Efficiency and good performance are very important for every Agile team. One of the simplest yet most effective metrics to measure performance and efficiency for an agile team is Velocity. It helps teams determine how much work they can complete within one iteration. If your team uses Agile methodology such as Scrum to achieve better results, then learning more about Agile Velocity can help achieve better results in the future.
If you’d like to learn more about Agile Velocity and how you can use it to measure and improve your team’s performance, continue reading our guide.
What is Agile Velocity?
Velocity in Agile is a metric used to determine how efficient the team is and what it can do to improve performance. It helps measure how much work the team should deliver in a Sprint on average. It’s a powerful metric both the Agile team and the stakeholders can use to see how fast the work is getting done.
Agile Velocity determines two key things:
- How much work an agile team has delivered in the past sprints
- How long it took the team to get the work done
Agile Velocity Formula
But how do you calculate velocity? There’s a formula and it’s quite simple. All you must do is measure the total number of items on the product backlog that were delivered in the previous Sprint.
However, to effectively calculate the velocity of your team, it’s necessary to complete several Sprints, ideally three to five. That
way teams that aren’t used to Agile project management can get a hang of how the workflow functions and adapt to changes that occur within the team.
As the Sprints progress, the velocity of an Agile team will vary but once three to five sprints have been completed, it’ll be more stable. To get the right formula for your team, you will need to understand how many points each user story or a small portion of work is worth.
Depending on the organization you work in, it can be calculated differently. Here are all the tips to consider when calculating agile velocity.
- Define the unit of measurement: Use story points and the number of user stories that were completed in a sprint. They have a relative estimation of the effort required to complete a user story.
- Measure completed work: At the end of each Sprint, calculate the total number of story points or user stories that the team has completed or delivered. Make sure to only include the work items that meet the team’s Definition of Done (DoD) which means they’re fully developed, tested, and ready for deployment.
- Sum up velocity over multiple Sprints: Calculate the velocity for each sprint. You will need to sum up the total story points or user stories completed in each sprint.
- Calculate the average velocity: What is the average team velocity? After you’ve collected velocities for 3-5 sprints, calculate the average velocity by dividing the sum of all velocities by the number of sprints.
Formula to calculate average velocity:
Average Velocity = (Sum of velocities of all calculated sprints) / (Number of Sprints)
Agile velocity is a metric that is relative, which means it’s specific and different for each team. It can’t precisely show the productivity of different teams in your organization. Still, it’s a helpful tool that helps your team plan their work for future sprints.
What is Velocity vs Capacity?
In Scrum, both Velocity and Capacity are two essential metrics used to plan and manage the work of a development team.
Velocity shows the average amount of work a Scrum team can complete within a Sprint based on their performance in the previous Sprints. On the other hand, Agile Capacity represents the amount of work the development team can realistically complete during a specific Sprint.
Agile Capacity depends on several factors such as the number of team members, their skills, availability, planned time off, and other factors. Both of these metrics are important for effective Sprint planning.
For example, when planning a new Sprint, the development team will focus on Velocity to see how many user stories or backlog items they can complete during the Sprint. However, for effective work, they must make sure that the total story points of planned work for the upcoming Sprint don’t exceed their Capacity.
Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t only rely on these metrics. Relying too much on these metrics while evaluating your team’s productivity and performance will lower the overall morale of the team and affect their confidence negatively.
When using Agile Velocity and Agile Capacity to measure your team’s performance, you should consider both benefits and drawbacks of these metrics. The key focus should always be on delivering value over completing objectives while making progress and growing as a team.
How to Improve the Agile Velocity of Your Team?
What is good team velocity? It depends on many factors that are related to the development team. In this section, we’ll talk about how to improve the agile velocity in your team.
1. Visibility is the Key
To improve the agile velocity, you also need to increase visibility. Your team needs to see how they’re performing to be able to make themselves accountable for their actions and improve their performance.
You can also encourage your team to document their performance, to-do lists, and other metrics so that they would know what to work on and improve it in the process.
2. Impactful Daily Scrum Meetings
Many employees find daily scrum meetings annoying. Daily standup meetings can be overwhelming for the entire team if they’re not conducted properly. Rearrange the meeting schedule in a way that won’t overwhelm and fatigue your team.
Talk about commitment, stay enthusiastic about the tasks that don’t need to be completed, and make an impact. Make sure that all instructions are straightforward and that no one is confused. Once the meeting is finished, everyone should feel more productive and aware of what they need to do.
3. Don’t Run from the Retrospective Meetings
Scrum retrospective meetings are equally vital to the project just as much as other meetings that take place during the Scrum. Even when you’re working on a project that requires a fast pace, it’s necessary to reflect on what was done before moving to the next thing.
If you skip the retrospective meetings, there’s a big chance that your team won’t learn from their mistakes and will continue the poor practices that lead to bottlenecks and mistakes. Using retrospective meetings is important because they promote responsibility, accountability, and better communication in the team.
4. Focus on the Entire Team, Not Just on Individuals
Teams and their leaders sometimes look for problems in individuals rather than the entire team. That said, when a team is trying to handle inefficiencies, it’s common to focus only on individual problems. However, there are times when communication is lacking, and it impacts the entire team.
Managers think that addressing individual members, especially juniors will allow them to avoid conflicts, but many issues could cause the bottlenecks on the project that can be attributed to the entire team and not just the individuals.
Talk to your team, address every concern or issue that they may have, and brainstorm and explore ways that can help the entire team mitigate the issues. Avoid pointing fingers at people whose fault it was, listen carefully, and provide feedback where it’s necessary.
Agile velocity is a great metric that allows teams to measure effectiveness and performance in a team. Kanban Zone is equipped with a toolkit necessary to track your team’s performance and stay up to date with work items and tasks in an intuitive environment for both Agile and Lean teams.