a specific value.

  • If you complete a record, it will automatically log the remaining estimate as work completed for you. Therefore, if the estimated value is no longer accurate, you should update it before changing the status.

  • If you accidentally log the wrong time and need to delete it, click on More options → Time tracking history from the record's drawer view and clicking on the trash icon by the update you want to remove.

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To view a list of all features with their original estimates and work completed, use the list view by going to Features → List. You can build list reports to see the same information for releases or initiatives, or use the capacity report.

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If you work with other teams, doing some lightweight capacity planning in a collaborative environment will ensure that both teams work efficiently to build what matters — and that both have realistic goals.

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Use the capacity report

With capacity planning enabled, and your features populated with Start dates, Due dates and Estimates, you are ready to make use of the capacity report for individuals by navigating to Roadmaps → Capacity.

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This report breaks down your team's capacity, by user, by month, and by record type (initiatives, releases, and features) and shows you how many records are assigned to each user, which records are waiting to be assigned (or scheduled) and where any potential capacity conflicts might arise.

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