February 7, 2023

Things to know about sprint velocity

Sprint velocity can help teams come up with an accurate estimate of their workload, which simplifies sprint planning. Also, it helps project managers determine the progress of their projects.  So, what is sprint velocity?

Sprint velocity measures the amount of work an Agile team can produce in one normal sprint. Calculating velocity includes variables such as the amount of work the team completed and the amount of time it takes them to finish this work. 

Development teams must keep in mind that sprint velocity must not be viewed as an improvement or success metric. Otherwise, a team can be overworked. Understanding one’s sprint velocity is meant to determine the team’s capacity, not to increase their capacity.

Reasons to Measure Sprint Velocity

Development teams and executives measure their sprint velocity due to the following reasons:

  • Make it easy for them to plan their sprint. Scrum masters and product owners who know the sprint velocity of their team can plan sprints easily. By being aware of their team’s average velocity, they can easily pick the best user stories that can be moved into iteration without giving their team heavy workloads. 
  • Manage the expectations of stakeholders. Whether stakeholders ask for a user story timeline or want to make additions before the sprint ends, sprint velocity can tell product owners the way this change may impact the output of their team.
  • Detect possible issues. By regularly tracking sprint velocity, product owners can consistently measure the average velocity. Should they notice a sudden drop in velocity, they will know there is a problem that their team has to resolve first before they move on to the next sprint. 

How to Regulate Team Velocity

Spring velocity consistency is essential, so managers can see the regular performance of their team. Inconsistencies tell them when something is wrong. To regulate team velocity, the tips below may help:

  • Make sure use stories are clear. Before the sprint begins, it is important to ensure team members clearly understand the user stories. User stories explain a feature of software written from the end user’s perspective. They make sure that project managers or Scrum teams can concentrate on the work they have to do, rather than looking for stakeholders to get more specific details. 
  • Ensure team members are on the same page in terms of your definition of “done.” All team members must understand when a user story is considered “done” or completed. This allows them to more accurately estimate the amount of work involved in every user story.