One of the best things about the Agile Methodology and the core reason for its popularity in today’s market is its ability to deliver and reiterate.
What we mean by that is that you are using the methodology to not build an entire system in one go, instead you deliver a system or a product that is able to satisfy the customer in the shortest development time possible, so that you can continue to develop incrementally.
With this incremental development and many other competitive advantages that agile has to offer, it’s no surprise that over 95% of the organizations around the world are now using the agile development methodology to develop their products or systems.
This rapid development process is all well and good, but measuring the team performance and all of the work that the team is performing is also important, and that is where agile velocity comes in.
What is agile velocity? Well, if you are looking for an answer to this question, then you came to the right place because, in this article, we are going to talk about everything related to agile velocity and everything related to this concept.
So, without further ado, let’s dive right in and find out what it’s all about.
What is Agile Velocity?
Starting with the definition:
“Agile velocity is an accurate measurement of the amount of work that your development team is performing within a certain timeframe or sprint iteration.”
One of the best things about agile velocity is that it helps all of the scrum teams working in the organizational paradigm to create more accurate timelines.
Another way of looking at agile velocity is that it is an amazing way to measure the accurate progress that a project development team is making on a project.
The “velocity” that we are talking about is determined by the total number of story points that are delivered during a specific iteration or sprint.
But what are story points? Let’s find out.
What are Story Points?
We all know by now what a product backlog is (they are the requirements of the project and the list of features that the application or the system is going to have).
Story points are an amazing way that Agile teams use in order to estimate the overall effort that is taken to complete a certain task or process by the project development team members.
One thing that you need to understand is that these story points are not hard numbers. They are generally based on the ideas or the relative difficulty regarding the execution of the tasks and processes in question.
Let’s now take a look at how agile velocity is calculated and how you can calculate it for your endeavors.
How to Calculate Agile Velocity?
Agile velocity is measured by taking the average number of all of the story points that have been completed over the last few iterations. There might be points from incomplete stories, but they are never counted as part of the actual agile velocity.
Let’s take a scenario for example.
There are 9 story points in sprint A and 8 in sprint B. Let’s assume that the story points for sprints C, D, and E are 10, 8, and 7 consecutively.
If we add up these numbers and divide the result by the total number of sprints which is 5, we get the result as 8.4.
Formula to Calculate Agile Velocity = Addition of all of the story points of each sprint / Total number of sprints
This means that the scrum development team that is working on the project and the product owner can expect to complete approximately 8 story points in the next sprint that the team will work on.
One thing that you need to understand is that the velocity number, on their own, don’t reveal the whole story about the progress of the sprints.
Clear insights or detailed insights start to become more apparent when you monitor the agile velocity’s path over different iterations.
Disadvantages of Measuring Agile Velocity
Here are some of the few disadvantages of measuring agile velocity that you and your team can experience.
- One of the worst things related to measuring agile velocity is that the concept is abused by the development team leaders as a team comparison metric on which they measure the entire team’s performance
- Another great drawback related to calculating story points to measure agile velocity is that this technique is greatly abused by the high-level executives to calculate the performance of all of the project development team members
- The last disadvantage of calculating agile velocity is that it is used as a false predictor by the upper management to find out an expected delivery date for the project
How does Agile Velocity help to measure efficiency?
The numbers of the Agile Velocity won’t give you much to start with, however, the trends will assist you to measure and analyze the efficiency. There is a misconception about Agile that it must be utilized as an efficiency goal, which is not the main intended case.
The common misconception is, that whenever a team witnesses numbers to be decreasing, the question is to immediately get those numbers up. The risk and the pressure to cut edges to achieve a particular velocity goal is not the major goal. Hence, whenever the Agile velocity numbers are trending down, you must dig deeper into the possibility of inefficiencies that may be causing the downward trend. Mainly, an upgrade into the Agile velocity numbers must be looked into as well, it must be a sign that the team is moving ahead too fast and the quality has been going down.
If that is not the case, you must find that you can accomplish the higher velocity numbers than it was planned for you without risking the quality – you can conveniently shave off a few iterations off of the overall timeline.
- How do I calculate the velocity for my agile teams?
You need to divide the number of backlog items or the user story points that have been delivered over the course of several sprints by the total number of days in those sprints.
- What should be done to get the velocity to stabilize?
Whenever an agile velocity fluctuates, the agile team must find out what is changing the data point or the situation that led to it and address it, as long as the significant part of the project is affected otherwise. Under normal circumstances, agile velocity stabilizes usually within 3-6 iterations.
- How can I estimate the agile velocity for future sprints?
The aim of measuring agile velocity now is to make it easy to accurately estimate future agile velocity. So, to estimate future iterations, apply the range you’ve arrived at over previous sprints, assuming no significant factor has affected the team’s productivity.
This was our guide related to Agile velocity and everything associated with it. If you think that we missed some vital information regarding it, then you should write to us and let us know.
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