A question that often comes up in the scrum projects is: how to calculate the number of story points developers can take during one Sprint. This call “capacity”.
Let see a method in this article which works really well and which allows to make good estimates in general.
Calcul the capacity from the average velocity
First, you need to have the velocity of the last sprints to have the possibility to calculate the capacity of the sprint.
You don’t know what is velocity? => Calculation of velocity in agile
So, you take the last 3 last velocities of your scrum team and the average of them will give you an approximative capacity of the sprint :
Why we take just the last 3 velocities ? Because the velocity of the scrum team can evolve; and just the last one is not sufficient to have a real prediction of the capacity of the team.
Who will use the capacity?
The product Owner
The product owner could use the capacity to prepare the next sprints of the scrum team. Indeed, the product owner will have the possibility to prepare the next sprint backlog and have a vision of the next deliveries.
But he will have to remember every time that its vision can be change during the next sprint plannings if the scrum team have the impression that it will be impossible to do all the items purpose by him. Each plan can change in agile!
The development team
The development team will use the capacity during the sprint planning to have an idea of the scope it can do during the sprint. But if the team are afraid that it can’t reach the sprint objective, it can reestimate the capacity on the decline. It’s not a mandatory to respect the capacity calculate form the 3 last velocities.
Indeed, this indicator is just use to help the team during the sprint planning.
The top management
In the agile companies, it’s prohibited to give this indicator to the top management or to the middle managers. This indicator is just a help for the scrum team; it has to stay an internal indicator of the scrum team. So, NEVER output this indicator from the scrum team! Some companies like to compare this kind of indicator between all the teams.
Useful french link: Laissez vos développeurs choisir leur capacité !