Agile quiz: getting more capacity out of your team


Capacity rowing team

On a quite similar model of this Scrum quiz I published some days ago, here is another quiz about Agile, with 10 questions targeting in particular what is called the ‘capacity’ of a team.

If you need some knowledge or to refresh your mind about what is considered as ‘capacity’ in Agile, here are some useful resources:

Agile Capacity Calculation

How To Do Effective Capacity Planning on The Scrum Team

Atlassian JIRA – Using the capacity view

Stackexchange forum – How to calculate sprint capacity? forum – Capacity vs Velocity


Question 1

Why do smaller peanut-sized stories and tasks help raise capacity?

1) Makes you think about the entire design in advance

2) I only spend 30 minutes every day updating them

3) They “dance” across the task board quicker

4) Easier to understand and check-off as done

Correct answer:

They are easier to understand and thus easier to determine if done or not, there is less room for gold-plating and thus tend to get done quicker.



Question 2

Who has the most capacity, in theory?

1) The team

2) The Scrum Master and Product Owner

3) The stakeholder(s)

4) The manager

Correct answer:

A trick question! Often stakeholders that are not really engaged push decision making onto the team. This adds work-load to the team. In fact, when we think about it, the stakeholders have more capacity – they have entire teams but we all often forget that.


Question 3

Which adds capacity fastest?

1) Implementing changes identified by a retrospective

2) Morning focus

3) Adding a new team member

4) Shortening Daily Stand-ups from 15 to 5 minutes

Correct answer:

Adding a new team member, although the default choice for many, is not correct. It may take 6-9 months to get them up-to-speed. Instead, get the team to focus for 4 hours in the morning, no interrupts. It will bring immediate results.


Question 4

Which statement will give more capacity in the long-term:

1) Never let developers talk to end-users or the business

2) Keep maintenance at 20% of capacity and operations away from the Agile teams

3) Integrate support, maintenance, DevOps and new development into each team

4) Have separate maintenance and new development teams

Correct answer:

When all members of the team understand the impact their work has on others, the team’s productivity will improve massively because they will understand that their work will have true purpose and meaning.


Question 5

Regarding technical debt, which statement is most true:

1) It is ok, but too much will ultimately hinder the teams progress

2) Give the team 10% capacity to remove it in every sprint

3) Don’t waste time improving it – get value out now

4) Never have it. Eliminate at all costs

Correct answer:

You could give the team 10% capacity in each sprint to remove it, but that approach feels too bureaucratic – the challenge is getting the balance right. Some is in fact very good, but not too much.


Question 6

When working with vendors, to raise capacity, should you:

1) Make their Scrum Master accountable for delivery

2) Bring them into your offices and have them sit at least 60% with your team, if not 100%

3) Do everything you can to keep the separate and therefore accountable

4) Print out the contract and keep referring to it at every Steering Committee meeting

Correct answer:

Although initially costly, the benefits of having the vendor sit with your team far outweigh those costs as time delays are eliminated, community decay is reduced and true partnership starts to emerge.


Question 7

Use retrospectives to…

1) Hold management accountable for implemeting the measures

2) Identify what each person can do to improve their capacity

3) Identify what one measure will improve the capacity of the entire team

Correct answer:

Rather than try to fix as many impediments as possible, let the team decide one measure that can be done in the next week that will improve the entire team’s productivity and thus capacity.


Question 8

Regarding the Product Backlog

1) Timebox a weekly refinement to one hour maximum

2) Should the whole backlog be refined in advance so that we know exactly what we are doing?

3) The “sprint’s” backlog should be refined during sprint planning

4) Eliminate refinement altogether – the Product Owner should just do his/her job

Correct answer:

Keeping the refinement to one hour keeps the team focused. If it is not enough, the team will feel it and will bring it up.


Question 9

According to some, we have to be ultra-agile in today’s VUCA world. So, …

1) Agreed: never plan beyond two weeks

2) No: it is good to know what is coming in the next sprint

3) No: having an overview of the next few months is good

4) Agreed: the team has to become comfortable with not knowing what is coming next. They need to learn to let-go

Correct answer:
 Depends on the situation… So all of the answers are correct. For example, fast moving online marketing teams need to react fast to A/B testing so looking ahead could be waste. But continuous large scale product development certainly needs a sense of perspective.


Question 10

With regards to Quality raising capacity, which of the following is true?

1) Developers should develop, not test. Maximize developer capacity

2) Acceptance criteria makes the team think about quality before implementation also reducing gold-plating

3) Only ever test at the end so you have capacity under control

4) Automated testing adds to the effort, so minimize it

Correct answer:

Clearly Test Driven Development will help the team raise their capacity as the entire team knows what has to work at the start of the sprint which also helps avoid gold-plating.


So, how many correct answers did you get? What do you think of these questions? Feel free to add a comment, I would be delighted to know your opinion about this Agile quiz.

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