What is Velocity


Team velocity is the rate at which a team delivers stories from the product backlog. If you know your velocity, you’ll have an idea about:

  • How much value you’ve delivered until now (in story points and done user stories).
  • When you’ll be able to deliver all user stories in the product backlog.
  • How many story points will you be able to deliver by a certain date.

Each team is comparable only to itself. Velocity is not used as a measure as if we were racing against each other. Velocity is used to help us improve our timing — to help us get better and better and speed up, compared only to ourselves.

Velocity is a problematic metric because it is easy to manipulate and often misused as an indicator of efficiency.

Don’t forget that:

  • Velocity is that it conflates work done with planning accuracy.
  • Velocity is that it does not take quality or priority into account. Velocity can be increased by neglecting good design, refactoring, coding standards, and technical debt.
  • Velocity is that it is often misused as a measure of efficiency or team performance. Velocity is a metric of work done, not efficiency.
  • Velocity can be increased by working overtime or adding team members, neither of which necessarily increase efficiency or performance.

We need velocity to:

  • Predict how much scope can be delivered by a specific date.
  • Predict a date for a fixed amount of scope to be delivered.
  • Understand our limits while defining the amount of scope we will commit for a sprint.

As on a car trip, there are factors that may influence our velocity:

  • Roadblocks — aka impediments
  • Fuel — motivation, what drives us
  • Driver experience — knowledge/expertise/competence developer
  • Car conditions — development environment
  • Visibility — project transparency
  • Directions — project objectives
  • Traffic/driving rules — processes
  • Destination — product

From Catia Oliveira

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