Team quarterly capacity planning:

- Confluence document created with a big table (+100 rows) by product / business. Each row is something that needs to be worked on for the coming quarter.

- Row 1 could be an Epic with 15 tickets attached. Row 2 could be adding a single log to our analytics. No consistency.

- For each row, we create a separate confluence document with the "technical details". 75% of the time these remain blank. 1% of the time there is something useful, the rest its a slightly longer version of the description from the bigger document.

- Each row gets a high level estimate by the leads. 50% of the time without sufficient background info to actually do get it accurate.

- These are then copied into the teams excel spreadsheet, where it will calculate if we are over/under capacity.

- We will go backwards and forwards between confluence and excel until we are "close enough" to under capacity without being too much.

- Once done, we then need to copy them into the org/division's excel spreadsheet. This document is huge, has every team on it and massive 50pt text saying "Do not put a filter on this document".

- Jira tickets + Epics will now be created for each one, with all the data be copied over by hand, bit by bit, by product. Often missing something.

- Last week, at the end of this process for Q2 (2 weeks late), 6 of the leads were asked to attend a 30 minute meeting to discuss how to group the line items together because we had too many for the bigger excel spreadsheet.

- This morning I was told business weren't happy with one of our decisions to delay one line item. Although they were all top priority (P0), one of them was actually higher than that again (P-1?) and we need to work it back in.

... so back to step 1

- Mid way through Q2, a new document will be created for Q3. Work items that didn't make the cut will be manually copied from one to the other. 50/50 whether anything that didn't get done on time in Q2 will make its way to the Q3 doc.

- "Tech excellence" / "Tech debt" items (unit/UI tests, documentation, logging, performance, stability etc) will never be copied over. Because product doesn't understand them and assumes therefore that they are unimportant.


PS: I'd like to say this was a rare event for Q2, but no. Q4 and Q1 were so bad, we were made assurances from the director of engineering that he would fix this process for Q2. This is the new and improved process (I shit you not) that has resulted in nothing tangible.

  • 3
    @irene nope just excel management
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  • 4
    Excel is evil
  • 3
    oh you poor lad... does your health insurance cover psychologist visits?
  • 1
    Wow!! 😲
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    Just wondering, how many engineering teams and jira projects are fed by this godly excel spreadsheet?
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    @Commodore I don’t have access to it. Have only seen it in a screen share on conference calls. I’m guessing in the ballpark of 30 or 40 teams.

    I’ll put it this way, there have been issues where the meeting host needed to refresh the excel online page. It was quite difficult for him to find the same row / column again
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