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Team Capacity in Advanced Roadmaps when team members don't all have the same skills

On our teams, which support different products, we have a varying degree of skill set within the team so that all skills are covered. For example, there are front-end and back-end developers, UI developers, and QA staff. Depending on the story, only some of the staff are capable of doing the work if the work requires a particular niche skill. And, in our case, our QA people don't do development and our other team members don't do QA.

How have you all managed this in Jira? How about in Advanced Roadmaps?

1 answer

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Dave Atlassian Team Apr 05, 2021

In our team we typically have a 3 way split between backend, frontend and design work (there is no dedicated QA/test engineers - the developers have to take responsibility for implementing automated tests and verifying the implementation or fix for their peers work).

On a somewhat related note we also divide responsibility for different capabilities of the application across multiple teams. 

We manage skillsets by having different issues for each competency and then link those together using dependency relationships under a common epic. So for example design work will be covered by a dedicated design issue, backend work by a backend issue and frontend work by a frontend issue. It's definitely harder to combine the design and implementation backlogs and we've had mixed success with it and there has been some pushback. We use prefixes on issue summaries for clear visibility on backlogs or plans as to the nature of the work but we use components to define capability ownership and assign teams to issues based on those components and each team has it's own board/backlog within a shared project. I would imagine that you could do something similar based on skill - but it's definitely a challenge if you have multi-skilled people that can take work from multiple backlogs. 

It's relatively easy to manage at an individual team level but if you're responsible for planning and scheduling work across multiple teams then I would imagine it would be much harder unfortunately. 

I'd be really interested to hear how other teams handle these sorts of requirements - especially for those that are currently using the Skills / Stages features in the Live Plans interface,

Regards,

Dave

We were interested in exploring the Skills / Stages feature in the Live Plans interface until we learned that Live Plans were going to be sunset, so we're trying to find solutions using the new interface.

Like Dave likes this

Dave - We've also been exploring the idea of providing each SM their own Advanced Roadmaps plan where they can manually schedule their sprints. The thinking is that the SM would know the skills required and the skills of each person, so they could make team member assignments there. However, I think we run the risk that we can over/under allocate people. Is there something that can help us manage the effort of each team member per sprint?

Dave Atlassian Team Apr 06, 2021

Unfortunately it's not possible to do what you'd like at the moment. But these are exactly the sort of use cases that we're looking at trying to address. How successful you can be at the moment really depends on how multi-skilled each of those teams are. If each team contained people with equivalent skills then you could manage this at the team level - but it sounds like this isn't the case.

This is one of the reason we're exploring how best to address individual capacity management. Although we're not looking at reintroducing skills/stages we do want to find a way to easily visualise the workload assigned to individuals in a team so that you can easily see if they're under or over allocated and distribute work accordingly.

We're exploring ideas like being able to group by team member which would show each team as a group with sub-groups of each member. But we're also trying to understand how to manage individuals contributing across multiple teams or contributing more or less than others in a team. Showing capacity of an individual gets more complex when they are contributing to more than one team (as different teams can have different velocities and when it comes to story points you can't just sum story points from issues across multiple teams backlog ... a 3 pointer for one team is not the same size as a 3 pointer for another team. For time based estimates it's obviously slightly easier as the unit of measurement is consistent. We also can only show capacity based on the issues contained within a plan - so an individual could also be assigned work outside of the context of a plan and this also makes it hard to provide reliable information so would require some planning discipline!

I appreciate that this isn't really providing you with a good answer but I just wanted to provide some context of where we're at with this.

Regards,

Dave

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