Increasing team velocity

One of the fallacies of relatively inexperienced Agile organisations is the idea that you can ‘raise’ velocity.

That is, they often believe that, if a team’s velocity is currently 25 story points per release, you can sensibly tell them to raise it to 30.

But velocity is not like that – it’s an empirical metric showing what the team has historically achieved, not a control over what they could achieve in future. It is a speedometer, not an accelerator pedal.

Of course, it is possible to increase a team’s velocity. It’s just a question of understanding & managing the factors that affect velocity.

These are some of the key factors:

  • The team:
    • Team motivation & relationships.
    • Individual skill, knowledge & experience.
    • Product Owner support.
    • Accelerators such as collocation, communications technologies, resources & facilities.
  • Technology & other systems:
    • Quality of tools and the effectiveness with which they are integrated and used.
    • Availability and quality of development & test environments.
    • The rapid elimination of technical obstacles & impediments.
  • The business:
    • The team’s familiarity with the business/ functional & technical environment.
    • User expertise, authority & availability.
    • The ready availability of other SMEs and authorities.
  • The organisation:
    • Agile-friendly policies & processes.
    • A highly collaborative Extended Team.
    • Agile-friendly organisations (PMO, finance, etc.).
    • Overall responsiveness to Agile organisation & culture.

If you want to increase a team’s velocity, make sure that some or all of these are made better. Broadly speaking that means that the team’s relationships with all these areas need to be:

  • Defined.
  • Mutually supportive.
  • High performing.



By |2018-01-18T12:51:10+00:00Sunday, February 14 2016|Categories: Agile, All, Metrics & measurement, Velocity|0 Comments

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