Velocity in Sprint: Benefits, and Best practices

StarAgilecalenderLast updated on February 08, 2024book20 minseyes3012

With increased complexity in the software development project, the need for sprint velocity has risen. There are so many steps involved when teams come together to develop a product and deliver it to the end. Sprint velocity is going to help in delivering the product with high quality and on time. But how? Well, there are various things that go into the project, and today in this article, we are going to discuss sprint velocity in detail and know more about it. Not only are we going to cover what it is but we are also going to learn about the benefits of velocity in the scrum teams. Later on, we will throw light on various concepts involved in this and know what best practices that could help the team to incorporate this in an efficient way in the team are.

What is the velocity in a Sprint?

Let us first know about sprint before going for what is sprint velocity. Well, to make the work much simpler and easy to achieve, the teams divide the tasks that are needed to be done in the project in smaller chunks of time and divide the work items in each of those time limits, that time frame is known as a sprint. Now to put velocity in simple words, it is the amount of work done in a sprint by the team involved. It does not include the half work or the partial work done by the team. If the work items are not fully completed, that point is not going to be counted. This way, the amount of work done in a sprint is calculated and this is called velocity in sprint planning. The work items could be the requirement, the user stories defined in a sprint, backlog items, or the bugs that come in the sprint. These work items are used to calculate the velocity in the sprint.

There are various benefits that are followed by velocity in the team; some of them are mentioned below:

Increased ability and capacity

It is well known among the teams in various projects that when velocity is introduced as a key metric in the team, it helps in increasing the ability and capacity of the team. The team is more aware of their work and they can take on the work that is needed to be completed in a sprint.

Better productivity

Now that the scrum master as well as the product owner has a better view of the number of items that can be completed in the team, there will be increased productivity in the team. The team will be able to focus on the tasks assigned to them and know when to complete them. This will also help the product owner to add items in the sprint that have more priority.

Know the strength

This is known as one of the best metrics to be used in the team to measure their capacity and strengths. The team will be able to know their limits and how much they can deliver in this sprint. This way, they will be able to deliver better. They will be mindful of their shortcomings from the previous sprints and will improve those mistakes in the coming sprints. In CSM Online Course, you will learn all about how scrum masters can help the team to give better results at the end of the project.

It should be kept in mind that velocity should not be the only tool that is used in the team to know about the estimation and to measure the team strengths. This tool is very helpful in knowing how much the team is capable of doing and what tasks they can handle in the sprint seeing their past performances. But this should not be the only one too. This tool is better for smooth functioning and transparency in the team but should be used with other tools to maximize the benefits from the team.

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Key things related to Sprint Velocity

There are some key things to know about velocity which will help you understand more about it.

It is descriptive

One of the major things to remember about velocity is that this is descriptive. It is not going to tell the scrum masters and the team how fast the team is going to go in the next sprint. It is an indicator of how fast the team went in the previous sprint and that is kept in mind when the next work items are being added in the sprint rather than just fixating on the velocity of the team.

Increasing sprint velocity is difficult

If you are thinking about increasing the print velocity, then it can be counterintuitive. When you are talking about the sprint velocity, we generally take the average of many sprints that have been completed in the past. So that is the velocity of the team. So, if you try to increase that, this can be less productive for the team. Instead, you can spend less time thinking about and more time is given to the team to perform well in those sprints.

Don’t abuse it as a metric

One of the major things that are needed to be understood by the team all over the projects is that the sprint velocity is just an arbitrary value for the team and it should not be the only variable that is going to define the efficiency and productivity of the team. There are many other factors that determine the productivity of the team. While it is one of the major things that you can use to predict the speed of the next sprint, you cannot just depend on it solely.

Ways to increase velocity in the scrum team

Now we have a great understanding of what velocity is in the project and what are the various things that you should know about it. Now we will focus on the things that will help the project and with the certified scrum master certification, you will be able to practice these points in the team and have a fruitful result for the organization as well as the whole project. These points mentioned in the article below are very useful and if you are looking for a great career as a scrum master for a big organization, these practices are your toolkit that can help you a lot.

Focus on the quality

One of the major things that you need to focus on is the quality of the work that is done by the team. The product, in the end, matters the most and if you are not able to deliver the high-quality product for the team, you will not have the best results from the team. Velocity in the sprint is a very useful metric that you can use to enhance the quality of the product. There could be a difference in the velocity from sprint to sprint, but once you start focusing on the quality, you will be able to use it for better product quality. This is needed because if the team members are going to increase the speed of their work items, the quality may decrease, so even if you have a high speed, the product is not going to be of high standards.

Use the metric responsibly

As mentioned above, it is seen many times that the teams are over using this metric, and this is going to have an impact on the capacity as well as the performance of the whole project. There are various things that you can use in velocity.

One of the major tools that you can use in velocity is the burn down chart. This chart is very useful for using this; you can see how much work is left as compared to the time left. This is the chart that represents the work items on the y- axis and the time left to complete those tasks on the x-axis. There are various other velocity charts as well that you can use in the team. The bar graph which shows how much work is done in each sprint is used to calculate the average velocity of the team can be very useful in making estimations for the next sprint. Overall, if you are using this metric in a responsible manner, you are going to get great results. So you should not just focus on increasing the speed, use the various metrics to increase the speed in the right way.

Use sprint planning meetings

In scrum projects, there are going to be sprint planning meetings and if you wish to make the best of the velocity metric in your team, you can optimize the sprint meetings. There are various things that are discussed in these meetings and seeing the tasks and how much time it will take will help the team to get that visibility and give better outputs for their work. In this meeting, the dependencies, along with the blockers can be discussed which could prevent the risks in the future, and this way, the velocity can be increased as the risks are out on the table and can be handled very easily. 

Focus on quality testing

Having your testing streamlined can be very useful in increasing your velocity. There are many times that testing is one that is not necessary. As a scrum master, you should be mindful of the things that are needed to be tested, avoid the tests where nothing is changed. Just keep the UAT in mind and then go for the testing to increase the velocity of the team.

Also, there are other scenarios where testing should be streamlined. Testing the feature that is not used for so long and does not have that value in the business proves should be avoided. Having overlap while testing becomes very common when the developers are developing some features and the team is also going for testing. This is counterproductive and can lead to various complications. So overall, having streamlined testing can help the team to have maximum benefit from the velocity in the sprint.

Focusing on training

In the agile framework, the development team is known to be self-sufficient; they can add new functionalities, automate them and test them as well. But this is not true in the real world. For this to be true the team has to be well trained in various automation tools, integration tools, and other things required for testing as well. So instead of having the whole load on the development team, the scrum master should focus on cross functioning  in the team. This is going to give better results when the experts in their respective fields will come together and work. This will increase the velocity of the team and more tasks will be able to be completed in the team.

For this, the managers can look for external consultants, having a supplement team and one of the best things is to cross train the team. There are many great results seen when the team is cross trained in the aspects needed in a full project cycle.

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Final words

Velocity in a sprint is going to bear fruits for the team when there are good practices followed by the whole team including the scrum master and the product owner. There are great advantages associated with this tool and with the right information; the team can achieve the best possible velocity in each sprint. The practices mentioned above are very useful and if you are going to be a scrum master in the team, then these are going to have a great impact on our career as well. Software quality is needed to be the topmost priority and with the right tools like velocity in the sprint in hands, the team can achieve their goals.

So, if you are also looking to have the benefits of this tool in your career and want to learn more about CSM Certification, then going to StarAgile could be very beneficial for you. Here, you will learn various aspects that you need to hone to become a successful scrum master for your career and will deal with real-life problems that scrum masters face in their team. This will be a great learning platform for you to grow and have a better shot at your growing career.

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