The Scrum methodology of agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. In fact, Scrum and other agile processes were inspired by its shortcomings. The Scrum methodology emphasizes communication and collaboration, functioning software, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities — all attributes that suffer in the rigidly ordered waterfall paradigm.

25th
AUG

What’s the Point of Velocity?

Posted by admin under Agile and Scrum, Scrum Basics

Scrum teams know that velocity is a rough estimate for the amount of work that a team can accomplish in a given sprint. It is calculated by simply adding up all the completed story points. Since the point values are merely estimates of the perceived difficulty and time necessary to complete the backlog item, a team’s velocity is not especially useful in and of itself. Instead, it becomes a valuable metric over time as teams complete multiple sprints and have the opportunity to establish a consistent velocity. Once this occurs, the Product Owner can look to the team’s established velocity to determine how much work it can tackle in the next sprint.

Amr Elssamadisy has just posted on the topic of velocity and concludes his post with the following questions: “Should velocity be used a metric for productivity?  Should it be used for iteration planning?  What about longer term release planning?  Should it be used at all, or is it a wasteful practice?”

As always, I’m curious to hear how you’d answer those questions, so please share your thoughts in the comments section.

As you might guess, I’m of the mind that tracking velocity is a valuable process. However, the limits of its value must be understood, since it is derived from estimates (i.e. abstracted valuations) and not an absolute indication of progress or productivity. Thus, it can be helpful for sprint and release planning, but should be regarded as an estimate all the same.Perhaps the most valuable aspect of tracking velocity is the ability to observe how a team develops over time. That is, if a team consistently increases its velocity, it can be inferred that the team is learning to work together better and incrementally improving its performance.

To see an example of a team computing velocity, pay attention about halfway through this example Sprint Review Meeting.

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Reader's Comments

  1. Prakash Singh |

    when we understand the project success as the ultimate success, then it become more interesting to understand which measures are critical to make informed decisions on project,

    Before we jump on to start measuring we should understand the cored value of using agile a methodology for project execution. Specifically speaking on scrum the idea was to bring the team cohesiveness towards achieving a goal.so the measurement should be considered team as a single unit then the velocity metrics reflects the productivity in terms of story points for a team as whole. From this prospective the velocity metrics is better used for decision making rather than individual productivity measure of team member.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Prakash Singh

  2. ewok_bbq |

    Thanks Prakash for your post. For more on velocity and the argument for “Macro” measurement, have a look here: http://www.danube.com/system/files/CollabNet_WP_Macromeasurements_061710.pdf

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