Balancing release and sprint workloads

Effective planning of release and sprint backlogs involves assigning the right amount of work items for the release capacity.

To facilitate this, each team is assigned a sprint velocity, which determines the overall release capacity. At the other end of the equation, the size of each user story and defect is estimated in story points. After completing these estimations, you can create an optimal release and sprint work plan.

Set sprint velocities

The expected sprint velocity is the estimated number of story points a team can deliver in a sprint. Each team has a different velocity. The team velocities contribute to the following Agile Manager measurements:

  • Sprint velocity. The velocities of all the teams participating in a sprint determines the sprint velocity.
  • Release capacity. The velocities of all the sprints determines the overall release capacity.

The sprint and release capacities serve as guidelines for the amount of backlog items you can plan to each release, sprint, and team.

After a team has participated in several sprints, use Agile Manager widgets to analyze the amount of story points the team managed to deliver. Based on this historical data, you can reevaluate the team's expected velocity for future sprints.

Note: Team velocities are set by administrators on the team details page in the configuration area.

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Set story points

Each backlog item – user story or defect – differs in size. In Agile methodology, you estimate the size of backlog items in story points. The amount of story points you assign to a work item denotes its size relative to other work items.

Optionally, an organization can decide to use story points as absolute values. For example, you could define that a user story with one story point requires one day of work to implement.

Note: Agile Manager notifies you if a backlog includes items that do not have a story point estimation.

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Plan release and sprint backlogs

Assign work items to the release or sprint backlog to fill the available capacity. Agile Manager graphically displays the amount of free space in a backlog, and warns if a backlog exceeds the capacity.

If a backlog has exceeded its capacity, use the following methods to balance the workload:

  • Unassign user stories or defects from the release or sprint.
  • Break large user stories into parts, and leave only a part in the current backlog.
  • If feasible, increase the teams' velocities.

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