Calculating Velocity FAQ

This content is syndicated from Agile Coaching by Rachel Davies. To view the original post in full, click here.

Sometimes people get confused about velocity and edge cases of what gets counted or not. It doesn't matter greatly except it helps to do this consistently over time. I wrote a FAQ for our teams because these edge cases come up infrequently and developers often don't remember what rule to apply. I'm sharing a slightly abbreviated version of our Velocity FAQ as an illustration of working agreements around this. Your team might choose to do this differently and that's okay.

The purpose of this FAQ is to clear up any confusion about counting team velocity before story prioritisation.  We average our velocity over past 3 iterations to level things out. Also we make adjustments if we know that team members will be on holiday during the next iteration.

1) Should I partially count a story if we did some work on it but it hasn’t been finished? No

2) Should I count a story if the code is all live but we haven’t had the story approved by stakeholders or sent out the release email? No because sometimes more work is discovered through doing this.

3) If we extended or shortened the iteration should I adjust the velocity to match the usual iteration length? Yes

4) If the story was signed off and complete and then later we discover it has problems, Should we add another story for the extra work to fix it? No. If the implementation has a bug or we broke or clearly failed to deliver on the story we will fix it without an additional story, even if it was accidentally signed off.

5) My stakeholder says that she really wanted something extra than the story we’ve developed. Do we expand the story to do the extra things? No, this can be a new story if wasn’t agreed with other stakeholders. It helps to note the acceptance criteria clearly in the story and check them with stakeholders before starting work on development.

6) We had to do some story work in an iteration that wasn't planned in because the story was not finished from a previous iteration (due to any reason including dependency on other team). What do we do?

Step 1: Send stakeholder email or let them know in planning that this is happening and may impact stories currently lined up for current iteration.

Step 2: Fix the problem and then count the full estimate of the original story when its finished in the current iteration

Do not create an extra story for the remainder of the work and estimate it as extra work as this will result in artificially inflating the velocity.

7) We did an extra piece of work it took about 2 points worth, it was never planned in or estimated can I count it now because we did do it?

No. New pieces of work even if they come up mid-iteration, even if they are ultra urgent and should be done immediately should always be discussed, broken down and estimated BEFORE we start work on it. We need to warn stakeholders we are putting it in. So this situation should never ever arise that you only estimate a story after you completed it! If it does happen you should not count it. and discuss what went wrong in the process.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 × 2 =

There are 101 ways to do anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”


“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”


“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”


“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”


“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”


“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”


“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”


“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”


“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”


“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”


“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”



To explore how we can help you, please get in touch