Estimating and managing time budgets
This page refers to Portfolio classic plans. If you are currently running Portfolio 2.0, please check this link to access the latest page version.
Estimates are key components for capacity planning and resource allocation. You can think of them as:
- Real estimates of how much work you think an item requires to be completed.
- Time budgets for particular backlog items to reserve that capacity allowing you to decide at a later date exactly which features and scopes to commit to.
You can define estimates in:
- Time based units such as days and hours.
Entering an estimate will automatically format the value for the setting that you have specified in your plan, see Scheduling settings. In addition, when using time formats, enter estimates in either days or hours and Portfolio for JIRA will automatically convert the value to the format specified in the plan
Example: 16h would be converted to an estimate of 2 days if the plan was set to estimate using days.
You can specify estimates at three levels:
- The total estimate.
- Stage-level estimate
Example: 5 days of design, 20 days of implementation effort) - this is then per stage distributed based on the configured default allocation.
- Skill-level estimates
- Example: for this item, I need 5 days of someone who can work on the web front end.
The easiest way to estimate a backlog item is by entering a total estimate number into the table column as opposed to entering individual estimates for each stage of work.
A total estimate is split into realistic capacities based on a configurable default allocation, see Adding and configuring stages and skills for more information.
The default Scrum configuration is shown below. There's a top level allocation between stages of work, such as design and implementation. Stages can be made up of sets of skills that pertain to that stage. If a stage has defined skills, then there is an allocation within that stage for those skills. Allocated skills will always add up to 100%.
Allocation for stages:
Allocation for skills:
Note: This feature guarantees that your plan is realistic even if you just enter rough estimate/budgets. Otherwise, the total capacity might be available, but in reality not every team member is capable of covering every type of work which may result in bottlenecks.
Estimates at the story level
The sum of estimates entered for child stories in an epic will be or replace the total estimate for that epic.
Estimates at the stage and skill-level
You can also set estimates at the stage and skill levels to further refine allocation by specifying which skills and capacities are needed.
In the screenshot below: story 1 has a total estimate, story 2 has stage-level estimates, and story 3 has most fine-grained skill-level estimates.