Deviations from Optimal Planning – Capacity Is Forced

Two weeks have passed and here we are again with another article on the same topic as last time - deviations from optimal planning. But this time, we aren’t writing about the Backlog not being ready, since we think we covered it a couple of weeks ago. Rather, we will describe another deviation: Capacity Is Forced.


From my experience, Product Owners may have worked as Project Managers previously, and as a result, they can tend to impose their own view on how much work the Development team should take into the Sprint. This can lead to Product Owners suggesting or demanding that Developers take more items into the Sprint while overlooking capacity. Usually, if the team’s velocity is 20 story points, they will rarely deliver 35.

If Developers are pushed to take more items into the Sprint, the team’s workload increases and exceeds capacity, meaning the Scrum team will likely not be able to deliver all the items they took into the Sprint. And imagine this happening to you every Sprint. The team can get increasingly frustrated over time and this situation can result in Developers leaving the team. You do not want that, do you?

Moreover, imagine you are forced by someone to process more work than you are capable of. Would you still feel responsible? I doubt it.

But, none of this should happen with the great Scrum Masters that we have at RWS. Scrum Masters monitor their team's average capacity, which allows the team to deliver and prevents Product Owners from forcing additional work on the Development team.

Another way to prevent forced capacity is to educate the Development team about the correct planning process and ensure them that they can't be forced to take more work into each Sprint.


That was the second deviation from optimal planning. See you in two weeks with another one.

You may also like:

Modes of Planning (Part I)

All the articles dedicated to the To Do List have been published. The last one was about the Developer’s To Do List. So, it is…

AMI Interview with Jan Pisarovsky - Working from home during the lockdown

In this edition of AMI interview, we virtually sat down to talk with Scrum Master Jan Pisarovsky about the struggles one might face when…

Five Tips for Working from Home

Some of you were probably hoping for a zombie apocalypse as I was. And all we got was this lousy coronavirus. Jokes aside, the current…