Estimating and Resource Planning for scrum teams with heterogeneous skills

Hi all,

We are an large software development organization that has recently adopted scrum methodologies across our development teams using Jira/GH to manage planning and tasks. We have split into many scrum teams, most of which have homogeneous skill needs. Meaning, most of the teams have members with interchangable skills.

However, we have 4 teams that have members with non-interchangeable skills. Basically, on a single scrum team we have Java, proprietary tooling and Flex (yes, as in Adobe Flex) skills. The folks with Java skills cannot be expect to contribut to the Flex front-end.

The problem is resource planning. For instance, we need to know for a release how many people with Flex sklls will we need. Today, we play Planning Poker that results in a single rough estimate for each story. While that does give us an idea of the capacity for the release, it doesn't help with estimating how many people with a particular skill we need on the scrum team for the release (e.g. people with Flex skills).

I have a feeling that we are not the first group to run into this issue and I'd like to know how others have addressed it using Jira tooling. Here are a few of the ideas we've thrown around:

  • Get detailed estimates and subtasks for a story before release planning and capture the skill required in the subtask
  • Capture rough estimates in Planning poker by skill (e.g. 2 pts for Java, 5 pts for Flex)
  • Look at our historic rate by skill and apply that to a single rough estimate (i.e. historically stories have been 50% Flex work, so a new story with a rough estimate of 8 would be estimated at 4 days of Flex work)

Thanks for your help,

Seth

1 answer

I have the same problem. We have people with different skills (GUI, database management, different languages (C++/Java/Ruby... ) all in one team as an Agile team ought to be. We have decided to use components to identify what's affected by a sub-task and therefore identify required skills but that doesn't help with resource planning in the Scrum Rapid Board planning mode.

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