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Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:19 am

How do we calculate velocity to define sprint? what is the unit for velocity?
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Sowmya Geddada
Business Analyst(PMI-PBA)
Posts: 2478
Joined: Fri Jul 11, 2014 11:57 am

Re: Velocity

Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:13 am

Let's start with - What is Velocity?

The velocity is the number of story points delivered/demoed on a Sprint.
Now the next question is - what is a story point?
It is the quantum of work involved. In other words, it is a bigness of the task. It has no unit.
The team estimates in story point where they consider:
• How hard is the work?
• How much work is there - they see - how big it is, just quantum of work.

So as story point has no unit, we see velocity - how many story point a team can deliver in a sprint. There is no unit associated with it.

The velocity does not define a sprint. We see - how many Story Points in a Sprint can we deliver? - To get the idea of how many Sprints do we need to release the product or part of the product (in case we have multiple releases).

Now the next question is - How do estimate velocity for a Sprint?

The first and most crucial point is that - Story Point definition is based on the team understanding and agreement of the bigness of the task. So the only team can look into how much they can deliver in a Sprint Because my team's 3 story points can be equal to 5 story points from another team.

So if you have started a project - and the team has worked together, they can use the same data from the previous project.

For example, If a team worked together for an X project and is about to start project Y. They can use their X velocities to predict Y velocities. - This is an example of estimate velocity using Historic data.

What if there is no historical data?
The answer is - Run an iteration - Try few iterations till you get sustainable pace. And,record velocity of these iterations. See how many Story Points the team was able to deliver. And take the average to understand team ability to deliver in a sprint. This is the velocity.

Now, what if you need to give a velocity estimate in advance?
Do Forecast - Break down some stories in engineering tasks. Ask team to estimate team in ideal hours and ask if they can do within a Sprint. If, yes, see if other stories can they add. Use same technique to (break down in engineering tasks) till team says yes its enough.

Add those stories Story Points - It is the team velocity. - it is recommended to re-look this velocity as we explore how stable Velocity is?

what if you need to estimate velocity for a proposal?

Take a representative team - Like One senior programmer, One database person and testers and ask them to help in the technique described in forecasting.
Get the velocity in the same way and present if we use these number of programmers, a lead and testers, we need those many sprints for release.

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