Several people discovering the scrum ask me what velocity is and what the calculation of it in agile is. So I have decided to make a very simple article to help them.
What is velocity in agile?
It represents the total of story points (or ideal days) of all items that are 100% done.
To culculate it, we will not take the story points of items that could not be 100% finalized during the sprint; and we will not take a percentage of completion.
The calculation of velocity in agile
The Calculation is very simple to perform. Here’s an example of a board at the end of a sprint:
At the end of the sprint, we will take the story points of each item in “done” and we will add them up. Finally, we get the sprint velocity. As you can see, the calculation is really easy to do.
Difference between velocity and capacity
Now that the calculation is done, teams can derive the capacity to do of the teams. We usually take the average of the last 3 sprints to define the team’s capacity in the next sprint.
If the team is consistent, the final velocity should be similar to the capacity defined at the start of the sprint.
However here is an important reminder. If this calculation of the capacity to do allows the Product owner to have an idea of the contents of the next sprints, we must always let the developers validate their capacity to do at the beginning of each sprint.
Highly requested in scrum, velocity is not necessarily an excellent indicator. We must also be careful not to confuse this indicator which aims to help the Product Owner to organize the sprints and productivity of a team.
It’s is based on an abstract indicator in the context of the story points and its increase or decrease as the sprint progresses will not necessarily indicate an increase or a decrease in productivity. Then some teams adapt the velocity according to certain factors: better knowledge of the product, new difficulty encountered …