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The most critical measure of an agile team’s plan is its “velocity.” The amount of work that the team does in each sprint phase. It helps teams determine how much progress they can make in a particular sprint phase. Adding all the story points that each user’s story completed at the end of the sprint calculates velocity. It measures output but not results — Agile Project Management can improve productivity & flexibility. Agility is often used in the Scrum framework, and one of the critical metrics is velocity.

During a sprint schedule, a team’s velocity is used as the input for the next sprint. The team uses these data to assess and enhance their use in Scrum to deliver customer value. By assessing their velocity over the last few sprint phases, teams know how changes in a particular process affect the delivery of measurable customer value.

The Velocity-Based Sprint Schedule

  • Calculate the average team velocity (from the last three sprints).
  • Select an item from the product backlog that is equal to the average velocity.
  • Verify that the tasks associated with the selected user story are appropriate for a specific sprint.
  • Estimate the task to check that the total workload is consistent with past sprints.

What Happens If the Velocity Fluctuates?

When agile velocity fluctuates within a secure range, the agile team may want to analyze what is varying and how to resolve it. In a big way, the significant changes in it may affect the big project goals, change deadlines, and adjust plans.

The reason for the velocity fluctuation:

In a particular project, it can fluctuate according to the following variables.

  • Project complexity
  • Team size
  • Unity of team members
  • The team’s ability to focus on events and scrum stories
  • System interruption
  • Lack of involvement of product owner
  • Unexpected absence from the team

How can the velocity be stabilized?

The agile velocity will stabilize within 3-6 iterations under normal circumstances. However, when it fluctuates, the agile team should identify and resolve what changed data points or situations are causing them — as long as other essential parts of the project are not adversely affected.

How to evaluate it for forthcoming sprints?

The purpose of measuring it now is to facilitate accurate estimation of future agile velocity. Therefore, to evaluate forthcoming iterations, apply the range product man has derived from previous sprints, considering that no important factors affect team productivity.

How does it help agile teams?

Velocity in agility is more than a shining indicator of how long it takes an agile team to complete a sprint on average, and is essential for growing agile teams looking to expand their iterations faster.

On the other hand, if an agile team runs faster than the entire organization requires, its resources can be safely transferred to other teams running at lower velocities.

It all goes hand in hand. That is why it is not an indicator a product manager can ignore in its agile strategy.

How To Predict the Next Sprint?

If we have historical data on velocity, it is easy to predict future velocity. It is one of the benefits of having a stable team because they have such helpful recorded data. However, what if the team is new, has not worked with each other, and has no historical data?

Bottom Lines

A simple way to predict team velocity is to consider team capability sprint plans and estimate which product backlogs they can commit to delivering at the end of each sprint. If the commitment seems acceptable, we can add up the size of the commitment PBI and use this as a team’s velocity of prediction. Agile development teams typically calculate it after a sprint or iteration ends.

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