what is velocity in Scrum?

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Mar 01, 2020

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The very term agile velocity is the total effort put in during each sprint. The agile velocity definition is the work done at every sprint. This will provide a picture of how closely the team is traveling towards reaching the sprint goal. Therefore knowing how much progress has happened it becomes easy to calculate the remaining user stories to be identified in the upcoming sprints to complete the entire sprint backlog
Scrum velocity is the metric of work done in scrum projects. Evaluation is the key to success in any work. How much can one work, what will be the ability to deliver a particular work? Will time be a factor in deciding the efficiency? Alternatively, what is the role of the complexity of any work which decides the performance? 
In teamwork, the working ability of every individual must be known. This will help in assigning work, expecting results and accomplishing the goal smoothly and successfully. 
The speed of movement of an object in a defined direction is called velocity. How is this term connected with SDLC? How can you relate this term with the Scrum framework? Why should we need to know about this and guess this for the successful implementation of projects in following the agile methodology? What is velocity in agile?
All the questions are answered in the following section. We shall walk you through a detailed step in explaining velocity in scrum, how to calculate and ways to make a precise measurement.

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Know the term Velocity in scrum
The speed of the team in delivering results in their projects is measured by the velocity in agile. 
Technically, it is defined as the measure of the number of product backlog converted to product increment at every sprint by the respective group working in the scrum project. 
We require the features estimate, story points, and the backlogs detail to calculate the rate at which the people in the project work. We shall see the mathematical steps involved in calculating the same. 
Before that, we will understand it in layman words. 
  • Predict the deliverable scope for a stipulated time 
  • Then fix a date to complete a certain amount of deliverables 
  • Analyze and understand the limitation before committing on the delivery for every sprint. 
  • Initial velocity 
Initial scrum velocity means the time taken before the completion of the initial iterations. The quality work of the task a team can complete during every sprint can be measured. Then, the situation becomes tricky when we include the term quality work. Follow the steps given below to find that and the remaining will become much simpler for you. 
  • First, find the team performance of the initial sprint by adding the estimate efforts that are linked to each user story completed in that particular sprint. 
  • Keep this as a reference and decide on the number of iterations required
With this guideline, you can plan your sprints and choose backlog items accordingly. 
How to Calculate Velocity in Scrum
Understanding two velocities namely the actual and the expected will help you to perform the calculations correctly. 
calculating velocity of scrum
Figure 1
From the above figure it is a very clear and simple computation. All you need to know is about the points and the sprint numbers. 
Velocity and story points 
A story point is also called a user story point or simply a metric and it is used in measuring the time taken to complete the activity. Time taken to complete the user story is called a story point. This can be used in any team and it is independent of the team size and the task. 
Since it is used to measure the time consumed in finishing work by the scrum team, we can understand how closely it is related to the velocity. 
Scrum Velocity measures the productivity of the players to confirm the speed at which the project is going on. 
Therefore, maintaining the story point estimate all through the implementation of the project will allow proper measurement of the team speed. Here we directly see the connection between both.  
At the next level when there is a need to measure the whole organization's productivity and compare each team story point plays a role thus reflecting the ideal speed of the team. 
Stable story point value will act as the reference point in release planning making the evaluation of all schedules. 
Given that the story point makes velocity measurement effective, understand the right way to find out the former. 
Measuring it becomes easy when you adopt a relative measuring technique. Thus the team will consider one story as the base and evaluate the other stories by comparison method. 
Linear scale and Fibonacci numbers are used as the scale to create estimates for each point. Let the team find the time required to complete the known story to keep that as reference. Then they can find the remaining by checking whether they take more time or less time than the reference point. 
The points are placed on either side of the baseline depending on the size. Smaller points are kept on the left of the reference and bigger points to the right. 
Velocity story points
Figure 2
In the above image, you can see that the points are arranged in the ascending order from top to bottom. This can be done left to right as well. 
Tips to make an accurate estimation
Now, you know what is Scrum velocity, how to measure it, and the association story point has with it. With these details in hand now it will become easy for you to measure the velocity of any backlog size. Follow these simple tips to make your measurement more effective. 
Reiterating the definition – The time taken by the team to finish a given product backlog. 
The team will take some time even a couple of sprints to get a grip on knowing the stable velocity. It depends on the team size, team capacity and the complexity of the product backlog. 
Thus we suggest
  • Every new team must take help from the experience of the other team which performed the best in the past.
  • Forecast the number of stories that can be completed in each sprint. Make a note of how much completed in actual. Check if the forecast and the actual matches. If yes, then proceed, else check whether the actual is less or more than the actual to decide on the team performance. For doing so you must assign consistent sprint length and similar product backlog at least 3 times to conclude on the team velocity. 
  • Likewise, do not include any work that is halfway through. Only completed work should be considered as Done. 
  • After the team works on a few sprints, then you must make use of the velocity chart and fix the time for achieving the remaining project. The velocity chart is constructed between the time taken to complete each sprint versus the story point completed. 

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Next time when you want to estimate the velocity, then quickly start working with the team. Assign backlogs, decide the sprint length and complete work. Measure the time taken to work on another similar backlog, same sprint duration and continue this for a couple of sprints to come to a conclusion on the scrum velocity of your team. Try to have more sprints for better accuracy. 
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