What is a Velocity Chart and How to Calculate It? / Everything You Need To Know About Agile Velocity

October 03, 2021

By Simpliaxis


Agile velocity is a crucial metric system that assists the Scrum team to enhance efficiency by ascertaining how much it can be achieved in the coming time. The project development team adds effort estimates after every iteration that is connected with accomplished user stories. Velocity in agile helps the team in project management to determine the duration taken by the project to complete.


What Refers to Agile Velocity?


Now, what is the Agile velocity in the real term? The Agile velocity is nothing but the rate at which your Scrum team can deliver an Agile metric. As mentioned above, it is just the matter of calculating the velocity of your Agile team that lets you discover the duration you need to deliver a complete product or you can reach product milestones. Therefore, it is essential to know how to calculate velocity in Scrum as it is a part of the Agile framework. Agile velocity even assists you to get rid of overpromising on deliverables for a client.


It is one of the most beneficial tools for Agile teams to use internally but not necessarily externally. Also, it can be used by the team to track project completions and estimates over various Sprints which thereby offers them a clear picture of how fast they can move through a backlog. Moreover, it helps the entire team to recognize their strengths as well as progress and thereby learn how to boost their agile metrics.


Important Factors to Look Out While Measuring Agile Velocity for your Projects


As we have seen above, the requirement for Agile velocity takes place when you want to know how quickly a Scrum team can repeat and deliver the complete project. You have to consider certain factors when it comes to finding how quick an Agile team can deliver which are as follows:


Length of Sprint: The length of a Sprint is nothing but how much time it will take for the Sprint to last. Otherwise, the duration for the outlined workload you have to deliver. Whether it is feasible based on old Sprints?


The workload of Sprint: It states the workload you are delivering in the iteration like the number of user stories, backlog items that you are taking ahead from to-do to done within the Sprint.


Burndown Chart: It exhibits the action items that are to be executed by the Agile team plotted against a certain period of time remaining in a Sprint. 


How to Calculate Velocity in Agile?


Now the question is how to calculate Agile velocity? The thing is you would need to complete at least three to five Sprints before you calculate the velocity of your team. This way, a team who is new to Agile project management can bring a smooth workflow and go through to normalize for any changes. During the initial Sprints, your velocity will fluctuate but will stabilize as you complete three or five Sprints. There is a formula for Agile velocity but to go through it, you require to know the point worthiness of each user story. The measurement of a story point is quite relative and it can be estimated in distinct ways for various enterprises. The thumb rule in discovering a story point is to determine the simplest story, allot it to one point, and then make use of it to evaluate the remaining. In fact, two scales can be used to determine your story points including a Fibonacci sequence or linear scale. 


The formula for Agile Velocity


When it comes to how velocity is calculated in Scrum, you should know the number of user stories that need to be completed by the team. In addition, you should know overall how many points that a user story is worth and then check out the number of stories accomplished to add up the points. 


Have a look at one of the examples of Agile velocity below:


  • In the first Sprint, your Agile team has agreed to complete eight user stories and each story is equal to three story points. Just assume that the team completed only four stories so you would get 12 story points in total.
  • In the second Sprint, your Agile team has agreed to complete 10 user stories and each story is equal to five story points. Just assume that your team completed seven user stories so you would receive 35 story points.
  • In the third Sprint, your team has committed to doing nine user stories and each story is equal to four story points. Just assume that your Agile team finished seven user stories so you would get 28 story points. 


As per these individual Sprint velocities, you can altogether average them by using the below-given formula:

Average Sprint velocity = (12+35+28)/3 = 56. This is the only answer to the question of how velocity is calculated in Scrum.


What is a Velocity Chart in Agile?


The velocity chart is the chart that contains the information of the velocity of each Sprint that has been found. This chart helps in different ways which you can see right below:


The velocity chart helps you to track the status of a project:

  • It even helps to track volatility which is an estimate of predictability. The project just becomes an unpredictable one when you find valleys and hills in your velocity chart. This occurs for various reasons like the team alterations and complications and the size of the project.
  • Moreover, it also assists you to determine patterns in the velocity of your team even on projects where there might not be story points rather the team is working on errors. 


How Does Agile Velocity Aid Measure Efficiency?


The numbers rendered by Agile velocity is one of the trends that is used to facilitate and measure efficiency however, you cannot depend on them. Hence, being as an efficiency goal, velocity cannot be depended on and made into use. However, you should understand what it actually means. What the thing is when the Agile team finds a decrease in velocity numbers, they start to think more and concentrate on the ways to get the rise in numbers or back up to where they were. This results in immense pressure and stress on project developers to reach a particular velocity goal. Rather, if you see your velocity numbers are going down, you as a team should get strong enough to identify the possible inefficiencies that might be bringing the velocity numbers down.


It would be good to focus on a bit lower velocity number going ahead in the project to yield a more accurate budget and timeline. Similarly, a sudden rise in the number of velocities should not be avoided as it might mean that the Agile team is not producing and maintaining the desired work quality by going too fast. The best and safest way to make use of Agile velocity is to remain realistic and keep the objective simple to analyze the drawbacks in the project. Therefore, the main goal of Agile velocity is to bring efficiency to the project while keeping the desired quality at the same time.


Benefits of Velocity in Agile


Just check out the various advantages of Agile velocity given below:


  • Velocity boosts the overall capacity and ability of the team.
  • It allows the project development team to reach an estimate of the number of product backlogs they might foresee for the present Sprint.
  • It even helps the Product Owner to get an understanding of the speed of the work of the team through the backlog and thereby he can review the predicted delivery time as per the velocity of the project development team.
  • Velocity is highly involved and appreciated in Scrum as it makes the team perceive their own strengths, progress, and shortcomings to perform much better in the upcoming Sprints. However, it cannot be used as an estimate to recognize the performance of the team.
  •  It plays an important role when it comes to team transparency for seamless delivery and functioning of the product.
  •  Agile velocity is not used for any other purpose like end goal rather for continuous improvement of the team as the team would stop yielding its benefits if this metric is used for another purpose. 


Final Words


As proven across industries, Agile Project Management has the ability to enhance productivity, flexibility, and high-quality deliverables not just in software development but also in the Scrum framework. As a matter of fact, velocity is one of the crucial metrics used in Agile. After every iteration or Sprint, the Agile team adds up effort estimates that are associated with user stories completed in that particular iteration. It is called nothing but velocity. As it helps the team to revise an estimate of the duration of the project it will take to accomplish based on the estimates linked with the rest of the user stories, it becomes an important part of Agile project management. This article includes all the facts that you need to know related to Agile velocity, what is velocity chart in Agile is, how it is to be calculated, and so on. It would definitely aid you to bring efficiency and value to your business.


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